The ILS Upper School History program seeks to develop historical consciousness in all students. At appropriate ages and stages, students will master the requisite factual information of the lesson, but will also practice critical thinking by making comparisons and discerning contrasts. As classes reflect upon our indebtedness to the past, and, ultimately, our faith in Christ as Lord of history, students will be able to relate their study of history to the other academic disciplines and (hopefully!) grow in their love for history as it reflects truth, beauty, and goodness in the context of other bodies of knowledge. At ILS, history studies emphasize the historical development of Western Civilization without neglecting to explore the manifold connections between Western culture and the rest of the world.
ILS Upper School students spend a year on each of the following time periods in rotation:
Ancient Times areas and periods of study include: the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations; Hammurabi and the Babylonians; the ancient Hebrew culture; the Assyria empire; far eastern civilizations India and China; the early Greek period; the Medes and Persians; Alexander the Great; the Roman republic and empire periods; the rise of Christianity; and the collapse of the Roman empire.
Middle Ages areas and periods of study include: High, Middle and Late Medieval England; the Byzantine Empire; the rise of Islam; Medieval China and India; Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire; the Ottoman Empire; the Renaissance; the Reformation; the Age of Exploration; the Scientific Revolution.
The Early Modern Times period of study include: colonization of North America; Wars of Religion; the English Civil War; French Kingship; the rise of Prussia; British colonial America and the Founding of the United States; and the French Revolution.
The Modern Times course covers topics such as British Imperialism; the American Civil War; French Republicanism; Russian Imperialism; European and Asian Nationalism; the Mexican Revolution; World Wars I & II; Communism and the Cold War; and more.
The study of Latin encourages the student to grow in and practice analytical and problem solving skills, logic, form, observation, expression, judgment, and creativity. The ILS Upper School Latin curriculum begins in 3rd grade, and continues to build in 4th through 6th grade. Classes are designed to help students sharpen their language skills and further their ability to learn other languages, including English grammar and vocabulary (which is integrally related). As students mature, they prepare for translating original text in 8th grade.
Mathematics at ILS is built on a foundation of factual knowledge. As students grow, however, they use this knowledge to understand and interact with mathematical relationships. Daily math class provides students with the calculation and problem-solving skills needed for higher math. Students drill on basic facts practice regularly, as well as mental math skills, so that they will have the ability to apply these skills to everyday math. Students will be able to complete a daily math lesson of new and review material, and, as lessons are checked, make corrections accordingly. Students are expected to ask questions in class when they do not understand what is being taught or practiced. Foster enthusiasm and to build a sense of “mathematics wonder,” scholars are frequently called upon to solve mathematical puzzles and riddles. Mathematics class is also a time for students to learn about the history of great mathematical contributions and thinkers.
The Saxon mathematics curriculum is an incremental approach to teaching math facts, skills and problem-solving that allows students to learn, practice and retain information gradually. As skills are learned, daily review helps students maintain what has been studied throughout the year. Students must be able to explain, illustrate and write out or explain the procedure for arriving at the correct solution.
Just as early Christian scientists made observations and studies of the world around them as a way to glorify God, so too will students make a practice of using their skills of observation, recording, research, and written and verbal communication to understand and appreciate the beauty of God’s Creation. Biographies of early scientists will be read to help students become aware of the foundations of science as it applies to our studies today, and students will practice the skill of research to find information for class projects. Student progress is marked frequently with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a sense of discovery.
Our youngest students are led on an exploration of a wide study of chemistry and physics through a Christian worldview. As they mature, classes will trace the history of science through the ages by looking at the most influential people of science and their contributions dating back to Ancient Egypt and Greece, through the Dark and Middle Ages, then bringing us to the current views and topics of Earth Science today. The Scientific Method is evaluated and practiced, simple machines and the study of the earth are central, and Creation is supported, and Evolution discredited, in the textbook and supporting materials used for this course. Students will frequently participate in experiments, oral reading, and class discussions. Class assignments include answering text comprehension and review questions and writing Experiment Reports. Homework is kept to a minimum; however students are encouraged to read and research science topics as their interest is piqued.
Logic is an exciting class for an ILS student—not only is it a unique hallmark of their education, but it effectively serves as a playground for their growing minds. It is a key tool of discernment that students may use throughout their lives. Inspired by the thought of learning to argue well, students will be continually guided from 5th-8th grade to increasingly sophisticated levels of argumentation.
5th and 6th grade scholars study logic informally, focusing on critical thinking skills and identifying common conversational fallacies. Their classes will range from analyzing opposing viewpoints to following evidence to a conclusion (the great Murder Mystery is a very popular event!) to identifying fallacies in stories and articles. At this stage of development, classes are lively and especially designed to familiarize students with logical terminology
7th and 8th grade embark on the world of formal logic. Students practice their burgeoning logic skills by engaging in informal debates designed to hone their reasoning abilities. They will learn about logical relationships as well as the basics of both creating and deciphering arguments embedded in conversation; they will even begin to logically analyze an argument. Most importantly, students will be asked to analyze their own opinions and thoughts logically, and to learn the crucial skills of graciousness and charity in the art of argumentation.
Emphasizing depth, students in the Upper School read a variety of classic works related to a theme. Students read a variety of books in class, engage in extensive dialog about the book, and learn to write concise and appropriate responses to the reading material. By engaging in quality literature, students will be exposed to great ideals and challenge their moral imaginations to expand. Literature is a way to explore stories of humanity, and as such, should be a way for students to find and discuss Biblical truths in the human experience.
As students begin to enter the logic stage of their development, they will begin to read literature selections more critically. While the grammar stage helps students master the basics of reading and memorization of plot etc., the logic stage is a time when students will start to pull apart what they have read and start to ask “Why?” This will be accomplished through a lot of conversation on the material. Students will participate in summarizing, comparing and contrasting, drawing out hypotheticals, evaluating the effects of the book, discerning what is and isn’t important, observing the way an author constructs his story. Students will be expected to employ knowledge from other classes. Literature is a discussion-based class, as a great way to foster thoughtfulness, reflection and a sense of community. In addition to dialog, students will keep book journals to summarize, take notes on the elements of literature mechanics, and record their responses to the novels.
This course is designed to help students master the English language, so that they will be prepared to use language logically and winsomely. This course covers grammar, spelling and writing. In spelling, students will complete workbooks designed to help them transform the rules of phonics and reading to their own writing. As students prepare to enter the logic stage in 5th grade, grammar and writing studies will merge. Students will learn all the parts of speech, rules of capitalization and punctuation, and the basic forms of paragraph and essay composition. They will begin to study how words fit together to form clauses and sentences. Students will summarize books and materials from literature and other classes in writing, and will be expected to do so while also following the rules of grammar. They will continue to improve handwriting skills by occasionally taking dictation. As students begin to enter the logic stage of their development, writing and grammar will cease to revolve around mastering the basics, and will focus more on putting learned skills into practice.
Students will learn a variety of skills applicable to a variety of games, including fitness exercises, cricket, basketball skills, handball and team handball, dance, volleyball, lacrosse, baseball and softball, track and field and more. Students have the opportunity to practice these skills in competitions against one another and teams from other schools at the end of each sport.
Middle school students are taught how the facts they learned in grammar school logically related to one another. Adolescent movers will be trained to apply their mature manipulative skills strategically in a variety of team and individual sports. They will be instructed in different offenses and defenses and when it is best to choose which one. They will be put in situations where they would have to decide what is best for their team based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players they have, as well as the personnel that their opponent has. As they assess their own play in each distinct sport, they should also plan and implement a “fitness and skills” program to help them individually improve and corporately contribute. Students will be instructed more specifically so that their mature motor skills might become sport skills.
Music classes at Immanuel will develop each student’s ability to sing, read, and play music primarily through the musically rich offerings of Lutheran hymnody and choral literature. Students will have both soloistic and ensemble opportunities to discover their God-given musical gifts, participating accordingly in a number of the traditional school and church functions throughout the academic year. In both smaller class settings and various combined grade levels, students will become more aware of their own contribution to and responsibility for the Church’s song, recognizing the truth, beauty, and goodness theologically inherent within the songs of the Lutheran faith and embracing this responsibility as an opportunity for love and service toward their neighbor.
Students in 5th-8th grades improve their choral singing skills through regular sight-singing, harmonizing in parts, and practicing healthy habits in diction, intonation, and resonance as their voices change. Students improve their listening skills through our weekly Composer/Composition analysis, through which they discover musical form and characteristics of music from different time periods. Students learn how to identify musical instruments and motifs through such listening. Students perform and create music in both duple and compound meters, including subdividing. Students also learn to analyze a piece of music for its key signature and meter through their more advanced understanding of musical notation.