Course Descriptions: 9th Grade
The Humanities sequence unites the study of history and literature, allowing students to experience the integral nature of these disciplines. In the first course of this sequence, Humanities I – The Ancient World, students read and discuss the greatest literary efforts of Greece and Rome, civilizations which, alongside that of the Hebrews, served as the cradle of Western civilization, laying the groundwork for the religion, philosophy, ethics, art, and law that would characterize the advent and development of Christianity. Led by two instructors, this unique course is characterized not by lecture, but by the discussion of the perennial questions addressed by men of virtue and goodwill in all ages.
Trivium I – Grammar and Composition is the first of a sequence of courses named for the arts of the trivium (Latin for a meeting of three ways) as traditionally conceived by educators in the middle ages, including grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In Trivium I students develop the fundamentals of effective reading and communication by a systematic study of English grammar and constant practice in composition.
Biology, the first in the high school Nature Study sequence, is devoted to treating not only the primary facts regarding the observation, classification, description, growth, and propagation of organisms, but also with the wonder and mystery of life itself. Proceeding from the philosophical distinctions between living and nonliving things, to the gradations within the realm of biology of sentience and rationality, students are introduced to the ethical implications of the complexity of living systems. Plants and animals are treated in this course first as integers before they are explored in their parts and fundamental cellular composition. Discussion and lecture is supported by observational studies of organisms both in and outside of the classroom.
Geometry, a math course available to both freshman and sophomores, is an introduction to the beauty of number in space. Having mastered the facts of arithmetic and developed a facility for manipulating equations in Algebra, students are introduced to this philosophically rich study in the same fashion that it was explored by the predecessors and disciples of Euclid, the most famous geometer. By exploring necessary and inherent relationships, proofs, and the nature of points, lines, and shapes, this course serves as a fitting anticipation or delightful companion to Trivium II – Traditional Logic, a course taken by all sophomores. No calculators are permitted.
Theology is the queen of the sciences and by our study of the nature and laws of God, we orient all of our academic endeavors. This course, the first in the theology sequence, focuses on the scriptures themselves, reading the Old Testament through the lens of the gospels. Such a study provides a fundamental appreciation of the beauty of God’s Word and the story of salvation, which paves the way for moral and doctrinal instruction, explication and illumination of the mysteries of faith, and finally articulation and defense of the faith in apologetics. The theology sequence is aligned with the USCCB’s framework for the teaching of theology for high school students.
The introductory high school Latin course is designed to be both a fitting entry point to the student who is new to the language as well as a natural progression for those who has been introduced to Latin grammar and vocabulary at the middle school level. Being the language of both the ancient Romans and of the Catholic Church, Latin is an indispensible part of a Catholic classical education.
Sacred Music draws students into the rich artistic tradition of the Church and the role which great Catholic artists and patrons of the art have played in the historical development of music. This course includes both a choral and historical component with listening exercises to cultivate both the practice and appreciation of music. The classical tradition embraces music as the study of number in space and time, indicating that part of why this art form moves us is closely linked to the order and beauty of mathematics.
A complete education includes the training of the mental, moral, and physical faculties of the learner. Physical Education is an integral part of a balanced curriculum, just as physical fitness itself is indispensible to our long term well-being. This course intends to cultivate healthy habits of diet and exercise in students as well as teaching them the basic rules and practice of common games. Significant instruction is devoted to both organized sports, individual fitness, and useful outdoor skills, providing a variety of foundations on which students can build an active lifestyle.