In Logic School (middle school or 7th and 8th Grades) and Rhetoric School (high school or 9th-12th Grades), students deepen their pursuit of wisdom and virtue as they learn through a classical curriculum that emphasizes truth, goodness, and beauty.
We study history in four-year units: seventh and eighth grade focus on modern history (after fifth grade Ancient and sixth grade Medieval); ninth graders go back to Ancient history, then Medieval/Renaissance in tenth, American in eleventh, and Modern World in twelfth. As a Classical, Christian school, Providence takes a unique approach to history known as Moral Philosophy. This approach seeks to use history as a means to discuss larger questions of politics, ethics, philosophy, and theology.
Our literature corresponds to the historical time period of study. For example, Freshmen students read ancient works of literature, like the Odyssey and the Aeneid. If we only read recent writings, then, according to C.S. Lewis, we become blind and limited in perspective; the "only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.” (On the Incarnation)
By studying mathematics, we can understand how God reveals Himself as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe for, as Galileo Galilei stated, "Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.” Classical Christian education is uniquely poised to draw out the full purpose and benefit of the study of mathematics, going beyond the merely utilitarian function of mathematics. At Providence, we desire to build a mathematics program that embraces both its formative capacities and its usefulness. Through math, students can behold God’s amazing order, design, and meaning in Creation and marvel at His glory and perfection. Mathematics is especially helpful in training a student to be logical through clear reasoning, critical evaluation, and perseverance in problem-solving.
Science is the search for God’s truth as revealed through the natural universe. In our classes, our primary goal is to reveal the awesome Creator God of the universe through systematic investigation of the principles of the natural universe. Opportunities for observations and discovery are provided through demonstrations and laboratory exercises that are designed to promote understanding of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of creation. Students will be equipped to defend their Christian faith using God’s truth as revealed in science.
In seventh and eighth grades, students engage in an in-depth survey of the Bible, reading and learning how to study Scripture. Theology in ninth and tenth grades introduces the traditional Christian approach to the doctrines of the Word of God, God, Man, Christ, Application of Redemption, the Church, and the Future. Students learn about Spiritual Disciplines (Bible study, prayer, stewardship, etc.) in eleventh grade, while twelfth graders confront twelve of the most difficult arguments against Christianity in Apologetics.
Beginning in seventh grade, students learn how to structure their ideas within a classical argument; the six components of this essay (exordium, narratio, partitio, confirmatio, refutatio, and peroratio) are applied throughout Logic and Rhetoric school. Seventh graders learn about logical fallacies and begin to engage in formal debates; eighth graders learn formal logic, focusing on the logical syllogism; and ninth graders apply what they’ve learned, along with Aristotle’s common topics, to their own arguments. Sophomores learn about other elements of formal rhetoric (like rhetorical species and appeals) while gaining a number of opportunities to practice speaking skills in class.
At the end of the Junior year, students begin research for their thesis; within certain parameters, students have the freedom to pursue topics of interest. As seniors, they write an essay of approximately 5,000 words, following the classical argumentative structure. In the Spring, they convert the written essay into an engaging spoken presentation that requires students to display their memory and delivery skills. They present before a live audience and field questions from a faculty panel.
Latin is a core classical language, required in 5th-8th graders. Latin was once central to education, and we believe that learning the language is still a great benefit to 21st century students. Practically, Latin is the root language of several modern languages, and learning Latin as a foundation is like a “key” to unlocking more languages. It also helps students learn English vocabulary and better understand sentence structure. Moreover, Latin was the dominant language of Western Civilization, and by learning Latin, students engage in history. By the end of eighth grade, all Providence students earn a Latin 1 high school credit. In ninth grade, students are ready to continue to study Latin, through AP Latin IV (where students translate great texts, like Virgil’s Aeneid or the writings of Julius Caesar), or begin Spanish (a four-year program culminating in AP Spanish), or take two years of German.
The ideal of beauty is important for all humans, and so the fine arts are essential to a classical education.
All seventh graders participate in weekly Music Theory, and all eighth graders participate in weekly drawing lessons. During the 7th-8th grade elective period, students may participate in Logic School Choir, art classes, drama, typing and computer skills, PE, and/or enjoy other opportunities (we’ve offered journalism, debate and other electives over the years). Students sign up for electives by semester.
In Rhetoric School, students take at least one semester of art. Various art classes are offered, including basic and advanced drawing, painting, and printmaking. On Fridays, our 9th-12th graders participate in the Rhetoric School choir, a wonderful opportunity for all students to enjoy the gift of music! Interested students may also participate in the honors choir. During the elective period, 9th-12th grade students participate in any one of a number of varied activities. We currently offer at least six different elective classes per semester. Beyond art and choir opportunities, recent classes have included drama (where students put on a play or musical), astronomy, creative writing, personal finance, art appreciation, music appreciation, missiology, sports theory and practice, debate, SAT prep, and common arts (where students learn various skills like basic gardening, cooking, car maintenance, self-defense in units of varying lengths, taught by experts in the community).
In these grades, as students grow in logical and rhetorical skills, they should be discoverers in the learning process, as well as contributors. Providence puts emphasis on discussion; frequently, teachers will engage students with questions, and at times, students participate in more formal discussions (often sitting in a circle) or dialogues. In seventh and ninth grade logic classes, students practice formal debate skills.
The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.
The Class of 2023 on their Senior Capstone Trip to Italy
Spring Creative Projects
History and Literature Early Modern Science Earth Science Math Pre-Alg A or Accelerated Pre-Alg Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Logical Fallacies and Debate Bible Old Testament Survey Language* Latin I (Part A) Fine Arts and Electives** Music Theory and Various Electives
History and Literature Late Modern Science Physical Science Math Pre-Alg B or Algebra I Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Formal Logic Bible New Testament Language* Latin I (Part B) Fine Arts and Electives** Art Theory and Various Electives
History and Literature Ancient Science Biology Math Algebra I or Geometry Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Aristotelian Topics and Debate Bible Theology I Language* Latin II or Spanish I or German I Fine Arts and Electives** Choir*** and various electives
History and Literature Medieval/Reformation Science Chemistry Math Geometry or Algebra II Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Formal Rhetoric and Speech Delivery Bible Theology II Language* Latin III or Spanish II or German II Fine Arts and Electives** Choir*** and various electives
History and Literature American Science Physics Math Algebra II or Precalculus Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Research Skills; Government Bible Spiritual Disciplines Language* AP Latin IV or Spanish III Fine Arts and Electives** Choir*** and various electives
History and Literature Modern World Science Adv. Biology or Dual Credit Chemistry Math Precalculus, Calculus, or Statistics Logic, Rhetoric, Government, and Economics Senior Thesis; Economics Bible Apologetics Language* AP Spanish IV Fine Arts and Electives** Choir*** and various electives
*Students must achieve at least level II; Level IV qualifies for Distinguished Diploma
**7th and 8th Electives typically include art, choir, keyboarding, PE, drama, and more. 9th-12th elective options always include art (1 semester required), and at least 5 other classes are offered each semester. Offerings have included personal finance, art history, music history, common arts (hands-on skills), creative writing, sports theory and practice, SAT prep, astronomy, outdoor education, and several others.
***9th-12th students participate in an all-Rhetoric School choir on Fridays.