An independent school in Sperryville, Virginia based on Montessori principles
Fables and folktales, myths and legends, sermons and songs! Storytelling is not limited to the written word. This class will explore the storytelling tradition across cultures ranging from ancient myths to contemporary songwriting. Critical thinking skills will be developed utilizing classroom discussions to challenge students to think outside the box and appropriately challenge the observations, opinions, and interpretations of others. Along the way, students will gain insight into history, culture and context and the power of a well-told story.
Everyday, students will write! They will be encouraged to explore grammar and mechanics to create more vibrant and powerful sentences. Students will utilize high-quality mentor texts and student-created examples to work through the editing process and expand their prowess with poetry and prose. Students will learn tips and techniques to organize their ideas into engaging papers, posters and presentations.
Students will develop their self-expression through the writing process. They will be expected to write every day, including journaling, essays and creative work, to help them develop confidence in their unique writing styles. High-quality mentor texts and student writing samples will be used as the foundation for exploring grammar and mechanics. Students will be introduced to the basic differences between creative writing, academic essays, and literary essays, including the development of the thesis statement. They will actively engage in the peer-review and editing processes to organize and polish their writing. The capstone project will be a major writing project (creative writing or expanded essay) associated with the student’s primary interests and academic objectives.
Statistics is a branch of mathematics that deals with the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Students will study and analyze data from many real world disciplines such as medicine, biology, social science, law, natural resources, climate, engineering, sports, and economics, just to name a few. The class will be introduced to professional level statistical software in order to process medium to very large data sets. Students will be expected to design surveys and experiments in order to demonstrate statistical methods and models. The positive and negative influences of Big Data in modern culture will play an important role during background discussions.
Anatomy is a branch of Biology concerned with the scientific study of the physical structures of organisms. The structures of insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals will be explored by way of hands-on laboratories throughout this course. Physiology will investigate the chemical and physical functions found in living organisms and systems.
This course uses the Socratic Method to facilitate dialogue among the students, engaging them by asking and answering questions and encouraging them to do the same. The goal is to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. Reading assignments will cover the four primary literary genres and introduce students to writers from around the globe, both classic and contemporary. Students will use the ideas and concepts discussed in the seminar to write academic essays and creative work.
Students gain real life experience and develop independence as they engage in practical economics. Students learn economics by creating and running their own business. They learn economic terms, principles, manage inventory, design budgets and keep accurate accounts of income and expenditures. Students learn and practice working in different roles within a business.
Interest in human intimacy is a natural attribute of adolescence that ties directly into self-concept and a developing self and social identity. This interest results in both questions and conversations. At Belle Meade, staff meet students where they are and guide students when they are ready to learn. Accordingly from time to time–and by student request–Belle Meade has group discussions (separated by gender) to frankly answer questions and discuss intimacy in a manner that encourages personal moral development and responsible choices.
Introduction to Spanish focuses on teaching conversational Spanish and includes grammar, vocabulary, written, and conversational Spanish. This class also introduces the student to Spanish and Latin-American culture.
Students will read classic and contemporary works, by authors from around the globe, in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works. Critical thinking skills will be further developed utilizing classroom discussions to challenge students to think outside the box and appropriately challenge the observations, opinions, and interpretations of others. Students will expand their vocabulary through reading and gain experience expressing their ideas in concise literary essays.
Students will read classic and contemporary works, by authors from the British Isles, in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works. Critical thinking skills will be further developed utilizing classroom discussions to challenge students to think outside the box and appropriately challenge the observations, opinions, and interpretations of others. Students will expand their vocabulary through reading and gain experience expressing their ideas and developing their grammar through concise literary essays.
Students will read classic and contemporary works, by American authors, in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works. Critical thinking skills will be developed utilizing classroom discussions to challenge students to think outside the box and appropriately challenge the observations, opinions, and interpretations of others. Students will expand their vocabulary through reading and gain experience expressing their ideas and developing their grammar and style in concise literary essays.
Students learn the foundations and principles of government by studying the works of contemporary and historic political authors. The study the constitution and other founding documents as they create, revise, and maintain their own functional government and economy. Students also experiment with and apply personal and general finance, economics, and business principles as they create and run businesses, make purchases, pay taxes, and finance the government. Government and Economics II students take larger roles in the student government and economy, and engage in historical and contemporary research as well as creating real world policy evaluations and proposals.
HS: Sample Beginning of Year Government Test – Mini Economy and Government Project
Students learn the foundations and principles of government by studying the works of contemporary and historic political authors. The study the constitution and other founding documents as they create, revise, and maintain their own functional government and economy. Students also experiment with and apply personal and general finance, economics, and business principles as they create and run businesses, make purchases, pay taxes, and finance the government.
MS: Sample Midyear Government Written Discussion – Mini Economy and Government Project
American History II expands on the foundation laid in American History I. Students delve deeper into research and analysis as they study key events in the history of the Western Hemisphere. They learn to evaluate other historians research, peruse original documents, and prepare to draw and defend their own conclusions about American History and the American Experience.
American History I introduces students to key events in the history of the western hemisphere with emphasis on the development of the United States. Students begin to develop formal academic research and writing skills as they study original documents and secondary sources and create their own analyses.
In Spanish I students begin to develop communicative competence in speaking, writing, comprehending and reading Spanish and expand their understanding of the culture of Spanish speaking countries. The main goal in the class is to provide a context for everything students study. The class gives attention to grammar and vocabulary in a context of real-life situations, Latino cultures, and the language as a whole. The idea is to acquire a feel for the language, an appreciation of its beauty, and a degree of comfort and confidence in speaking it. Along the way, students learn a lot about the English language as well as Spanish.
Our music program offers instrumental and vocal students an arena in which to develop skills and public performance. Fundamentals of reading music and ear training are equally emphasized throughout the school year. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of public performances during the year, including plays, skits, trimester dinners, group or solo videos, and open mic events at regional venues.
Students will study the structure of the earth, minerals and their properties, rock formation, methods for geologic dating, earth processes, plate tectonics, weathering, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, climate, and the solar system. Students learn material and share knowledge through outdoor lab application, indoor lab work, textual exploration, projects, and classroom discussion.
Life Science explores living systems through experience and experimentation, as well expository instruction and reading. This course challenges students to expand their understanding of evolution, basic life processes, cellular organization, heredity, ecology, and human biology.
Students study the fundamentals of physics, chemistry, earth, and space sciences. This course introduces students to the scientific method and allows for exploration while challenging students to master the underlying math and to apply scientific concepts to solve complex problems.
All students participate in drama lessons which include improvisation, drama games, and exercises. Students produce and act in a Broadway quality musical one year and a student written production in alternating years. Past productions include: Grease, Footloose, Skitastrophy Extravaganza, The Addam’s Family, and Oklahoma.
The integration of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry is the goal of pre-calculus. Detailed study of polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, analytic geometry, systems of equations, sequences, and probability constitute the core of the class. Students can be expected to model natural and man-made phenomena using material in the course. Limits of functions and a basic introduction to derivatives are the threads that tie pre-calculus to the full study of calculus.
This course is intended to build upon the concepts developed in geometry and Algebra I. The course covers advanced topics in algebra such as polynomials and their graphs, division of polynomials, composite functions, zeros of polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations, imaginary and complex numbers, and trigonometric functions. The properties of matrices and determinants will be covered also.
Students are encouraged to perform calculations by hand and electronic methods. Topics in this course are important for the SAT and other college entrance exams.
Our equestrian program offers activities that serve beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders. Students will be introduced to a wide range of horse care skills: daily care and grooming, confirmation, nutrition, hoof care, common health concerns and equine therapies. Lessons take place several times a week and involve a variety of activities: groundwork, basic safety skills, ring work, trail rides, and jumping.
Students learn the basics of algebraic thinking while honing fundamental math skills. Students learn algebraic language and concepts. During the course they expand their ability to independently apply algebraic reasoning using real numbers, exponents, variables, ratios, proportions, equations, and inequalities.
Physical Expression (Phys. Ed.) focuses on exploring and engaging in outdoor physical activities that can be continued throughout life. Students gain strength, skill, sportsmanship, and self-confidence through activities including hiking, swimming, canoeing, traditional sports, group games, archery, bicycling, and skiing.
Using traditional techniques and emerging technologies, this class emphasizes exploration, analysis, and investigation of the creative process. Students develop technical skills that empower them to communicate ideas visually, developing an understanding of and appreciation for the visual arts. Students explore various two-dimensional and three-dimensional art media, using different expressive and technical approaches. Students study the factors that distinguish artistic styles and that clarify the role of art in culture.
In World History II students will engage in a study of the political, cultural, social, and economic conditions from 1500 to present. Students hone their research skills and discuss how the past shapes the world we live in today.
Sample Midyear World II History Essay Test with Student Answers
World History I course covers human history up to 1500 CE. Students will research and learn about human development and ancient cultures from around the globe, broadening their understanding of contemporary culture as they compare and contrast with earlier ones.
World Geography class teaches students how to use maps, globes, atlases, satellite images, photographs, graphs, and other geographic tools to study and understand the world’s populations, national identities and geographic environments. Students will look to history for understanding of how geological factors affect civilizations and cultures and economic, political, and social development. By the end of the class students will be able to identify all the continents, oceans, many islands and nations, and understand that the world’s population is a single community divided by geographic location.
Spanish III continues development of listening, reading, writing, speaking, interpersonal communication and cultural awareness. Complexity and comprehension increase as students learn more vocabulary and grammar. Discussion in Spanish of Latino literature, culture, history and contemporary events is emphasized.
In Spanish II, the study of reading, writing, speaking, and listening continues as more complex grammatical structures are introduced. With more communicative competence come deeper discussions in Spanish about Latino culture and students’ own experiences. Immersion in the language continues as students learn circumlocution in order to hold conversations entirely in Spanish.
Physics is the study of the properties of matter and energy. The course will cover the topics of classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics. Laboratory work provides realistic experience in data collection, analysis, and the demonstration of important physics principles. It is suggested that students have a good mastery of Algebra II in order to succeed in the course.
Chemistry is focused on the study of the structure and composition of matter, and the changes that occur to matter during various chemical and physical interactions. The course provides many hands-on experiments and investigations involving laboratory equipment, basic elements, compounds, and mixtures. Students explore atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical equations, stoichiometry, gas laws, acids and bases, phase changes, and oxidation-reduction reactions. The nature of the course necessitates a comfortable understanding of algebra and a willingness to develop an understanding of the scientific method.
This course uses problem-solving techniques to explore living systems. High School Biology includes a variety of hands-on experiments and challenges students to explore basic life processes, cellular organization, mechanisms of inheritance, the dynamic relationship between organisms, and the change in organisms through time. As students explore these concepts they will be challenged to grow in their understanding of the scientific method and they will develop a greater sense of belonging to the community of life.
Geometry is the study of spatial reasoning. Students learn properties of two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures, classical reasoning, geometric construction, and Cartesian geometry. Students learn these concepts and skills in a cognitively rich context of problem solving, critical reading and thinking, and hands-on projects. Advanced studies in geometry can lead to trigonometry, the study of right triangles and their applications.
Algebra is the study of numerical patterns and their abstract representations. Students represent and analyze these patterns using functions, operations, tables, and graphs. Students learn these concepts and skills in a cognitively rich context of problem solving and critical reading and thinking. Advanced algebra concepts involve more complex reasoning and functions, conic sections, trigonometry and modeling.
Middle school mathematics emphasizes problem solving and assists the student in finding mathematical solutions. In addition to problem solving this course reviews and enhances the student’s understanding of basic mathematical concepts. This class looks further into the order of operations, decimals, the metric system, basic geometry, data analysis, factors, proportions, ratio, integers, and algebraic equations.