Our HLS community has so much to offer, but we realize that joining a cottage school is a big decision. Here are some things that set us apart!
We are a school, not a co-op.
Students spend the day with a paid, trained teacher. Parents drop off the students at 8:30 a.m. and pick them up at 3:30 p.m. While parents are of course welcome to help out from time to time, the school days will typically be spent without the parent present.
We have a set curriculum.
Our HLS families appreciate the fact that all the curriculum decisions are made for them. We are a licensed Highlands Latin Cottage School, which exclusively uses materials produced by Memoria Press, a classical curriculum, to ensure your child receives a rigorous, quality education that instructs them in the liberal arts and prepares them to love what is True, Good, and Beautiful. Memoria Press curriculum has a complete scope and sequence for all subjects. Families don’t have to worry if their students are making the right amount of progress in phonics, writing, or math, as each step is carefully planned out for them in advance. Therefore, families who join HLSPV agree that they will teach the Memoria Press curriculum during the rest of the week to ensure their students are prepared for our Monday classes together. HLSPV does not issue grades, but provides instruction and accountability. While most of us as families have subjects we enjoy supplementing at home (for instance, extra literature, math activities, or art classes), we make the weekly Memoria Press lessons the first priority.
We have a set schedule.
Our school year runs on a typical August-May school calendar with traditional breaks (such as Christmas and Spring Break) throughout the year. We also have a set lesson plan each week; both parents and teachers use the same lesson plan book. Teachers use the Monday lesson plans during our Monday school days, and parents agree to teach the remaining Tuesday-Friday lesson plans for that week so that everyone is ready for the next Monday class. This schedule can be so beneficial for families that need extra support and accountability in keeping everyone on track. (And let’s face it, that’s most of us!) If families need to miss a Monday class day, they are expected to stay caught up with the week’s lessons using the lesson plan book. Parents are responsible for overseeing that work is completed as assigned including following any teacher instructions for marking work, returning work to the teachers, and adhering to due dates. It is the parent and student’s responsibility to communicate proactively with teachers if there is difficulty with class material.
We are Christian.
When it comes to the Bible, the goal of our curriculum is to give students Biblical literacy through learning Bible stories and memorizing scripture. Our school is ecumenical and does not reference any specific doctrine aside from that which is found in the Apostle’s Creed. We believe that it is the parents’ duty and privilege to instruct their children in the church tradition of which they are a part. Families who are not Christian are welcome to join us, with the understanding that we do read, pray, and study the Bible, and all students are expected to respectfully participate.
We are Classical.
We are proud to offer a style of learning that has been used for centuries. Classical education passes down the great traditions of Western Civilization. Students read quality literature, study men and women from history, and learn how to think and reason. Students with a classical education become men and women of virtue and valuable members of their community. This style of learning is traditional. There are no computers or fancy games. Students use pencils, papers, and books. We teach them how to delight in those things which have meaning and substance. And yes, they do have fun! There is joy in our classrooms. But parents might need to get used to this educational method at first. They may worry that their student is “bored” or “not stimulated” with these seemingly simple methods of teaching. We can assure you, this could not be further from the truth. Your child will be challenged and engaged, because the ideas they are wrestling with provide rich food for him or her to feast upon.
We advise HLS families, then, to use prudence when supplementing studies at home through the use of apps or computer games. Technology certainly has its place and can be a valuable resource when used appropriately, but we have found that students make less of a connection with the material when they use the computer rather than using a pencil and paper to learn new information and formulate their thoughts. The fast-paced nature of many computer resources bombards children with images and sounds, and it does not give the student time to dwell on the information being presented, or to take it in slowly and thoroughly ruminate on what they are learning. Much like the tortoise in Aesop’s famous fable, we believe that “slow and steady wins the race”!
Required Student Participation
HLSPV hosts two events outside of school that require the participation of all students. Students are required to attend and participate in the annual Christmas Cantata event that is hosted on a weeknight at a separate location in the early month of December. This event is a beautiful Christmas performance in which the students learn and sing Latin hymns, play handbells, recite Scripture verses, and are encouraged to perform a solo vocal or musical number.
At the end of the academic year all students attend the Recitation Night. The students recite much of what they have learned throughout the year such as Scripture verses, classical art pieces, Latin, poetry, etc. We also set up an art gallery display of all the art pieces the Grammar & Upper School grades have completed in the 2nd semester of the school year.
We have a Statement of Faith.
Holding traditional values to the highest standard among our staff and administration is a top priority and as Christians called to this specific vocation we confess that this can only be accomplished through the wisdom of the Scriptures and guidance from the Holy Spirit. While we do not discriminate based on religious background or upbringing we do ask that patrons of our school community acknowledge our beliefs in the following:
The words of the Apostles’ Creed
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
Concerning marriage and family life, we believe that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman as defined in the book of Genesis 2:18-24.
Concerning gender, we believe that the God of Genesis created man and woman, that His creation of male and female is perfect and complete and full of beauty as He designed them. We further believe redefining gender in opposition to God’s original design is against the law of God and therefore we do not support this, and cannot, as Christians, entertain this behavior in our school. (Genesis 2)
Questions for family discussion:
- Do you agree with what we teach? HLSPV uses Memoria Press curriculum, Novare Science, and traditional math texts. We emphasize Latin, the cultures of Greece and Rome, and the connectedness of all learning through the liberal arts and Great Books. The liberal arts are the universal linguistic and mathematical skills that prepare students to become independent learners. The Great Books are the means by which we pass on the cultural heritage of the Christian West. In the early years, HLSPV provides students with the classical skills (reading, writing, and arithmetic) that will serve them as they age and deepen their studies. Courses build upon one another from year to year so that by high school students are well equipped to participate meaningfully across all areas of study.
- Do you agree with how we teach? HLSPV is a traditional, teacher-led tutorial. Students sit at tables facing the teacher. The teacher leads the students in discussion and assignments. Classrooms are orderly. Students are expected to attend, participate, and complete all assigned work. We emphasize the delight that comes from learning and knowing worthy things.
- Do you agree with why we teach? Classical education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue through the study of the liberal arts and the Great Books. It is an education in the true, the good, and the beautiful. HLSPV’s purpose is articulated best in our mission: In partnership with parents, and guided by the Gospel, we seek to educate students to the highest standards of the classical tradition, so that they may grow in knowledge, wisdom, and the love of Our Lord, and more ably use their gifts in the service of others, and for the glory of Christ and his Church.