A Classical Curriculum
Trivium School’s course of studies is based on the classical understanding of the liberal arts: the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, which are the arts of the mind and language, and the quadrivium of sciences and mathematics, which are the arts of matter and quantity.
In the fixed curriculum at Trivium School there is a unique emphasis on the intellectual skills and habits that prepare the student for life-long learning. The first two years concentrate on the grammar of the subjects: their structure and objective characteristics. The middle years emphasize the logic or relationships of these characteristics. The final two years bring out the student’s creative and synthetic capabilities through the art of rhetoric, leading him to master and communicate what he has learned.
The specific learning method most appropriate to the Trivium curriculum is Socratic discussion. Students at Trivium learn to think for themselves most effectively when encouraged to participate actively in their own intellectual formation. The School emphasizes reading and subsequent discussion of primary texts. Students gain a rich and deep understanding of the “Great Works” by discussing these texts under the careful direction of their tutors. Trivium graduates enter college with minds already provoked by the seminal ideas of great thinkers, ready to articulate and defend the reasons for their own intellectual positions.
The crowning of the rhetoric phase is the presentation of the Senior Thesis. Every senior prepares an original paper, developing a controversial proposition according to the traditional form of the disputatio. The student then presents this Senior Thesis orally before the other students, tutors, parents, and invited guests. Every Senior Thesis provokes a lively debate among members of the audience. The senior is expected to defend his thesis capably in these debates.
The Fine Arts
The appreciation of the beautiful is a distinctly human gift. Beauty can transform man at the very core of his being. Trivium students not only learn the theory that underlies beautiful works, but they themselves also produce beautiful works. All the students participate in the visual arts program that includes sculpture, painting, and architecture. They participate in the chorus or chorale, performing serious polyphonic works. In addition, all students take part in the drama program, producing several plays or a musical every trimester.
(We recommend Dorothy Sayers’ essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning. “)
All Trivium students participate in the School’s intramural athletic program. Students gain discipline and practice sportsmanship by playing soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball. Many students also participate in the School sponsored teams that take part in youth soccer and basketball leagues.