TRCA aspires to an academic culture of joyful excellence — personal and academic rigor combined with fun, engaging human experiences. The curriculum of Two Rivers Classical Academy provides a framework and plan for both classroom and home instruction. Teachers and parents provide the skills, enthusiasm, wisdom, and human presence that breathe life into the curriculum and academy.
If we compare a school to a living organism, the formal curriculum is its skeleton. Curriculum provides both form and the capacity for function. The success of a school’s purpose statement is ultimately embodied in the classroom activities and the long-term effect that those activities have on the students’ minds and characters and on the shape of their lives. A firm, well-articulated curriculum can allow for a multitude of activities and perspectives within the school while still moving everyone within the community toward common goals.
– Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning, by Robert Littlejohn & Charles T. Evans
TRCA currently offers grades Kindergarten through 7th, and we will add 8th grade for the 2020-2021 academic year. Classes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 8:30 a.m to 3:15 p.m. (In order to provide more opportunities for classical discussion and some coursework, TRCA is adding a half-day lab/seminar for 7th and 8th grades on Friday mornings next year.) TRCA parents teach at home during the rest of the week, following the lesson plans provided by TRCA faculty and supplementing as desired.
Classes contain a full, comprehensive spectrum of subjects and skills including: Phonics**, English Grammar, Penmanship, Spelling, Composition, Literature, History, Latin, Mathematics, Science, Music, Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Bible & Theology.
**TRCA is committed to phonics-based reading, and in particular, to the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching language decoding.
Classical education strives for mastery of learning skills rather than a standardized list of data. In the grammar stages of learning (i.e., elementary), classical education aims for mastery of language and math skills. In the logic stages (i.e., middle school), the emphasis shifts toward understanding the logical systems of language and mathematics. Practically speaking, TRCA’s goal is to prepare students to begin Algebra I, Formal Logic, and Classical Literature in the 8th Grade.
These emphases not only equip students with life-long learning skills, they prepare students for advanced mathematics and sciences, rhetorical skills of composition and speech, and a classical liberal arts perspective on the history and literature of Western Civilization. As TRCA develops its full PK-12 program, its goal is for graduating seniors to be thoroughly prepared for lives of learning and service, and either vocational training or college.
Two Rivers Classical Academy brings together “the best of both worlds,” homeschooling and traditional schooling. TRCA teachers select the curriculum and prepare the lesson plans, removing two large hurdles to typical homeschooling. But from there, parents and teachers share the instructional journey. We refer to parents as “co-teachers,” as they share an equal or greater number of instructional hours with their children. Our faculty and parents communicate about lesson plans, about each child, and about the challenges and blessings that arise throughout the week. We also provide training and mentoring opportunities for parents.
Children learn through a variety of learning opportunities: at home with parents and siblings, at the academy with their classroom teachers, and in the company of their peers.
TRCA’s plan of instruction is designed around annual themes. History and Science are taught around an academy-wide theme, with each grade/level covering age-appropriate materials. For instance, in our first year, TRCA focused on Medieval history and physical science. These themes are also integrated into other subjects and activities.
Academy-wide annual themes require additional work during the planning and design of curriculum. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs of that extra effort, particularly for collaborative schools like TRCA. During classroom days at the academy, all students can share in community learning activities regardless of their age levels. At home, parents know the themes that all of their children are studying, making it easier for parents to engage more meaningfully in instruction, learning activities, and family discussions.
Christian education is more than a cultural label, and it views education as more than a process of imparting facts. Christian education is the formation of the whole person into a disciple of Jesus Christ who loves and pursues truth, beauty, and goodness in the world. In short, it is our desire to form the appetites of our students, not merely feed them.
TRCA employs a daily recitation of Scripture, catechism, and hymns through engaging teaching methods, community learning activities, and integration within the full academy curriculum. While TRCA intentionally leaves some doctrinal issues to be answered by parents and churches, the academy will teach (and aspire to demonstrate) the core Christian doctrines contained in its Statement of Beliefs.
Curriculum & Resource Selection
TRCA utilizes a “best books” approach to its curriculum. Rather than subscribing to a single publisher or “school” of classical education, TRCA’s academic experts research, analyze, and select curriculum tools that best suit our learning community. Our curricular choices are based upon the following criteria:
- The texts support a Christian view of God, oneself, and creation; where alternative worldviews are espoused, content can easily be adjusted or discussed by teachers and parents.
- The texts support a classical model of education.
- The texts allow for collaboration between school and home.
- The texts allow for differentiation among students within the classroom setting.
- The texts/publishers have a proven track-record.
- The students’ materials are age-appropriate and appealing, with an eye to rigor and excellence.
- The teachers’ resources are both user-friendly and robust.
- Resources are cost-efficient for the academy and families.
- Texts are agreed upon by a board-appointed team of educators and parents, and then approved by the Board of Directors.
Plan of Instruction
The 2020-2021 Plan of Instruction provides an overview of TRCA’s curriculum for the upcoming year and will be made available upon request, and a detailed book list will be provided to enrolled families.