At Regents, we seek to develop young scholars who are responsible, self-motivated, and intellectually curious students. We desire for students to have a deep love of learning that ultimately inspires them to become life long learners, independent thinkers, and good stewards of their gifts.
Attaining these goals in contemporary society can be a challenge because, as Dorothy Sayers wrote in “The Lost Tools of Learning,” modern education often disregards the skill of learning: “Is not the great defect of our education today…that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.” Sadly, this new and innovative approach does not count the cost of disregarding the rich tradition of a Western liberal arts education.
At Regents, we think the best way to avoid the pitfalls of modern education and to accomplish these academic goals for our children is to return to the Trivium. The Trivium was designed to follow the natural developmental stages of children. It is comprised of three developmental stages of learning: grammar, logic (also called dialectic), and rhetoric. Our curriculum at Regents embodies this three-fold method to learning so that students are trained, from an early age, to learn by thinking. Each of these phases consists of an approach to learning, an approach to subjects, and a set of subjects.
The Grammar Phase
In the grammar phase, students in kindergarten through sixth grade are absorbing facts. This phase focuses, in many ways, on memorization. By memorizing facts, students are preparing themselves for reasoning in the logic and rhetoric phases. Students at these ages are excited about learning even though they tend to have shorter attention spans. Therefore, the grammar stage incorporates memorization and learning tools such as chanting, hands-on activities and projects, and singing. The grammar teacher leads students in exploring and discovering, while reinforcing the students’ understanding of letters, numbers, and other fundamentals.
The Logic Phase
In the logic phase, students in seventh and eighth grades are developing their reasoning skills. At this point, students engage in conversations surrounding living ideas, and they begin to question that information and to challenge those ideas. In order to hone their developing skills and to teach them the proper use of reasoning, our students begin the study of formal logic so that they can learn how to analyze data and arguments, distinguish fact from fallacy, and generally, to think according to sound rules of logic. The logic teacher uses the students’ tendency to argue and question as a method to mold and shape their reasoning skills.
The Rhetoric Phase
In the final stage of the Trivium, the rhetoric phase, students in ninth through twelfth grades are naturally inclined toward independent thinking. Therefore, in this phase, students learn to express their knowledge by learning how to prepare articulate, persuasive, and cogent oral and written presentations. Students use the facts they have learned and challenged to articulate a position on a given topic. Rhetoric teachers use the students’ concern for appearance and self-expression as a tool for teaching the proper way to develop presentations that exude wisdom and effectiveness.
At Regents, the structure of our curriculum is traditional with a strong emphasis on the basics such as mathematics, history, and language studies. Not only are these subjects covered, they are covered in a particular way. For example, in history class the students will not only read their text, but they will also read from primary sources. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric will be emphasized in all subjects. By grammar, we mean the fundamental rules of each subject (again, we do not limit grammar to language studies), and the necessary information to apply those rules. In English, a singular noun does not take a plural verb. In logic, A does not equal not A. In history, time is linear, not cyclic. Each subject has its own grammar, which we require the students to learn. This enables the student to learn the subject from the inside out.
A Regents education focuses on the core knowledge and basic skills that students need in order to be well prepared for their future academic pursuits by using proven pedagogy that utilizes the best content from Western civilization, that has endured the test of time, and that follows the natural learning abilities of the child.
With the completion of the Trivium, students will have mastered the real tools of learning—fundamental building blocks, analytical skills, mental discipline, oral presentation, writing skills, and a biblical framework. They will be enthusiastic independent learners, able to tackle virtually any new area of study competently and from a distinctly biblical and Christian worldview. We hope that a Regents education cultivates in children the ability to discern what is good, true, and beautiful and to defend it with wisdom and engaging persuasion.
Many well-intentioned Christian schools say that they have a Christ-centered education. By Christ-centered, they mean that they have prayer in the classroom and a Bible course required by all students. However, most often the curriculum and worldview are the same as those in private or public schools. While this does not describe all private schools, it describes far too many of them. So often, students leave their sheltered Christian schools totally unprepared for the onslaught of an atheistic higher education system. Many Bible-believing Christians leave college questioning their faith, and at times, becoming non-believers.
Regents is different from these schools because it does not simply add in a little moral training and a Bible class. All teaching at Regents begins with the Word of God—the standard for moral absolutes and the foundation for all curriculum, not just the Bible curriculum. Essentially, a Regents education centers on Christ. At all levels of teaching, in every subject, we must acknowledge that all things come from God and that every aspect of life must be subject to Him. Unlike other educational philosophies, we devote ourselves to the following three key areas: a Christian worldview, a higher moral standard, and greater academics that include a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Scripture and all knowledge.
Students at Regents are not sheltered from the world; instead, they are taught to examine the world from a biblical, Christian perspective. They are taught to look through the lens of God’s Word in order to see everything clearly. Students are shown that human knowledge and wisdom are incomplete at best and at worse, totally wrong. Children at the earliest age are taught to process ideas and stories from a biblical worldview. As the child reaches the age of reason, he can be taught to think logically and identify inconsistencies in reasoning. A Christ-centered education does not shy away from the world and its vain imaginations, but rather, engages it with truth and reveals its inconsistencies and intents.
Our students are held to a higher moral standard. Because the Bible is used as the foundation for all moral development, students are not left with an obscure understanding of morality that is clouded by ambiguity. They develop a clear understanding of morality and immorality by studying the Bible and by being trained in morality as it relates to all of their academic endeavors as well as their daily lives.
Lastly, our students are responsible for greater academic endeavors. Students should be shown that human knowledge and wisdom are incomplete at best and at their worst, totally wrong. Because the students are taught that all knowledge comes from God, they begin to hunger for more knowledge and to challenge worldly ideas, developing a love for learning and cultivating wisdom that drives them into a deeper relationship with God and greater love for others.
At Regents, students begin their study of Latin during the grammar phase and continue to study the language even through Rhetoric School. This study of Latin is comprehensive in that the students study the language from a grammatical, a logical, and a rhetorical perspective. There are three essential reasons for studying Latin:
The study of Latin serves a practical purpose.
Latin builds a student’s vocabulary because over fifty percent of English words come from Latin. A single Latin word may represent the roots of five to ten English words. By learning Latin prefixes, suffixes, and roots, students are able to comprehend English words that they’ve never even heard. Because of the relationship between the two languages, the study of Latin reinforces the student’s knowledge of English grammar, improving the student’s overall understanding of his own language. Additionally, standardized test scores are significantly higher for students of Latin than for those with no Latin training. The study of Latin also helps students develop thinking skills because it is systematic, formulaic, and precise in nature.
The study of Latin promotes a more thorough understanding of the world.
During the eighth century, the use of Latin became limited to the church and scholars. Ordinary men became less learned and failed to understand the language that influenced the world around them. If we, like them, fail to learn Latin, we miss out on a significant portion of the rich tradition of the Western world that encompasses areas such as culture, history, literature, and art. An understanding of Latin allows the student to find truth, beauty, and goodness in the world around him.
The study of Latin is satisfying.
Despite the fact that Latin is logical and structured, it has its exceptions and inconsistencies, making it a challenge even for the best of students. However, a student feels a sense of accomplishment when he can correctly and precisely translate Latin to English or vice verse. In turn, this student develops a renewed sense of confidence, and he finds pleasure in his work.
A Regents education focuses on the core knowledge and foundational skills that students need in order to be well prepared for their future academic pursuits. Our strong emphasis on great books, writing, rhetoric, math, and science provides students with the skill set needed for success in higher education.
Regents students are encouraged to prayerfully consider their future endeavors and to discuss them with the faculty and staff in order to receive encouragement, support, and guidance. Additionally, students are provided with opportunities to prepare for college. For example, we administer the PSAT and the National Latin Exam, and we also serve as a test site for the Classical Learning Test.
Parents and college representatives may click here to learn more more about the Regents Rhetoric School (Grades 9-12).