Approach

The Fathom the Good Approach

Fathom’s unique approach makes it possible to do the impossible. Our Original Content and Primary Texts, Reasoning Tools, and Mentoring Videos teach our Western philosophical tradition, including the American founding, to an exceptional degree. Students not only are prepared for advanced post-secondary studies. Perhaps more importantly, they are prepared to live in the world and confront the world’s ideological confusion with clarity of mind and intellectual confidence.

Original Content & Primary Texts

The Western political, philosophical, and religious tradition has been called “The Great Conversation” for a reason, and Fathom the Good wants your child to discover just what that reason is.

We present original content and carefully selected primary texts directly from the pens of the greatest thinkers. And we provide the tools to make it possible for students to both analyze and synthesize the ideas and arguments presented, to understand the broad contours of “The Great Conversation” and, eventually, to participate in it.

No Wikipedia article or textbook summary of an author’s teaching can match the vigor, grace, force, or subtlety of primary sources.

We introduce the following authors, past and present: Alexis de Tocqueville, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Machiavelli, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, Rene Descartes, G.K. Chesterton, Seymour Lipset, C.S. Lewis, Irving Kristol, and Allan Bloom.

“The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency—the belief that the here and now is all there is.”

- Allan Bloom

Reasoning Tools

Reading is surely the skill most essential to becoming self-aware. But reading well is more than scanning for information. It is actively engaging with the author, listening for clues to his or her intentions and assumptions, forming questions, and listening for answers.

To read actively is to think with the author. An author worth reading writes with purpose using specific devices to achieve his or her aims. To appreciate an author’s deeper meaning, Fathom approaches reading with four purposes in mind:

  1. To Familiarize
  2. To Summarize
  3. To Engage
  4. To Articulate.

Though active reading requires reading a text several times and in different ways, doing so is not as difficult as it may seem. Our lessons integrate critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process to accomplish familiarity, summary, engagement, and articulation simultaneously and in ways that are naturally engaging to the child.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

- Frederick Douglas

Mentoring Videos

Our engaging five-minute animated Mentoring Videos provide students with another layer of learning. These videos accompany each section of the high school curriculum and provide additional insights regarding the most important or challenging ideas being taught. This multi-layer approach to learning is what makes it possible for young people to engage naturally with challenging but important philosophic ideas.

John Locke and
American Christianity

“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live”

- President John Adams