The Iron Academy High School curriculum thoroughly establishes its students for a lifetime of superior thinking skills. IA has designed its curriculum to draw upon the best of our core curriculum and one of the greatest attributes of homeschooling—teaching core knowledge to the point of mastery.
The IA core curriculum (please do not confuse this with Common Core–no relation) has been carefully assembled with feedback from honors-program college admissions counselors to build strong thinkers and exceptionally knowledgeable graduates. Core classes are constructed using our trademarked Targeting Learning methodology which has proven astoundingly effective at building higher-order critical thinking skills. Core classes focus every unit of every class upon the systematic development of globally demanded higher-order critical thinking skills—the abilities to synthesize tremendous amounts of information, to create, to innovate, and to evaluate. For each new domain of knowledge—a unit of material new to the brain—Iron Academy teachers skillfully lead students through the four levels of thinking, each level building upon the previous…exactly as the brain has been proven to learn in recent years. Targeted Learning is the only educational philosophy and methodology that precisely matches what science has demonstrated about God’s design for the brain. The four levels, in order, are knowledge building; sorting, organizing, and classifying; elaborating; and synthesizing, innovating, evaluating, and creating.
Though teaching to mastery has always been problematic in the classroom setting, it is highly desirable. How do you incorporate teaching to mastery in the classroom? You do not unless you are willing to sacrifice the full development of most students for the good of other students and the tremendous benefit of corporate discussion of the great questions of the Bible, history, literature, math, science, religion and the arts.
Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is Iron Academy’s unique strategy to retain the best attributes of the shared classroom experience while maximizing the benefits of learning to mastery. As mentioned above, the IA core classes focus on building the highest thinking skills in the context of a superb curriculum. SDL focuses on building core knowledge at the pace of individual students, all for mastery. Each SDL unit is the responsibility of the student, outside the core classroom. As an example, the quick 11th grade SDL unit of US Presidents is a small, albeit essential, body of knowledge each 11th grade US History student should master. It is a required unit. An example of an SDL not required but available for building Honors or Advanced Honors graduation credit is “US SAT Supreme Court Decisions.” This course fits smartly into the curriculum as students are preparing for the SAT and also taking US Constitution. The glory of the Self-Directed Learning program is that it fills in every gap in the curriculum with required SDL units, assuring a superbly knowledgeable IA graduate. The program also allows advanced students to be stretched maximally and to pursue their unique extra-curricular interests for IA credit.
In brief, the Iron Academy curriculum maximizes the potential of every student, assures an extremely knowledgeable graduate who has continually been trained in the higher-order critical thinking skills, and who has shown mastery of the essentials of a western education.