What is the Curriculum for Classical Education?

Classical education is the teaching of students in the pattern of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These three elements of learning within the curriculum are often referred to as stages.  Instruction at Sacred Heart will focus on the grammar and logic stages.

  • Students at the grammar stage (typically grades K–5) learn the building blocks and foundational knowledge of a subject.
  • Students in grades 6–8 then learn the logic, the organization of information within a particular subject, focusing on analysis and understanding of relationships within the content, and the development of critical thinking skills.
  • Students in grades 9–12 learn rhetoric, the written and oral expression of opinion based on what has been learned.

For example, if students are learning about Abraham Lincoln, the grammar stage would involve the memorization of facts about his life, where he lived, when he was president, and why he is an important figure in American history.  As students develop the ability to think more abstractly during the logic stage, they learn how his upbringing impacted his worldview, why the Gettysburg Address endures to this day, what values Lincoln held that led him to end slavery, and how his assassination affected Reconstruction.  As students advance their ability to think abstractly in the rhetoric stage, they begin to formulate their own thoughts and opinions through discussion, debate, speech, and essays based on their foundational knowledge they acquired at the previous stages.  Students might discuss the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation on foreign and domestic policies, or produce an analysis of how Lincoln’s debates with Stephen Douglass propelled the Republicans to national prominence.1

A Commitment to Homework

In addition to promoting good study habits, homework provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in the educational progress of their children. Homework will be assigned on a regular basis within the following general guidelines for the average student:

Primary Grades (K–2)            15–30 minutes

Intermediate Grades (3–5)     30–45 minutes

Upper Level Grades (6–8)      60–90 minutes

Each day, students should spend time at home reading, reviewing information, studying, practicing recitations, or completing long-term assignments. In addition to daily studies, homework should be completed by the student by the assigned due date. Homework that is not completed on time may be given a grade reduction or may require the student to stay after school. Students in the sixth through eighth grades will receive a demerit if work is not completed on time. Homework completed by a person other than the student turning it in will result in a zero for the assignment.

If there are any questions about homework your child is asked to complete, please contact the teacher. If a child is having difficulty completing homework or spending excessive time completing homework, parents should notify the teacher and discuss possible alternatives and/or solutions.

For more information regarding the Homework Policy, please refer to Sacred Heart Catholic School Family Handbook (pg. 8-9).




Report Cards

Report cards are issued each quarter. Each student is evaluated according to his/her progress and effort. Parents should be particularly interested in the growth of desirable habits and attitudes. Steady and consistent growth in these areas help promote better academic progress. Grades on report cards are final. Parents are asked to view and discuss their child’s report card with him/her and sign and return the envelope to school.


Progress Reports

Reports will be issued near the midpoint of each quarter. Progress reports must be signed and returned to school.  Parents are asked to view and discuss their child’s progress report with him/her, sign and return the envelope to school.


A – Highly Satisfactory



A + 99–100% Work is of excellent quality; neat, original, completed on time

Student is consistent and methodical in doing extra credit or supplementary work, reports or activities

Superior degree of classroom participation, worthwhile contributions

A 95–98%
A- 93–94 %
B – Doing Well Qualities
B+ 91–92% Work is of high quality; neat and completed on time

Student completes some supplementary work, reports or activities

Above average classroom participation

B 87–90%
B- 85–86%
Satisfactory Qualities
C+ 83–84% Work completed on time; moderate quality, neat

Does not work beyond classroom assignments

Good classroom participation

C 79–82%
C- 77–78%
D – Needs Improvement Qualities
D+ 75–76% Assignments do not meet quality requirements and/or are not completed on time

Work lacks neatness, originality and content

Inadequate classroom participation

D 72–74%
D- 70–71%
F – Failing Qualities
Below 70% Fails to meet minimum requirements of the subject matter




A student will be promoted or retained according to his/her growth and mastery of the necessary material for each grade level.  A student who does not complete the required work for a particular grade may be retained in that grade level and be given an additional year to learn the material.  If a student is being considered for retention, conferences will be held with the student, parents, teachers, and school administrators.



The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) will be administered in the spring for grades 3-7.  ITBS tests are standardized tests that can measure learning, but are not the only indicators of academic achievement.  Score reports will be distributed prior to the end of the school year.


Honor Roll & Principal’s List

The Honor Roll is published at the end of each quarter for grades 4-8. The Honor Roll will include those students who maintain a B or higher in each of their classes: religion, reading, English, math, science, social studies, art, music, Latin, and PE. Students who maintain at least an A in each of those classes will be included on the Principal’s List.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents are encouraged to communicate regularly with each child’s teacher(s). Parent-Teacher Conferences serve as one excellent opportunity for communication with teachers regarding student progress. Conferences allow teachers and parents to share successes of each student as well as concerns. Parents/guardians are expected to attend scheduled conferences, held in the fall and spring. A parent is required to attend a conference with their child’s teacher in the fall. Spring conferences are optional. Additional conferences may be requested by parents or teachers.