Dialectic School Curriculum

The courses in the dialectic school are all focused on teaching students how to think. Discovering, understanding, and following crucial ideas and questions are the overarching goals of the seventh and eighth grade curriculum. Through formal instruction, teacher modeling, and continual practice, students learn the skill of dialectic through all of their subjects.

Mathematics

Math in the dialectic school is transitional, serving as both the capstone of grammar school mathematics and as the foundation for all later studies in mathematics and science. Centered on the liberal arts of arithmetic and algebra, it solidifies the foundational mathematical concepts, facts, and operations the students acquired in the grammar school (Pre-Algebra), and begins the sequence of high school credit math classes (Algebra I).


PRE-ALGEBRA
Normally taken in 7th grade

Pre-Algebra is the capstone of grammar school math classes and the cornerstone of advanced math in rhetoric school. As the former, it reviews and reinforces mastery of arithmetic and basic mathematical reasoning. It is the last general math skills class the student takes before the more focused study of geometry, algebra, and calculus. As the latter, it introduces the fundamentals of algebra, which are essential to equations learned in Geometry and provide the basis for a more comprehensive study in Algebra I.

The Pre-Algebra course is structured to be very student-focused, challenging students to collaborate to discover different mathematical rules and concepts as well as explain their reasoning or rationale for each answer. Students use a variety of problem-solving methods and apply knowledge from their previous coursework to tackle some of the more elaborate problems. Students also have the opportunity to revisit skills they find they are weak in while incorporating new aspects of their algebraic thinking. By the end of the year, the aim is that each student finds a new confidence in their abilities, works interdependently to explore and reason mathematically, and sees the overall beauty of mathematics.

Enduring Understandings

  • Algebraic representation can be used to generalize patterns and relationships that can be represented graphically, numerically, symbolically, or verbally.
  • Computational fluency includes understanding not only the meaning but the appropriate use of numerical operations.
  • Real world situations can be modeled as variable equations, which can then be solved algebraically or by using proportional reasoning when appropriate.
  • The properties of geometric abstractions, such as area, volume of figures, or measure of angles, can be calculated as a way of measuring real world objects.
  • The likelihood of real-world events can be modeled and meaningfully estimated and discussed by calculations of probability and analysis of collected data.
  • Mathematics requires perseverance in working with problems whose answers are not immediately obvious and ingenuity in breaking complex problems into smaller, more manageable problems.

ALGEBRA I
Normally taken in 8th grade
Pre-requisite: Pre-Algebra
Course Code: 1200310 , 1200320 (Honors)

Mathematics is a wonderful God-given tool that models the relationships of nature and science. It is the language spoken by God’s physical creation. We discover in mathematics a reflection of the order, rationality, and immutability found in God’s own divine nature. In studying mathematics, we develop practical skills in ordering and manipulating the world around us and are able to more effectively rule over nature and benefit mankind. With these skills, we are able to develop a deeper, intuitive understanding of God himself.

Algebra I lays the foundation for all other advanced mathematics. Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerned with the manipulation of numbers and variables and their mixture through the study of polynomials. By learning the rules of the language of mathematics, students are able to harness the power of abstraction. They learn how to convert problems from the English language to mathematical sentences (expressions, equations, and inequalities). They also discover the power of the coordinate plane and learn how equations may be represented graphically.

The discovery, the learning, and the practice of mathematics cannot be separated. Students encounter a rich learning experience as they engage in activities designed to foster wonder and deep thinking, and they practice their learning in a cooperative and encouraging setting. Students work in a collaborative setting where student interaction is welcome and encouraged. By the end of the year, the aim is that each student finds a new confidence in their abilities, works interdependently to explore and reason mathematically, and sees the overall beauty of mathematics.

Enduring Understandings

  • Patterns, functions, and relationships can be represented graphically, numerically, symbolically, or verbally. The function and relationship concepts are fundamental ideas in mathematics.
  • Algebraic and numeric procedures are interconnected and build on one another. Integration of various mathematical procedures builds a stronger foundation for finding solutions.
  • Technology should be used not to replace mental math and paper and pencil computation but to enhance understanding of mathematics and the power to use mathematics.
  • There are multiple strategies for finding a mathematical solution, and those algorithms are frequently associated with different contexts. Mastery of mathematics depends on choosing appropriate methods.
  • Mathematics is not a matter of magic but a human way of thinking that is accessible to all students. Algebra I seeks to give all students confidence in mathematical thinking.

Science

Science in the dialectic school provides instruction in foundational scientific concepts and methods, and it supports the liberal art of dialectic by training students to find and follow the most important and fruitful questions in life science and physical science. In this way, students are well-prepared for later studies in biology, chemistry, and physics. Beyond the hands-on experience of conducting labs/experiments and demonstrations, a highlight of the dialectic science experience is the trip to North Florida during the fall of seventh grade.


NATURAL HISTORY
Normally taken in 7th grade

Natural History focuses on getting outside and seeing things where they live. The environs surrounding the school are richer in life than we typically imagine. Within a half-mile of campus, there are dozens of insect, arthropod, mollusk, mammal, reptile, fish, bird, tree, vine, fern, and “weed” species. We are just accustomed to ignoring them! This class is interested in seeing and understanding them.

Students observe things very closely in this class. In order to do this, they make collections of plants and animals both alive and preserved. They spend a lot of time outside. It is always surprising to see what lives on the school grounds! Students have caught and/or seen snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, spiders, raccoons, opossums, eagles, armadillos, and more insects than can be counted. They construct and keep a detailed natural history field book/sketchbook and work on building their drawing skills in order to make closely observed drawings of specimens. This book serves as the repository of all the close observations students make of the various things they collect or bring inside to observe.

Enduring Understandings

  • In order to love a place (and it is proper to love the place where one lives), it is necessary to be able to name and understand the nonhuman things that also live in that place.
  • Central Florida is home to an enormous variety of living things. These things do not confine themselves to “wild” areas; they live all around us at all times of the year.
  • Beauty is common, but it is not always easy to see. One has to look, know where to look, and know how to see the beauty that lives there.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE
Normally taken in 8th grade

Eighth grade Physical Science is an invitation for students to explore their world through a historical approach that allows them to experience both wonder and thoughtful experimentation. Students delve into the history of the elements—their discovery, their properties, and their practical use in the world. They begin with observation of their surroundings and natural phenomena, then study various historical frameworks describing the physical world, and then learn how these models developed into our current understanding of the periodic table. This historical approach is combined with observation and interaction with the physical world at every stage so that students have concrete connections to God’s good world for the concepts they learn. 

In addition to studying the elements, students observe the motion of the heavens by pondering and sketching the night sky. They develop an understanding of patterns of movement here on earth by working with simple machines and accelerated motion. These two different categories of observable motion in the world are united in the end through the lens of Newton’s laws of motion.

This class focuses on these five big questions:

  • What do we see in God’s good world?
  • Who has seen this before us and how did they explain it?
  • How is their explanation different from the modern one?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each explanation?
  • How is interacting with God’s creation teaching us wisdom, and how can we wisely utilize that creation?

Enduring Understandings

  • God’s good world is orderly and intelligible, and it ought to be observed in order for us to grow in wisdom and to be good stewards of creation.
  • People have used models to explain the physical world for thousands of years.
  • These models have changed through time as new observations require it.
  • No model comprehensively explains all that we see, but each provides truth about the reality of God’s good world.

English

English cultivates the liberal art of dialectic by training students to discover and explore some of the most significant questions and ideas regarding the human experience. Drawing from both modern and ancient literature, the curriculum is integrated with that from the history and Bible courses. Alongside their literary studies, students continue honing the liberal art of grammar and the craft of writing developed in the grammar school. E. D. Hirsch’s cultural literacy program forms an important part of the dialectic English curriculum as well.


ENGLISH 7

In seventh grade English, students study three novels, a number of myths and poems, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. They examine models of excellent writing and practice a great deal of writing in a variety of formats. The overarching theme of the material is fallen man and his need for a Savior. In turn, they explore the human experience of man’s sinfulness and his great need for virtue, empathy, compassion, generosity, and gratitude.

Geneva seventh graders also dive deeply into their study of ancient mythology, a literary genre of great importance. They read myths containing characters and ideas of all shapes and sizes, progressing from creation to the reign of the Olympians and their heroes. This progression from creation to the gods to the heroes prepares students well for their study of the epic poems of Homer and Virgil in eighth grade.

Enduring Understandings

  • The underlying theme of the fall of man within the context of literature explores the concrete human experience of man’s sinfulness and need for a Savior.
  • Recognizing that all literature is taught from a Christian worldview, students begin to formulate an approach to secular works and mythology from a Christian standpoint.
  • Good quality writing is free from mechanical errors, and admirable style can be appropriated by studying models of excellent writing.
  • Public speaking is a lifelong skill made easier by early practice within the classroom community.
  • Students are inspired to develop an appreciation of poetry and the use of beautiful, winsome words.

ENGLISH 8

The vividly portrayed epic battles in Homer’s Iliad and the arduous obstacle-ridden journey in Homer’s Odyssey could be metaphors for the eighth grade English class. Students travel through these two wonderful and difficult classical works and begin to observe connections between Greco-Roman history, art, logic, and literature. While they examine Greco-Roman literature, they remain firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian beliefs, echoing Paul when he spoke to the men of Athens: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24–25, ESV).

Along with examining models of excellent writing, students practice the art of persuasive writing by wrestling with normative questions in their reading. Continuing with the delightful exploration of poetry in seventh grade, students enjoy reading and memorizing various ancient and modern poems, as well as digging deeper into the art of poetry itself and even writing some poetry of their own!

Enduring Understandings

  • Many of the eighth grade classes—Greco-Roman history, New Testament, logic, Latin, art, and Greco-Roman literature—are interwoven, and when studied together, each offers insight into the others.
  • Persuasive writing is not striving to win an argument, but carefully and humbly arriving at Truth.
  • A Christian worldview enables one to read pagan and secular writings and to “plunder the Egyptians” in order to find God’s enduring Truth throughout history.
  • When reading poetry, our experience should be that of Robert Frost, who declared, “Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

History

A knowledge of ancient civilizations is foundational to the study of subsequent western civilization, as well as to understanding Scripture. Revisiting at a deeper level their second and third grade studies of ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman civilizations, students engage the history of the ancient world in order to understand significant events from our past and to gain better categories for thinking about and questioning the consequences of ideas and of human choices.


ANTIQUITY I
Normally taken in 7th grade

This course surveys the history and literature of the ancient Near East. Through this course, students study empires and epics from the Fertile Crescent all the way to Persia and the eventual domination by the Greeks in the fourth century BC. This time period of 3,000–4,000 years saw great scientific and cultural development, as masterful temples and pyramids were erected, laws and treaties were established, and empires rose and fell. Students learn more about these civilizations’ influential rulers, cities, myths, religions, political structures, etc. through reading, activities, and classroom discussions. 

The goal of this course is for students to gain an appreciation for the history of the ancient Near East, its impact on our Western culture, and its role as the geographical and cultural backdrop for the Bible, as well as to gain an appreciation and understanding for these civilizations through their art and literature.

Enduring Understandings

  • Culture is “an integrated system of learned patterns of behavior, ideas, and products that are characteristic of a society.”
  • The primary cultures and civilizations of the ancient Near East begin with ancient Sumer and continue through the Akkadian, Egyptian, Israelite, Hittite, Phoenician, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, and Greek states and cultures.
  • Literature offers us rich insight into the beliefs, values, and daily practices of civilizations.
  • The study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations can enhance our understanding and appreciation of the Bible—especially the Old Testament.

ANTIQUITY II
Normally taken in 8th grade

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?

“Not knowing what happened before you were born is to be stuck forever in childhood. For what is a person’s life, if it is not woven together with the life of earlier generations by the knowledge of history?”
—Cicero, Orator ad M. Brutum 34.120

Quid est quod fuit? Ipsum quod futurum est. Quid est quod factum est? Ipsum quod faciendum est. Nihil sub sole novum, nec valet quisquam dicere: Ecce hoc recens est: iam enim praecessit in saeculis quae fuerunt ante nos.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new!’ It has been already in the ages before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9–10, ESV).

As modern people, we tend to believe that our own age is not only the newest, but also the most important one. The word modern itself—meaning “just now”—implies that our own age stands on its own, without reference to what preceded it. History becomes an object of study rather than the long background to our lives, the story in which we finally appear in the most recent chapter, the story we must know if we would know ourselves. And yet it is manifest that the language we speak, the God we worship, the DNA of our bodies are all handed down to us from people who lived before us. We participate in their story, and they in ours.

So we desire to know our ancient forebears, and our search leads us back to the Greeks and Romans. Many of our beliefs about man and society, our arts and sciences, our virtues and vices were transmitted to us from these once-mighty peoples of the Mediterranean Sea. The concrete realities of their lives shape ours. Above all, our faith in Jesus Christ was revealed, proclaimed, and transported there—mostly in the Greek tongue, on Roman roads, in lands subdued by Roman rule. The cross itself was first a Roman instrument of execution. Getting to know the Greeks and Romans—what sort of people they were, how they lived their lives, their rise and fall—allows us to better know our own lives and the Lord we serve, who, though king over all, was put to death by a Roman governor.

The course consists largely in the reading and retelling of the most interesting stories the Greeks and Romans themselves told, often connecting them with the events recorded by the people of Israel.

Enduring Understandings

  • Awareness of Greek and Roman history is necessary for understanding who we are as Westerners today.
  • The lives of past generations reveal wisdom and virtue for us to imitate, as well as folly and vice for us to avoid.
  • The study of history reveals patterns in human affairs: a similar pattern of rise and fall can be perceived in the stories of Persia, Athens, and Rome.
  • Wealth and prosperity bring a civilization both benefits and troubles.
  • The Incarnation of the Son of God bestows dignity on all human history, but it imparts particular interest to the time and place in which it happened.
  • God makes things—he is creative—and we will imitate him in this. It is better to make things well than to make them poorly. This is one of the reasons we study art making.
  • It is important to develop visual literacy in order to look at and see art as it was meant to be seen by its makers. This is a skill to be mastered just as much as reading and understanding books are skills to be mastered.

Bible

In the dialectic school, as students are learning formal ways of reasoning, questioning, and discussing, we want them to have a deeper understanding of the stories and the structure of Scripture. These courses are designed to give the students a clearer understanding and imagination regarding the contexts and diversity of the Old and New Testaments while also showing the continuity of the overall focus of the Bible, which is explicitly centered on Christ and is the basis for the best kind of reasoning and discerning.


OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY
Normally taken in 7th grade

As Christians who long to know Jesus Christ and to understand the salvation he gives us, we need to understand the Old Testament. The New Testament Scriptures can be understood most fully by understanding the Old Testament. But many Christians find it difficult to read the Old Testament. The goals of this year-long survey are to help students step into the world of the Old Testament, to begin to grasp how the Old Testament still applies to Christians, and to introduce students to the literature of the thirty-nine canonical books of the Old Testament.

Students learn about the geography of the ancient Near East in order to help the world of the Old Testament make sense. They walk through the Old Testament following the Hebrew Bible ordering of Law, Prophets, and Writings, a slightly different order from our Christian Bible ordering. Instruction integrates key biblical motifs such as the authority of Scripture, creation, faith, covenant, law and grace, divine sovereignty, human responsibility, the kingdom of God, a promised savior, and worship to the glory of God. Most importantly, students see that the Old Testament reveals patterns and promises that are fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus Christ.

As a result of their work in this class, students are better prepared to read the Bible well and to think biblically about the other disciplines they study. But they are also better equipped to serve in their communities and their churches. They listen better to the preaching of God’s Word, and their expanded view of God helps them see his work in the world.

Enduring Understandings

  • The primary themes of the Old Testament are God is love but judges sin, God is sovereign and humans are responsible, God has made us in his image and given us dominion over creation, and God relates to us through covenants.
  • God communicates to his people through the literature of the Old Testament in the following four genres, which must be understood and interpreted according to their particular attributes: historical narrative, prophetic literature, poetic literature, and wisdom literature.
  • A Christian understanding of the character of God, human nature and human sinfulness, the created order, and the means by which we receive salvation is developed within the Old Testament.
  • The Old Testament is divinely inspired and authoritative for the church corporately and for Christians individually. The Old Testament law has three categories: civil, ceremonial, and moral. The moral law continues to inform and shape the understanding and practices of those who profess to follow Christ by faith.

NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY
Normally taken in 8th grade

Since The Geneva School’s Values Statement affirms that the school’s perspective is “forged from historical models of orthodox Christianity,” the study of the Scriptures is fundamental to this task. This year-long course introduces students to the literature of the twenty-seven canonical books of the New Testament. Largely inductive in its approach, this class acquaints students with the narrative content, historical background, and theological motifs of the New Testament by use of the same as their primary text. Special attention is given to understanding and appreciating the literary genre of individual New Testament writings and to understanding the principles of proper interpretation associated with each.

Upon successful completion of this course, students are able to interact with the New Testament literature confidently, intelligently, and within the larger interpretive tradition of the Church. Since students in the dialectic stage are expected to move beyond mere data acquisition, the class frequently challenges students to ask what broad application the teachings of the New Testament have in our cultural moment and what narrow application these teachings have on individual lives. Finally, the class seeks to enable students to answer the question, What does the New Testament mean by the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Enduring Understandings

  • The teaching of the New Testament is summarized by four primary themes: the kingdom of God and the lordship of Christ, the suffering of Christ and his people, the required human response, and the Old Testament’s fulfillment in the New Testament.
  • The New Testament is organized in categories of specific literary genre: gospel, historical, epistolary, and apocalyptic literature; the Pauline epistolary literature is further sub-divided into categories of capital, prison, and pastoral epistles.
  • The New Testament is divinely inspired and authoritative for the church corporately and for Christians individually. While the teaching of the New Testament is largely clear and undisputed with regard to the primary aspects of faith, there are numerous issues and practices upon which churches and individuals differ.
  • Finally, historic Christian faith is more than mere knowledge or even intellectual assent to the truth of certain facts. Rather, authentic Christian faith embraces the truth in a wholehearted manner that results in new life spiritually and new ethical dimensions in the life and practices of every believer.

Logic

While all of the courses in the dialectic school operate according to and emphasize the liberal art of dialectic, which is a skill of reasoning, our seventh and eighth graders take stand-alone classes in logic. In these classes, the students are introduced to specific categories and constructions of arguments. They learn to identify formal and informal fallacies, they learn how to test syllogisms for validity, and they are introduced to the writings of Plato and Aristotle.


LOGIC 7
Normally taken in 7th grade

The term logic evokes a variety of images: from Sudoku puzzles to Sherlock Holmes, from abstract symbols on a page to word puns. While it can be difficult to see a unified concept between these disparate fields, they are all nonetheless associated with this term logic. From its roots, logic has been concerned with words, with claims, and with arguments or accounts of things. It is concerned with how something can be proved, and it involves thinking deeply about what course of action to pursue. 

In their study of logic, students learn to stop and pay attention to oft-ignored things: to words, to images, to the world around them. They are encouraged to understand more fully the power of clear thinking in all aspects of life, and they experience the joy that comes through delving deeply into the nature of things. Even more than this, they study logic so that they might better see what is true and beautiful, that they might find it of great importance to pursue practical wisdom to guide their actions, and that they would seek to understand others in charity and humility.

Logic uniquely ties together everything the students study, from the history of the ancient Near East to pre-algebra to the arts. The aim of the course is for students to be encouraged in their pursuit of wisdom, as they try with all charity and humility to understand what others have said and are thus aided in their pursuit of Christ’s calling.

Enduring Understandings

  • There is truth, even if it is difficult to know.
  • The human faculty of reason (including logic) is good, but it is not ultimate.
  • There are good arguments and bad ones, and we have the tools to discern them.
  • People convey multiple levels of meaning by the language they use.
  • Meaning in terms and propositions is often imprecise but can be clarified.
  • Language is assertive. As such, we should pay close attention to our words.
  • Reasoning is a process that necessarily goes from somewhere to somewhere else, requiring both a starting point and a telos.
  • Humility and submission are necessary for the good intellectual life—things are more complex than we realize. Therefore, treating other views charitably is necessary both for truth and for goodness.

LOGIC 8
Normally taken in 8th grade

The term logic evokes a variety of images: from Sudoku puzzles to Sherlock Holmes, from abstract symbols to puns. While it can be difficult to see a unified concept between these disparate fields, they are all nonetheless associated with this term logic. From its roots, logic has been concerned with words, with claims, with arguments and accounts of things. It is concerned with how something can be proved, and it involves thinking deeply about what course of action to pursue. 

In their study of logic, students learn to stop and pay attention to oft-ignored things: to words, to images, to the world around them. They are encouraged to understand more fully the power of clear thinking in all aspects of life, and they experience the joy that comes through delving deeply into the nature of things. Even more than this, they study logic so that they might better see what is true and beautiful, that they might find it of great importance to pursue practical wisdom to guide their actions, and that they would seek to understand others in charity and humility.

The larger goal of the course is for students to be encouraged in their pursuit of wisdom as they try with all charity and humility to understand what others have said, as well as to be aided in their pursuit of Christ’s calling.

Enduring Understandings

  • There is truth, even if it is difficult to know.
  • The human faculty of reason (including logic) is good, but is not ultimate.
  • Some reasons are better than others, and there are good ways to think and bad ways.
  • Meaning in terms and propositions is often imprecise but can be clarified.
  • Language is assertive. Therefore, we should pay close attention to our words.
  • Reasoning is a process that necessarily goes from somewhere to somewhere else, requiring both a starting point and a telos.
  • Humility and submission are necessary for the good intellectual life—things are more complex than we realize. Therefore, treating other views charitably is necessary both for truth and for goodness.

Latin

The goal of Latin instruction in seventh and eighth grade is to provide a foundation for learning to read Latin. This is accomplished using a modified grammatical/analytical approach coupled with a reading-based approach. Students in the seventh grade begin their training by actually reading Latin, and by the end of eighth grade, they are ready for the more complex readings in the rhetoric school Latin courses.


LATIN 7
Normally taken in 7th grade

In this course, students explore the basic grammar of “the language which has been the most widely used in all the world’s history”: Latin. The main text is Smith and Thompson’s First Year Latin, revised by Charles Jenney. This course gives students the ability to read and translate simple Latin texts and prepares them for further study of the language that was central to Western civilization for over 1,500 years.

In Latin 7, students memorize the forms of the nouns and adjectives of the first three declensions as well as the present and perfect verb systems in the indicative mood. Systematic grammar study is complemented by copious reading and oral practice. Students learn about the language and its grammatical properties while also using the language for themselves, participating actively in dialogues, question-and-answer sessions, and games. 

By the end of Latin 7, students should be able to read simple Latin aloud with confidence, good pronunciation, and comprehension. Through a combination of grammatical study and active experience of Latin, students gain an intuitive feel for how Latin works and the analytical skills to explain why it works that way.

Enduring Understandings

  • The ancient Romans are no less human than we are, and conversations with the long dead—through the texts they left behind—deeply enrich our hearts and minds by transporting us out of the assumptions of our modern world.
  • For more than a millennium after the fall of Rome, Latin was the shared language of Western Europe; to know Latin is to hold the key to the Western tradition.
  • Latin is a language; thus, “to know Latin” means to be able to hear, speak, read, and write Latin intelligibly.
  • To a native English speaker, Latin’s most challenging and distinctly foreign feature is its system of inflectional endings; thus, the chief objective of Latin 7 is mastery of the forms and uses of the five noun declensions.
  • The natural logic of the Latin sentence must be respected; each word should be read and understood in the order in which it is written rather than treated as a code to be unscrambled.
  • Though Latin 7 focuses on the Roman era, passages from the Vulgate Bible and other post-Roman Latin will be recited and sung, giving students a storehouse of things “true, honest, just, lovely, of good report” to draw upon for a lifetime.

LATIN 8
Normally taken in 8th grade

The study of the Latin language, which has for centuries been regarded as the cornerstone of classical education, furnishes students with the tools they need to acquaint themselves with great men of the past who have exerted such a tremendous influence over the shape and character of life in the modern western world. 

This course reviews the foundations of vocabulary and grammar covered in Latin 7 and continues the systematic study of the Latin language both in morphology (i.e., how words are formed) and syntax (i.e., how the words go together). This systematic study is undertaken in the traditional method of memorizing vocabulary and paradigms, parsing and declining words, translating Latin into English and composing English phrases and sentences in Latin, and memorizing passages of Latin literature. Students also explore other facets of life in ancient Rome through lessons on Roman culture, thought, and society, all of which serve as a backdrop to the language and bolster students’ understanding of who the Romans were and how they can continue to learn from them.

Enduring Understandings

  • To fully engage the great literature that we have inherited from our past is to encounter those people who have shaped the present world in which we live. The more we encounter our forebears, the greater our acquaintance with them becomes and the likelihood of gaining wisdom from their struggles with the question of what it means to be human. And for the Western world, no literature is more fundamental, no people more influential, perhaps, than those of the classical world (viz., Greece and Rome, ca. eighth century BC–fourth century AD).
  • The Latin language provides deeper understanding of and facility with both the English language and also any of the Romance languages.
  • In the words of T. S. Eliot, “We are all, so far as we inherit the civilization of Europe, still citizens of the Roman Empire, and time has not yet proved Virgil wrong when he wrote nec tempora pono: imperium sine fine dedi.”
  • The Latin language conveys syntactical function by inflection rather than by word order; Latin word order does something (e.g., it denotes emphasis) rather than conveying meaning or function.

Fine and Performing Arts

All true education begins in wonder and depends upon the imagination to flourish. The fine and performing arts thus play an indispensable role in a classical liberal arts education.


Our dialectic students experience an integrated approach to the study of the fine arts.

  • The seventh grade life science class has a focus on observing and drawing flora and fauna—allowing students to develop the scientific skill of observation alongside the fine arts skill of realistic drawing.
  • Eighth grade students imitate the art of Greece and Rome alongside their Greco-Roman history class, re-creating the art and architecture of the Classical Age.

ART 8

When students move into the dialectic stage, the time when logic is taught at Geneva, we like to tighten our students’ drawing skills as well as their use and understanding of principles and elements of design: tools for communicating visually. Our intent is to nurture self-expression while building students’ visual vocabulary. Between major projects, the students are given drawing assignments designed to further strengthen their skills of observation and personal interpretation.

The eighth grade art curriculum is designed to reinforce what the students are learning in Greco-Roman history or their Physical Science class. For example, in learning printmaking and composition, students use visual references from the Greco-Roman gods they have studied.

Enduring Understandings

  • God makes things—he is creative—and we imitate him in this. It is better to make things well than to make them poorly. This is one of the reasons we study art making.
  • Art is, to a large degree, craft and much can be learned and practiced as a skill. Some are naturally inclined to making art, but talent matters less than hard work in learning to make art.
  • It is important to develop visual literacy in order to look at and see art as it was meant to be seen by its makers. This is a skill to be mastered just as much as reading and understanding books is a skill to be mastered.

7th & 8th GRADE MIXED CHOIR

The Dialectic Mixed Choir is open to any 7th or 8th grade student and no audition is required.

The purpose of this class is to teach developing students how to create a strong, healthy, and age-appropriate tone through weekly practice in breath management, resonance, clear phonation, and expression. The act of healthy singing requires physical freedom, muscle memory, and strength, so vocal exercises are frequently combined with physical activity in order to connect voice and body.

While developing each individual student’s technique, additional emphasis is placed on developing a beautiful ensemble sound through listening, clear diction, and even mutual trust among singers. Working together to establish and maintain a safe and supportive environment fosters confidence and courage in both rehearsal and performance.

Students have weekly practice in ear training and sight singing to grow in literacy and independence.

Enduring Understandings

  • Music is a universal gift from God. It is a powerful medium by which humans reflect the beauty of their Creator.
  • Music is a language that can be learned and expressed by everyone, given the right tools and vocabulary.
  • Singing and music-making is a fundamentally natural human response to the beauty of God, his creation, and his redemptive story.
  • Being made in God’s image, all people are uniquely gifted, and everyone’s voice is valuable.
  • Music creates community and can be a powerful catalyst for realizing and affirming common human values and experiences.

7th & 8th GRADE BAND

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29a, ESV).

We can mention only one point (which experience confirms), namely, that next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. No greater commendation than this can be found—at least not by us. After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming the Word of God through music.
—Martin Luther

The dialectic band class is an exciting opportunity for students to build on the music knowledge they have acquired through previous music classes, focusing on a band setting.

The purpose of this class is to develop basic musical skills on the student’s instrument of choice so they can participate in a fully functional band ensemble. They develop skills in music reading and rhythm and learn how to identify musical forms in the music they study. The instrumental techniques learned in class include instrument identification, discerning which instruments fit their bodies and preferences, assembly, care, basic playing techniques, and music reading. As they progress through the year, they learn how to blend together to make a unified sound that is pleasing to their listeners.

Research shows there are many benefits to learning a musical instrument. Among the most important are higher levels of achievement in all other academic areas, increased capacity for learning, and a greater sense of happiness and joy. In addition, as students learn to develop musical skills, they gain valuable insights into other areas of learning that require diligence, patience, persistence, practice, and skillfulness.

Those with prodigious skill in music are better suited for all things.
—Martin Luther

Enduring Understandings

  • Music is a universal gift from God. It is a powerful medium by which humans reflect the beauty of their Creator.
  • Music is a language that can be learned and expressed by everyone, given the right tools and vocabulary.
  • Music-making is a fundamentally natural human response to the beauty of God, his creation, and his redemptive story.
  • Being made in God’s image, all people are uniquely gifted, and everyone’s music contribution is valuable.
  • Music creates community and can be a powerful catalyst for realizing and affirming common human values and experiences.

7th & 8th GRADE ORCHESTRA

Welcome to Dialectic Orchestra. This beginner–intermediate course seeks to strengthen and nurture the foundational skills of dialectic string students while exposing them to rich cultural pieces that have shaped the orchestral world.

Students will study the care and maintenance of their instruments in order to encourage positive, long-term playing and performance, and they will study how to navigate the strings and bowings. Fundamental sound production on one’s instrument is a lifelong practice. Students will learn how to master their instruments to create a variety of articulations and sounds. We will also study the art of orchestral playing, as well as pick apart the musical “affect” of their literature in order to best exemplify the Lord in their performing.

Enduring Understandings

  • Music is a universal gift from God. It is a powerful medium by which humans reflect the beauty of their Creator.
  • Music is a language that can be learned and expressed by everyone, given the right tools and vocabulary.
  • Music-making is a fundamentally natural human response to the beauty of God, his creation, and his redemptive story.
  • Being made in God’s image, all people are uniquely gifted, and everyone’s instrumental part is valuable.
  • Music creates community and can be a powerful catalyst for realizing and affirming common human values and experiences.

7th & 8th Grade DRAMA

“Love your neighbor.” (from Matthew 22:39)

Dialectic, strictly speaking, is about investigation—searching for the truth. When you’re in seventh and eighth grade, that can mean asking a lot of questions: What is true? What is false? Who am I? What am I capable of? Can I trust what I’ve been told? Whom do I listen to?

Dialectic Drama gives students the opportunity to investigate together these questions and others in a less academic environment that challenges them to speak, move, work together, write, memorize, and improvise their way to biblical answers to their questions. Learning to work together, to depend on each other, to help one another, students not only actively investigate answers to all those questions,  but they also enjoy the experience of performance, as well.

In theatre, this means telling stories worth telling, stories that show life in all its complexity and humor, struggle and triumph, absurdity and pain, passion and glory. Theatre runs the gamut of emotions, styles, and stories because life runs that same gamut. It is an exercise in humility and sacrifice to create good theatre. It requires loving my neighbor in the process, as well as the performance. What ends up on stage (which is, after all, the ultimate point of any theatre class) is the result of a long process of living with and learning to love my collaborators and then loving the audience by presenting a show worth watching. The collaboration behind the scenes leads to the collaboration in performance, the work of actors and audience to tell a story that gets to the heart of truths we need to hear, stories we need to remember, an inclination in ourselves we need to learn to laugh at, a “blind spot” we need to recognize and repent of, a tragedy we need to endure and to empathize with, a triumph we need to experience and to celebrate.

Enduring Understandings

  • As human beings made in the image of the Creator, we, too, create. Creation, fall, redemption, and glory—it is the story God has written on our hearts, rooted in the reality and eternity of heaven.
  • Virtue is the result of ongoing practice—steady, slow, often painful practice, which we put into daily action alongside our brothers and sisters.
  • Biblical understanding and faithful Christian practice together enable us to recognize and enact Truth, Goodness, and Beauty onstage, inviting our audience into the experience.
  • Theatre is collaborative; it requires all of its artisans to work together to speak truth, encourage laughter, evoke tears, prompt reflection and conversation, convict, and inspire.
  • Christ-glorifying theatre is hard work. And it is work worth doing.

Physical Education

In the dialectic school, the physical education curriculum focuses on fitness skills and instruction in organized games and sports. Students learn team sport tactics and basic health-fitness concepts all while fostering social conduct glorifying to God. The aim is for students to develop the skills necessary for lifelong health and fitness.


7th & 8th GRADE PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Seventh and eighth grade students meet for physical education twice a week. This course is designed to be an active time for the students with supplemental lectures and videos. The purposes of this course are for students to reinforce physical skills and learn basic personal health and nutrition concepts, allowing and encouraging multiple opportunities for lifelong fitness. All of this is designed to more effectively honor and glorify God.

Enduring Understandings

  • Exposure to or even mastery of a wide variety of physical skills affords an exponential increase in opportunities to remain physically active throughout a student’s lifetime and, in turn, to improve their health and quality of life.
  • Physical education is about gaining understanding through muscular activity, using physical activity for service to God, relating this activity to other parts of God’s creation, and knowing how physical activity forms the human being.
  • Because the body is an integral part of the total human being created in the image of God, people should value the body as a God-given possession in and through which to live the Christian life in contemporary society.
  • Self-knowledge, self-respect, perseverance, personal integrity, stewardship, cooperation, competition, responsibility, social justice, and social respect are useful tools for building relationships, gaining employment, and maximizing ministry opportunities.
The Geneva School
The Geneva School
May 22, 2024
  • Senior Trip

    Date: May 17, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 11th Early Dismissal at 11:45

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 11th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 7th-10th Full School Day

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 2nd Gr - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm
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May 23, 2024
  • 9th-11th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • US Early Dismissal 11:45 (9-11) 12:00 (7-8)

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Lower School Fun Day

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 8:15 am- 2:45 pm
    See more details

  • K4 - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 8:20 am- 9:15 am
    See more details

  • K4 - End-of-Year Lunch

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 10:45 am- 11:15 am
    See more details

  • K - End-of-Year Lunch

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 11:40 am- 12:35 pm
    See more details

  • Baccalaureate Service

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 7:00 pm- 8:30 pm
    See more details

May 24, 2024
  • 1st-6th Gr Parties

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 7th-10th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Early Dismissal - Last Day of School

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • US Early Dismissal at 11:45

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Fathers Watch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:00 am- 9:30 am
    See more details

  • 4th Gr - End-of-Year Brunch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - Last Day of School Celebration

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • 5th Gr - End-of-Year Brunch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 3rd Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:40 am- 9:30 am
    See more details

  • 1st Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 9:00 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 2nd Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 11:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • Commencement Ceremony

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

May 22, 2024
  • Senior Trip

    Date: May 17, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 11th Early Dismissal at 11:45

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 11th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 7th-10th Full School Day

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 2nd Gr - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 22, 2024 - May 22, 2024
    Time: 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm
    See more details

May 23, 2024
  • 9th-11th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • US Early Dismissal 11:45 (9-11) 12:00 (7-8)

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Lower School Fun Day

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 8:15 am- 2:45 pm
    See more details

  • K4 - Closing Ceremony

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 8:20 am- 9:15 am
    See more details

  • K4 - End-of-Year Lunch

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 10:45 am- 11:15 am
    See more details

  • K - End-of-Year Lunch

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 11:40 am- 12:35 pm
    See more details

  • Baccalaureate Service

    Date: May 23, 2024 - May 23, 2024
    Time: 7:00 pm- 8:30 pm
    See more details

May 24, 2024
  • 1st-6th Gr Parties

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 7th-10th Exam Schedule

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Early Dismissal - Last Day of School

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • US Early Dismissal at 11:45

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Fathers Watch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:00 am- 9:30 am
    See more details

  • 4th Gr - End-of-Year Brunch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • 6th Gr - Last Day of School Celebration

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • 5th Gr - End-of-Year Brunch

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:30 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 3rd Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 8:40 am- 9:30 am
    See more details

  • 1st Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 9:00 am- 10:00 am
    See more details

  • 2nd Gr - End-of-Year Party

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 11:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • Commencement Ceremony

    Date: May 24, 2024 - May 24, 2024
    Time: 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

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