An Integrated, Classical Curriculum
Students at Chesterton Academy enjoy a cohesive, content-rich education. A broad exposure to many different disciplines helps students expand their interests and uncover hidden talents. Each year builds on the previous, so that by the end of senior year, our students are articulate, clear-thinking, well-rounded, and, very importantly, joyful individuals.
The Humanities Program
Grade 9: Ancient World
Grade 10: Early Medieval Period
Grade 11: High Middle Ages to The Renaissance
Grade 12: Modern World
Our study of literature is tied to the study of history and the rest of the humanities. Students are first introduced to classical epics of Homer, and then exposed to early English classics such as The Canterbury Tales and modern literary renderings of medieval history. Moving toward the modern period, students read Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Chesterton, and American literature. Reading and writing go hand in hand, and each student masters the art of the essay in their writing assignments in all subjects.
The history classes at Chesterton Academy form the backbone of our curriculum. The four-year history sequence covers ancient history through the Greek and Roman civilizations, early Church history, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation and Counter-reformation. In senior year, students study the modern era, including the American and French Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, the Communist Revolution, and the Sexual Revolution. Each history course is tailored to provide a colorful backdrop for literature, art, and science classes.
Philosophy, “the love of wisdom,” exercises the brain while it elevates the soul. The ability to understand abstract concepts leads to clear and systematic thinking in all things. We use philosophy to connect the humanities but also to show its obvious connection to logic and mathematics. We study the development of philosophy from its classical roots focusing on Plato and Aristotle, its dramatic encounter with the early Church, its christening by St. Thomas Aquinas, and its deterioration in the modern era.
Theology, “the study of God,” is the context by which all other texts are studied. The principal theological texts studied are the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We also read selections from the Church fathers, documents of the Church councils, and papal encyclicals.
The study of a foreign language is required of all students for three years. All students are required to take two years of Latin and thereafter may choose Latin III, Spanish, or Italian. If students have already studied a foreign language prior to high school, we try, as much as possible, to place them in the level appropriate to their proficiency, regardless of their grade.
The Math & Science Program
Mathematics is the art of measuring. Science is the study of what can be measured. While math is woven together with the sciences, it is also connected to the humanities. It teaches logic, which is a basic philosophical principle. Math teaches balance, which is a basic aesthetic principle. Math at Chesterton Academy covers Euclidean geometry and algebra all the way through advanced calculus.
Science is the study of the physical world, that is, of God’s creation. A sense of wonder is essential when approaching all branches of science. It is fitting, therefore, to begin by looking up at the heavens, at the lights in the sky: astronomy. Then we take a look at the world God created (geology), the creatures he created (biology), and the intricate substances of which all things are made (chemistry). We end by gaining an understanding of the nature and properties of matter and energy (physics).
Grade 9: Astronomy and Earth Sciences
Grade 10: Biology
Grade 11: Chemistry
Grade 12: Physics
The Fine Arts Program
Music appeals to the ear and the mind, the emotions and the intellect, the senses and the spirit. Chesterton Academy students are exposed to a wide variety of music that they perform chorally several times a year. An education at Chesterton includes music theory, performance, ear training, note reading, and musical analysis. Music history is taught according to grade level with an emphasis on music development within the Church and corresponds to the historical period in which the students are immersed that year. Students perform in grade-level choirs and in the all-school choir at choir concerts, Masses, and the Chesterton gala.
A complete education must include the development of the creative nature and must provide students with the tools and the technique with which to express their ideas, their feelings, and their love. It must also include the analytical skills with which to judge a work of art and exposure to great art. Finally, the mechanical skills and the aesthetic aptitude must be put into the proper context of eternal Truth. A good artist is a complete thinker and vice versa. The influence of the arts in today’s society cannot be overstated, supporting the requirement of art as a mandatory course at Chesterton Academy during all four years.
Art History and studio art SEQUENCE
Grade 9: Ancient Art History | Drawing and Calligraphy
Grade 10: Late Roman and Early European Art History | Pastels and Colors
Grade 11: Late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque Art History | Oils
Grade 12: Classical, Romantic, and Modern Art History | Oils
The dramatic arts are particularly powerful in our present culture where movies and the media are often the primary source of knowledge and ideas for many young people. Drama involves the study of how words are brought to life, and in order to successfully do this on stage, the actor must learn to see the work as a whole, to understand the author’s vision and the time in which it was written. In other words, the actor must learn to be a good literary critic, philosopher, and historian. Drama ties together the information students learn in the classroom and asks them to actively participate in its performance.
Grade 10: Comedy
Grade 11: Drama
Grade 12: Shakespeare
Chesterton Academy is blessed to have a talented and dynamic faculty dedicated to the vision and mission of our school. Each faculty and staff member takes the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the academic year. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, faculty at Chesterton Academy participate in the House System, which is designed to promote character and virtue.