Monthly Archives: September 2011


Mitchell Henry Named Commended Student

Congratulations to Regents senior Mitchell Henry. Mitchell has been named a Commended Student in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Today in morning assembly I had the pleasure of presenting Mitchell with a Letter of Commendation from Regents Academy and from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2012 competition and took the PSAT during their junior year.

For his teachers, his parents and family, and for all those who know Mitchell, this honor is certainly no surprise.

Congratulations again, Mitchell, and may God bless you!


A Trip to LA

Last Wednesday found my class cruising along highway 21 East toward the Texas state border. Mr. Bryant drove the vehicle with girls and I, of course, had the great privilege to cart the boys down this beautiful slightly winding road that would lead us straight into our neighboring state of Louisiana. We have been studying about the cotton gin as well as the history behind all those that worked and ran plantations back in the 1800’s; when I found out that there were several plantations within driving distance, I had reservations nailed down and permission slips ready to send home. In my searching, I found that Natchitoches has another great education experience as well…a fort complete with cannons and docents!

We arrived at Fort St. Jean Baptiste for our 9:30 tour and were greeted by two individuals dressed for the time period. Our wonderful docents guided us through the tour explaining what life was like in the fort and outside the fort’s walls. 6th grade had run of the place and our docents were happy to hear and answer all our questions. We finished the tour with my students preparing and planting the fort’s fall garden just outside the protection of the walls. Goodbyes were said and with our “thank you’s” still ringing in the air, we prepared for a quick drive to enjoy dinner by The River.

My students were honored to have a flock of ducks and a gaggle of geese noisily join our lunch party. As I sat and enjoyed my meal, I thought of the stories some of the old trees could tell. This river could get you to New Orleans at one time in the past so one knows that a variety of characters must have floated that river. Not far from this lunch area a plaque could be found commemorating the reading of the Indian Removal Act right there on the main drag in Natchitoches. I wondered if a Native American might have leaned up close to one of the old trees that now gave us shade.

Well, with lunch finished our next stop was the Melrose Plantation some 20 miles away. We arrived at the darling plantation with its huge trees covered in resurrection fern and quickly were joined with our docent there. He showed us the ins and outs of Melrose and we all loved going into the African House. This is a one-of-a-kind architecture lollipop! It was crafted after homes made in the Congo. We all had a picture made in front of it. Melrose can boast of many things but all my children were most impressed with the American Folk Art painted by Miss Clementine. One room had a mural that she had painted which covered the walls. Although this primitive art has never been a favored period for me, the enthusiasm of my students was quite contagious! Before long, I was just as involved as they were in studying the baptism scene or laughing about the big bell ringer or trying to find where Miss Clementine had included herself in the picture. We were sorry to end our day in another state during the school week, but we were sure glad that we had made the effort to experience something quite educational but quite delightful at the same time!

(Please see yesterday’s post for pictures from this field trip.)


Touring Natchitoches

On Wednesday, September 14, the 6th grade class and their teacher, Mrs. Kara Bertke, took a field trip to Natchitoches, Louisiana, to visit Fort St. Jean Baptiste and the Melrose Plantation.

The students learned about frontier living and life on a plantation in the American South as they observed tour guides in authentic garb do demonstrations. One high point of the experience was watching the tour guide shoot his muzzle-loader. The class also helped plant a garden near the fort.


In Loco Parentis and Communication

Two times each year Regents Academy sponsors parent-teacher conferences, planned opportunities for parents and teachers to sit down and talk through children’s progress. But please allow me to offer you this encouragement: anytime is a good time to communicate with your child’s teacher, so if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you have a problem or an issue, go directly to the teacher as soon as possible. Following this simple counsel will promote healthy relationships like no other.

When we have a problem, we are often tempted to gossip about it with others. We are tempted to bury it until it festers into anger or bitterness. We are tempted to send a scathing email. We are tempted to stew over it until it bursts out later. We are tempted to do lots of things that are neither productive nor biblical.

The right response is to go to your child’s teacher with a gracious spirit and simply ask to talk about the issue. In Matthew 18 our Lord taught us that if someone sins against us, we ought to go to that person and tell him his fault. It requires humility in a teacher to be willing to acknowledge his faults and rectify them. It takes wisdom, too, because sometimes the teacher has done nothing wrong or has unintentionally hurt feelings.

Regents teachers are not only willing to talk things over with parents, they are eager to do so. Every week, I see or hear of faithful parents who come to a teacher and share their concern, and the issue is dealt with peacefully and effectively. We live in a community, with teachers partnering with parents to teach and train children for Christ. We are fellow believers — grown-ups — who are called to act in love.

Now, I know that these are your children, and it is easy to get emotional or upset when you perceive that a teacher is out of line. All the more reason to pray, ask for wisdom, and go straight to the one who needs to work it out: the teacher.

What do you do if that meeting doesn’t yield results? That is the time, perhaps, to go to the headmaster and seek another hearing. Maybe there is more information that will clear things up, or maybe the headmaster can go to the teacher and get to the bottom of things and bring a resolution to the matter.

In any case, we should consider what St. Paul taught us in Galatians 5:14-15: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”

We do well to practice these words daily — and heed Paul’s warning — as parents and teachers.

And thank you for partnering with Regents Academy in the education of your children. We hold it to be a high privilege, and we aim to be found faithful in this great duty.


The Faith, the Family, and Education

At the 2011 Association of Classical and Christian Schools national conference the keynote speaker was Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr., whose book Family-Driven Faith has had a noticeable impact on many families and churches.

In the latest edition of the ACCS’s publication Classis, Pastor Baucham’s article “Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With God” appears. His article sums up the thesis of his book and his presentations at the conference.

For Christian families interested in raising godly sons and daughters who will receive the maximum from a Christian education, this is must-reading.


What … Me? … Latin?

Something very new for most parents whose children begin at a classical school is Latin. Why do we teach Latin? Why should students learn Latin? And most importantly, how can our children succeed at Latin?

Cheryl Lowe at Memoria Press offers some excellent insight in response to this last question. Let me recommend to you her article “Four Principles of Latin Study.” These are principles to guide a Latin program, but they are also useful for parents who want to help their children succeed at learning this essential language.

Please follow the link and read her helpful article.


Classical? Christian? Both?

What a classical education? What is a Christian education? What is the relationship between the two?

Those are three questions that continually come up. I would guess that they are questions that current Regents parents seek answers to, and they also hear them asked of them and so they need answers for others also.

Dianne Scouler at the ACSI publication Christian School Education asks these very questions and offers insightful meditations in response in her article called “Classical or Christian or Not? That Could Be the Question,” taken from the February 2011 edition.

I would encourage you to know the answer to those three questions.


On Watching Out for the Pork

Here is an article from the blog at DiscoverChristianSchools.com. The author reminds us of the high priority of giving our children a Christian education. In the midst of many secular schooling options, Regents Academy stands alone as the sole K-12 Christian schooling option in the Nacogdoches area.

It is always good to stop and consider the high calling of Christian education.

You Have to Watch Out for the Pork on Thursdays: The Trouble with Being Sheltered from Reality, by Mark Kennedy (this article has been slightly edited for length)

My childhood friend Bill grew up to be a respected and successful bank executive – a man who occasionally helps financial institutions beyond our borders. A few years ago while consulting for a bank in Dublin he made his temporary GHQ in a small hotel that boasted a dining room for its guests. On a Thursday evening he ambled down to this quaint eatery for a taste of Celtic cuisine not suspecting the violent conflict that would arise later in his stomach.

“I was sick all last night after eating in your restaurant!” he told the manager the next morning. “Well, what did you have for dinner?” “Roast pork!” said Bill. “Ah yes,” replied the manager philosophically in a lilting Irish brogue. “You have to watch out for the pork on Thursdays.”

You can imagine the questions in my friend’s mind after his initial shock wore off. Perhaps foremost was “Why didn’t someone tell me?!?” Sheltering someone from reality can be dangerous. And sometimes the consequences can be much more serious than a minor case of food poisoning.

Consider the effects of an education that intentionally shelters students from the most essential realities about life and living – a secular education where the daily presence of the living God is ignored and the authority and guidance of scripture is dismissed – an education that edits out the creator and sustainer of the real world.

It’s not that a secular education necessarily speaks out against the God of the Bible or openly denies the authority of the Scriptures. It simply remains silent about them. And that’s the problem. If a student from a Christian family receives a consistently secular education, how surprising can it be if he concludes that God can’t be very important? “After all, they never talk about Him at school,” he might reasonably say to himself – and his logic would be pretty hard to refute. He got the message that silence implies.

Robert Louis Stephenson expressed it plainly: “The cruellest lies are often told in silence.” So when important, even vital truths are withheld from people who desperately need to hear and experience them, Stephenson says it is a cruel deception.

The silence in secular education has implications for the way children learn, believe, think and face life’s challenges. When students are sheltered from God’s reality, they are vulnerable to the deceptions Paul warns about in Col 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Philosophies produce actions, and actions produce consequences.

So it should be no surprise that sex education that ignores biblical standards produces ever growing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, abortions and accompanying psychological problems; that a purely mechanistic and evolutionary view of humanity convinces some students they are worthless genetic accidents so that suicide becomes a reasonable option; and that personal troubles for which secular minds have no real answers cause some students to turn to illicit drugs in a hopeless attempt to escape. The world of drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuous or perverse sexuality is so often a false refuge for people who have not been equipped to deal with the real world.

In Christian schooling we don’t shelter students from reality. We prepare students by telling them the whole truth about the real world and by honoring the presence of the source of all truth and by teaching future generations about his standards for living. As the Psalmist says, “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:4

In the early 1990s after Russian Communism collapsed I found myself on a team of North Americans instructing hundreds of Russian educators about how to teach the Bible to Russian public school students. Evgenity Kurkin of the Russian Ministry of Education explained why we had been invited to do that, “Seventy years ago we closed Him [God] out of our country and it has caused so many problems in our society we cannot count them. . . . We must put God back into our country, and we must begin with our children.”

And what about the future cost for North American students, especially those from Christian homes, who have been sheltered from the realities that matter most for living now and for the life yet to come?