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What Makes ECCS Distinctively Classical?

Helping students develop a love of learning is important to us at ECCS!
"I wish I had been educated this way," is a common refrain we hear from our students' parents here at ECCS. The Classical model, proven through centuries of Western culture, is very different from the way that most Americans living today were educated.  From the great Christian reformers to Shakespeare to the Founding Fathers to Churchill and Tolkien, the classical model was employed to educate most of the West's great artists, thinkers, writers, and statesmen.  Adapting these methods for our 21st century students, ECCS educates children by using the most effective methods for each of the three natural developmental stages of the children--Grammar (Grades K5-5), Logic (Grades 6-8), and Rhetoric (Grades 9-12).

Together, these three stages make up the Trivium, which are the first stages of the traditional medieval system of education. Throughout the Trivium, students are taught the grammar or knowledge of each subject, the logic or understanding of each subject, and the rhetoric or art or wisdom of each subject.  Using age appropriate teaching methods and content, however, utilizes the natural bent of the developmental age of the students to achieve the best educational outcome for our students.  
Classical education begins with the end in mind.  What do we want graduates to be able to know?  What skills do we want them to have? How do we want them to be able to contribute to society? How do we want them to live?  How can we get them there? In the Grammar stage, which for most children is from ages 5-10, children can learn quickly, can memorize readily, and love to learn through movement, songs, chants, and play.  It is in this stage that most children either will or will not learn to love learning itself.  At ECCS, in the Grammar School we not only use the best curriculum, including Latin, engaging and challenging literature, Western history, Bible, science, and math, but we also teach using methods that work best for the children in the grammar stage.
As they progress into the Logic Stage, they tend to be naturally more skeptical.  They question, they ask why, and they love to argue their points.  Rather than fighting against this natural and very important stage, we train our students how to reason well, how to research a point, and how to argue effectively. Through vigorous class discussions, debates, research papers and projects, students are taught to think through every subject.  Using the best curriculum available, we continue teaching the students Latin, Science, Math, and Composition.  We use primary texts to teach history, literature, and Bible, drawing from the greatest writers and thinkers from the Western tradition. We also add the study of Formal Logic in eighth grade.
In the Rhetoric Stage, we continue teaching a rigorous, college preparatory core, but we add the study of Formal Rhetoric to train the students, who by this stage, have a great deal of knowledge, have learned to work through problems, and now want to be heard.  We train them to speak and write eloquently, confidently, and rightly.  The emphasis on the spoken and written word continues, with primary texts used, such as The Federalist Papers,  The Anti-Federalist Papers, The U.S. Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, works by St. Augustine, Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Dickens, Hawthorne, Twain, Orwell, Spenser and a host of other great writers and thinkers.  Students' study of Rhetoric culminates in the senior thesis project, which allows students to choose any topic, research it thoroughly, examine its relevance to society today, and write, present and defend a thesis on it.  Topics range from absentee fathers to social media to the Christian's responsibility to a Godless government.  
For more reading on classical education, see these pages from other classical Christian schools: