About Saint Thomas More Academy
Saint Thomas More Academy is an apostolate of the parish of Saint Aelred Catholic Church. Saint Thomas More’s mission is to support parents in the Athens-area who wish to educate their children.
Specifically, Saint Thomas More Academy aims to help parents:
form their children spiritually through regular instruction in the Catholic Faith and participation in prayer and Mass according to the prescribed forms of Saint Aelred Catholic Church;
immerse their children in the excellence of the Catholic academic tradition; and
imbue in their children a love for the historic Anglican patrimony choral tradition as well as the great artistic treasures of the Church.
Saint Thomas More Academy is the only homeschool enrichment program in the Athens, GA area that is an apostolate of a Roman Catholic Parish. As such, our educational program is uniquely centered on the virtues and on the liturgy. Immersion into the life of the Church, which is immersion into the life of Christ, is at the core of our school. Studies of all other disciplines are hinged on this study and on submission to the life of Christ, who is the true center of education of the whole person.
The Patronage of
Saint Thomas More
"I die the King's good servant, but God's first."
Saint Thomas More was classically educated and highly accomplished by nearly every standard of his time. Most importantly, he was a champion for the Catholic Faith throughout his life, witnessing to Christ finally as a martyr when called to choose between the State and Our Lord's Church. Intellectually, he propagated Catholic Humanism as a response to the errors of the Protestant Reformation. His patronage is critical today to a school that aims to train children in the Catholic classical tradition unadulterated by the Secular Humanism which often claims to be modern "classical education." He is also a powerful intercessor in our efforts to place the ultimate emphasis of education on sanctification.
"[Saint Thomas More] is, for us, the Road Back. For our countrymen, I mean, for southerners ... He is the man to pray to for the conversion of the south. One of the stumbling blocks to the Southerner (or the American) who is drawn to the Church is that he sees not the Church of More, not the English Church which is his spiritual home ..."
- Walker Percy
A.D. 2021-22 Offerings
Saint Thomas More Academy is pleased to offer a two-day homeschool enrichment program for students aged 3 - 18. This program will feature elective offerings as well as an integrated academic program. Please see our Prospectus and Curriculum Overviews for details on course offerings by division
Tuesdays (Preschool and Primary) & Thursdays (Omnes)
DIVISION OF STUDENTS
Ages 3 - 4
Students ready to learn to read and write (Age 5+)
Level A: Students with developing reading and handwriting skills, ready to apply them
across various disciplines (Age 7+)
Level B: Students fluent in reading and adept at handwriting, ready to apply these skills across the same disciplines (Age 10+)
Students with the intellectual and moral maturity to begin formal lessons in theology and philosophy, in addition to other disciplines (Age 12+)
Michaelmas & Candlemas Terms, A.D. 2021-22
Distinctive Curricular Elements
Ages 3 - 4
The daily schedule for all Preschool students at Saint Thomas More Academy will include nursery rhymes, scripture stories, nature study, story time, and a daily snack. On Tuesdays, study will also include study of letters and sequence, pattern, and counting. On Thursdays, lessons will include art and music. All study will be focused first around the liturgical season, then by the natural seasons. The aim of this course for early learners is exposure to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, and immersion in the story of Christ through the eyes of the Church. While this curriculum can stand on its own, it is encouraged that parents thread these studies throughout their week, primarily reading aloud to your child from the selections provided. Suggested at-home continuations of studies may be offered to parents by tutors (i.e., musical selections for listening or backyard nature study activities).
The curriculum for all Primary Division students will include Stories, Reading, Writing, Nature Study, Latin, and Scripture on Tuesdays and Art, Choir, Handicrafts, Cartography, and Nature Study on Thursdays. Much of Tuesday’s lessons will be adapted from English Lessons Through Literature, Level I by Kathy Jo Devore. This comprehensive series includes a thorough instruction in grammar, composition, and handwriting, all of which are directly connected to the classic literature being studied. Additionally, students will use C.C. Long’s New Language Exercises to reinforce grammar as they practice manuscript handwriting. Students will also take lessons to begin learning the Palmer Method of script handwriting. Reading lessons will range based on the students in the class, and will include phonics reinforcement and student read-alouds of storybooks at their level. Latin will be taught using elements from the Song School Latin curriculum, emphasizing early language connections through song, play, and stories. Other texts to be utilized can be found in the Primary Reading List (p. 10). Students are not placed into the Primary Division by age or grade but rather by experience and mastery of skill in consultation with parents. Specifically, readiness for the Primary Division is exemplified by recognition of all capital and lowercase letters in print, the dexterity and fine motor skills to begin printing capital and lowercase letters, and signs of readiness to read (including sounding out words and recognizing words and letter sounds). Saint Thomas More Academy strives to give each primary student the best place to start and depends upon active parental involvement for the child to progress. While students will receive a holistic curriculum exclusively through class time, it is possible and even encouraged that parents thread these studies throughout their week at home, primarily by reading aloud to your child from the selections provided. Students learning to read will require at-home instruction daily in addition to weekly lessons at Academy which are intended to reinforce progress made at home. Suggested at-home continuations of in-academy studies may be offered to parents by tutors (i.e., musical selections for listening or backyard nature study activities).
Tuesdays & Thursdays
At the Junior levels, Saint Thomas More Academy is pleased to offer a two-day curriculum consisting of Literature, Latin, Writing, Scripture and Saints, and History on Tuesdays and Art, Art History, Choir, Nature Study, and Cartography on Thursdays. Literature studies will seek to emphasize the unique contributions of the English Patrimonial tradition. Latin will be taught adapting the Song School Latin curriculum. Writing instruction will be based on the Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum. History will be taught by emphasizing its purpose - preparing students to live out the role in God’s story He has chosen for them. Art History will correspond to the time periods covered in History lessons, and will expose students to Truth and Beauty accessible in sacred and secular art. Cartography will aim to give students a sense of place in the cosmos, engaging students in the study of geography as well as the hands-on practice of mapmaking. The distinctive criteria for eligibility for the Junior Level is a developing reading fluency, manuscript or cursive handwriting skills prepared for in-class writing exercises, and an intellectual and moral maturity ready to take on more directed study in specific disciplines. The level of development of these skills and maturity will determine a student’s placement in the A or B level within the Junior Division, rather than age. This curriculum is designed to supplement home instruction, but will include assignments throughout the week between lessons. More outside-of-class work will be required of the Tuesday courses than the Thursday ones. Thursday courses’ home assignments will be limited and are designed to be enriching for the whole family. For example, students will be encouraged to hang a print of the artwork studied in their home for admiration and reflection throughout the week, and similarly will be asked to listen to recordings of some of the music studied in choir throughout the week.
Tuesdays & Thursdays
The Intermediate Division at Saint Thomas More Academy is designed to reflect some of the distinctive elements of the English Cathedral Schools of the High Medieval era - rigorous study in philosophy, logic, and Latin beginning in young adulthood, and all through the eyes of the Church and with worship of the Trinity at the heart of all intellectual endeavors. This division offers courses in History, Theology, Latin, Scripture and Saints, and Logic on Tuesdays and Art, Art History, Nature Study, Choir, and Cartography on Thursdays. For lack of better common descriptors, these courses will be taught “at a high school level” and students’ readiness for the Intermediate Division will be based on the intellectual and moral maturity to handle the responsibility and course material required of study of this kind. Students will be responsible for outside-of-class reading and writing assignments weekly. Study in each of these courses is meant not just to build a storehouse of facts and skills, but to prepare students to live a life in Christ. As such, all courses will be entwined rather than compartmentalized, and with Christ at the core, rather than chronology. Thus Theology, not History, will serve as our prime discipline. For students needing records for high school transcripts, tutors are prepared to accommodate.
The day at Saint Thomas More Academy will be sanctified by the recitation of Morning Prayer in the church to begin the day, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Noon, as well as the Minor Offices in some classrooms. This rootedness in the liturgy of the Church, particularly in the Anglican Patrimonial vernacular language and spiritual heritage, will shape the whole of the day at Saint Thomas More Academy, and will provide the basis for scripture study and faith formation.
All study at Saint Thomas More Academy will be infused with the Catholic Faith. Understanding our Faith and the ideas that shaped Western civilization allows our students to deepen their beliefs and expand their understanding of the world. Additionally, Saint Thomas More will utilize the Disciple of Christ Education in Virtue program developed by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. This program will integrate virtue education throughout the day at Saint Thomas More Academy, as well as provide a structure for student evaluation across disciplines. While this does not require any specific curricular obligations on the parents’ part, parents who are interested in the Sisters’ articulations of the virtues and their adaptations appropriate to different age levels may choose to purchase copies of the Virtue Charts and Educator’s Guides through Saint Thomas More Academy for their at-home use.
Saint Thomas More Academy holds as integral to its daily community life one of the oldest academic traditions in Catholicism: the singing school - schola cantorum. The venerable tradition of the schola cantorum attributes its origins and patronage to St. Gregory the Great. Saint Thomas More will strive to cultivate this ancient tradition along with the patrimony of the celebrated Anglican choral tradition. In order for any schola cantorum to sing the Lord’s praises capably, the choristers must learn vocal technique and sight singing as well as music theory and history.
Saint Thomas More Academy will begin teaching music foundations in Preschool, and will begin choral work with our Primary, Junior, and Intermediate Divisions. Each division will practice the skills mentioned above as appropriate to its level, utilizing the Royal School of Church Music’s Voice for Life curriculum.
As the Academy Choir develops, hymns and chants will be sung at daily Mass and prayer will be chanted. As singing permeates the day, the text of sacred song penetrates the hearts and minds of students. Daily life at Saint Thomas More Academy will foster a life of harmony with one another by being in tune with the heart of the Lord.