St. Paul's Lutheran School has been founded on the firm foundation of God's word. Therefore, the children attending our school receive thorough training in Bible history, Bible interpretation, and Christian doctrine. The memorization of Scripture passages, Martin Luther's Small Catechism and Christian hymns is a requirement of all pupils. We teach Classical Lutheran Education in order to cultivate the mind and soul of our students and incline them towards God’s truth, goodness and beauty. St. Paul’s follows the Classical Lutheran Education (CLE) model which includes the following:
The Classical Trivium:
The foundation of this is Martin Luther's Small Catechism. The "Six Chief Parts" are taught to all grade levels, which is characteristically Lutheran. Martin Luther viewed the catechism as a means by which God revealed his eternal wisdom that had been made manifest in Christ Jesus. The catechism is a tool for teaching the faith, but this teaching is always done within a devotional framework. When the catechism is used in Lutheran Classical Education the faith is divinely taught to those praying it. Our school is therefore not just a place of humanistic learning (the Classical Trivium) but also a place of prayer. This provides students with a solid foundation in their Christian upbringing at St. Paul's. Just as Classical Education is learned in 3 stages, so too is the Catechism:
When both the Classical Trivium and Lutheran Catechesis are combined, like they are at our school, they present a model that deals with the old sinful man and the new righteous man preparing Christians to live simultaneously under the Law and the Gospel, in the kingdom of the left and the kingdom of the right, to be served by God and to serve their fellow man.
Classical Lutheran Education (CLE) seeks to cultivate in students self-knowledge, tools for learning, the ability to contemplate great ideas, and an understanding of the world in which the student lives: all for the love and service of others. Above all, classical and Lutheran education inclines a child toward truth, goodness, and beauty found fully and eternally in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The term 'classical education' has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages the definition of a classical education embraced the study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages.
St. Paul’s students are learners. Every day they find limitless opportunities to pursue existing passions and to uncover interests and talents they never knew they possessed. They achieve excellence, guided by dedicated faculty who know all of our students as individuals and are dedicated to helping them achieve at their highest possible level.
By the time St. Paul’s students are ready for high school, they are equipped to gain acceptance into highly competitive schools. More important, they are ready to thrive during their studies and beyond. St. Paul's uses classical curriculum materials whenever possible. St. Paul's currently offers the following subjects:
Our school has been using Saxon Math in all grades. Our math textbooks are content-oriented, filled with examples and problems. Mathematics in a classical education is more than the mere development of computational skills and application of concepts to practical situations. Math, while having objective immutable qualities, also meets with the human story. Children should become familiar with mathematics as well as learning the story behind Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, Pascal, Newton, Euler, Bernoulli, and others. The mathematics curriculum should supplement concrete operations with abstract investigations such as "Fermat's Last Theorem." Also, students should get a sampling of math's strong ties with symbolic logic, understanding mathematics as a unique language. The way we reason and speak have direct connections with mathematical thought.
Luther on Mathematics:
“I would have them study not only languages and history, but also singing and music together with the whole of mathematics.” (AE 45:369f).
Our science curriculum covers the four basic science groups: biology, chemistry, earth sciences and physics. They are all studied in such a way that the math and reading skills which students have acquired independently are joined in the science curriculum to hands-on activities and observations according to their appropriate age levels. In addition, history and literature are used to provide a human perspective so that the study of science does not lapse into scientism, a cold, mathematical outlook on reality, and not based in the scientific method.
Luther on Science
“We are new in the morning-dawn of a better life; for we are beginning again to recover that knowledge of the creation which we lost through Adam’s fall. By God’s grace, we are beginning to recognize, even in the structure of the humblest floweret, his wondrous glory, his goodness, and his omnipotence. In the creation we can appreciate in some measure the power of Him who spoke and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast. Consider the peach-stone: although it is very hard, yet, in its due season it is burst asunder by the force of the very tender germ which is enclosed within the shell. But all this Erasmus passes by, not regarding it for a moment and views this new knowledge of the creature only as cows look upon a new gate.” (AE)
We expressly prefer primary, unabridged sources, encouraging the reading of fairy tales and folk tales at early stages and progressing toward the Great Books of the Western World. Reading is more than just a process. It is primarily the communication of ideas and content. We want our children not merely to read well, but to be well-read.
Luther on Literature:
“Finally, one thing more merits serious consideration by all those who earnestly desire to have such schools and languages established and maintained in Germany. It is this: no effort or expense should be spared to provide good libraries or book repositories, especially in the larger cities which can well afford it. For if the gospel and all the arts are to be preserved, they must be set down and held fast in books and writings. . . This is essential, not only that those who are to be our spiritual and temporal leaders may have books to read and study, but also that the good books may be preserved and not lost, together with the arts and languages which we now have by the grace of God.”
A 70 point time-line is the backbone of our history curriculum, adapted from the Steven LittleJohn time-line and the Veritas Academy history cards. The time-line is to be memorized by our students in increments beginning in Kindergarten. History, civics, and geography are studied rather than the current trend of "social studies" textbooks which direct children more toward world economics than to understanding various nations in the context of world history.
Luther on History
“But if children were instructed and trained in schools, or wherever learned and well-trained schoolmasters and schoolmistresses were available to teach the languages, the other arts, and history, they would then hear of the doings and sayings of the entire world, and how things went with various cities, kingdoms, princes, men, and women. Thus, they could in a short time set before themselves as in a mirror the character, life, counsels, and purposes – successful and unsuccessful – of the whole world from the beginning; on the basis of which they could then draw the proper inferences and in the fear of God take their own place in the stream of human events. In addition, they could gain from history the knowledge and understanding of what to seek and what to avoid in this outward life, and be able to advise and direct others accordingly. . . . For my part, if I had children and could manage it, I would have them study not only languages and history, but also singing and music together with the whole of mathematics [i.e. the quadrivium: arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy]. For what is all this but mere child’s play? The ancient Greeks trained their children in these disciplines; yet they grew up to be people of wondrous ability, subsequently fit for everything. How I regret now that I did not read more poets and historians, and that no one taught me them!”
“To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools” (AE, vol. 45, p. 368-70)
Latin serves as a natural and logical follow-up to phonics and series to enrich the student's vocabulary, grammar, and understanding the roots of culture. Beginning in the lower grades, students chant Latin paradigms daily, learning basic vocabulary and common Latin phrases used in English-speaking contexts.
Our Latin program at St. Paul's utilizes two textbooks. Students at the mid-level grades use "Latin for Children". This curriculum is a strong, inviting and creative program designed to introduce students as young as 3rd and 4th grade to Latin. When used as a whole, this series trains students in Latin grammar and vocabulary as well as English derivatives in a lively, interactive way. For the upper grades, we use "Lingua Latina". This textbook promotes a more natural way of learning Latin where students learn grammar and vocabulary intuitively through extended contextual reading and an innovative system of marginal notes. It is the only textbook currently available that gives students the opportunity to learn Latin without resorting to translation, but allows them to "think" in the language.
Luther on Languages:
“And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit [Eph. 6:17] is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out [Matt. 14:20], they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments.” (p. 360)
“To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools” (AE, vol. 45, p. 360)
“To this point we have been speaking about the necessity and value of languages and Christian schools for the spiritual realm and the salvation of souls. Now let us consider also the body. Let us suppose that there were no soul, no heaven or hell, and that we were to consider solely the temporal government from the standpoint of its worldly functions. Does it not need good schools and educated persons even more than the spiritual realm? Hitherto, the sophists have shown no concern whatever for the temporal government, and have designed their schools so exclusively for the spiritual estate that it has become almost a disgrace for an educated man to marry.”
“To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools” (AE, vol. 45, pp. 366-7)
Classical Lutheran education strives to lead children into wisdom, eloquence, and piety. Communication: since humans are social creatures, meant to look to God in faith and care for one another in love (Lutheran doctrine of Christian vocation), it is vital that we learn to speak and write correctly and well. Mastering the mechanics of language for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
Luther on Grammar:
“The children are to recite these grammatical rules from memory, so that they are compelled and driven to learn grammar well. Where the schoolmaster shuns this kind of work, as is often the case, he should be dismissed and another teacher found for the children, who will take on this work of holding the children to grammar. For no greater harm can be done to all the arts than where the children are not well trained in grammar.” (AE 40:317)
Students in Grades 6-8th are introduced to the basics of logic and rhetoric. Elements from various texts such as The Art of Argument and The Fallacy Detective are used in History class which is devoted exclusively to Logic 1-2 days a week. Our goal is to teach students HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Jesus’ teachings dwelt more on HOW to think rather than WHAT to think, and He wants us to learn HIS WAY OF THINKING. That is, we should learn to look at things from his point of view. There is a right way for man to perceive God. When we perceive Him correctly, our lives make sense and blessings flow so naturally that they are often taken for granted.
In order to perceive our world correctly we must first have the correct way to think about the One who created it. If our way of thinking about God is wrong it means we are thinking wrong about his creation. If we attribute wrong motives to God, we place wrong values in the things He does. Our ways of thinking about God affect everything we do. Each person has a limited perception of God. Our knowledge of Him is limited because we are created LOWER than God. To fully comprehend God it would require that we be on a par with Him, which is impossible. Nonetheless, we can develop a healthy way to perceive God. We must strive for growth in our knowledge, while also striving to re-tune our minds daily for more accuracy in our perceptions. This is a lifelong endeavor.
So to try and learn God’s truth, we must first possess and practice a sincere, basic belief in God. We must believe that He exists, and that He will lead us to truth if we seek it sincerely. If our concept of God is that He is unable or unwilling to reveal the truth personally, then that god can not be the God of the Bible. So we must begin by accepting God as God. Secondly, when we read the Bible, we must be an active and present reader, not a passive one. When we read the word of God we must be diligent and believe that we truly want to and can know Him through his word.
Luther on Logic:
“Logic is a useful and necessary art, which we ought with as much reason to study and to learn as we do arithmetic or geometry. For logic gives us a clear, correct, and methodical arrangement, showing us the grounds of our conclusions, and how we may know, to certainty, from the nature of the subject itself, what is right or wrong, and what we should judge and decide.”
The following resources below do not necessarily express the exact views of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or St. Paul's Lutheran School. However, they are good resources for one wanting to know more about many different aspects of Classical Christian Education.