Welcome To Saint Alcuin Classical Academy



Mission & General Introduction

Saint Alcuin Classical Academy is an apostolate of the parish of ­­­­­­­­­­St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church. The philosophy of education and spirituality of Saint Alcuin Classical Academy is rooted in the traditions of English-speaking Catholicism—particularly as nurtured in the Patrimony of Anglican Christianity through its liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions, which find new life in the Catholic Church through the formation of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (POCSP) established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.1

Saint Alcuin’s mission is to foster a community of support for parents to educate their children intellectually, morally, and spiritually in the Catholic Classical tradition.

Our particular approach to education begins by reclaiming the traditional meaning of education. The Latin root words for education are educare and educere, which mean “to shape or mold” and “to lead out.” The Greek word for education is parádosis, which means to “hand on,” and generally refers to a tradition as passed on from one generation to the next. A true Catholic education is not just information transfer from one brain to another; it is a holistic reception in mind, body and soul of a 2000 year-old Tradition, which is lived out through prayer, service, teaching and worship. Today, tradition is often thought of as something extra that is added to one’s life instead of being a life-way with habits and customs that one enters into through initiation. St. Paul exhorts the Church to:

“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, RSVCE).

At the center of the Christian Faith is the Incarnation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ: Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis, the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This is the motto of Saint Alcuin Classical Academy. God not only redeems our minds and souls, but He also redeems our bodies. Through Jesus Christ, God redeems matter. English Christianity was influenced by the Celts and Druids in their reverence for nature. Instead of worshiping nature in a Pagan way, Christianity proclaimed that through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ we can see the goodness of created physical reality and how it can serve as an icon into understanding God. As Saint Pope John Paul II notes in his Theology of the Body, because of the Incarnation the human body is a living icon of the nature of God.

The Incarnation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ and His real presence in the Eucharist is our true study in this life; it is also the core of our Catholic worldview. As Saint Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:5-6: “For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus” (Douay-Rheims). As Catholics, we put on the lenses of the Beatitudes and live them out in the world as a member of Christ’s body, the Church. This is what Bishop Steven Lopes calls developing a Sacramental Worldview,2 and Saint Alcuin Classical Academy aims to help parents instill a sacramental worldview in their children.


A Sacramental Worldview will form students as disciples of Jesus Christ with the goal to know, love, and serve the Blessed Trinity in this world and receive the gift of eternal felicity in heaven (Baltimore Catechism). This mission is supported by the Four Pillars of Catholic Education, rooted in the Medieval Cathedral school model, such as developed by our Patron Saint Alcuin in the 9th century during the Carolingian Renaissance: Sacred Art, Sacred Music, Sacred Wisdom, and Sacred Worship. The classical seven Liberal Arts of the Trivium and Quadrivium, Theology and Philosophy, all serve to help guide children into these four pillars.

Saint Alcuin Classical Academy seeks to develop a sacramental worldview in students by offering a community and curriculum that helps parents:

  1. cultivate in their children a virtuous life of discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ;

  2. form their children spiritually through regular instruction in the Catholic Faith and participation in prayer and Mass according to the Ordinariate form;

  3. immerse their children in the excellence of the Catholic Classical Liberal Arts tradition of education, which fosters the intellectual and moral virtues needed for serious study, for living a Christian life of discipleship, and for sharing the Faith with others;

  4. foster a deep desire in their children for living life within a community of Christian charity—a Eucharist-centered way of life; and

  5. imbue in their children a love for the historic Anglican Patrimony’s choral tradition, as well as the great artistic treasures of the Church.

Saint Alcuin Classical Academy is an homeschool enrichment and hybrid program open to families in the community educating their children at home and preferably using our Catholic Classical Liberal Arts curriculum. Our program extolls the theological order of the domestic church—the first society—and complements the vocational mission of parents “as those first responsible for the education of their children” (CCC 2229). Our program does not seek to replace the parental role in education; we seek to bolster and support parents in their role as educators of their children. Saint Alcuin provides a wealth of activities and resources for families to help form their children for life. We strive to maintain an atmosphere in which our students can learn the joy of intellectual inquiry as an end-in-itself but also to develop the habits and virtues needed for serious study.

Our primary text-based curriculum is rooted in the Classical Liberal Arts tradition and is designed to emphasize and nurture the intellectual, historical, artistic, and spiritual gifts of the Faith. Saint Alcuin’s Classical Liberal Arts curriculum will not only prepare students for their vocations, but it will also prepare their minds and wills for the reading of Sacred Scripture and the study of Sacred Theology. Meditating and contemplating on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Theology is a deep, intimate, and trans-formative experience of one’s whole being, as the Prophet Ezekiel describes:

And he said to me: Son of man, eat all that thou shalt find: eat this book, and go speak to the children of Israel. And I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that book: And he said to me: Son of man, thy belly shall eat, and thy bowels shall be filled with this book, which I give thee. And I did eat it: and it was sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:1-3, Douay-Rheims).

Finally, restoring the domestic church and the Catholic academic tradition needs a community of support. Christianity has always affirmed the vital need for community—a eucharistic community—in order to grow as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ: “And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers…And all they that believed, were together, and had all things in common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as everyone had need.” (Acts 2:42, 44-45, Douay-Rheims). Saint Alcuin Classical Academy seeks to nurture such a holy eucharistic community of disciples. The goal is for students to discover the influence and beauty of Catholicism in every aspect of culture and their own lives, growing in holiness, and drawing ever closer to the Triune God.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Saint Alcuin Classical Academy will offer two 14-week terms—the Michaelmas and Candlemas Terms—and one mini 4-week Pentecost term, which will focus on nature study and fun community building activities and excursions. There will be classes offered every Thursday each week for students aged 5-18. Depending on demand, Saint Alcuin will also offer a Day Program for parents who are not able to educate their children at home with coursework in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy (CLAA) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The Day Program is contingent upon demand.

A Sacramental Worldview

The Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes is Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (POCSP), a non-geographic Catholic diocese, within which Saint Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church is a member.3 At the very center of Saint Alcuin Classical Academy’s educational mission is what the Most Rev. Lopes identifies as a Sacramental Worldview. In his reflection on Catholic Education in the Ordinariate, the Most Rev. Lopes notes:

The Church’s mission of Catholic education is refined in the Ordinariate according to its vocation to preserve and promote the Patrimony of English Christianity for new generations for the enrichment of Christ’s Church. This demands an understanding of the Patrimony that is deeper than a collection of sacred history of things, words, or even actions. The rich Patrimony of English Christianity is the sacred history of the Church’s own faith and its interaction with a particular people and a particular culture. Over the course of centuries, English culture made its own the Faith once delivered to the Saints, interiorized it and expressed it in an imagery, language, and a logic all its own. All the while, the Gospel penetrated that culture, transformed it from within, and used it as a privileged canvas on which to portray love’s redeeming work. At its best, English Christianity encompassed a sacramental worldview: a view of God, Man, and the right ordering of things so that the world itself and all its wonders is understood as the burning bush of God’s revelation.

Catholic education for the Ordinariate aims to recapture this sacramental worldview, equipping and empowering young people to see beyond the ephemeral to the deeper truth of God in Christ. It is less education and more formation in the beauty of Truth, in the rhythm of prayer, in the cultivation of virtue, and in the vibrancy of a creative imagination. The particular contribution of the Ordinariate in this is to ensure that this type of Christian formation as it developed in the English context never becomes a museum piece, but rather is lived by well-formed, intentional Catholics, and so contributes to the conversation of faith for generations to come.4

The Four Pillars

Within a Sacramental Worldview of Catholic Education in the Ordinariate, there are Four Pillars that the Most Rev. Lopes outlines as essential for our identity and mission:5

  1. Sacred Worship: Primacy is given to the daily celebration of the liturgical life of the Church since the first education of the soul is conducted not by programs but by the Word of God and sacramental grace. This is accomplished through the daily celebration of Holy Mass, the source and summit of the life of the Church, and in the daily offering of the Divine Office.

The day at Saint Alcuin Classical Academy will be sanctified by the recitation of Morning Prayer and/or Mass in the church to begin the day and the Angelus at Noon. Our Academy and Enrichment days will both be shaped by our sacramental liturgy in the POCSP.

  1. Sacred Wisdom: Academic rigor in the Liberal Arts is essential to the formation of rational, free, and virtuous persons. Ordinariate education ensures a firm grounding in literature, grammar, mathematics, science, and other core subjects.

All study at Saint Alcuin Classical Academy will be infused with the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Our Faith holds to a union of faith and reason. What is true in the Faith is just as true as what is true in the world. Understanding the Faith and the ideas that shaped Western civilization will deepen a student’s appreciation for the traditions being handed down to them for them to pass onto the next generation. Additionally, Saint Alcuin will utilize the Disciple of Christ Education in Virtue program developed by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Through this program Saint Alcuin will integrate virtue education in all aspects of a student’s life, as well as provide a structure for student evaluation across their studies. 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 for their at-home use (see the Reading Lists, pg. 28).

Saint Alcuin Classical Academy holds Theology to be the end goal of Catholic education, as well as an integrated part of the process of learning and gaining Wisdom. The Catechism begins with the purpose of mankind to know, love, and serve God in this world and to enjoy happiness with Him in heaven. The theology school is pivotal in the integration of classical education with the Catholic Faith. The compartmentalization of modern education, where theology is an add-on to the curriculum instead of the center from which learning pivots, needs to be re-integrated. Saint Alcuin will strive to cultivate the ancient integration of faith and reason once again to rebuild Catholic culture. Our Patron Saint Alcuin will be a guiding light in this endeavor. In order for any student of schola theologica to achieve the end of Wisdom, students must learn the tools of the Trivium, Quadrivium, and Philosophy. The goal of the schola theologica is to equip students in both virtue and knowledge so that they can be witnesses to the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Sacred Music: Music is an integral part of the Patrimony of English Christianity, and singing has been an essential expression of faith and worship for centuries. Music education is therefore central to the curriculum in the Ordinariate and provides a point of integration for the other core subjects.

Saint Alcuin Classical Academy holds as integral to its daily community life one of the oldest traditions in Catholic education: the singing school (schola cantorum). The tradition of the schola cantorum originates with St. Pope Gregory the Great, and it took deep root in the English isles. Saint Alcuin will strive to cultivate this ancient tradition alongside the Patrimony of the angelic Anglican choral tradition. Worshiping the Triune God in proper order requires that choristers of the schola cantorum learn vocal techniques, sight singing, and music theory and history. Saint Alcuin will utilize the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) curriculum (https://www.rscmamerica.org).

  1. Sacred Art: Also a strength of the Patrimony, Sacred Art is taught in the Ordinariate not just from the standpoint of appreciation, but in the creation of it. Students will explore the fine, applied, and performing arts as an integral part of learning and not just as an “extracurricular” activity.

Art education at Saint Alcuin in the Michaelmas and Candlemas Terms will consist of art history and appreciation, as well as drawing. The history and appreciation lessons will selectively follow the liturgical calendar and will draw from the beautiful artistic traditions of the Church. Historical context is important because it helps students see where styles of art fit into the long life of the Church. Appreciation enhances the merely historic understanding of art by exploring how the Triune God’s transcendent Beauty and Truth can shine forth in the created world. Students will practice foundational drawing skills using graphite and charcoal. Students will explore line, shape, value, form, and light through observation. There will be a dual emphasis on observing reality and practicing articulating that reality through art.

What Makes Saint Alcuin Academy Unique?

Our Sacramental Worldview and charism centers around the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and His real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. We literally go to school with Jesus Christ, where He draws and guides our hearts and minds into greater union with Him. The most important class of each day is Morning Prayer before the tabernacle of our Lord. Through our academic studies, we learn about the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, but we actually commune in body and soul with Goodness, Truth and Beauty itself in the Blessed Sacrament. All our studies hinge on the study of the revelation of Jesus Christ, particularly through the Incarnation and His Real Presence in the Eucharist. Our academy motto is “Et Verbum Caro Factum Est”, which means “And The Word Became Flesh” (John 1:14).

Modern education, whether public or private (or even Catholic), is not only thoroughly secularized, but it denies children the treasure of knowledge and Wisdom from the Western tradition as fashioned by the Roman Catholic Church for millennia. This dichotomy in education often leaves children shaped and formed with a secular way of acting and thinking, which is highly fragmented, compartmentalized, and lacks a coherent philosophical foundation. Thus, for many young people the Faith can become dislodged from the center of their lives and they can be susceptible to the tidal waves of the culture—this is true for Catholic and non-Catholic Christians alike. Because of this, the majority of young people today walk away from the Church in young adulthood, as the Pew Research Center data indicates.6 The way forward for a renewal of Catholic Education is to ground our children from the very start in ultimate Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Saint Alcuin Classical Academy assists parents in this challenge by providing a nurturing environment for the formation of their children’s mind, body, and soul in the perennial tradition of the Catholic Faith and Catholic philosophy.

Further, the cost of modern education, particularly private education, is a summit too high for most families to climb. The loss of religious vocations, the expansion of administrative staff, costly modern buildings, and adopting a secular, bloated, and ever-changing curriculum of most K-12 schools all contribute to the unsustainable high cost. The truth is, the Classical education that produced many Saints and the finest minds in history is not expensive, especially with modern technology. At Saint Alcuin, most of the curriculum will be free because the primary sources are in the public domain. Students may checkout a hardback copy of their textbooks from the academy library.

During the Academic Year of 2023-2024, Saint Alcuin will offer enrichment and supplemental courses on Academy Days (Thursdays) to core curriculum offered by the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, or CLAA (https://classicalliberalarts.com).7 The CLAA offers an online and unparalleled Classical curriculum rooted in the seven Liberal Arts as outlined by the ancient Greek Philosopher Plato in his work The Republic. What are the seven Liberal Arts and why are they important?

The Seven Classical Liberal Arts

Education up until the Modern period was uniform in overall structure even if specific texts differed from region to region. It consisted of a core curriculum of the seven Liberal Arts divided into two main divisions: the Trivium consisting of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric; and the Quadrivium consisting of Arithmetic, Astronomy, Music, and Geometry. The Classical Trivium was a sequence of Arts studied to the level of mastery and in proper order. The Arts built on top of each other leading to science and Wisdom; so, competence in each Art was critical. Many Classical schools today use a Modern psychologized version of the Trivium as “stages” in the learning process. There is the Grammar stage of learning arithmetic, the Logic stage, and the Rhetoric stage. Thus, most Classical schools place a methodological veneer over an essentially Modern curriculum. Though such an educational modality is still many degrees better than most Modern curricula, the content and substance of the Liberal Arts are highly reduced resulting in piecemeal 3rd party textbooks.

Grammar8 was generally studied first until a child was able to engage in the more rigorous training in Dialectic, Rhetoric, and the sciences. Since Grammar maps onto how humans reason, a mastery of language is required prior to anything else. Modern education over-focuses on the syntax of speech when studying Grammar, but traditionally Grammar training was more extensive. It included orthography (proper spelling and penmanship), and etymology (origins and comprehensive meanings of words). In addition, many ancient philosophers, such as Saint Alcuin, included many other elements of Grammar: accent, analogy, differentiation, glosses, histories, meter, prose, punctuation, schemes, tales, and tropes.9 Surprisingly, Grammar was the bulk of what today is typically considered “elementary education.”

The ancients considered Grammar to be “pre-scientific” knowledge. The linguistic structures of Grammar, which are the symbolic language of thought (proper Grammar =>> proper Reasoning) begin mapping in the young mind with facts and knowledge gained from sense experience. From this interaction comes the intuition of some basic laws and principles. With this foundation in place, a student’s pre-scientific knowledge can transition into the ten Aristotelian categories of existence that will be the basis of their formal education in Philosophy: Substance, Quantity, Relatives, Quality, Place, Time, Position, Condition, Action, and Affection. This training leads to the study of Reasoning, which is considered “the Art of Arts.”

Reasoning (or “Logic” and “Dialectic”) is called the “Art of Arts” since every other science and art depends upon it. Reason is the intellectual tool by which certain and true knowledge is realized. Logic is also the science by which we discover how to properly use reason. Why does this “Art of Arts” hold such a high place in the Classical Liberal Arts? If a student wishes to study any Art or discipline and apply reasoning to it, then they must first learn how to reason properly. An example from Modern education might help, imagine conducting a science experiment in a lab without first understanding what a methodology is, what measurement instrument to apply, and how to interpret the results. It would be difficult to draw a conclusion from the experiment. This is precisely how much of Modern education operates. The focus is more on practical applications of an Art (or discipline) without clear reasoning and philosophy of the Art being first in place. For example, in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy students will get a philosophical grounding in ancient Mathematics, such as Euclid’s Geometry, as well as Modern calculative Geometry.

The Trivium and Quadrivium prepare students for the goal of a Classical education, which is equipping them for scientific inquiry. To the ancients, “science” simply meant “knowledge” and referred to having a true understanding of something by analyzing its causes. The higher Arts prepare a Christian mind to the study of Theology, the Divine science. This is how St. Thomas Aquinas understood the Arts in the preparation of young people for Theology:

The Appropriate course of education will be as follows: the instruction of the young in logical topics to begin with, for logic teaches the method for all scientific inquiry; then a training in mathematics, which neither need experiment nor lie beyond the range of the imagination; thirdly, in physics, where much experimentation is demanded through sensation is not surpassed; fourthly, in moral science, which requires experience and a mind free from passion; finally, in wisdom or theology, which transcends imagination and demands robust understanding.10

There is so much confusion and conflicting ideas about God and the human person in the Modern world; so, the classical tools of learning passed down over millennia are needed now more than ever. The Classical Liberal Arts were the vehicle for the wisest and most intellectually astute people in history obtained a strong scientific mind.



[1] See Pope Benedict XVI’s constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which provides a non-geographic diocese for Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church: https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_ben-xvi_apc_20091104_anglicanorum-coetibus.html

[2] Bishop Lopes, “The Mission of Catholic Education in the Ordinariate,” http://alcuinacademy.org/the-mission-of-catholic-education-in-the-ordinariate/

[3] For more information on this unique diocese setup by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, visit www.ordinariate.net.

[4] Bishop Lopes, Ibid.,

[5] Bishop Lopes, Ibid.,

[6] https://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux3/

[7] For an insightful overview of Catholic Classical education, we recommend reading William Michael’s free ebook Understanding Catholic Classical Education, which can be downloaded at: https://bit.ly/3BTtnM8.

[8] The majority of the following outline of the Liberal Arts is paraphrased from a Studium Project presentation, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/ICP4ujqTKY8

[9] See St. Isadore of Seville’s Etymologies.

[10] Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, trans. by C.I. Litzinger; foreword by Ralph McInerny (Notre Dame: Dumb Ox, 1993), vi, lecture 7, § 1211, 13; see also MacIntyre, Aquinas’s Critique, 103.