Classical education refers to the method used to guide the student to knowledge. Not only is the method different from our modern approach to education, the goal is no longer the accumulation of facts, but to learn the art of learning. It involves the seven liberal arts: grammar, logic/rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. It also includes the study of nature, the soul, ethics and politics, the highest created objects, and finally that to which all the others are ordered-theology and understanding of the divine. The students read great literature that presents profoundly important views of human life and reality as a whole, discuss great works of history that provide vicarious moral experience, a conception of human society, and an awareness of the greatest issues humanity faces. Students naturally go through various stages of intellectual formation as they mature.
“Mother of Divine Grace School offers a Catholic, classical approach to distance learning. It was founded in 1995 to provide parents with the information, resources, and support necessary to educate their children according to the classical tradition.”
At SAA we encourage, when possible, learning through the Socratic method of teaching, fostering group discussion and stimulating critical thinking methods. The instructors engage students by asking questions, leading them to their own examination of the topic.
Classes at Saint Ambrose Academy are kept small, allowing the instructors to easily monitor the progress of each individual student. While we do not fully adhere to all elements of the syllabi for each grade level we do our best to implement the key formation goals of each stage of learning. MODG’s full curriculum was intended for a one on one approach, therefore not all recommendations are applicable or ideal in our type of hybrid setting.
Saint Ambrose Academy works with a MODG trained advisor who reviews the curriculum selections for each grade level ensuring we cover the necessary subject areas as well as meet the formation goals of each particular learning stage.
Please note that SAA is not an affiliate of Mother of Divine Grace (MODG), we follow their syllabi both in the classroom and at home, as it is an excellent academic and solidly Catholic program. While Mother of Divine Grace is an accredited program, SAA itself is not independently accredited. Families can dual enroll at any time they deem beneficial. We feel that dual enrollment would be most valuable at the Highschool level if it is the family’s desire to obtain a diploma from an accredited institution. An accredited diploma, however, is not required in order for any student to graduate, both transcripts and a diploma can be generated by the home educator.
Saint Ambrose Academy requires a close partnership between teacher and parent. Both teacher and parent follow the same syllabus with the parent continuing to follow the syllabus for the days out of the classroom. Additionally, teachers communicate any deviations from the syllabus to the families.
Our primary goal at SAA is to be a support to homeschooling families. With the desire to maintain flexibility as a homeschooling family at SAA you continue to have the ability to make decisions for your child within our overall framework.
1. Instructors will lead our families through the curriculum, teaching key concepts during on-campus days as well as provide follow-up assignments and additional reading to be completed at home.
2. Families will be responsible for continuing the education of their children on Tuesday, Thursday and if necessary Friday.
Time to complete home assignments vary depending on grade level and subject matter.
With this careful balance of “school days” and “home days” that the hybrid system offers, parents are able to remain the primary sphere of influence in their children’s lives.
In-class subjects to be continued at home will include the following:
Literature/Social Studies, Latin, Mathematics, Science, IEW: Teaching Writing Structure and Style/Fix-It Grammar (3-6), English(1-2). Please see the application for grade specific subjects.
Please refer to your child’s specific syllabus to see what subjects will need to be taught completely at home.
Mother of Divine Grace’s curriculum is a particular application of Laura Berquist’s recommendations in her book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. It is based upon the classical method which aims at establishing the tools of learning so that truth may be attained more easily and accurately. She has experimented with different materials and activities and has selected those that have been most successful. These have been incorporated into the syllabi. Thousands of parents and students have benefited from the structure and focus that the syllabi provide.
You can learn more about the methodology implemented in Mother of Divine Grace School on their Methodology page as well as on the Overview of the Curriculum page where they give a more detailed explanation of their program.
Please check out the various grade levels to see Mother of Divine Grace School’s recommendations for the four stages of learning:
View a list of Mother of Divine Grace School’s recommended Syllabi.
MODG’s curriculum is Catholic and classical. They have been careful to select the best sources available in all subject areas. All the books recommended fit the classical methodology. For example, the books selected for middle school help the students to analyze what they read, and the books selected for high school help them develop skills in discussing reasonably and writing persuasively.
The curricular materials have been carefully examined to ensure that they are not opposed to the Catholic faith. While not every text in the program is explicitly Catholic, they avoid all materials which are opposed, explicitly or implicitly, to the truths of the Faith.
Each family will be in charge of purchasing their children’s books and materials for their corresponding grade before the start of the academic year. Once a family is registered, SAA will distribute book and supply lists. In addition to purchasing the books listed for their grade below; Additionally each family will need to purchase a syllabus from Mother of Divine Grace School for their children’s grade. The syllabus will help the parents follow along with the schedule the teacher plans to follow. Having your own syllabus will ease the transition between in-class learning and in-home learning.
Please note that not all optional books will be required to purchase and slight adjustments have been made to the MODG syllabi to fit into the hybrid model.