Our Savior Lutheran School's academic curriculum meets or exceeds the best public schools can offer. Our Savior offers G/T students what they crave and need, the best that has been thought, written, or spoken.
Students coming from G/T programs to Our Savior do quite well after a period of adjustment. Moreover, they enjoy Our Savior's curriculum more because it challenges them in ways that the G/T programs do not. Latin is a particular highlight as well the quality literature we read in class.
Comparing curriculum to curriculum, Our Savior compares favorably. For example, many schools use "Everyday Math" published by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project ("UCSMP"). Our Savior uses Saxon Math. A 1997 study comparing several math programs found Saxon Math to be the best of the programs surveyed and "Everyday Math" to be the worst.
After having looked closely at these materials, my ranking from first to last is Saxon . . . with UCSMP a distant last. In more detail, I rank Saxon . . . as solidly acceptable . . . and UCSMP unacceptable.
The same is true for language arts as many schools use basal readers in lower elementary grades. Basal readers contain excerpts of various forms of literature and they are edited to adjust for reading level (i.e., lowering level of difficulty). Literature is introduced after reading competency is achieved. There is no separate study of English grammar in the lower grades. Language Arts and Literature are taught together in reading classes.
Our Savior Lutheran does not rely on basal readers. Students learn to read through a phonics based reading program that allows them to encounter quality literature earlier and challenges them to stretch their vocabularies and imagination. In addition, the study of English grammar takes place at an accelerated pace at Our Savior. Shurley English gives our students a head start at English mastery.
In addition, the study of Latin works in concert with Our Savior's language arts curriculums to build vocabulary, precision, and an eye for detail in every student. It also benefits them in other subjects by laying a foundation for math and logic skills and the study of multiple foreign languages. The study of Latin is part of the core curriculum at Our Savior for grades 3 through 8, and is introduced at the pre-school level. Moreover, our students delight in knowing an Ancient tongue no one is "supposed" to know.
These three areas make Language Arts at Our Savior unsurpassed in importance to the curriculum and excellence in our students.
So many schools today teach Social Studies curriculum in lower elementary years. "Real" history is not encountered until 5th grade. From 5th through 8th grades, students study Texas History, U.S. History, and World Geography. Unfortunately, this approach is like opening a book at Chapter 37 and expecting to understand what is happening. Our Savior takes a different approach by implementing a sequential study of history that will take our students through the entire scope of world history and geography twice by the completion of eighth grade.
Students from K through 8 use songs, motions, and chants to memorize the Antiquitas Centum ("History 100"), the critical 100 events in world history. They love the songs and learning about the stories that make up our history. Our goal is to give them a framework of history that will stay with them all their lives.
Starting in Grade 2, students encounter the great ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Each year, students discover new eras of history as the story unfolds and culminates with the Modern era in Fifth grade. In Grade 6, the cycle starts anew as students from Grades 6 - 8 travel through time once more, building on the knowledge they learned before and further developing their understanding of how history forms one great story.
Instead of encountering Texas and American history as separate subjects, completely disjointed from the whole picture, Our Savior's students encounter them as an integral part to the great story of history.
Most critically, Our Savior offers students opportunities to be nurtured by the love of Jesus Christ, to read His Word, and hear His Gospel. We do not believe any child can be truly educated without knowing God and the transcendent reality of the good, true, and beautiful. Ironically, even children in public schools will experience those things that can only come from God (it is impossible not to), but they are prohibited from exploring or even recognizing their source in the classroom.
By contrast, when a child at Our Savior recognizes that because God exists, 2+2=4, recites the Ten Commandments from memory, sees God's plan develop through History, translates a Psalm in Latin, or uses science as a tool to explore and discover God's creation, we rejoice.