At LePort, our goal is not just to churn out erudite scholars who may happen to excel academically, but are otherwise inefficacious and unhappy. Our goal is to enable our students to develop themselves into high-minded individuals, individuals armed with the abstract knowledge, thinking skills, character traits and practical life skills that they need to become mature, capable and happy adults.
When faced with the question, “What should we teach?”, we realized that if our goal is to help our students become successful adults, and not merely academicians, some knowledge and skills are more fundamental to this goal than others. The tree of knowledge has a trunk, and it has many branches, leaves, and flowers. When deciding what to include in our curriculum, we hold that it’s the trunk that is the key—because it is what makes the rest possible. If a student has the trunk, a strong foundation in core academic content and core thinking skills, then the branches, leaves, and flowers—the child’s interests, hobbies, activities, forays into specialized knowledge and specialized skills—will naturally grow and extend upwards.
Our core curriculum focuses on language arts, and on five essential subject areas: literature, history & geography, mathematics and science.
Literature: contemplating what could be
Reading great literature gives children the opportunity to enter exciting worlds, to meet heroic characters, and to consider what’s possible in life. While studying the classics of yesterday and today, students not only improve their thinking and communication skills, but also learn important moral lessons, lessons they can use to guide their own choices. Our students learn about independence from To Kill a Mockingbird, integrity from Antigone, and heroic perseverance from The Miracle Worker. We don’t belittle our student’s intelligence by using basal readers (collections of excerpts of novels), which would rob them of the joy of reading a whole work (it is like watching just 15 minutes of your favorite movie!) We take care to choose great works of art with universally relevant conflicts and meaningful themes, works that will deepen our students’ understanding of history, our world, and other people, works that dramatize the fact that one’s choices in life have consequences, all while elevating their skill levels and broadening their interests.