Timber Ridge Academy is invested in students and intentional in outcome. By teaching students how to think, instead of what to think, Timber Ridge equips students for success beyond the classroom, forming life-long learners and providing a classical education with a rigorous curriculum taught from a Christian worldview. Timber Ridge Academy's academics and atmosphere provide a platform for students to develop into the individual God intends.
For parents looking for a unique educational opportunity for their student, Timber Ridge offers small classes and dedicated teachers in a supportive Christian community.
The Classical Approach
A classical education cultivates wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, beauty, and goodness. Students at Timber Ridge Academy pursue wisdom and virtue at every grade level and in each of the many disciplines offered to our students.
British author and educator Dorothy Sayers wrote a succinct essay promoting the value of classical education. She ends with this statement: "The sole true end of education is simply this, to teach men how to learn for themselves, and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain." Our desire at Timber Ridge Academy is to assist students in every possible way to learn for themselves to cultivate wisdom and virtue, and for the Christian Faith to be the light under which all knowledge is taught.
Therefore the Timber Ridge method of classical education is centered around the Trivium, which contains three areas of study based on the stages in a child's mental development. Both the content and the method are ordered to strengthening the natural faculties of the child at the given stage and preparing him for the content and methodology of the next stage.
The first stage, or the Grammar period, takes advantage of a young student's great natural ability to absorb large amounts of material, whether math facts, science, or a second language. It also involves developing a sense of wonder about the world and observation of it. Students in kindergarten through grade 6 are taught the foundational academic content for all future studies; poetry, music, and Shakespeare enrich the learning experience. In the earliest of these grades the students focus on sequencing, narration and observation in order to strengthen and make docile the imagination.
Students at ages eleven-thirteen are growing new neurons in the part of the brain that controls "executive function," i.e. reasoning ability. The second stage of the Trivium, known as the Dialectic period, takes advantage of this brain development. The Dialectic can also be thought of as the logic or analytic phase, and this is the focus of Middle School (grades 7-8) at Timber Ridge. Here students are ready to take the facts of learning and make logical connections between them, to assess the importance of the academic content, to question and analyze, and seek truth. They learn to recognize an argument and present both sides in a logical, coherent fashion.
The third stage, or pillar, of the Trivium is the Rhetoric stage. Rhetoric is the art of communicating with "language that moves men to action!" As we expand into grades 9-12, students will engage in still higher level thinking, drawing conclusions from analysis so that they might take a stand. They will be challenged to effectively articulate their opinions in writing and public speaking, and to be both persuasive and artful in their presentation.
In addition, every subject has its own grammar, logic, and rhetoric—thus students at all levels begin with the grammar of the subject, and then move to the dialectic, and then rhetoric within that discipline as they are able.
Other Timber Ridge classical traditions include:
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Tomorrow's illiterate will not be the men and women who cannot read; it will be the ones who have not learned how to learn.