Curriculum Philosophy & Overview
The curriculum is based on the philosophy that since 1840 American education has been steadily ‘dumbed-down’. Joseph Smith attacked this trend in his day. Brigham Young and John Taylor advocated church-run schools in their day. Prophets since have emphasized the importance of a GOOD education. The dumbing-down of the school curricula has been brought to popular attention by John Taylor Gatto and others. Why and how this has happened we will not examine. We will simply state the facts and, with YOUR help, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
At present, half the population is NOT literate enough to read the Scriptures! A few years after starting our school in 1996, I did a gradation study of the Scriptures; that is, I analyzed the scriptural texts to determine grade-level reading ability required to understand them. Originally, in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, the text corresponded to 5th grade reading level. Then, redoing the analysis a few years later, according to newly published grade-level criteria, the Scriptures required 9th grade reading level. Today, I suspect it would take a college level reading level.
A case in point. A few years ago I happened to enter a Chapel during the presentation of an Adult Institute Class. I stood in the foyer eavesdropping. I was shocked at what I heard. The instructor was necessarily explaining the meaning of several words in the text because those in the class did not understand them! It was simply basic vocabulary!
Another case in point. A law professor who required his students in Constitutional Law to read The Federalist Papers. These documents produced by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton were read and easily understood by the 1780’s and 90’s American public – even the farmer on the frontier. However, the professor’s present-day class complained that they were too hard to read. The law students said they could NOT understand the Papers. The law professor quipped words to the effect: Of course not, YOU DO NOT HAVE AS GOOD AN EDUCATION AS THE ORDINARY CITIZEN of 1787.
Back then, children were taught to read by parents. They cut their literate teeth on the Bible, the very book only half – or less, of the population can read well today. WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
ERASE THE DUMBING-DOWN of the last 180 years! That is what we are about. In the 1770’s, young ones could read the Bible – 4, 5, and 6 year olds! They were instructed by parents or hired tutors or went to schools that equipped them with Latin, Greek and sometimes Hebrew, natural sciences, philosophy and classical studies. They learned advanced math. By the age of 13 or 14 they were ready to be admitted to college. The entrance exam? Translating a portion of the Bible into Greek! This equated to an 8th grade education which continued in vogue until the 1920’s, when dumbing-down led to the necessity of ‘high school’ before being able to enter a college.
We propose to revive that ‘8th grade education’, with a couple years added on for good measure. That ‘good measure’ can either be, as they did in the 1770’s, advanced collegiate type studies, or apprenticeship and preparation for self-employment in one’s own business or BOTH. We believe that this, or something very similar, should be the wave of American education now and in the future.
One LAST WORD: Back in the 1700’s they taught truth as they knew it, basically resting on Biblical principles for guidance. Today, we teach truth, basically resting on Scriptural principles for guidance.
Five Subjects: Scriptures, Language Arts, Mathematics, History+, and Sciences.
Ten Levels: Each with 180, twenty minute – or less, lessons.
(The brain learns in twenty-minute increments. Most people stop learning and remembering after twenty minutes of discourse. One item, or a few related items, in each subject each day facilitates learning.)
Learning the Scriptures and the Principles contained therein. (Jos. Smith, Jr.: I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.)
Learning to read and read well.
Learning to write and write well, including excellent penmanship and cursive.
Learning great literature.
Learning to speak and speak well, also interpersonal communication.
Learning to think! Understanding propaganda techniques.
Learning Mathematics through Calculus and Statistics.
Learning personal and family to world geography, history, culture, government types, and economic systems.
Learning sciences to an advanced level – natural, physical and technological.
So, let’s turn back the clock to ancient methods and FORWARD to again, a well-educated citizenry worthy of that appellation.
It won’t be easy. Students will have to focus and study and wort at it. But, it will be worth it.
Let’s get started. View each subject and the course level contents. Placement help and assessments are available.
ALERT: We utilize the “POTHOLE PRINCIPLE”.
The Pothole principle simply states that due to lack in a past curriculum, or because of missing a concept either due to illness or lack of attention or just plain forgetting, young persons often end-up with gaps – or to use the imagery: “Potholes” in their education. With potholes, you cannot have a smooth ride. So, we test from the very beginning of Level One in each subject, searching for Potholes. When we find one, we stop, fill-it and repair, so our students can have a smooth ride ahead. Make sense? We think so. Furthermore, the study methods we teach more readily assure retention of the knowledge studied.
No, this curriculum is NOT perfect. It has been crafted by imperfect humans. We have simply done our best and are always open to suggestions for improvement. When you find a spot you feel could be better, please advise. Thank you.