Redeemer Classical School uses several criteria to determine whether to accept a child’s application for our school. Since class sizes are limited, we will give additional weight to applications with these characteristics, and in this order:
- Applicants whose families are members in good standing of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne.
- Applicants whose families are members in good standing at a sister Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations.
- Siblings of students who are already enrolled.
We do not place students into a specific class based on age, but based on developmental readiness and academic preparation. Since traditional schooling is so weak, even in many schools “with a good reputation,” we are developing our own criteria for class placement, and using our own names for each class grouping rather than the modern “kindergarten, first grade, second grade,” and so on. This is common in high-quality international schooling.
The basic milestones we expect students to master before entering a certain form are as follows.
Form A (ages 5-7)
This is the entrance form, in which students will learn the basics of how to read and begin simple arithmetic, and spend a half-day in school at Redeemer. All children are not ready for formal schooling at age four or five, although most American schools act as if this is so. For many children, it is best to wait to begin formal schooling until age six or seven, especially for boys, who on average are a year behind the average girls in ability to sit still and focus, and process sustained study over several hours.
Many high-performing foreign countries delay children’s formal schooling until age six or seven, and the children lose nothing and gain much by giving them time to enter school when ready. Parents should evaluate whether their anxiety to push children into formal schooling early really serves their child or their own self-esteem, and consider that children pushed into schooling too early quickly become resistant to it right at about the time formal study should begin to open itself to them if they had waited — approximately age seven or eight. We expect that most students ready to enter form A will be age six or seven, and five-year-old readiness will be more rare.
To enter Form A, therefore, we require, among other things, that children:
- Be able to recognize at least 15 letters of the alphabet.
- Be able to count to at least 20.
- Be able to sit and attend to a lesson for at least 15 minutes.
- Enjoy coloring and other fine-motor activities such as lacing, playing piano, or building with Legos.
- Be able to sort by color and shape.
- Can work independently.
- Can draw circles, lines, and a few letters and numbers.
- Has memorized several simple songs, poems, and Bible verses.
These are all items that children in a typical well-functioning home will learn through natural play and interaction with their parents, with no need to flashcard or drill. Redeemer Classical School is not a remedial school and thus does not teach school readiness, but expects it of students before entering. We do plan to in the future create sister schools better suited for needy families whose children need extra attention before beginning formal schooling.
Form B (approximately ages 6-8)
This half-day form is for children who have learned to read and perform some basic arithmetic at home but are not yet ready to spend a full day in academic pursuits. There is no shame in this; children need an “on-ramp” to develop their ability to apply more effort to academics, and young children need many, many hours of unstructured play time. They should not be deprived of it, as this will help them in future academics better than early institutionalization. Extensive open play time is crucial for a child’s future emotional security, physical development, and academic enjoyment.
To enter Form B, we require that children:
- Be able to read. Extensive reading fluency is not required, but a well-developed basic ability to decode words using phonics is. In other words, they must be able to “sound it out” through a full yet appropriately brief story.
- Recognize and be able to write all the letters of the alphabet, both capital and lowercase letters.
- Be able to write short words in print.
- Be able to match rhyming words.
- Know how to add and subtract within 100, without great difficulty.
- Be able to write numbers up to 100, and tell which number is bigger or smaller when comparing two up to 100.
- Recognize place value for ones, tens, and hundreds.
Form 1 (approximately ages 7-9)
This is the form in which we begin full-day instruction. In this form, students will study Latin more formally, learn cursive, and begin fluency in the more complex of the four arithmetic operations (multiplication and division). This is when academics become more serious and absorbing, and a more significant pull on a child’s time and attention.
To enter Form 1, we expect students, among other things, to be able to:
- Take dictation and copy full sentences neatly in print.
- Correctly punctuate sentence endings, including interrogative, declarative, and exclamatory.
- Identify the basic eight parts of speech.
- Be able to add and subtract thousands and fewer.
- Know their multiplication tables through 15s.
- Be familiar with basic fractions and decimals.
- Understand area, perimeter, and volume.
Form 2 (approximately ages 8-10)
To enter Form 2, we expect students, among other things, to be able to:
- Be able to diagram a simple sentence.
- Use correct punctuation and capitalization.
- Know how to write in cursive.
- Give a simple verbal and written narration for a classic children’s tale.
- Have been introduced to multiplication and division, and able to divide a multi-digit number by one divisor and multiply multi-digit numbers by two-digit numbers, both using the standard algorithms.
- Understand place value through millions.
- Be able to read and calculate using charts.
- Be familiar with basic biblical stories (Adam and Eve, the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ birth, etc.) and ancient myths (Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, Egypt, Mesopotamia, etc.).
Forms 3 and 4 (approximately ages 9-11 and 10-12)
For fall 2017 we are compiling a wait-list of interested students who would be eligible for these forms. You enter the wait-list by completing our application form for the child and selecting its “Form 3” or “Form 4” option. If we have enough applicants by May 2017, we will hire a teacher to offer these forms in the fall. We will give applicants a verbal and written pre-enrollment exam and ask to see samples of recently completed student work that demonstrates proficiency in the following manner.
- Have completed Saxon 54 Math, Singapore Math 4A and 4B, or equivalent, and take Saxon’s math placement exam. Must be fully fluent in all four arithmetical operations and times tables.
- Have completed quality elementary-level ancient and medieval history courses, such as those from Story of The World or of Greenleaf Press’s Famous Men series.
- Demonstrate a composition ability at Level A of the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s “Teaching Writing, Structure, and Style.
- Be able to give an oral narration of a recently read classic children’s book.
- Be able to demonstrate basic familiarity with beginning Latin vocabulary and grammar.
- Have completed Saxon 65 Math, Singapore Math 5A and 5B, or equivalent, and take Saxon’s math placement exam.
- Have completed quality elementary-level ancient, medieval, and Renaissance history courses, such as those from Story of The World or of Greenleaf Press’s Famous Men series.
- Demonstrate a composition ability at Level B of the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s “Teaching Writing, Structure, and Style.
- Be able to give an oral narration of a recently read classic children’s book.
- Be able to demonstrate basic familiarity with beginning-intermediate Latin vocabulary and grammar.
If we do not open these forms in fall 2017, we will open them in fall 2018. If we have opened them in fall 2017, we will only open Form 5 in fall 2018.
Redeemer Classical School will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national or ethnic origin in its admission policies, grants scholarships, athletic, or other school-sponsored programs.