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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Prudence is one of the classical virtues, and also a virtue valued by Christians of all eras. “Prudence,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.” According to Proverbs 27:12, it is a prudent person who “foresees evil and hides himself” while “the simple pass on and are punished.”
Our desire at Regents Academy is to be prudent when it come to the safety of our students during the school day. The beginnings of a sound campus safety plan lies in prudence, as we “think out what we are doing” and attempt to “foresee evil.” The Regents board and administration have endeavored to be as prudent as possible when considering campus safety, and especially so in light of the horrific and tragic stories that confront us after all-too-frequent school shootings.
Over the last several years, Regents Academy has added a number of safety features to the campus that have enhanced its overall safety.
- Just this summer we added new security doors between the school foyer and the main hallway. The new doors remain locked during the school day and stiffen the entryway into the school. All exterior doors remain locked during the school day, which enables the staff to better monitor those who are entering the school building.
- Securely locking doors on all our classroom doors. This feature enables us to securely lock down our classrooms if necessary.
- A security system, which includes panic buttons that facilitate an immediate and stealthy call to the police. If one of the panic buttons is activated by a staff member, the police are alerted to come immediately but without an alarm sounding.
- A closed-circuit security camera system, with cameras on both the inside and outside of the building. This system enables us to monitor the front of the building; in the future we will add more cameras so we will be able to monitor more areas of the campus.
- An Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which is accessible in the school office. AED’s have become a common sight in churches, schools, and other public places, and we are glad this life-saving piece of technology is on our campus – with the hopes that we never need to use it!
- In addition, the school has a thorough safety plan, practices safety drills regularly, and requires its teachers to complete bi-yearly sexual abuse awareness training.
And speaking of teachers, our school’s staff truly is its most important safety feature. Teachers are like shepherds who vigilantly watch over their little flocks daily. On Wednesday we will dismiss school at noon so that teachers can spend the afternoon receiving CPR training. Lord willing, we will never need to use the training, but we want to be ready if that day ever comes.
Prudence will enable us to foresee many dangers and be prepared to deal with them. We can thank our school board, diligent staff members, and committed parents for helping the school be the safest place possible. Most of all, we can thank the Lord – we are in His hands daily! “You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me” (Psalm 31:3).
Fair warning. Here is “cynical me” speaking. Two things are sure at our private Christian school: tuition payments and squabbles. (Maybe I’m just speaking from my inner Ben Franklin – you know, death and taxes). Well, there is not much I can do about the tuition payments. We have to pay our teachers and keep the lights on. However, there is something we can do about the squabbles. Conflicts are inevitable among any group of people, but God, by His abundant grace in Christ, enables us to live in peace as a community of peacemakers.
If you drop 50 things on the living room floor but do nothing to pick them up, by the end of the day the room will be a complete mess. But if you drop 50 things on the floor and pick each up immediately after it hits the floor, the room will be clean at the end of the day. Likewise, we may have any number of conflicts along the way, but if we’re careful to clean up each one, at the end of the day we will have a healthy relationship. But if we let the conflicts hit and leave them there, we end up with messy relationships cluttered with anger and resentment and bitterness.
One of the best resources out there for learning how to live together in peace is the work of Ken Sande and Peacemakers. His little book Resolving Everyday Conflict is a treasure of biblical wisdom and insight. Below are a number of selections from the first chapter, “The Nature of Conflict: What It Is and Where It Comes From.” Let’s learn together the grace and skill of peacemaking so that we can glorify God together in our school community.
In the Bible, God gives us a powerful way to respond to conflict. Our natural approach to conflict is to focus on what an opponent did to us. Yet if we try to resolve conflict by focusing only on what someone else did wrong, we never reach a real solution. God’s approach begins with us understanding the gospel?everything Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Through the gospel, God treats us with extraordinary, unearned kindness. And his gracious response to us gives us power to respond to others in an entirely new way. Once we understand how the good news of Jesus empowers real reconciliation, we can begin to learn and apply God’s practical steps to peacemaking.
Peacemaking comes naturally to no one. It always goes against our normal human impulses. But the more we draw on God’s power, and the more we wrestle with and obey what God teaches, the more effectively we can work out disagreements with others.
As Christians we can’t escape conflict. Maybe you have picked up the idea that being a good person will help you steer clear of major clashes. If you try hard to do right, then people won’t disrespect or mistreat you. Or perhaps you have been taught that if you do clash with others, turning to God for help will effortlessly make everything better. Life as a Christian doesn’t work that way.
While many conflicts bring disastrous results, conflict isn’t always bad. Even the most mature of Christians experience conflict and can come out better for it.
The Bible teaches that some conflicts come from God-given diversity. Many of our differences aren’t about right or wrong; they are simply the result of these God-designed personal preferences. What God desires is unity, not uniformity.
Other conflicts result from simple misunderstandings. There isn’t a person on earth who communicates perfectly, whether speaking or listening.
Although much conflict is the natural result of God-given diversity and simple misunderstandings, many conflicts are the result of sinful attitudes and desires that lead to sinful words and actions.
The sinful root of conflict is really idolatry. As Christians, we know we should want what God wants, but when we allow an idol to control our hearts, we only want what we want. The one cure for idolatry is to look to God himself, returning him to his rightful first place in our lives and deciding we want his will for us above any other desire.
The good news is that conflict doesn’t need to ruin our lives. The grand theme of the Bible is reconciliation. We only have to read about four pages into the Bible?approximately five hundred words?before we see mankind leap into sin and experience separation from God and each other. Yet the whole of the rest of Scripture discloses God’s incredible plan to bring back to himself a human race that willfully walked away from him.
Unresolved conflict brings tragic results. When people lock horns at home or work, with friends, or in a courtroom, relationships are often severely damaged. Conflict robs us of time, energy, money, and opportunities. When we pause and realize the destructive nature of conflict, we discover how desirable peace really is.
Peace is worth our greatest effort. The Bible tells us that we should “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The Greek word in this verse that is translated “make every effort” means to strive eagerly . . . earnestly . . . diligently. It’s a word that a trainer of gladiators might have used when he sent men to fight to the death in the Coliseum: “Make every effort to stay alive today!” Peace is worth that life-and-death effort. If we want to enter into all the peace God has for us, we have to give it our all.