Classical Education Programs

Detailed descriptions of the Arts & Sciences Program offered Mon-Thur by Sundial Classical at Woldumar Nature Center are provided in the links just below.

Classical Arts & Sciences Program

Our Mission 

To form virtuous people:
savoring beauty,
cultivating gifts,
pursuing knowledge,
loving wisdom,
and seeking Truth.

Program Description

This program is for home-schooling families seeking supplemental instruction for their children ages 5-12. It operates Monday-Thursday and follows the principles of Charlotte Mason, a 19th century English education reformer, who believed children learn best when their days are focused on a few key elements: good literature, lots of time outside, and exploring the arts in order to experience beauty, goodness, and truth in tangible ways.

To meet these elements, the program divides each day into a morning academic segment and afternoon enrichment segment. The morning consists of a rigorous, classical education that includes spelling, phonics, literature, math, history, geography, memorization, and penmanship. Afternoons typically include lessons in the fine arts, performing arts, practical arts, and study of nature.

The program’s motto is Schola Natura. The word schola is a Latin term that denotes learning at a leisurely pace for contemplation and to develop deep understanding. The farmstead is housed at Woldumar Nature Center so that we can live out our full motto to pursue leisurely learning in natura, or the natural world.

We are a religious program. The Latin word legare means “to bind”. It is where the word ‘ligament’ comes from; the connotation is to connect or join. The prefix re- means to do again; adding it to legare creates the word religare, which now can be understood to mean “to bind fast” or “to bind together again” and will eventually become the word ‘religion’ in modern English. Interestingly, adding the prefix neg- to legare creates the Latin word neglegere which means “to make light of, disregard, be indifferent to, not heed”. It is where we get the term ‘negligent’. In this sense, religion means the opposite of neglect. In the context of our farmstead, it means we are a community that is bound together in its commitment to caring for and educating children in virtue with a holistic approach to form the character of the whole person: body, mind and soul.

Like culture, religion is a complex and nuanced phenomenon deeply integrated with human life and we believe that Christianity in particular can heal both the modern disconnect between soul and body and the division of the soul itself, wherein modern schooling focuses heavily on the education of the mind while neglecting the cultivation of the heart and the will. And for this reason, we consider Christianity a vital element to the teaching of virtue that we thoughtfully weave, both in quality and measure, into the fabric of daily academic and spiritual life. We do this in a manner that is sensitive to both our Christian and non-Christian/non-religious families.

Why Sundial?

Our program’s first goal is to create a place where students live with nature. Second, it is to teach that observation, reasoning, and creativity are key components of learning. Third, it is designed to be accessible for everyone. When considering these core values the image of a sundial came to mind–designed by thinkers, who observed events in nature, and created a tool to display time for everyone to access.

Why Classical?

By way of definition:

Classical education belongs to the authoritative, traditional and enduring stream of education begun by the Greeks and Romans, developed by the Church through the centuries and renewed by contemporary educators. Infused with the liberal arts and sciences, classical education includes the language arts of the trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and the quantitative arts of the quadrivium (mathematics, science, music and visual arts). Students study great works of art and literature, both old and new, by methods best suited to their developmental stages. As participants in the great conversation of history’s finest thinkers, students acquire more than vocational skills; they prepare for their roles as informed citizens, thoughtful Christians and virtuous shapers of culture. (source: Ad Fontes Academy in Centreville, VA)

Classical Arts & Trades Program

This program is still being developed. The details are pending.

Below you will find a sketch of some of the planned features of the program.

Who is this program for?

Any 7th through 12th grade student who homeschools or attends a private school. Students must complete an application to be accepted to the program. The application’s purpose is to ensure the student is ready for the independence, responsibility, and physical effort involved in completing the program. 

What is the curriculum?

  • Morning Program (8am-11am) – Life Skills: practical skills most adults will use to maintain their homes or as a hobby for enjoyment.

Examples: personal finance, knitting, basic automotive maintenance, fishing, food preservation, hiking and orienteering, campfire cooking, basic home carpentry, pottery

  • Lunch (11am-12pm) – students will prepare and serve a communal meal; students who do only the Morning or Afternoon programs are welcome to join us for lunch. 
  • Afternoon Program (12pm-3pm) – Farm Projects: long term projects intended to improve the land and generate income for the farm through the sale of food and products.

Examples: building and maintaining animal enclosures, animal husbandry, gardening, building and maintaining a fishery, tapping trees and making syrup, harvesting products and prepping them for sale at a farmer’s market. 

Where is it located?

On a working farm with a workshop, a body of water, wooded land, open meadows, a garden, and a greenhouse for a variety of learning experiences. Transportation to and from the farm is the student’s responsibility.


The program runs every Friday during the school year from 8am to 3pm. Students can attend either a half-day or the all-day program, depending on the number of credits they wish to earn. 

Who teaches these classes?

A certified teacher plans the curriculum in conjunction with local artisans. The teacher is on site during instruction to facilitate learning and assessment. The artisan guides students through practice of the skills being taught. 

Does this program earn credits?

Yes. Students have three options for earning coursework credits for their transcript.

  1. Attend the Morning Program, do two additional hours of reading outside of class each week, earn one credit each semester towards a Life Skills elective.
  2. Attend the Afternoon Program, do two additional hours of reading outside of class each week, earn one credit each semester towards an Agri-Science class. 
  3. Attend the Full Day program, do no additional reading but complete a capstone project on site with guidance from staff, earn two credits each semester towards an Integrated Consumer Math & Agri-Science class.