Lincoln, NE Chapter – Catholic Schoolhouse

Morning Overview


Dialectic students (ages 12-14)

Our focus in the dialectic years is on peer interaction in an academic setting that will challenge students to reach higher achievement, all centered around the CSH Tour Guide Timeline for family unity.  Keeping it fun and engaging will lead them to look forward to their Catholic Schoolhouse day.

The dialectic student is emerging from the grammar stage with a head full of memorized facts and interesting knowledge that they have acquired.  Some view these “middle school” years as sort of “clean-up” years–a time to get busy, get an organized plan and make sure the student is ready for high school.  While this can be a useful approach, the dialectic stage is so much more.  It is also the time to allow the students’ awakening skills of argument and contradiction to be cultivated and steered.

Also called the logic stage, it is the time to help the student have fun with his new brain in the exercise of logic and analysis.  (Read more at

Our morning has four components for dialectic students:

  1. Chorus and Latin chant  20 min.
  2. Communications—Includes writing, speech and recitation.  1 hr.
  3.  Art/Science —Hands on experience alternating weeks.  1 hr.
  4.  Seminar—Dig into literature selections and virtue study using Socratic disussion.  Delve into history through study and creation of a timeline notebook.  Geography study and memorization. Hands-on and discussion oriented.  1 hr.


Communications will contain opportunities for writing development, speech and Latin intro.  Students will use material from the Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW), adapted specifically to align with the CSH content.  Students will receive a workbook.  Families may purchase their own copy of the teacher guide if they wish to do additional exercises, but it is optional.

Each quarter students will look at and sometimes memorize a famous speech.  Looking at successful speeches teaches technique, and the opportunity to present pre-written content allows students to focus on delivery.  They will also give one self-created presentation per quarter.

Grammar will be reviewed in the context of improving writing.  An introduction to Latin is also included.

Fine Arts

Dialectic students learn to look at art, closely noticing features, details and techniques.  Projects are still important for these upper level students and will be incorporated as well.  Music appreciation will take place one time per quarter during the fine arts section.

To allow students to go deeper into subjects as is suitable for their rapidly developing brains, Fine arts and Science classes switch to a one hour format meeting every other week.


The lab course at CSH will be coordinated with Apologia text books.  A three-year cycle has been created to align with major grammar topics, though it will not mimic them.

During Lab, students will be actively engaged in writing their own procedures and lab reports.  They will be given the opportunity to observe, record and use the scientific method themselves, rather than follow teacher led demonstrations.   Students will read textbook material prior to class, and may choose to further their studies at home by doing the textbook experiments as well.

Suggestions of Catholic scientists which integrate with the timeline will also be given for further study at home.  Please read this excellent post if you would like to understand the three parts of upper-level science.


This is the section in which we read Catholic literature, discuss and learn about our Catholic faith all while diving into history with the timeline and Socratic discussions.

Socratic Development and Discussion will take place through book analysis and virtue study, preparing students for Socratic Seminar in the rhetoric level.  With the Socratic method, ideas originate through questioning from the students developing thinking and reasoning skills.

1. Literature study- One book per quarter for three weeks will allow families to plan additional literature selections in the opposing three weeks.  We continue to strive for good, Catholic, classical literature from a variety of genres, including one poem each year.

2.  Religion– this will be during the three weeks opposite the book study.  While everything we do at CSH promotes Catholic culture, there is a special focus during the upper level day.  For dialectic, we are excited about a virtue program that integrates great character stories, sharing and building Catholic culture.

3. Timeline & Geography– Students will delve into the history timeline using the grammar history cards and  creating a timeline notebook, while discussing important events in class.  They also study and memorize countries through practice drawing freehand and learning to do so by memory.

Content Review

Mastery at home of the grammar Tour Guide is encouraged but not required at this age.  Upper Level students are welcome to participate in achievement of the Super Scholar Award, by memorizing all 24 weeks of the Tour Guide content.  Stay tuned for an additional award geared specifically toward our Upper Level students.