LIVABLE LEARNING - Preparing the Home and the Heart
Classical Catholic

Laura Bergquist has done an excellent job of providing the framework for Classical Education in her book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum.  As Catholics we can carry that process a step farther by using the Marks of Education
as the scope of our educational framework and the Classical Catholic model as a suggested sequence This can be accomplished by:

  • anyone wishing to supplement a prepared curriculum such as Seton or Kolbe or Mother of Divine Grace

  • or by those who use another method of education such as Charlotte Mason or Montessori or unit studies

  • or by those who totally design their own curriculum.

With most homeschoolers, especially in the elementary years, the Baltimore Catechism is often the standard, something which is repeated at different levels of understanding. But what about Catholic History and Apologetics? The typical four year high school curriculum incorporates the Catechism, Bible History, Church History and Apologetics. After becoming more familiar with the Classical methods of education and its cyclical nature, I began to wonder why we couldn’t apply the same methods to Catholic education starting in the early elementary years. Most Classical programs endorse a four year repeated cycle. The four areas can be repeated in the years 1st – 4th grades, 5th-8th grades, and 9th – 12th grades. There is no need to follow a certain ordering of the four subject areas however if taught side by side with the standard Classical curriculum this may be a suggested curriculum plan:

American History


FACTS - KNOWLEDGE of Faith through Catechism

Ancient Egypt, Greece

Old Testament
Bible History

UNDERSTANDING of Faith through History

Ancient Rome/Middle Ages

New Testament
Church History

World History


WISDOM - Application of Faith through Apologetics

You may wish to start your yearly cycles with American History and the Catechism first because a wise friend once pointed out to me, it is often more helpful to start with the familiar and then work your way back to the foundations. However when homeschooling a large number of children, it works best to teach to the oldest child and the younger ones get in on the current cycle regardless of what their grade level may be. Math and Language will always be taught to each child at their appropriate grade levels, however the cultural subjects can in most cases be done together as a family study.


However, if you follow the Montessori 3-year cycle and begin with the first Montessori Great Lesson, "The Beginning of the Universe," you may want to follow this type of plan. While teaching the Catechism each year you could at the same time emphasize a deeper study into each of the following:

Year ONE: 
GREAT LESSON #1  "The Beginning of the Universe" 

Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome   

Old Testament, Bible History

Atmosphere  (air/weather)
Heliosphere  (solar system, astronomy)
Hydrosphere  (water, oceans)
Lithosphere   (land, geology)
Biosphere  (biomes)
Cryosphere  (ice)

Year TWO: 
GREAT LESSON #2 "The Coming of Life" 
GREAT LESSON #3  "The Coming of Man"

Middle Ages, World History

New Testament,  Church History

Botany, Zoology  (coming of life)
Anatomy  (coming of man)

Year THREE: 
GREAT LESSON #4 "The Story of Language"
GREAT LESSON #5  "The Story of Numbers"

American History (linking back to roots of early civilization in the coming of language)

Apologetics, Catechism

Geography, Culture  (coming of language)
Physics, Chemistry  (coming of numbers) 

This just sets a guideline for what your yearly emphasis could be. Or you could decide that each year there would be elements of all three catechetical areas:

~  Catechism
~  History (Bible & Church)
~  Apologetics

No matter how you decide to set it up - just be sure that you include all three of the key catechetical areas in the overall plan.

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