Curriculum Overview

The Roger Bacon Academy teaches a classical curriculum espousing the values of traditional western civilization and founded on the belief that one must be able to communicate one’s ideas clearly and understand the communications of others.

To this end, all communication must be grounded upon commonly understood and agreed-upon rules. Only when these rules are learned can one strive to communicate new ideas that may lie beyond the rules’ abilities and thereby create new, more powerful means of communication.

In literature, for example, the progression of skills and knowledge of rules from handwriting to vocabulary, from vocabulary to grammar to composition and, finally, from composition to personal expression cannot be shortened. Omitting any step in this progression invites miscommunication and erroneous understandings.

An analogous progression exists in art, in music, in drama, in mathematics, in science, and in every human endeavor to express ideas – regardless of the medium of expression or the subject of the expression.

The Academy’s curriculum is structured to learn the established rules and to develop the skills for using the tools for expression – whether a word-processor for literature, a paint brush for art, a chisel for sculpture, or an experiment for science.

Along with skill development, the curriculum ties examples – both classical and contemporary – of techniques for expressions from our world. For example, the artistic expressions of the hunter-gatherers’ cave paintings, the works of Caravaggio, and Impressionists such as Van Gogh are studied. The literary works of Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Hemmingway as well as scientific thoughts of Bacon, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein in science are examples of recognized expressions of our universe.

These men all sought, by one medium or another, to express their understanding of some bit of truth about our universe and thereby improve our ability to exist within it.

The combination of learning rule-based methods for expression and error-free communication with examples drawn from our civilization prepares you for life-long learning and for contributing to your generation and to those generations of the future.

Character and Values

The Roger Bacon Academy strives to inculcate the four classical virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance and the three virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  Each person associated with the Academy—student, faculty, or staff—is accountable for ensuring that his or her actions exemplify, and are in accord with, these virtues.

It has been said that virtue is its own reward.  The Academy desires that every student be able to attest to the truth of this statement through his or her own experience.  One’s very life is the ultimate expression of their understanding of the universe and simultaneously underpins and overshadows any particular expressive work, such as a book or a painting.

The Academy specifically rejects the notions of cultural relativism and of a value-free, judgment-free society.  The Academy teaches that absolutes and universal truths exist by which judgments can and must be rendered.


History: A Systematic, Four-Year Framework for All Subjects

The Academy employs an integrated chronological approach in its curriculum.   History is divided into four time periods as a framework within which literature, art, music, and drama exercises correspond with the historical period being studied. This means that synchronous, period-related material is taught in each subject. When teaching science and math, theory is taught by historical period as well. In this way, each subject is informing the others and provides comprehensive understanding. 

The Academy’s classical curriculum follows the four-year cycle illustrated in the adjacent table. An example of this application in history and literature would be a first grader studying a leveled book of the Iliad that shows the events, dates, names, and places. In fifth grade, the student reads a middle-grade adapted version that explores the causes and effects of the various actors. By the time the student reaches high school, the Iliad itself will be well-received as a basis for in-depth study.

The primary focus shown in the table is only a guide and any stage can occur in any grade depending upon the particular topic and circumstance.   



Trivium Grammar Stage Trivium Logic Stage  Trivium Rhetoric Stage
 Primary Focus
  • Events
  • Dates
  • Places
  • People
  • Cause/Effect
  • Need/Action
  • Cost/Benefit
  • Innovate/Stable
  • Ethos/Authority
  • Logos/Reason
  • Pathos/Emotion


Ancients, Greco-Roman
3500 BC – 476AD
Grade 1 Grade 5 Grade 9
Medieval/ Renaissance
410 – 1493
Grade 2 Grade 6 Grade 10
Renaissance/Early Modern
1453 – 1861
Grade 3 Grade 7 Grade 11
Early Modern/Modern
1850 – Now
Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12


Subjects Integrated


    • Rigorous Writing and Grammar Program

    • Saxon Math

    • A comprehensive Science program

    • Classical History program

    • Cursive (grades 1-4)

    • Latin (grades 4-8)

    • Public Speaking

    • Debate

    • Drama

    • Robust extracurricular program


Language— the Gateway

Our language is the gateway through which most of our learning occurs; it is the principal vehicle for conveying our ideas and is the cornerstone of The Academy’s curriculum.


Expressing one’s ideas by language begins with a legible script. Penmanship is graded throughout the curriculum in all subjects.


Next, spelling and word meanings are emphasized in vocabulary studies that encompass words from the sciences and the arts.


The rules of grammar are learned and applied to the construction of sentences, and finally the structural rules for paragraphs and essays are introduced.  In addition to these factors being taught and practiced in “English class,” they are graded in each work of the student, whether a history paper, science report, or geography homework.


George Orwell said, “Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence.  He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered.”

Academy students are taught the challenge and enjoyment that comes from skillfully crafting a well-structured written expression of their ideas.


Latin is the language of Western Civilization. Latin was the language which defined and produced our culture. Learning it will preserve its meaning, as students of Latin will be able to read foundational classics in their original forms. Careers in Science, Law, Government, Logic, and Theology rely on Latin. Learning the language improves learning in all subjects, as once students master one system, they learn how to think systematically and approach any new subject with enhanced learning skills. Famed author and translator, Dorothy Sayers, offers this quote, “The best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least 50 percent.”

Latin students perform exceptionally on standardized tests and are sought after by competitive colleges. Further, Latin is the best foundation on which to acquire new languages, as it makes up about 80 percent of the vocabulary of Romance languages. For this reason, learning Latin increases English vocabulary and revolutionizes the understanding of grammar. This produces enhanced writing skills.


“All science requires mathematics.  The knowledge of mathematical things is almost innate in us … This is the easiest of sciences, a fact which is obvious in that no one’s brain rejects it; for laymen and people who are utterly illiterate know how to count and reckon.”  Roger Bacon, Opus Maius, Oxford, pt. 4, ch. 1 (1267).

While there may be some who feel that Friar Bacon should be booed from the stage of history for such a remark, algebra was just being introduced to the West from its Islamic roots and so probably was not encompassed by Bacon’s meaning of mathematics.  Additionally, Bacon felt compelled to make this remark because mathematics was originally derived not for use by the sciences but for use in commerce and trade.  This requirement remains to this day, and everyone must develop a facility with mathematics in order merely to participate in our economy.

The Academy begins the introduction of the ideas of symbolic manipulation of numbers at the earliest possible moment.  The powerful and well-proven traditional mathematics series written by John Saxon is used by the Academy with supplemental exercises from the arts and sciences.  The award-winning television documentary “Stand and Deliver” was about an inner-city mathematics teacher whose barrio students won competitive acclaim for their achievements.  Saxon’s texts were credited for their successes.

Science: Cooperative Process of Discovery 

Science is taught as science is actually practiced— as a cooperative process of guided discovery that operates under a well-established and agreed-upon set of traditions known as the scientific method— as is the intent of the NC SCS Science Competencies. 

Whenever practical, a fact of science is learned by experimentally testing the theoretical hypothesis by student teams.  These teams then present their findings at “conferences” and decide whether the hypothesis in question should be accepted, rejected, or retested as dictated by the experimental evidence they have gathered. 

In this way, students experience science – the satisfaction of cooperation, the excitement of discovery, and the discipline of rigorous observation – as it is practiced in the professional world.  As Roger Bacon emphasized, the goal of science is to produce trustworthy knowledge.

Also, the impact of science on the history of our civilization is explicitly integrated into the history and social studies courses.

Finally, emphasis is placed on DaVinci’s point of view that art and science are the same in that they both are our attempts to express our understanding of the universe.