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An Arboreal Education

Paul Signac (France, 1863-1935) . The Bonaventure Pine . 1893 . Impressionism
A Classical Education
The Lancaster Center for Classical Studies offers the possibility of an authentic classical education for children being schooled at home. Our curriculum as a whole, our Foundational Lingual Arts Curriculum, resembles a tree. An authentically classical education may be thought of as an arboreal education, reaching, like a tree, deep into the hidden secrets of the earth's nourishing soil and streams and high into the luminous mysteries of the sky's vivifying air and light, growing slowly but soundly, branching, foliating, blooming, keeping time with the rhythms of the seasons. Below we spell out the arboreal elements of our Foundational Lingual Arts Curriculum, our authentic classical education for children being schooled at home.
Vincent van Gogh (Netherlands, 1853-1890, France) . Trunk of an Old Yew Tree . 1888 . Post-Impressionism
The Latin and Greek Curriculum
We offer an extensive, well developed curriculum of Latin and Greek studies covering a range of introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses in both classical and ecclesiastical Latin and Greek. The Latin and Greek Curriculum is the stock and stem of our program. It provides a core of discipline, a progressive challenge, a continuous stimulus to growth, a coördinate measure of growth, and an opening both to the heritage of learning as a whole and to the potentialities of the human heart, soul, mind, and will as a whole. The full curriculum includes eight years of Latin and six years of Greek. Its purpose, however, is to produce not specialists in Latin and Greek, but well educated human beings. It accustoms the student to gradually higher levels of demand and to correlatively higher levels of accomplishment; and it gradually supplies the increasingly more complex means for the student to develop the skills that make such accomplishment possible. Although designed to be immediately accessible to students between nine or ten and eighteen years of age, the Latin and Greek curriculum is comparable to a college- or university-level program in Latin and Greek.
In the course of traversing this curriculum, the student will have prepared himself very well, indeed, to meet the eventual challenges and to make the most of the opportunities of higher education. It is important to understand, however, that a student need not be a genius in order to succeed in this curriculum. The key to doing well is not genius but hard work. We want our students to learn to work hard and to learn to enjoy working hard because they have discovered that only hard work brings with it genuine accomplishment and an honest sense of accomplishment. We are very little impressed with the current, official, but superficial designation of the "gifted"; we are equally little impressed with GPA's, IQ's, SAT's, and AP's, however high or low the scores; and we are appalled at the elaborate but empty efforts of educators, parents, and students alike to game the system.
Egon Schiele (Austria, 1890-1918) . Four Trees . 1917 . Art Nouveau
Every human being has gifts. The decisive questions are whether he will be given the opportunity to discover and to develop his true gifts, and, still more importantly, whether he will receive the decisive gift of learning young that only hard work can bring his true gifts to bear. Our sole interest lies in helping our students learn to cultivate the full potentialities, the full gifts, of their hearts, souls, minds, and wills, so that rather than learning obsequiously to conform themselves to a shallow, programmatic standard of academic and social behaviour, they will be energetically and diligently preparing themselves to make the most both of their own potentialities and of the possibilities that those potentialities will open for them, if honestly, deeply, and thoroughly well developed.The requirements of our Latin and Greek Curriculum are neither genius nor the supposition of genius, but eagerness, diligence, and conscientiousness in making the most of the gifts that one has been given in order to explore to the fullest the opportunities with which one has been presented,--- and, with others, to explore and enjoy both the community and the communion of gifts, with thanks to the boundless abundance of the giver.
Piet Mondrian (Netherlands, 1872-1944, USA) . Evening: The Red Tree . 1910 . Post-Impressionism
The Liberal Arts Curriculum
We furnish a complete liberal arts curriculum embracing the lingual, cultural, mathematical, and natural sciences. This curriculum is founded in and grows out of the cognitive and historical principles underlying our Latin and Greek Curriculum. It covers the full range of studies appropriate to a sound primary and secondary education, including art, history, geography, literature, modern languages, mathematics, the natural sciences, and music. The Liberal Arts Curriculum is the branching of our program. Participation in the Liberal Arts Curriculum is not obligatory, but because it is so intimately intertwined with the Latin and Greek Curriculum, supports the latter in so many ways at so many levels, and serves to bring out the full benefits of the Latin and Greek Curriculum so effectively, we strongly encourage its use.
Marc Chagall (Belarus, 1887-1985, France) . The Tree of Jesse . 1975 . Primitivism
The New Testament Curriculum
We offer a curriculum of New Testament studies that makes it possible for a student to have read approximately three fifths of the New Testament, in both the Vulgate Latin version and the Koiné Greek original, by the time he has completed our program. It is quite possible for a class of diligently engaged students to read even more. The New Testament Curriculum also includes a reading of the complete Old and New Testaments in both the King James and the New Jerusalem versions. It is a supplement both to our Latin and Greek Curriculum and to our Classical Literature Curriculum, but it is the root of our program as a whole. We provide no doctrinal religious instruction, and we apply no doctrinal criteria in our admission of students. We teach our students to read with a hearkening ear. Our courses and our classrooms are open to all students who are eager to learn and to grow. Whether one has accepted the claim of faith or not, whether one understands the Bible as scripture and as a revelation of divine truth or not, the New Testament is, at a minimum, a principal foundation of the literature of the Occident and the Orient alike. No education is complete without it. No doctrinal criteria for its interpretation, however, can quite reach the profound mystery that it itself invokes as the sole principle for its interpretation and for its possible influence upon its readers: The wind bloweth where it listeth (John 3:8).
Claude Monet (France, 1840-1926) . Flowering Trees near the Coast . 1920 . Impressionism
The Diploma Program
We offer a diploma program recognized by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and awarding the student who completes it an advanced, secondary-school level diploma in the classical liberal arts and sciences. The diploma program is tied tightly to our Latin and Greek Curriculum and more loosely to our Liberal Arts Curriculum. It is open to any student meeting the minimum criteria of participation in the Latin and Greek Curriculum. The diploma is awarded at several levels of accomplishment, summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, and cum dignitate. The Diploma Program may be called the flower of our program, and the diploma itself symbolizes the full flowering of our students' growth and accomplishment. Participation in the diploma program is optional. Although all of our students must be enrolled in the Latin and Greek Curriculum, we encourage all to enroll both in the Liberal Arts Curriculum and in the Diploma Program, as well. The three are designed to complement one another, so that in order to acquire the complete benefits of one, the student must be fully engaged in all.
Piet Mondrian (Netherlands, 1872-1944, USA) . Trees by the River Gein at Moonrise . 1907 . Fauvism
The Welcoming
We offer, as its mere messengers, an ongoing and deepening welcome to students of differing propensities. In every season, in every weather, and in every light, our effort and prayer are directed towards helping every one of our students, whatever his bent, to learn to do his best in all things and to acquire the skills, the habits, and the dispositions that will make it possible for him to do just that. Part of learning to do one's best is realizing that one's best may be better than one is accustomed to supposing and that only hard work and persistence can prove it. The Welcoming is the condition for the possibility of growth in the hearts, souls, minds, and wills of our students, and in our own.
Gustav Klimt (Austria, 1862-1918) . Apple Tree, I . ca. 1912 . Symbolism and Art Nouveau
The Gathering
We offer our students a setting in which to learn how to learn well, to grow fruitfully, and to gather the fruits of their growth and learning and bring them to bear in a fruitful life. Because of the distinguished educational virtues of properly conducted Latin and Greek studies, our Latin and Greek Curriculum, supplemented by the Liberal Arts Curriculum and the New Testament Curriculum, occupies the center of this gathering---and the Gathering itself, unfolding in the lives of our students, is the first fruit of our program as a whole.
Paul Signac (France, 1863-1935) . The Pine Tree at Saint Tropez . 1909 . Pointillism
The Logos (Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ)
The soil, the water, the air, and the sun of our program, the nutrient ambience that supports and nourishes, quickens and freshens the tree of learning as it burgeons and blooms in the hearts, the souls, the minds, and the wills of our students, is the Mystery of the Love, the Light, the Life, and the ineffable Grace of the Most High, called succinctly by John the Logos. It is the Logos that the Latin and Greek Curriculum, supplemented by the Liberal Arts Curriculum and the New Testament Curriculum, are designed to explore in its inexhaustible abundance. In the Logos,---the word of conception and of creation, the word of redemption and of reckoning, the word of liberation and of fruition, the word of nature and of grace, the word of reason and of revelation,---the seemingly diverse realms of art and science
Vasily Polenov (Russia, 1844-1927) . An Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane . 1882 . Realism
and religion are reconciled. In the Logos they find the singular condition for their respective possibilities and the end and purpose common to them all, even if unbeknownst to us. It is this communion in the condition and purpose of art and science and religion, and of human life as such, that places an authentically classical education, in the form of our arboreal education, far ahead of its time, and yet renders it insurpassably practical, insurpassably opportune, insurpassably in advance of the merely up-to-date and narrowly conceived programs of scientism, technologism, individualism, pragmatism, consumerism, and nihilism that determine the prevalent curricula of the present day,---and therein renders it insurpassably true to the truth. Please call us at 717.397.3223 to discuss how The Lancaster Center for Classical Studies can collaborate with you to help provide your child with an education second to none.
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