Language Arts Curriculum
God speaks. In Scripture he speaks through the prophets and psalmists, through evangelists and apostles -- and he has preserved these words in written form for our instruction. As A.W. Tozer writes, "He is by His nature continuously articulate."1 Scripture describes Jesus Himself in literary terms: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). God's very nature compels us to study language arts!
While we revere the Bible as the greatest book -- the inspired and infallible Word by which all other words are judged -- we also value the literature compiled by skillful, insightful writers over thousands of years. In our technologically focused culture, we want our students to treasure the common grace revealed in quality literature to inspire them to become life-long readers.
Our mission in teaching language arts is to train students in the skillful use and appreciation of language, both written and spoken, within its historical and cultural context. Our curriculum includes reading (phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension), literary analysis, composition, and oral delivery. Most importantly, we urge our students to read and write biblically, reminding them to consider every word "in the penetrating light of the Bible."2
At the elementary level we strive to provide students with a balanced approach to literacy, one that includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. We introduce the gift of literature to our early readers -- at first by reading to them and by encouraging them to choose well-written literature to read themselves. We introduce them to the various genres of literature while helping them critique each work from a biblical worldview. By employing phonetic, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies, students grow in becoming competent and independent readers. Our goal in composition is that students will progressively learn fundamental writing skills, learning to glorify God by expressing themselves fluently and effectively in their own voice and style.
At the middle school level we complete the formal study of grammar. As the students’ capacity for self-expression and reasoning grows, we encourage them toward deeper analysis and discussion of literature. We expand and develop the building blocks of composition in each form of writing.
At the high school level we capitalize on the students' maturing intellect by grounding them in the principles of rhetoric and refining their ability to analyze and enjoy literature. Throughout the high school curriculum students practice the art of oral discourse, hone their skills in several genres of writing, and read and reflect on great works of literature. And as their final Covenant Life School assignment, seniors are expected to demonstrate mastery of written and oral communication in their Senior Thesis3.
As Scripture exhorts us, the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart should always be pleasing to the Lord (Psalm 19:14). So while our primary concern as an academic institution is the language of the mouth, our spiritual responsibility as a disciple-making institution is the workings of the heart. We will have achieved our mission if our graduates can communicate incisively and truthfully, guided by biblical discernment and motivated to glorify God.
1. A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), p. 69
2. Frank Gaebelein, The Pattern of God’s Truth (Whittier, CA: Association of Christian Schools International, 1968), p. 69.
3. The Senior Thesis is a culminating project in which the students solicit evaluation by his or her parents, teachers and peers. The students summarize and incorporate this feedback as they reflect on what they have learned in their high school career and set goals for the next five years in the areas of further study, spiritual growth, and vocational pursuits.