About Sea Island School

Sea Island School is a new Low Country school opening in Mount Pleasant in the fall of 2023.  Initially, the school is open to students in the grammar stage of their education, which is essentially the first through sixth grades. The school is both classical and Christian.

Overview

The chief distinctive of Sea Island School is its Independent Learner model.  The quickest description is that it is a one-room schoolhouse;  a multi-aged classroom with similarities to Montessori. It is very much a homeschool-like option for parents for whom homeschooling is not a fit.  The Sea Island School classroom can be described as family-like and organic. It provides an environment that is much more natural, more effective, and more pleasant.  The one-room schoolhouse is an old idea whose time has come again. It is not an experiment; it is a return to the education system that was part of making America great.

Staffing

In its first year of operation Sea Island School will be a one-room schoolhouse, with one teacher and one class. If the school grows, it will have two one-room schoolhouses.  We will not age-group students into grades no matter how many students are enrolled.  If, in the future, we have two hundred students, we will have approximately ten one-room schoolhouses.  Some of those one-room schoolhouses will serve the dialectic and rhetoric stage students.

Students served

In our first year we are serving students in the grammar stage, and probably not the very youngest students.  Historically speaking, the teaching of reading, writing, and basic math was actually considered to be beneath the dignity of a schoolmaster.  Those basics were usually taught by an older sibling or mother, or at a “Dame school.” By basics we mean ability sufficient to read a simple text independently, write a few sentences that are somewhat coherent, count to 100, and add and subtract at least single-digit numbers.

It is not beneath our dignity to teach beginning students, and it would be a privilege to do so.  But students lacking those abilities are not ready to learn independently and are not going to progress in a multi-age classroom.  Those basic skills require a teacher guiding the learning process full-time. If the teacher were to leave those children alone to work with other students in the class, they would not be able to progress on their own.  

So, to the three stages of learning—grammar, dialectic and rhetoric—we would add pre-grammar.  If Sea Island School has sufficient students for a pre-grammar class in 2023, and if we can find a qualified teacher, we will enroll those students.  It should be noted that because of the nature of independent learning, it would be easy for a student to enroll mid-year when she has those basic skills, the tools she needs for independent learning.

Curriculum

The main goal of the first year is teaching students to learn independently.  This will be a big paradigm shift for students coming from an age-graded classroom. Therefore, we are going to use an easy to administer curriculum called Abeka in the first year.  Abeka is one of the two most popular curriculums for Christian schools. It is comprehensive and effective, and will be easier for students transitioning to independent learning.  When individual students mature into independent learners, whether that is within weeks or months, we will supplement Abeka with books and assignments more conducive to a Great Books education.

Current education issues

The state of education has received a lot attention the past few years, especially since the advent of Covid.  Much could be said, but first, let's clearly explain where Sea Island School stands on the issues in the news lately:

God created men (all men and women) in his own image.

People should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

All persons deserve respect, fairness, compassion, and justice.

Children should not bear the sins of their fathers.

We will teach the whole history of America and the West— the good and the bad — but at an age-appropriate time.

God created them male and female.

Marriage consists of one man and one woman till death do them part.