Monthly Archives: August 2011

Vision for a Graduate

We envision that a graduate of the academic program at Regents Academy will embody the following traits:

•    Virtue and mature character: This includes heart-obedience rather than mere rule-following, good manners, honorable relationships, self-control, and Christian leadership. If nothing else, students should live in accordance with Coram Deo—living as though they were in the presence of God at all times.
•    Sound reason and sound faith: We expect students to realize a unified Christian worldview with Scripture as the measure of all Truth. We expect them to exhibit the wisdom to recognize complex issues and to follow the consequences of ideas.
•    Service to others: We expect our graduates to “love their neighbor” by serving others in their community.  Graduates need to develop an awareness of the many types of needs that others around them have and learn to be like Christ in their willingness to minister to others.
•    A masterful command of language: Because language enables us to know things that are not directly experienced, nothing is more important within Christian education. Without a strong command of language, even Scripture is rendered mute. As people of “the Word,” Christians should be masters of language. Students master vocabulary, grammar, usage, and translation through our study of Latin, English, and Spanish.
•    Well-rounded competence: Educated people are not specialists who know little outside of their field of specialty. Educated people have competence in a variety of areas including fine arts, drama, music, physical activity, history, math, logic, science, and arithmetic. Throughout our program, skills essential for an educated person are introduced and developed.
•    Literacy with broad exposure to books: Educated people are well-read and able to discuss and relate to central works of literature, science, art, architecture, and music.
•    An established aesthetic: Further, educated people have good taste, formed as they are exposed to great aesthetic masterpieces, particularly at a young age.

A Great Bargain

World magazine’s recent back-to-school issue stated that “money can’t buy wisdom.” Education costs money. Lots of it. It takes money to hire good teachers, build and maintain suitable facilities, fund programs for students, and provide curriculum. But this doesn’t mean that more money makes for a better education. World magazine editor Marvin Olasky wrote,

Researchers have found little correlation between spending and educational success. For example, last year the affluent Carmel (Calif.) Unified School District spent almost $16,000 per student, three times more than the middle-class Norris School District, yet the students had similar test scores. Similarly, the Center for Investigative Reporting found that Oakland spent about $3,000 more per student than the demographically similar Moreno Valley Schools. Students in both districts had similar test scores.

The Dallas Morning News reported in January 2011 that while the state of Texas in 2009-10 spent $1,359 less per student than the national average, it still spent a whopping $9,227 per student. Critics of the public school system point out abysmal results of that massive spending. Yet many citizens and policy makers persist in their avowal, or at least in their presumption, that what we need to improve our schools is more money – or at the very minimum no cuts in what we already spend.

No doubt about the fact that I am biased, but I believe that Regents Academy provides the best education available in our corner of East Texas. How much does Regents spend per student? $4,793. Our school is living proof that you don’t need more money for a better education. Instead, you need a better educational philosophy (the legacy and wisdom of classical Christian education), better teachers (committed and capable, but also free to reveal Christ in all things), and a better goal (not turning out better cogs for the higher education machine but turning out better persons). And then when you consider that while Regents spends $4,793 per student, parents actually pay an average of only $3,960 in tuition per student each year, you see that Regents is actually a great bargain. (Tell yourself that when you’re writing your next tuition check!)

“Money can’t buy wisdom.” In fact, money can’t buy any of the most important things in life. As I walk down the halls of our school and see the beautiful faces of our students, and see our compassionate and diligent faculty, and see God being honored as the center of our school, I see gifts from God that can’t be purchased. St. James tells us that wisdom comes from God, “who gives to all liberally and without reproach.”

We thank God for giving us wisdom to educate our children for Him. We thank God for giving us our children as precious gifts. We ask that He would help us to be good stewards of His gifts.

Welcome to the Family!

Regents Academy welcomed 22 brand new students this year. They are pictured below (with one returning KPrep student). What a lovely group of ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to the Regents family, new students!

Pictured are (front row) Joe Mims, Seth Lekas, Ryleigh Swann, Gabriel Shipp, Caiden Smith, Alyssa Patterson, Lilly Stanaland, Matthew Dicks, Rachel Cunyus, and Benjamin Satir; (middle row) Jordan Menzies, Tristen Perez, Christian Castleberry, Jackson Castleberry, AJ Hubbard, Jordan Dachelet, Mason Rasberry, Jacob Lekas, and Robert Kimbrough; (back row) Elizabeth Castleberry, Wilson Castleberry, Winston Hebert, and Mali Dachelet.

Dialectic and the Bible

Here’s a passage from Pastor Randy Booth’s article “The Trivium in Biblical Perspective.” He develops the idea of dialectic in the Scriptures.

Understanding (dialectic) in Scripture is directed toward discerning good from evil, truth from falsehood. In other words, the one who has understanding has good judgment. He comprehends the right relationship of the particular pieces of knowledge to the whole. This is the syntax or logic of learning. King Solomon prayed, “So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Job observes, “And to depart from evil is understanding” (28:28). Genuine understanding is evidenced in obedience to the truth as we see in these passages from Psalms: “A good understanding have all those who do His Commandments” (111:10); “Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, and keep it with all my heart” (119:34); “Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments” (119:73); “From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (119:104). The Proverbs observe: “a man of understanding walks straight” (15:21) and “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding sees through him” (28:11). God complains to Jeremiah, “For My people are foolish. They know Me not; they a re stupid children, and they have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know” (4:22). Daniel and his companions were described as those who were “endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge” (Dan. 1:4). The apostle John points us to the ultimate purpose of understanding when he writes, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true…” (1 John 5:20).

What Do Students Do in the Logic Stage?

What do students do in the Logic Stage? They do algebra and study literature and learn science, but through all these subjects they are really developing what we call dialectic skills. Some of these skills include:

•    Increase biblical literacy and apply biblical principles.
•    Engage in personal reflection and introspection.
•    Identify and read classical texts so one may participate in the Great Conversation.
•    Compare and contrast ideas to find connections between ideas and events.
•    Evaluate the credibility and validity of arguments.
•    Identify logical fallacies.
•    Identify the logic of a subject, the structure of thought, and the facets of understanding.
•    Synthesize a multiplicity of ideas to form general concepts and understanding.
•    Evaluate what is true, beautiful, and good according to the Scriptures.
•    Develop and employ inductive and deductive arguments.
•    Annotate texts to extract meaning and gain understanding.
•    Analyze assumptions of an author in primary and secondary texts.
•    Employ basic worldview categories to analyze ideas.
•    Engage skillfully in debate and defend ideas.
•    Ask meaningful and engaging questions.

What is the Logic Stage?

This year we welcomed a number of new students into 7th grade, and by doing so we also welcomed them into the Logic School. These students have formally entered what we call the Logic Stage of our classical curriculum.

The Logic or Dialectic Stage of the Trivium is defined as learning to reason, and the body of knowledge learned in the grammar stage is the stuff learning to reason is practiced on. In the grammar stage children learned facts; in the dialectic stage children try to understand the facts they have learned, and begin to relate those facts to one another in a significant way. This stage coincides with middle or junior high school, although it may actually begin for individual children earlier than that, in 5th or 6th grade. It is in the dialectic that the emphasis in cognitive skills shifts from the concrete to the analytical. This is where children are naturally inclined to ask the question “Why?” This is where they question what they have learned in the grammar stage to see if it is in fact true. Truth holds up very well under examination, and only proves its nature by this process. If what children were taught is true, we need have no fear of it being questioned, even if that questioning runs to things such as the existence of God or the veracity of the Bible. Therefore teaching the science of Logic is critical at this stage. It gives children the tools they need to question accurately and arrive at valid conclusions. We might be conditioned to react with shock or discipline, even, when children at this age question, argue, or want to know why. If we can understand that going through this process is the necessary step to arrive at the next one and therefore on to maturity, perhaps we can temper our response and help children learn to question and reason while maintaining an attitude of honor and respect.

The 7 Laws of Teaching, Part 3

Here are some observations about the use of Gregory’s Seven Laws of Teaching:

• These principles underlie all good teaching. The teacher may use them unconsciously, but they are still present because they are inherent and inescapable. To use them often, in themselves, brings about good order.
• The principles are applicable to all teaching, regardless of grade level, since they are fundamental conditions on which ideas may pass from person to person. University… elementary school…home school…school classroom…math and English: they are applicable in all settings.
• Skill does not replace enthusiasm, making teaching cold and mechanical.
• There is no special key that will enable a teacher to open a student’s mind, look in and plant knowledge there, but in the laws of teaching a teacher has lines of communications common to our nature by which they may awaken their students’ ability to receive and embrace what they are teaching.

The 7 Laws of Teaching, Part 2

Now here are Gregory’s Seven Laws of Teaching restated as rules for teachers:

1. Know thoroughly and familiarly the lesson you wish to teach – teach from a full mind and a clear understanding.
2. Gain and keep the attention and interest of the pupils upon the lesson. Do not try to teach without attention.
3. Use words understood in the same way by the pupils and yourself – language clear and vivid to both.
4. Begin with what is already well known to the pupil upon the subject and with what he was himself experienced – and proceed to the new material by single, easy, and natural steps, letting the known explain the unknown.
5. Stimulate the pupil’s own mind to action. Keep his thought as much as possible ahead of your expression, placing him in the attitude of discoverer, an anticipator.
6. Require the pupil to reproduce in thought the lesson he is learning – thinking it our in its various phases and applications till he can express it in his own language.
7. Review, review, review, reproducing the old, deepening its impression with new thought, linking it with added meanings, finding new applications, correcting any false views, and completing the true.