Riverbend Academy pursues a distinctive classical and Christian approach to all areas of study, including science, mathematics, reading and writing. Whether with phonics in kindergarten, Shurley Grammar through the grammar years, integrated Bible and history curriculum, or our unique approach and subjects in the middle and high school years. Riverbend Academy trains students in some disciplines that are not commonly taught but are important for an effective classical Christian education.
Why study Latin when it's a dead language?
Six reasons (drawn from Gregg Strawbridge in Classical and Christian Education):
The over-arching reason is that the study of highly inflective languages very effectively imparts the tools of learning. For such languages, the root of the word is inflected with different endings to indicate who is carrying out the action of the verb or how a noun is used in a sentence. In particular, this study develops analytical skills that carry over to other areas of learning.
Latin uses the same alphabet as English. In fact, the English alphabet comes from Latin.
The study of Latin empowers students to master far more English words. Approximately half the words in English come from Latin and, in many cases, one Latin word lies behind as many as five to ten words in English.
It has been estimated that for every year one studies Latin, 500 to 1000 new English words are gained. And it goes without saying that choice words and colorful speech give students an advantage in the workplace, as well as the classroom. (Strawbridge, pg. 6)
The study of Latin has been shown to lead to much higher scores on standardized tests.
According to Richard A. LaFleur, Franklin Professor and Head of Classics, University of Georgia, the mean Verbal SAT score for students in 1999 was 505; the mean SAT verbal score or students who took the SATII Latin test was 662, 157 points higher. (College-Bound Seniors booklet published by the College Board; Strawbridge, pg. 6)
The modern romance language - French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish - will be much easier to learn because they are directly derived from Latin.
In addition, knowledge of Latin enables students to connect directly too much of the theological, historical and literary heritage of our Western civilization broadly and of our Christian roots narrowly.
In our Logic School (seventh & eighth grades), we teach formal Logic to train our students to think clearly, thoroughly and properly in a biblical, Christian worldview. Our students are taught how to construct true and valid arguments and how to recognize poor construction and fallacies in the arguments of others. What they learn in formal Logic, they will be taught to apply in all their classes through the use of such methods as discussion, debate, the examining of arguments and writing exercises.
In the high school years, formal Rhetoric is offered so that students may be trained in how to communicate clearly, thoroughly and persuasively in both speech and writing. Students are taught the four canons of Rhetoric:
Invention: the developing of arguments through research or impromptu; Arrangement: arranging their arguments for strength of persuasion and following the six parts of a discourse (introduction, statement of facts, division, proof, refutation and conclusion); Style: adorning speech or writing for delight and clarity; Memory: thorough familiarity with their communication with clarity and proper adornment.