Monthly Archives: January 2012

Finishing the Journey

Imagine for a moment that you’re taking a long trip. You have a reliable map and plenty of gas money to make it to your destination. But a third of the way through your trip, you decide to toss the map aside and go a different direction altogether, one that you think might still get you there and save money as well. However, you find that without the map you actually run out of gas in the middle of nowhere a long way from your planned destination, and you’re cut off from the good things waiting for you there.

I hope this story doesn’t describe one of your family vacations! But I also hope this story does not describe the educational journey of your children.

Classical education is predicated on a final destination, an ending point, a vision for where the education is going. The vision for a graduate of a classical Christian school includes love for learning, virtue and mature character, sound reason and sound faith, service to others, a masterful command of language, well-rounded competence, and literacy with broad exposure to books. Don’t you want those traits to describe your children when they are 17 or 18 and are preparing to enter the larger world?

The Trivium – grammar, logic, and rhetoric – are the road map to arriving at this vision for a graduate. In other words, making the educational journey through the years of grammar school, logic school, and rhetoric school is a voyage toward a final ideal, a great vision for our children to become mature, thinking Christians who know how to learn and who are prepared for a lifetime of faithful service and vocation.

But if we get on the classical path for only a short time, though our children will certainly benefit, they will never gain the long-term, life-shaping benefit of completing the journey. I want my children to make it all the way to the final destination that the classical roadmap shows me, not end up in the middle of the wilderness with the map crumpled and thrown aside.

All of this is to encourage you, parents, to consider the long-term vision of classical Christian education in the lives of your children. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric are more than just buzz words. They are distinct stages in your children’s voyage toward a lofty vision of preparedness for all that will come next for them. The journey is arduous and can be expensive, for sure. The struggles of today are real, and the work is hard. But the undertaking is well worth the effort and expense. And though the voyage seems long, in fact travelling from kindergarten to graduation really just takes the blink of an eye. Ask a parent of a graduate how long it seems since their children were being dropped off for kindergarten!
What is your vision for your children? How high are your goals? What kind of person do you want them to be? Is classical education just a stopping off point on the road to a different destination? Today is the day to plan for your vision for your children to become a reality.

Regents Academy’s classical Christian education and Christ-centered culture is the best path I know for your children. Let me encourage you to stay on the path, to persist to the end, and then (to mix my metaphors) to anticipate reaping the good fruit of grammar, logic and rhetoric in the appointed season.

As Gandalf said to Bilbo when the hobbit entered the dark paths of Mirkwood, “Stay on the path!”

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VFW Contest Winners

The Regents seventh grade writing class SWEPT the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen contest:

Winners include:

3rd place – Sarah Grace Alders

2nd place – Claire Culpepper

1st place – Haafiz Hashim – who also placed FIRST at district and Fourth at STATE!!!! Wow!!

Senior Will Alders placed 2nd in the local VFW Voice of Democracy contest.

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TAPPS In-House Tourney Results

On Saturday Regents Academy high school students competed in their TAPPS In-House Speech and Academic Competition. The top three in each category will compete in the district competition on February 9-10 in Dallas. Last year the Regents team placed 1st and won the district competition on its way to placing 6th in the state. We saw great performances again this year in both speaking and academic events and expect great things at district and state once again.

The students worked hard to prepare for  their events, all in addition to their regular studies. Great job, students!

Here are the results by category of the In-House Tournament:

Duet Acting: 1st place – Elizabeth Castleberry & Haley Duke; 2nd place – Graham Culpepper & Sam Alders; 3rd place – Aaron Bryant & Will Alders; Alternate – Megan Marshall & Kendall DeKerlegand

Solo Acting: 1st place – Alice Bryant; 2nd place – Miranda Kunk; 3rd place – Aaron Bryant

Poetry: 1st place – Miranda Kunk; 2nd place – Aaron Bryant; 3rd place – Ali Hosseinpour; Alternate – Alice Bryant

Prose: 1st place – Elizabeth Castleberry; 2nd place – Ali Hosseinpour; 3rs place – Miranda Kunk; Alternate – Anna Daniel

Persuasive Speaking: 1st place – Haley Duke; 2nd place – Tim Marshall

Original Oratory: 1st place – Will Alders; 2nd place – Haley Duke

Science: 1st place – Tyler Sowell; 2nd place – Sam Alders; 3rd place – Will Alders

Spelling: 1st place – Tim Marshall; 2nd place – Graham Culpepper

Social Studies: 1st place – Jon Sowell

Current Issues & Events: 1st place – Tyler Sowell; 2nd place – Will Alders; 3rd place – Elizabeth Castleberry; Alternate – Jon Sowell

Literary Criticism: 1st place – Ali Hosseinpour; 2nd place – Miranda Kunk; 3rd place – Tyler Sowell; Alternate – Alice Bryant

Advanced Math: 1st place – Ali Hosseinpour

Number Sense: 1st place – Sam Alders; 2nd place – Tyler Sowell;

Calculator: 1st place – Sam Alders; 2nd place – Jon Sowell

TAPPS Math: 1st place – Tim Marshall; 2nd place – Tyler Sowell; 3rd place – Sam Alders; Alternate – Megan Marshall

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2012 Medusa Mythology Exam

This year Regents Academy students in 6th-12th grades have the opportunity to compete in the Medusa Mythology Exam.

The exam is open to public, private, and home-school students. The theme for this year’s test is “Malicious Monsters and Monstrous Mortals.” It is a 50-question, multiple choice, 40-minute test that will be administered the last week of March. The fee is $3, and registrations are due by the end of January. Top achievers are eligible for cash awards.

For more information you can check out The sign-up sheet for Regents students is on the extracurricular board in the back hallway.

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A Trip to the Big H

Some teachers give their students gifts of candy and hand sanitizer at Christmas, and some teachers take their students on field trips.

6th grade returned from Houston last week after an eventful day visiting a fine Houston museum. I was informed of the new exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science as I quickly darted along Loop 224 in my hometown. The sign was a general blur as I typically drive as though I’m in the last lap of the Indy 500, but I saw enough to decide that my class must see this temporary exhibit.

We arrived at the museum and were in desperate need of a restroom when a staff member asked if he could interest us in a chemistry demonstration around the corner. I quickly thanked him and gathered my little chicks so as not to miss any more of the demonstration. The chemist was a nice gentleman that introduced us to polymers, bases, acids, and chemical reactions and we swallowed all that with a smile on our faces! Quietly I wondered why I couldn’t have had him as my science teacher and all the while packing away any little teaching tidbits that I might pull out later.

After this super demonstration, we followed the signs to the Civil War exhibit where we were swept away with all things Confederate and Union. Displayed on the walls were all sorts of fun and interesting facts about the causes and people involved in the development of the Confederate States of America as well as the many bloody battles that ensued. We were able to stand in front of the original 13th amendment complete with Abraham Lincoln’s signature. (If you don’t remember what that amendment did for our country, you ought to consider coming back to 6th grade!) There was a section in the exhibit where my students could attempt to decode “secret” messages based on the codes of some of the soldiers during that time period. As we neared the end of the display, there were cases and cases of original photographs and weapons along with fifes and crutches.I am hoping that this trip made the 1860’s more real to my students.

After a lovely lunch outside the museum, we returned for the museum’s permanent collection. Here we were able to see some of the animals that we study in science as well as some of the creatures my students studied as 5th graders. The air was ringing with, “Remember, last year we studied these,” or, “You know, Miss Hoffmann, taught us about this!” Then delight hit as we rounded the corner and entered the gem collection! There were brilliant gems gleaming from every direction and one of my ladies found the vaulted area where jewelry from around the world is kept. Shining tiaras and necklaces with gems the size of duck eggs decorated the walls of the vault.

My students were truly disappointed when I announced our need for departure and after a quick stop for a milkshake to top the day off, we arrived safely back home!

Some teachers give their students reasons to dislike school and some teachers give their students something to talk about.

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Playing a Tune

Regents students serve their community and use their talents as they serve.

The Kunk sisters — Regents junior Miranda and Regents graduate Kelsey (class of 2011) — volunteered to ring the bell at Walmart for Salvation Army during the Christmas break. Miranda brought her violin and played Christmas tunes. They received many compliments and many people asked about the school since they were both wearing their letter jackets.

Great job, girls!

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Gold Rings and Pigs’ Snouts

The Cristien worldveiw is won of the most influintule forses in Western civalazation sense the vary inseption of hour culturel tradision because.

This sentence reminds me of the Proverb that speaks of a ring of gold in a pig’s snout. Why would we train our children to think the content of this sentence, yet allow them to express the idea in such an ugly way?

We certainly ought to be concerned that students have knowledge, think clearly, understand ideas, discern truth, make sound moral judgments, and articulate a consistent Christian worldview. However, we also ought to be concerned that they are able do so in a winsome, eloquent, and technically correct manner. We want their grammar, spelling, and vocabulary to be appropriate to the level of their ideas, and we would aim for the gold ring of their ability to communicate not to be hampered by the pig’s snout-like distractions of poor diction, halting grammar, and atrocious spelling.

Classical Christian education loves the printed and spoken word and is convinced of its power. After all, our whole approach to education is rooted in Christ, who is Himself the Word. The word, written and oral, is a potent force that has driven human history, and we know that Christ is the One behind this power, so we aim to give our students the tools to use the word well.

How are we accomplishing this great goal?

Reading and Books. There is no substitute for reading good books. Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Lewis inspire good habits like nothing else. When children read, they are exposed to beautiful language dressed in the garb of sound grammar and rich vocabulary, and their own capacity for beautiful expression grows.

Spelling. From the beginning of their years at Regents, students are taught to spell using a phonics-based spelling program. Then their spelling is reinforced across the curriculum. “But I am just naturally a bad speller.” All of us are bad at something (many things, actually) – these are simply the things we have to work at more diligently! And spelling bees are great encouragers for good spelling, too.

Grammar. A rigorous program of learning the parts of speech, proper usage, correct sentence structure, and sound mechanics, coupled with proficiency in editing, prepares students to use language well both orally and in writing.

Writing. From free writing and journal entries to formal prose, poetry writing, and research writing, students use imitation and originality to communicate ideas in writing. Practice makes perfect, and at Regents students get a lot of practice writing.

Latin. More than half of our English words are derived from Latin, so the study of Latin greatly enhances a student’s English vocabulary. By studying Latin students understand how grammar works, and they have their knowledge of English grammar reinforced. Seven years of Latin study make a real difference in a child’s academic habits and power of expression.

“Strive” is a good work to describe our work in these areas. Regents teachers are striving, by God’s grace, to teach reading, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing, and Latin excellently.

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