Curriculum

Multum Non Multa

Mount Hope Lutheran School is a classical Lutheran school with Christ at the center. We educate based on the liberal arts curriculum of the past to prepare students for life in the world of today. Expectations are high, discipline is strict, and memorization is vital. The classical curriculum cultivates in students the ability to think broadly, deeply, and creatively.

The Bible is the principal textbook of our school. Our Bible lessons also incorporate Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, the Lutheran Service Book, and, in the upper grades, the Book of Concord. LCMS pastors lead us in daily worship.

The classical curriculum:

  • concentrates on the classical period, recognizing the importance of Greek and Roman language, literature, and culture as the foundation of Western Civilization;
  • is teacher-directed, acknowledging the experienced teacher rather than the still-learning student as best equipped to guide the course of instruction;
  • is rich in content, enculturating children in the doctrines of Christianity and the ideas of Western Civilization;
  • holds students to high expectations, insisting on self-discipline and excellence in behavior, work ethic, and academic achievement.

We hold to two ancient sayings that shape our curriculum. First, multum non multa, which means “much, not many.” We seek to teach deeply in fewer areas rather than superficially in many.

Second, repetitio mater studiorum est, which means “repetition is the mother of studies.” If something is worth learning, it’s worth hearing multiple times, for only then will students retain it.

These two sayings lead to an uncluttered curriculum that gives students the foundation for learning, a love of learning, and the discipline that learning requires.

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Religion

WE ASSERT that God’s Word should shape and inform all learning; therefore, the Bible is the heart of our curriculum, and chapel services the heart of our daily routine.

WE REJECT the assertion that religion can simply be added on to make a curriculum Christian.

K-2 curriculum: Students in K-2 complete a survey of the Old Testament and Gospels on a two-year cycle. They learn to relate Scripture readings with parts of the Small Catechism.

3rd-5th curriculum: Students in 3rd-5th grades go through Bible history in greater detail, spending two years on the Old Testament and one year on the New Testament. Students learn how to pray and give thanks based on Scripture passages.

6th-12th curriculum: The upper level students revisit Old and New Testament Bible history, but go into greater depth with books of the Bible and incorporate the Prophets, Psalms, and Epistles. Students also read through documents from the Lutheran Confessions. Such study of Bible history and the Lutheran Confessions leads to a discussion of ethical and theological issues. Students compose prayers and thanksgivings based on their study of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.

9th-12th curriculum: The high school students have a separate Theology class twice per week, which takes the place of the upper level religion class on those days. Theology is a readings class, taught by an LCMS pastor, in which students read important primary sources that correspond to the history cycle, engaging theological controversies and learning the purpose and history behind Church practice.

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English

WE ASSERT that the ability to use and understand language effectively is the foundation of all education, and that language, along with reason, distinguishes man from animals.

WE REJECT the assertions that inaccurate or mediocre writing and speech are sufficient as long as they “communicate,” that students should be expected to write original compositions without the practice of modeling from great writers, and that the act of reading matters more than the content of the books children read.

K-2nd curriculum: Through the use of Classical Phonics from Memoria Press and guided pronunciation practice with their literature books, students learn to read and increase in proficiency. Students learn to write through Spalding’s The Writing Road to Reading, and they have daily practice in handwriting to improve neatness and speed. Students learn the basics of grammar, memorizing the eight parts of speech, learning to identify them, and composing rightly with them in sentences. Students also have weekly spelling lists that focus on phonics.

3rd-5th curriculum: As students improve their understanding of grammar through their Latin classes, in English class they learn conventions of writing, both through classroom instruction and composition assignments. They learn to rewrite fables and narratives, and they practice with other exercises of the classical progymnasmata (used for rhetorical training in Greece and Rome). Our rich, historically-based literature selection features Aesop’s fables, fairy tales, historical fiction, and age-appropriate versions of Greek, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance classics, as well as other timeless children’s books. Students have weekly spelling lists that focus on word groupings and etymologies.

6th-12th curriculum: Accurate spelling and neat penmanship are expected from students at this level and are considered necessary in the context of regular written work. Students receive continued instruction in grammar, with a particular focus on sentence diagramming; the majority of their grammar instruction happens in Latin classes. The classical progymnasmata exercises provide students with forms and methods to improve their writing. In addition to writing prose, students also have weekly lessons in poetry and learn to compose their own poems. Literature studies are closely incorporated with history, bringing in such authors as Homer, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Dickens.

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Mathematics

WE ASSERT that memorization of mathematical facts and confident computational skill are essential to progress in math, and that higher levels of abstract mathematics provide valuable training for the mind.

WE REJECT the assertions that knowledge of mathematical processes without a supply of memorized factual information is sufficient, that young students must be able to articulate why each mathematical process works, and that all mathematical studies must have an immediate, practical application.

K-5th curriculum: Saxon Math provides students a solid foundation in the language and basic concepts of math through an incremental approach whereby students practice new concepts and then achieve mastery through continued application in subsequent lessons.

6th-12th curriculum: Students continue their mathematical studies with Saxon Math, taking up Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus. They also study math history and read portions of primary sources from the classical and medieval periods.

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History & Geography

WE ASSERT that history reveals the working of God throughout time, gives students models of great men to admire, teaches the outcomes of virtue and vice, and prepares a background for understanding all other disciplines. We also assert that students should continually broaden their understanding of the world by memorizing the locations of geographical places, and that geographical studies assist students in understanding both history and current events.

WE REJECT the assertions that young children benefit more from social studies focusing on their own time and place than from study of the past, and that all cultures and peoples are equally worthy of our study. We also reject the assertion that memorization of geographical locations is too difficult or meaningless for children.

K-5th curriculum: Focusing on Western Civilization, history studies follow a chronological survey: a three-year cycle of the Greco-Roman, Medieval, and Modern periods. Geography is integrated into the study of history, and the K-2 students additionally memorize states and capitols.

6th-12th curriculum: Students continue to repeat the three-year cycle of Greco-Roman, Medieval, and Modern history, studying these periods in greater detail through reading primary sources. This course of study reviews and expands on the history learned in the lower grades, but also engages students’ blossoming capacity for critical thought. Students confront such timeless questions as: Why have civilizations risen and fallen? How have religion, philosophy, literature, geography, technology, and other factors affected civilizations? What is our Christian response as heirs of this heritage? 

History Cycle: Mount Hope Lutheran School follows a 3-year history cycle, around which several other subjects revolve (e.g. English and Literature). The cycle is as follows:

  • Year 1 – Classical History (Greco-Roman)
  • Year 2 – Medieval History (fall of the Roman Empire to just before the Reformation)
  • Year 3 – Modern History (the Reformation and American History)

 

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Science

WE ASSERT that scientific study can enrich our appreciation for God’s design in the physical world, and that the scientific method provides an ordered, helpful tool for examining creation.

WE REJECT the assertions that science is incompatible with religion, and that the scientific method alone is sufficient to reveal the truth about creation.

K-5th curriculum: In the early stages, the students study physical and life sciences. They continue their studies with the God’s Design science texts in third through fifth grades, concentrating on the topics of plants, animals, and the human body.

6th-8th curriculum: Using God’s Design science texts, students expand their scientific studies from the concrete to the more abstract, with a cycle of studies in chemistry, physics, and geology.

9th-12th curriculum: The students continue their study of biology, chemistry, and physics, deepening their knowledge and performing experiments.

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Latin

WE ASSERT that Latin forms the mind, connects students with their Western and Christian cultural heritage, assists them in broadening their knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary, prepares them well for further language study, and is exciting for students, especially as they gain mastery of the language.

WE REJECT the assertions that the study of Latin has minimal benefit since it is a “dead” language lacking native speakers, and that it must be burdensome and of little interest to young students.

K-2nd curriculum: Students build a Latin vocabulary and foundation for further studies through memorization of weekly vocabulary lists and grammatical paradigms.

3rd-12th curriculum: In third grade, students enter into Latin I. Each year students are either advanced or retained, based on mastery, and work their way through the Latin I-IV series of classes. The Latin I and II classes use curricula specially developed by the faculty for use in our course of Latin study at Mount Hope Lutheran School. The Latin III and IV classes study from the respected Wheelock’s Latin text. As students progress through the Latin I-IV classes, they build a solid Latin vocabulary and hone their grammatical knowledge through extensive practice in declining, conjugating, and translating. After successfully completing the Latin I-IV classes, students enter the Latin Readings class, in which they read from primary Latin sources.

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Logic

WE ASSERT that reason is a gift from God which, along with language, distinguishes man from animals, that well-trained reason is necessary for civic life and discourse, that logic can properly be applied to all areas of study, that its proper end is the discovery of truth, and that it must remain subject to the Word of God.

WE REJECT the assertions that reason is opposed to Christianity, that untrained “common sense” is sufficient for healthy civic discourse, and that reason should be applied over and above the Word of God.

6th-8th curriculum: Students study formal logic as it has been expounded by Aristotle and developed throughout the Middle Ages. They learn the elements of a syllogism and how to test its validity, as well as how to identify logical fallacies. Moreover, students at this level learn to apply logical thinking in all academic areas.

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Rhetoric

WE ASSERT that speaking truthfully, convincingly, and beautifully is a necessary art for life in the home, the Church, and the community, that good rhetoric is an aid to good communication, and that its end is delighting listeners and convincing them of truth.

WE REJECT the assertions that rhetoric is deceptive and that rhetoric, properly speaking, can exist apart from upholding the truth.

9th-12th curriculum: Students study rhetoric by reading the texts of famous rhetoricians and orators, such as Aristotle, Quintilian, and Cicero, and putting their guidance into practice. Students learn how to structure speeches for various occasions, practice inflection and emphasis, and deliver speeches in class.

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Art

WE ASSERT that art is a particularly human gift and ability, that art should help us to love truth, goodness, and beauty, that proficiency in art requires explicit instruction with gradual building of skills, and that through the fine arts children develop observational skills and an appreciation for true masterpieces.

WE REJECT the assertions that children will enjoy art more or produce satisfying work if we merely direct them to “be creative,” and that all artworks are equally edifying and worthy of study.

K-5th curriculum: Students learn to create and appreciate art and to love beauty. Drawing lessons are the foundation of the art curriculum, providing students with frequent, gradual, explicit direction to build their skills. Additional art lessons increase students’ knowledge of artistic terminology and enhance their aesthetic and motor skills. Art appreciation is taught in the context of great artists and their works.

6th-12th curriculum: In the upper level class, students learn the arts of calligraphy and illumination, incorporating their drawing and writing skills. For their art projects, students learn to make iron gall ink and mix egg tempera paints. Students deepen in appreciation of the fine arts through analysis of artistic works.

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Music

WE ASSERT that music is a divine gift, which is next to theology in the praise of God, that it is an aid to memorization, and that it is an essential aspect of life both within the church and in the world. We also assert that music theory and the practical arts of music-making are both essential to the study of music.

WE REJECT the assertions that music is tangential to faith and learning, that all types of music are equally edifying or appropriate in all situations, and that music theory is not a necessary part of music education.

K-5th curriculum: Children are given many opportunities to sing, hear, and appreciate quality music of various styles. They also learn vocal technique through choir instruction and basic note reading through a study of musical notation. Such musical study develops students’ appreciation for the beauty of excellent musical compositions and leads them to aspire to the creation of such beauty in their own music.

6th-8th curriculum: Students continue their vocal training in either Chorale or Kammerchor, the latter being an audition choir. The students have an introduction to music theory by listening to and watching performances of great works of music, discussing them, following along with scores, and copying music notation. Students continue to hear quality music in the classroom.

9th-12th curriculum: Students continue their vocal training in either Chorale or Kammerchor, the latter being an audition choir. High school students are introduced to music theory as one of the liberal arts. Using The Lutheran Hymnal, students learn to analyze chords and cadences in Foundations of Music Theory. Advanced Music Theory follows, in which students learn about more complex musical concepts, like modes and polyphony. All high school students also learn to harmonize melodies and compose original music as part of their study of music theory. Students continue to hear quality music in the classroom.

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Physical Education

WE ASSERT that, according to the ancient ideal of “a sound mind in a sound body,” the truly educated person must learn to manage his life not only mentally and morally, but also physically, and that friendly competition against oneself and one’s peers helps inculcate the virtues of fortitude and justice.

WE REJECT the assertions that the body is of little consequence, and that competition of any sort must necessarily be detrimental to children.

K-5th curriculum: Young students practice a variety of basic movement skills and begin to play group games.

6th-12th curriculum: Students concentrate on developing personal fitness and continually gain appreciation for the good of a well-trained body.

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Library

WE ASSERT that reading is one of the most valuable activities for human beings to pursue in their leisure time, and that children should read for pleasure as well as academic advancement.

WE REJECT the assertions that any reading is worthwhile, regardless of content, and that all reading must be rigorous and challenging.

K-12th curriculum: The purpose of the Mount Hope Lutheran School Library is to support the school curriculum. Weekly library time teaches basic library skills, but more importantly encourages students to read literature which will enrich their understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness.

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