Humanities Curriculum for Grades 5-8

The Academy’s commitment to Humanities education combines the best of classical studies with sound progressive educational approaches and innovative teaching techniques. As a Catholic school, we value the best in human potential - historically, in contemporary cultures around the world, and in the uniqueness of your child. Our curriculum draws both from the classics and from contemporary resources, so we can give your child a well-rounded education, one that helps him/her develop strong reason, a disciplined will, exemplary character, and expansive compassion. Those who graduate from the Academy in 8th grade perform strongly on verbal skills assessments, and are well-prepared for a rigorous high school education. Our 8th Grade graduates have earned admission to the best private and public schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including the Academy’s upper school for girls.


6th Grade Religion: We Believe

At the Academy,  we strive to inspire and empower our students to live a life where academic excellence is balanced with faith formation and a commitment to a life of service to others.  In grade 6, students use the new Sadlier’s We Believe Catholic Identity School Edition which empowers students to uphold their faith and go out into the world as Catholics —proud of who they are. This new Catholic Identity Edition teaches how to build a Catholic Identity around core Catholic beliefs, practices, and principles so all students can truly embody their faith.  It also provides the tools to enrich their identity as a Catholic in today’s world.

7th Grade Religion: The Life of Grace

In this course you will learn about grace as your link with God, His gift to us to bring us to Himself and His eternal life.  This course emphasizes the transmission of grace through the seven sacraments and God’s loving gifts of revelation, of Himself through the prophets, the Incarnation, and the Church.  You will learn about the role of grace in developing the virtues.

Part 1: God reveals Himself.  The revelation of God through creation, the prophets, and to the chosen people.

Part 2: God becomes Man.  Jesus, true God and true Man, Priest and Sacrifice.

Part 3: God shares His Life.  The operation of grace in our lives, in developing the virtues especially through each sacrament.

The goal of this course is to help you treasure the sacraments as indispensable to a full Christian life of love and truth.  You will understand how grace works in your soul and its relation to practicing the virtues.  In this course you will appreciate the gifts of reason and faith.


  • The Life of Grace (Student Text), 3rd Edition, Ignatius Press.
  • The Life of Grace (Activity Book), 3rd Edition, Ignatius Press.
  • The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, Ignatius Press.

8th Grade Religion: Our Life in the Church

You will study the history of the Church - its founding by Christ, its birth in the Holy Spirit, the marks of the Church, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the saints and the role of the religious and laity up to the present.  You will learn about the structure of the Church Jesus planned, the role of the Magisterium, the clergy, the religious and the laity and your own vocations.

Part 1: The Church.  Christ’s plan for the Church’s structure and its necessary attributes; the Church’s teaching authority.  The early Church: Martyrs, Fathers, Saints, and Mary.

Part 2: The Christian in the World.  Religious and laity, Holy Orders, Marriage, and family life; call to holiness.

Part 3: The Last Things.  Death, Judgment, the end of the world.

The goal is to help you know and love the Church as the Body of Christ, and respond to the teaching of the Magisterium as the sure voice of Jesus, so that you may be strengthened through your lives in the Church to face the confusion and secularism of modern-day society.


Our Life in the Church (Student Text), 3rd Edition, Ignatius Press.

Our Life in the Church (Activity Book), 3rd Edition, Ignatius Press.

The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, Ignatius Press.

8th Grade Latin Enrichment

8th grade students will have the opportunity to be introduced to the Latin language including basic grammar, vocabulary, and prayers in Latin.

Textbook: A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin, John F. Collins, The Catholic University of America Press.

Reading & English Language Arts (ELA)

The Grade 6 Reading Program helps students develop critical thinking skills and comprehension, while exposing them to literary elements and encouraging personal connections in literature. Students participate in literature circles, guided reading practice, and shared reading experiences. The Grade 6 ELA Program uses an integrated approach to spelling, grammar, and writing. Texts include: Our World of Language, Exercises in English workbook, Everyday Spelling, the Write Source, and novels such as Freak the Mighty, The Westing Game, and Witness.

In 7 & 8th Grades, the ELA Program continues the integrated approach to English language study. Vocabulary and reading comprehension are developed through literature. Language skills are expanded through in-depth grammar study focused on the parts of speech, punctuation & capitalization, as well as usage rules. Student also learn process-writing using the Five Step Writing Process, and they expand interpretive literature skills with target goals each year. Texts include: World of Language series, by Silver Burdett & Ginn, Heath Middle Literature Program, and Loyola’s Voyages in English. See novels used below, though novels may vary year-to-year:

 7th Grade 8th Grade
Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes The Pearl, by John Steinbeck
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Call of the Wild, by Jack London Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

Social Studies

5th Grade: Western Civilizations 

This course focuses on the exploration and development of both North and South America, from the time of the earliest Americans to the growth of the thirteen original English colonies. Students will delve into the material, building adequate background knowledge through taking Cornell-style notes, a skill that they will build upon and utilize in subsequent years and into higher education. These foundational skills are modeled in class and strengthened through their continued use and practice. Grade 5 will complete a culminating research project on colonial trades and will present their knowledge at the Colonial Fair in June.

6th Grade: Ancient Civilizations 

This course concerns itself with the development of civilizations throughout much of the ancient world. Students will take an in-depth look at the most famous of civilizations, including: ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome. Students will continue their work with Cornell-style notes, which will play a key role in the development of their writing as they learn to tackle additional research and writing assignments. Grade 6 will complete a culminating research project on one of the ancient civilizations and will present their knowledge at the Ancient Civilizations Fair in June.

7th Grade: U.S. History I

This course expands on the time period from Colonial America to the Civil War or roughly 1754 to 1860.  Students demonstrate competency in this class through various thought based questions including short essays and class discussions.  Students will also learn how to write a historical based research paper using Chicago/Turabian citations and formatting.  Skills developed during this process will be used to write an in depth critical analysis of a historical event in American history between 1750 and 1860. At the same time, a sub- theme will be discussed in demonstrating how the expansion of slavery had an impact on the growth of America.  

8th Grade: U.S. History II

This course expands on the time period from The Civil War to the Cold War or roughly 1860 to 1965.  The course also introduces historiography or the study of how history has been studied, to better understand and interpret how history is understood.  Students will touch upon the five lenses or studies of history: cultural, social, political, military, and economic in making a connection to a specific event in time.  Students demonstrate competency in this class through thought based essays, analysis based essays, and class discussions.  Skills developed at the 7th grade level will be used to write a larger research paper on a topic in American history from 1860 to 1991.  This will help in developing the research skills needed at the high school level.  The sub-theme for the course has students understand the rise of the American Empire as the United States entered the modern era.