Our Classical Approach
HCA embraces Classical Christian Education as a return to a time-honored approach to learning. We believe the classical method is best for students as it focuses on how they naturally develop. Using the centuries-old method of education known as the Trivium, teaching methods are divided into three major stages:
Grammar students are naturally inclined to memorize. The grammar stage capitalizes on that desire to memorize, recite, and chant. In this stage, students are taught the fundamental facts and rules of each subject in order to optimize their capacity for learning and critical thinking in further stages.
The logic stage capitalizes on the student’s love of challenging ideas, debating and finding holes in communication. Logic is taught here to enhance a student’s reasoning platform, examine the construction of argument, and strengthen debate and persuasion with articulation and research. As the students develop their positions of debate they draw on the facts learned in the grammar stage.
Rhetoric students strive to express themselves. They are taught how to communicate clearly in written and verbal forms. This includes conducting research in all subject areas and knowing how to see relationships among subjects. In this final stage, the students further develop into independent, critical thinkers, presenting their positions with substance and applying the tools learned in the Grammar and Logic stages.
- Subject content, or knowledge and skills, is at the heart of the Classical curriculum. We believe students are better able to serve God, understand life, and succeed in their personal futures if they are equipped with knowledge and the ability to think critically. With the Trivium, students are taught to learn for themselves and how to express and defend what they learn. Some key points about classical education’s program of study:
- Emphasis on the basics – HCA students understand the basics of languages, arts, math, reading, writing, and history.
- Designed with a core knowledge – Students are equipped with a cultural literacy that enables them to minister and live more effectively at this critical stage of our country’s history.
- Latin for a greater understanding of English – Grades 3 – 8 learn Latin for a better grasp of English and as a base for foreign languages.
A Classical Education builds on natural stages of the learner as they develop. God has created each child with a primary learning style. Auditory learners process best the information they hear. Visual learners learn by seeing. Kinesthetic, or tactile learners process information best when they touch/feel/manipulate or practice while they are being taught.
At HCA we respect the different ways God has created our students. Lessons are carefully planned to include all learning styles whenever possible. In addition, several members of our faculty are trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to multi-sensory learning.
Hickory Christian Academy makes every effort to support parents in early intervention concerning learning differences that could lead to a “learning disability” label. If taught appropriately, children will succeed and reach their full academic potential. Every effort is made to train our faculty so that only true learning differences are brought to the forefront for extra attention and private intervention.
Our preschool, Transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade teachers have been trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to Multi-sensory Phonics. Other HCA teachers have been trained to deal with all learning styles. This training is a Masters level course requiring 70 hours of class work and practicum experience. The O-G Approach insures that students meeting the requirements for acceptance into our school will be taught appropriately. Students are given the tools to decode and encode words and learn the rules of language, thereby giving them the best foundation to understand reading and spelling to the fullest. The handwriting component is also crucial as students develop legible manuscript and cursive handwriting. Students who begin with us in preschool or kindergarten achieve the best results.
- Connie W. Peeler (C): Grammar School Administrator – O-G Trainer with 15 years experience as O-G Tutor and Supervising Teacher/ Past Board Member for NC Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
- Tammy Smith (C): HCA 5th Grade Teacher – O-G Trainer with 12 years experience as O-G Tutor
- Debbie Preachers (C): HCA 1st Grade Teacher – O-G Teacher and Tutor with 7 years experience
- Marquita Fox: HCA Kindergarten Teacher – O-G Teacher and Tutor with 4 years experience
(C) denotes a teacher who has successfully completed the year’s follow-up observations, received her certificate, and may be available for tutoring under the Orton-Gillingham approach. The years of experience listed include only O-G experience and do not include the many additional years of classroom experience.