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What Were You Looking For?

Here’s a good word from a friend, Headmaster Ron Gilley, from Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, Florida. I hope that if you haven’t already made the same discovery he did, you will one day.

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What Were You Looking For? 

When my wife and I first visited the school fourteen years ago, it wasn’t because we were looking for classical education. We were looking for Christian education to be sure, but we didn’t even know enough about classical education to ask a good question about it. Seeing was believing for us that day though, and one tour of the school during a normal day of classes convinced us that this classical education was worth a try.

The truth of the matter is, we had two things in mind for our children: safety and the best education our town had to offer. Our motives were similar to those of most parents, I think. It is a pretty safe bet that we all want our children in a safe and nurturing environment, and most would agree that a good education is important. At that time, though, we weren’t thinking about education as something that molds virtue into young people as they grow. We were thinking about the kind of education that would help our children get into good colleges so they could get good jobs. As time wore on, however, we began to see that not only was this classical Christian education backing up everything we were trying to do with our children at home, it was also taking them further in some ways than we ever could have taken them alone.

Even in the early years of Grammar School our boys were learning about events and characters from history and literature and the Bible that we had been robbed of in our own education. Their learning about these events and characters and biblical principles was challenging what we knew about the world and even challenging who we were. We embraced the challenges and began to learn alongside our boys, to read books we never knew existed, to dig deeper into Scripture, and to challenge our own shallow assumptions about God. We were amazed at the precision of thought our boys had acquired by the time they had worked their way through the Logic School. They were beginning to question what they saw in the world and to make arguments for and against. In the Rhetoric School, they began to mature in every way. Their thought processes began to be informed by more than just logic, more than simply winning an argument. It was as if they began to slowly realize that some questions were so big that the argument could never be won for either side in this life. They became gracious, aware of the fact that they could do nothing to save themselves, that they were dependent upon Christ. And this way of thinking began to shape the way they viewed others. They began to mature into young men who saw this life as something far more important than a time and place to chase what the world, indeed what their own parents only fourteen years earlier, would call success.

My boys are far from perfect, but they are headed in the right direction in many ways as are thousands of classically trained students who graduate every year. What’s more is that the journey our family has taken through classical education, an unexpected journey to be sure, has left us with a very different reward from the one we set out to get, and a far better one. Oh sure, getting into good colleges hasn’t been a problem, but it’s no longer the primary goal. I don’t know what you were looking for when you first came to our school, but I can promise you this: if you open yourself up to the process of classical education, to the goodness of being marinated in God’s holy Word and learning to view all of creation through it, then your reward will be great, even it is different from the one you set out in search of.

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Momentum for the House System

This school year Regents Academy began a new upper school tradition – the House System. The purpose of the House System is to promote a culture of joy, discipleship, and respect among the Logic and Rhetoric School students.  Our hope is that the House System will support strong camaraderie, spiritual growth, unity, and mutual helpfulness among our students.

Logic and Rhetoric students have been divided into four houses: Jerusalem, Rome, Oxford, and Kampala. Each house is led by two seniors working together as House Stewards, with a faculty member as a house sponsor. I am happy to report that good things are going on with our House System! Here are just a few of them:

  • The houses are developing their own identities, not unlike sports teams or clubs. Each house is developing a crest, a Latin slogan, a mascot, house colors, etc.
  • The House Stewards are doing a marvelous job of leading their peers. One of the major purposes of the House System has always been to foster leadership among the students. That is happening as these fine young men and women are showing real leadership.
  • The Houses meet most Fridays for Bible study, praise and worship, prayer, and planning. The House Stewards and other upperclassmen lead these meetings, which gives them the opportunity to disciple those younger than themselves.
  • The students have been told that everyone needs a “Paul,” someone to learn from, and a “Timothy,” someone to encourage. Houses are beginning to pair students up so that they can pray for and encourage each other.
  • Houses can earn points that go toward a yearlong house competition, which is contributing to camaraderie, healthy competition, and accountability.
  • House Stewards have begun to periodically choose Gentlemen of Honor and Ladies of Virtue, members of their houses who have shown excellence and service in conspicuous ways. It is beautiful to see godly behavior and selfless service, not foolishness or bullying behavior, rewarded by the students.
  • Houses are identifying service projects around the school. House members will come together to serve their school later this fall.
  • Students are having fun. A few weeks back the students gathered on the field during lunch to have a House “Peg” tournament (Peg is a game the students love to play). Competition and fun ensued!

We are very thankful for our Logic and Rhetoric School teachers and for Mr. Ben Alexander, who work so hard and are giving the House System a lot of momentum. Lord willing, we will see even more good things come from our new House System in the days ahead!

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Top Butter Braid Sellers

Congratulations to our TOP SELLERS in this year’s Butter Braid campaign! The Jobe, Taylor, and Campbell families each sold more than $400 worth of pastries, and the Goff family sold more than $500 worth of pastries! Altogether, Regents Academy students and families sold more than 600 pastries, earning just over $3,500 for the purchase of new TV monitor screens for the Upper School classrooms.
We are so grateful for the efforts of ALL who sold Butter Braid this year — and we are very thankful for all of our friends who purchased them!

(Pictured, from left, are Tori and Piper Jobe, Reagan Taylor, Ella Campbell and Jacob Goff)

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“A Uniquely Human Ability”

From classicalchristian.org and www.thepublicdiscourse.com:

Casey Shutt writes on how the classical Christian approach offers a fundamentally different vision of education that families fed up with a factory approach to learning find compelling:

“Dewey’s dictum on the importance of a practical education lives on. The elimination of cursive from many school curricula is rooted in the notion that cursive has lost its utility; after all, people now spend most of their lives typing. A pragmatic understanding of education finds it difficult to justify the place of cursive (or any type of handwriting) in a school curriculum, just as fast food restaurants don’t bother with hors d’oeuvres. However, broaden the scope of education, and cursive and handwriting become of critical importance. Andrew Kern of the Circe Institute roots the value of learning cursive within education’s historic and broader purpose of ‘cultivat[ing] the human-ness of the student.’ Kern continues, ‘Handwriting is a uniquely human ability. No other animal has ever been able to imitate it, much less come up with it.’ But modern education shrinks the students down to their potential instrumentality within the economy. Consequently, the fluid grace of cursive is easily replaced by the pragmatic peck of keys.”

And that is one reason, among others why we teach cursive handwriting at Regents Academy.

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State Champs!

The Regents Academy Eagles soccer team won the 2018 state championship with a win over Concordia High School by a score of 2-1 in double overtime.

The team celebrated with a victory parade and pep rally at school when they got home.

Congratulations to coaches Rick Bertke and Jonathan Landrum, to all the parents and students who traveled to Round Rock to cheer the team on, and to all the Regents students and teachers who watched via live stream at school.

Way to go, Eagles!

 

 

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Seniors Visit Candidate Forum

The Regents Academy Senior Economics class attended the candidate forum between State Rep. Travis Clardy and challenger Alec Johnson at the Fredonia Hotel on October 4, 2018. The class is pictured above with Rep. Clardy and Senior Economics teacher Mr. David Alders.

The students also appeared in the article about the event in the Daily Sentinel.

 

 

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A Podcast Well Worth Your Time

If you don’t listen to podcasts, I heartily recommend the habit. And if you listen to podcasts regularly, let me encourage you to listen to a new one: BaseCamp Live. The BaseCamp Live podcast is a thought-provoking and engaging way to understand classical Christian education better. It will also equip you to be a better parent and more faithful follower of Christ. One of the best things you can do for your children is to understand our culture and how to raise children who are well-equipped to influence it rather than merely be influenced by it.

You can find the BaseCamp Live podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, but you can also listen by visiting https://basecamplive.com/. Please get started – you will not regret it!  Here is just a taste of the recent topics you’ll find:

Is Old ‘Bad’ and New ‘Good’ or the Other Way Around?

  • Worldview isn’t Enough
  • Wimpy or Worn Out? Finding the balance between indulging or burning out our children
  • A Fresh Perspective from Africa on this “Classical Christian School Thing”
  • You Are What You Sing
  • Wisdom from Alistair Begg on Raising the Next Generation
  • Education is not Neutral Oatmeal

And here is an excerpt from BaseCamp Live’s description of the show:

You are an influencer…you no doubt want the best for the next generation… academically, emotionally and spiritually…

The greatest challenge is how to shape young people who will encounter a culture that is often working against them and equip them to become flourishing adults who love Jesus Christ, think with confidence, believe with courage and serve with compassion.

Ancient Future Education isn’t something new. The approach has been around for centuries and today is often called classical Christian education. The greatest minds and servant leaders have been educated using this model. It is more than a curriculum…it is a way of life and the model to educate the next generation for the 21st century marketplace.

BaseCamp will equip you, the parent, grandparent, educator, or mentor, to climb that biggest mountain.

Our guests are some of the top thought leaders, culture watchers, and educational experts. They are familiar with the obstacles you’ll encounter on that uphill climb. They will offer you the tools you’ll need to summit the peak and raise the next generation of exceptionally prepared, compassionate, and thoughtful human beings.

Tune in each week for a short 23 minute show that will be encouraging and well worth your time.

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Wise Students Learn

Here is the message I shared with the students at Morning Assembly last week. I thought it would be good to share it with you parents as well.

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Hello, students. We call you “students” because you’re enrolled at Regents Academy, which is a school, and if you have a school you have to have students, too.

But what is a student, anyway?

A student is someone whose job is to learn.

But here’s the problem. At our school, like most schools, we assign grades to your work. Excellent. Good. Satisfactory. Average. Poor. The whole reason we give grades to your work as a student is so that your parents can see how you’re doing: whether you’re learning what you’re supposed to be learning and making the progress you’re supposed to be making.

So, you are a student, and you learn. Along the way you get grades. But something quite subtle can go wrong, and it’s something that happens all the time.

Instead of being a student, someone whose job is to learn, your goal can get confused and tangled and undermined and become all about getting grades rather than being about learning. Are you at school to get grades? Is your job to make A’s or B’s? Is that the most important thing?

Making school all about getting a grade is really a way of missing the real purpose of school to start with.

Think about it:

Do you brush your teeth? Why? You brush your teeth to keep your teeth clean so you’ll have healthy teeth and a nice smile. But what if you hardly every brushed your teeth and then when you have a dentist appointment coming up, you brushed your teeth a few times before going to the see the dentist, just so the dentist will think you have clean teeth? Is that why you brush your teeth – to impress the dentist and keep him from thinking you’re gross? No! The purpose of brushing your teeth is to have healthy teeth! In the same way, if you study so that you can get a grade on a test, you’re not really being a student.

Or think about this. Why do your teachers teach? They teach in order to lead you to learn. But you know what? They also get a paycheck. What if they worked just to get money and did just enough to make sure that they get the paycheck at the end of the month? (Believe it or not, there ARE teachers like that out there!). If they did, they’d be missing the whole point of teaching, which is not to get a paycheck but to teach students.

This is what it’s like to go to school in order to get good grades! If you set your sites on getting good grades, you’re missing the point of being a student. Instead, set your sites on learning all that you can learn. Aim at cultivating curiosity and then trying to find knowledge. Do so because you love to know and you want to understand God’s world and know His will and His Word – then the good grades will come with it!

Listen to Proverbs 2:1-5, and pay special attention to the verbs:

My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

These verbs describe the work of a student whose goal is to learn. Be that wise student, students! Don’t be the foolish student just trying to get a grade and finish school. If you do you’re in danger of becoming an ignoramus. Seek for knowledge and search for wisdom! Be the wise student who loves to learn!

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