Classically Inspired Curriculum
If you ask someone what a classical education is, you are likely to get varying answers. For some, it is a strict adherence to only the history and tradition of the ancient western world. For some, it may be rooting yourself in a Great Books centered curriculum. For others, a classical education must include the study of Latin and Philosophy as well as including deep seminar discussions.
Certain elements, however, tend to be universal when it comes to a classical education. It involves the seeking of all that is true, good, and beautiful in the world. It involves the formation of the student as a person of virtue. It focuses on forming students in the ability to think and consider things deeply through classrooms that offer difficult questions, encourage classroom dialogue/discussion, and ask students to form and express their own conclusions through writing, speaking, and formal presentation. It also often involves the intentional integration of the various disciplines of study so that students are predisposed to see the universality of creation and, through that, better know the Creator.
It is in these ways that St. John Paul II High School’s curriculum is designed to lead our students in the discovery of truth. The truth of each unique discipline as well as the Truth behind everything in the universe, Jesus Christ, the logos of creation. We take our inspiration for our curriculum from our patron, St. John Paul II, who opened his encyclical, Fides et Ratio, with these words.
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves”
At St. John Paul II High School, a classically inspired curriculum means that multiple subject areas are integrated while focusing on classroom dialogue and using/creating original works in order to inspire deep thinking.
Examples of this from our curriculum include:
- Reading The Odyssey in English I while studying Ancient Greece in World History, Culture, & Geography I
- Reading Romeo & Juliet in English while studying ‘Theology of the Body’ in Theology and the Renaissance period in World History, Culture & Geography
- Designed sequencing so that logarithmic and exponential models are taught in PreCalculus before being applied in Environmental Systems with the study of population growth (logarithmic models) or being applied in Chemistry II with the study of reaction rates (exponential models)
- The incorporation of the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum into Theology IV, English IV, and Economics
“It must never be forgotten that the purpose of instruction at school is education, that is, the development of man from within, freeing him from that conditioning which would prevent him from becoming a fully integrated human being. The school must begin from the principle that its educational program is intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person.” -- The Catholic School, The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education