Monthly Archives: February 2020


“A Case for Cloistering”

My friend and fellow headmaster Ron Gilley from Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, Florida, recently shared some wise words, and I’m passing them on here.

In “A Case for Cloistering,” from the Trinitas school blog, Mr. Gilley offers compelling reasons to value the experience of our children attending a small classical Christian school. What do you think?

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Throughout the ages Christian monks have cloistered to free themselves from the ungodly influence of the outside world. The seclusion and the freedom from the day-to-day rat race provided them increased opportunity for study and prayer that was not otherwise available. That tradition gave us some fine scholarly work in areas as diverse as Christian doctrine and agriculture. Indeed, Western Christian thought and heritage was preserved by such cloistering. In our age of mega schools and assembly line secular education, I want to suggest that Christian children can benefit from the cloister-like atmosphere at a small classical Christian school.

One of the problems with a statement like that is Christians are called to spread the Gospel in the world, and that is hard to do when cloistered. But I am not calling for all Christians to withdraw from the world. I am merely suggesting that we should provide our children with the shelter and safety necessary to grow strong in the faith before we send them to spread the Gospel and do battle in the world.

I often quote or paraphrase G.K. Chesterton who maintained that education is the “transfer of a way of life.” God’s people are commanded by God to transfer a Christian way of life to our children, and not just for three hours on Sunday morning (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Every education, whether in the public school, the prep school, or the small but serious Christian school is transferring a way of life to the children who are imbibing it. What Chesterton seems to have seen so clearly is that children of school age are in their formative years. I would add that the God who makes children made them that way for their own good—see again Deuteronomy 6. Children are learning and practicing now for the kinds of adults they will eventually become. They are being formed by their every encounter. And that is why cloistering is so important for Christian children.

We all can recall instances from our childhoods that remain with us for life. The negative ones seem most powerful, whether sights we should not have seen, fights we were not prepared for, or conversations that opened our eyes to ideas we were not yet mature enough to process. Perhaps even more powerful and lasting are the instances we do not recall—not even so much instances as the filler between the instances that was simply residue of the environment we were in. Both the instances and the residue are part of who we are now as adults, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to undo the damage. When we were children, our foundations were being formed, and a lot happened while the concrete of those foundations was still wet. Now the concrete is dry and we are stuck with the damage.

It can be different for our children. I have heard all the arguments against sending children to small Christian schools, but I have also lived the success of it with my own children. While they are not perfect and their small classical Christian school was no Utopia, the concrete in their foundations is beginning to harden with far fewer eternal imperfections and flaws than my own. The keys to this formation were community and purpose. Every school is a community, complete with its own purpose and a culture that flows from that purpose. What I am proposing, then, is that a small classical Christian school has the right community and purpose to produce a nurturing culture for Christian children, one that trains them up in the way they should go, coming alongside the church and family that are also working to do just that for their children.

Consider that your own children are being formed right this minute into what they will always be. Every encounter they have along the path of education is building their foundations, even transferring to them a way of life. Now is the time to cloister them away with their own people in a place where you can know that the foundation being laid is for the glory of God and the eternal good of your children. Do not be fooled into enrolling them in a school that has a different purpose.

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“A Compelling Case for Classical Education”

In last week’s Regents NOW I shared with you the exciting news of the major study conducted by the University of Notre Dame that looked at the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 who were educated in one of 6 school types: public, private secular preparatory schools, Catholic schools, evangelical protestant Christian schools, religious homeschools, and classical Christian schools. The study is called “Good Soil: A Comparative Study of ACCS Alumni Life Outcomes.” I truly hope you’ve already been spending time reading the results of the study.

You’ll recall that the study examined 7 profiles, including college and career, life outlook, Christian commitment, Christian lifestyle, traditional and conservative, independence of mind, and influence. The study indexed these profiles in order to measure graduates of classical Christian schools against those coming from other types of schools.

Consider these summary comments from ACCS. 

This study showed that ACCS alumni were more grateful, more trusting, and lived with purpose. And, they viewed suffering in the context of God’s plan for their lives. They had more and closer friends. Spiritually, 90% were above the median on church attendance, they read their Bible more, and they talked with their friends about religion.

Are these what you want for your children?

Also:

ACCS alumni have the most conservative views about Scripture (with the possible exception of young-earth creation), more conservative views about government (with the possible exception that they trust government more than other conservative groups), and more traditional views of the church. Through cross-referencing different questions, we see they have a greater capacity for independent thinking. Their strongest difference is in their willingness and ability to engage our culture as evidenced through their leadership positions held, greater connection with influential people, and their desire and obligation to engage on social issues. Their academic preparation exceeds even private preparatory schools, and far more ACCS alumni earn high grades and a degree in college.

Again, does this describe what you want for your children?

In summary:

The most significant finding here is just how big the differences are between ACCS alumni and the next highest groups in every profile. Typically, these differences are an order of magnitude above the differences between others in the study.

What are your goals for your children? What is your vision for them as adults? Is it for them to lead lives of virtue, display mature character, love learning, and serve the Triune God? Is it for them to be salt and light in a decaying culture? Is it for them to know how to think well and to do so in accordance with God’s Word so that they live well?

This study shows that the best way to achieve this vision is by completing the course and launching into the world with the riches of a classical Christian education shaping their worldview and their character.

In conclusion, “For parents who realize that school is about more than just college admissions, the life outcomes and spiritual outcomes combine with the best college preparation to make a compelling case for classical education.”

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“Good Soil” for our Children to Grow In

Regents Academy is a member school, and is accredited by, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, a network of some 300 schools nationwide committed to recovering the classical Christian model of education.

A significant moment has come for the ACCS and its member schools, including Regents. The ACCS has released the results of a major study conducted by the University of Notre Dame that looked at the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 who were educated in one of 6 school types:

  • public
  • private secular preparatory schools
  • Catholic schools
  • evangelical protestant Christian schools
  • religious homeschools
  • classical Christian schools.

The study is called “Good Soil: A Comparative Study of ACCS Alumni Life Outcomes.”

The results of the study are nothing short of astounding.

Here is the way ACCS describes the study:

During the 1990s, families in about 100 communities across the United States started classical Christian schools with the hope of offering an education that would assist parents in raising their children in the paideia of the Lord. The question almost thirty years later is: “To what extent have the goals of classical Christian education been realized?” To that end, the ACCS commissioned a study by the University of Notre Dame’s Sociology Department.

Understandably, some will view the results of this survey skeptically because of the significant differences between classical Christian schools and the others surveyed. These results can be understood more fully by visiting the ACCS schools themselves. Arguably, the greatest distinctive is integration—the intentional way that the subjects and Christian truth are interwoven. Every class and every school activity has one purpose: to see God’s world rightly and to glorify Him. These communities are tight-knit, serious but joyful, and eminently curious. And, there is room for improvement.

And so the study conducted by Notre Dame compares the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 in 7 indexes. The indexes “reflect survey answers about a healthy spiritual life, better life satisfaction, an independence of mind, a commitment to conserving the Western tradition, and the potential to influence culture.”

What is the key takeaway? According to ACCS President David Goodwin, 

the story of hundreds of data points becomes more clear: ACCS schools make a difference in these seven areas. While ACCS alumni shared some common traits with alumni from other sectors, the most significant takeaway is the magnitude of the differences. The differences seen for some of the profiles are an order of magnitude higher for the ACCS segment than for the differences between the other segments.

I am excited and incredibly heartened by these results, and I want to share them with you. 

Here is the link to ACCS’s homepage for the study:

https://classicaldifference.com/good-soil/

I encourage you to read and study the report. My hope is that what it shows will bolster and spark your own commitment to providing your children with a classical Christian education all the way through graduation. Remember, we are not raising children; we are raising adults. Our vision for our children is for them to lead lives of virtue, display mature character, love learning, and serve the Triune God. This study confirms that finishing the course at Regents Academy launches them on a lifelong journey toward fulfilling these great aims.

Please spend time digging around in “Good Soil” – you won’t regret it!

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Congratulations, Spellers!

Congratulations to our 5th, 6th and 7th grade Spelling Bee teams! 

Saturday, February 1st, our student teams and individual speller Dennis Choi represented Regents Academy very well at the Lufkin Kiwanis District Spelling Bee held at Lufkin High School.

The 5th grade team led by Will Baker (captain) and including Davin Garza and Servet Satir placed second in the K-5th division among 14 competing teams. The 6th grade team of Emma Rasberry and Jericho Maness, under the leadership of Armaan Rajani, placed second in the 6th-8th grade division, losing only to our 7th grade team of Abel Ketchen, Jean Choi and Ella Furniss (captain), who won first place in their division. All three teams came home with two-foot trophies and medallions. Regents Academy school spelling champ Dennis Choi did a great job among stiff competition in the individual bee, placing in the top five.

We are very proud of all of these spellers and all of the class teams who represented Regents Academy at the District Spelling Bee. Congratulations!

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A Truly Beautiful Education

Just as the Bible teaches us that Christ is good, so the Bible also teaches us that He is beautiful. He is so beautiful, in fact, that the Bible tells us to worship Him “in the beauty of His holiness.” And we long for the day when we will worship Him in the new creation, which the Psalmist describes as a place where we behold “the beauty of the Lord.”

Because Christ is the Lord of Beauty, He is the objective standard of beauty. Beauty reflects His character, and thus is not something that is hopelessly subjective. Beauty is not “in the eye of the beholder” if we are the “beholder,” since this would make us the measure of beauty instead of Christ. Something is beautiful only if it reflects His beauty.

But what does this view of beauty have to do with the education we give our children? Simply, put, everything. It certainly impacts visual arts, choir, orchestra, and all the arts, but it also impacts much, much more.

Think of the story we tell our children when we give them a non-Christian education. Far from telling our children the beauty of creation and our redemption in Christ, non-Christian schools tell our children a rather ugly story—that matter, with time and chance, coalesced into protein soup out of which evolved upright bonebags who return to the ooze when they die. Or that anything goes between consenting adults. Or that life is a mere choice. Sheer ugliness.

As God’s people, we alone have been given the only truly beautiful story to hold before our children because beauty itself is wrapped up in the Lord of Beauty. He created us beautifully. He placed us in a garden filled with beauty. We fell into ugliness by sinning against Him. But as our Lord of Beauty, He redeemed us by effacing the ugliness of our sin and “beautifying us with salvation” so that, one day, we will “behold the beauty of the Lord” forever.

To give your Christian children a truly beautiful education means giving them an education centered in Christ, the Lord of Beauty. At Regents, we don’t just talk about beauty. We actually worship Christ as the Lord of Beauty. And we strive to see His beauty all around us in creation and redemption. We also strive to teach our students how to live beautifully before the Lord. 

Thank you, parents, for joining us in this beautiful journey of educating our children for Jesus Christ, our Beautiful Savior.

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