Classical, Christian, Common Arts

Telos Classical Academy combines classical liberal arts, Christian education, and common arts curricula to provide a rich and soul-nurturing learning experience for students.

Humans are unions of mind, soul, and body. All true education begins in wonder and ends in wisdom1. At Telos Classical Academy, we develop each child’s mind, soul, and body by pursuing knowledge and igniting the soul in discovering what is true, the good, and the beautiful around them. We teach students virtue, characteristics, and habits that culminate in producing responsible, productive, and respectful adults.

We do this by introducing students to a curriculum that emphasizes the great thinkers, writers, and artists from our Greco Roman and Judeo-Christian heritage who planted the seed in our Founding Fathers to establish our country as a free and just society.

Classical Education (mind)

Classical education is rooted in great books and ancient history. It teaches wisdom (how to think) and virtue (what to do) through the study of books and artifacts that embody the true, the good, and the beautiful. Classical shows students the joy in learning for the sake of knowledge, not simply to complete the assignment or pass a test, but for the knowledge to become a part of the fabric of who they are.

What Students learn

Telos Classical Academy emphasizes literature and thoughtful reading and writing, a thorough understanding of history, the fundamental principles in math and science, and a deep appreciation for art and music. Specifically, classical education strives for the mastery of subjects and their interconnectedness with each other, rather than moving quickly through topics and gleaning only the highlights. Teachers do not rely on worksheets, fill in the blank, or multiple choice; students are taught to answer in complete sentences and have complete thoughts. In order to gain mastery, students must imitate the masters before us, so they have an example from which they can create from their own blank slate.

  • We place a great value on the Great Books, classical and historical literature, and primary sources and students read and memorize poetry, speeches, and writings from prominent historical figures that shaped generations.
  • Students learn about and memorize major historical facts and dates to develop their understanding of the great timeline of history of when and why events happened.
  • Students learn and master math facts so they can quickly and accurately calculate a myriad of equations in their head and learn how to solve math problems in real-world contexts.
  • Students learn the steps to writing cohesively and logically, so they can put together an argument on paper, or in public speaking.
  • Students learn Latin because Latin forms the root of about half of our English words, it promotes a better understanding of English grammar, and it promotes logical thinking. For more info about the benefits of studying Latin, see Top 10 Reasons for Studying Latin | Memoria Press

Different grades and emotional levels focus on different learning techniques: the elementary students learn facts through song and repetition; middle school students learn formal logic and how to question and argue with aplomb; high school students discover the joy and transformative nature of literature and develop skillful and eloquent writing and persuasive speech, tying together the knowledge and logic they’ve compiled over the past twelve years.

Students in classical education pursue the why, how and who of ideas and decisions in addition to just the what. The telos (purpose or end goal) of a good classical education is to show each student how joyful learning can be so that she knows how to learn and wants to learn for the rest of her life.

“The scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and microphone of his own age.”
– C.S. Lewis

Christian Education (soul)

Telos Classical Academy offers a non-denominational Christian education that adheres to the beliefs in the Apostle’s Creed. While students and families are not required to sign a Statement of Faith to attend, this statement provides the backbone of the Christian beliefs and education offered at Telos.

The Apostles Creed
I believe in God the Father almighty, 
Creator of heaven and earth. 
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, 
our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, 
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell; the third day 
He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits at 
the right hand of God the Father 
almighty, from thence He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, 
the forgiveness of sins, 
the resurrection of the body 
and life everlasting.

Theology and Philosophy: Athens and Jerusalem

Western Civilization rests on two major pillars: Jerusalem and Athens. Jerusalem gave us religious truth on which to build an understanding of the world. This piety drives love, respect, and service toward God, parents, and neighbors. Athens gave us technical language and the pursuit of wisdom, law, philosophy, freedom, and democracy. It is imperative to include these two dimensions of faith and reason in our curriculum, allowing us to fully embrace and immerse ourselves in a deeper human knowledge that brings us closer to wisdom and virtue.

Telos believes in the central role of religious instruction in a classical liberal arts education. The Bible is the most widely read book in the world and is the basis for most western classical literature; as such, it is of great importance to read and understand its stories, historical context, and virtue in the quest to better understand our place in western civilization.The Bible teaches us about history, humanity, and virtue and we cannot become thoroughly versed in the ideas of western civilization without understanding the stories and lessons that come from it.

Our Founding Fathers based the foundations for our government on both philosophy and theology. Philosophy is the love of wisdom and theology is the science of God. These two fields of study seek a deep knowledge about the meaning and purpose of human existence, our quest for knowledge, and the deepest desires of the human soul.

Theology forms our piety. It is a disposition of reverence, awe, and devotion that is awakened by our dependence on a Natural Order we did not create and cannot control. It teaches us to honor our father and mother and to love and serve our neighbor. It reminds us that we are our brother’s keeper. In our Telos community, this action embodies honor and respect for the teachers, parents, fellow students, and school authorities. With the trust and respect of the class, the teacher is free to focus on learning; without it, chaos ensues. A learning community embodied by respect, friendship, and service is a place that can cultivate a lifelong love of learning.

Integration of the Bible into the Curriculum

In the younger grades, students learn about the Bible through stories with illustrations and simplified text. They will then be introduced to the verses that are behind the stories. We will present important themes such as love, friendship, honesty, courage, and perseverance, so that students understand the Bible from a moral perspective, but most importantly, how it relates to their lives, struggles, and hopes. Students will also learn the Bible’s historical context and importance in relation to the timeline of the world.

Students in middle school and high school will learn about the Bible in more depth and historical context and will learn about world religions, and how they differ from and are similar to Christianity and each other.

Students of all grades will memorize verses which support the virtues of Telos: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, Piety, Charity, and Service.

Common Arts Education (body)

The common arts are the missing piece in most children’s education. We must learn how to feed ourselves, find shelter, build things, make things, fix things, protect ourselves and so much more to be successful and fulfilled in our lives. Yet many children do not get this education either in school or at home.

Telos employs common arts education in the form of trade skills, outdoor education, and community service to broaden students' scope of learning to foster innovation, creativity and collaboration. We integrate this common arts education once per week on Fridays to offer a more versatile educational experience and collaborative learning environment that extends beyond the classroom. To add variety, students can change their common arts selections monthly.

Common arts offers a collaborative work environment for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools to foster innovation, creativity and collaborative learning in any field of study. Trades-focused part time adults will mentor students in learning skills such as woodworking, sewing, culinary arts, machinery, technology, and outdoor leadership.

Students will have a mentor instructing and assisting in developing their creative talent in areas such as woodworking, sewing, theater, culinary arts, machinery, and technology. We also partner with community organizations for outdoor education, community service, and unique recreational and artistic experiences for the students.

1 Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition: A philosophy of Christian Classical Education  (Camp Hill, PA: Classical Academic Press, 2013)