January 9, 2012

Regents Daily News:
January 9, 2012

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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