Making Classical Christian Education Accessible to Everyone
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Education is Discipleship
We believe that education is discipleship. Jesus told us that everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40). Who do we want our children to imitate? We must teach our children to follow us as we follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Jesus left us with a parting command–to go and make disciples of all nations and that starts in our homes. When God gave His greatest commandment to His people, when He called them to love Him with all their heart and soul and might, the very next command was to teach these things diligently to our children (Deut. 6). God made us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We want to help our children to know what they were made for, to see God’s beauty and worth and worship Him in all that they do. The salvation and character of our children is our first concern. We must choose their teachers carefully.
Education must lead to worship. As we study God’s general revelation–the world He created, it which shows us what He is like and how much we owe to Him. We see order and beauty in Math and Science because there is a great Designer behind the laws of nature. If our knowledge doesn’t lead to worship, it will lead to death (Romans 1:18-27).
Education is exercising our God-given gave us dominion over His creation. He wants us to study it, to name it, to cultivate it. Solomon’s wisdom and breadth of understanding were displayed by his wealth of proverbs and songs and his ability to describe plant life, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the walls. He taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish (I Kings 4:29-34). Our children should learn to observe and label and experiment as the grow in wisdom and become masters in their fields.
Education is studying God’s special revelation in His Word. We teach our children to read and study the Scriptures from infancy because they are able to make them “wise unto salvation” (II Tim 3:15). Our children must memorize creeds and catechisms so that they can stand on the shoulders of our forefathers in the faith. The closer they get to reading and interpreting the Bible in the original languages, the more equipped they will be to recognize errors and steer their own lives, their families and their churches in the right direction. They must build their lives on the solid rock of obedience to God’s Word so they will not be like the man who built his house on the sand.
Education is comparing every other truth claim to the Bible to see how it measures up. We must teach our children to be in the world but not of it. They must learn to think critically and to give a defence for the hope that is in them, yet with gentleness and reverence (I Peter 3:15).
Education is preparation for a life calling of service to others in fulfilment of the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbour as yourself.
We believe that the best way to give our children this kind of education is through the rigours of a Classical Christian Education.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela
Classical Christian Education in Community
A classical education follows the philosophy of education that was developed during the Middle Ages with three stages called the Trivium. At the Grammar Stage, children learned to read. At the Dialectic or Logic Stage, they learned to argue. At the Rhetoric Stage, they learned to persuade. Then they were ready to go to University where they would study the Quadrium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Theology, Music). At University, Master Teachers would stand up and argue in front of the students (only paid if they argued well). Students saved one year’s wages to buy their curriculum of three books. After doing their reading and listening to the debates, students drew their conclusions by wrestling with both sides of the argument.
Children in the dialectic and rhetoric stages are beginning to determine their own worldview. They are asking, “Is my parent’s faith mine? Whom do I want to listen to? Who am I and what do I think about the world around me?”This is the most important stage to home school! They need guidance. They need their parents at their side, helping them talk through things biblically, listening, arguing…And yet this is the age when most families stop home schooling. Why is this? Just when we have given them the tools to study and form convictions, we stop choosing what they will study and who will shape their convictions.
Where do we look for a guide as we delve into the deep water of the classics? The Bible is our guide. There is a real battle going on for the souls of men. We can try to shield our children from it and then they will leave our homes defenceless. When they hit university they will be confused by Darwinian, or Reductionist, or Post-modern philosophies. Or we can take the time that we have now to show them how the wisdom of the Bible is superior to the greatest philosophies of man. As they read the great political and economic theories and study the consequences in our world today, they will be equipped to be nation shapers. As they read moving literature, they will learn how to persuade through narrative. As they listen compassionately to the opponents of the gospel, they will be prepared to give a defence for the hope that is in them before anyone (I Peter 3:15). As they read the great theologians who clarified the truths of the gospel, they will be equipped to combat the same errors that are recycled in our day. The apostle Paul said in II Cor. 10:4,5 “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”Let’s use the Classics to teach our children how to take every thought captive. Let’s use every story to illustrate mankind’s sin and need for a saviour. A Classical Christian Education gives our children the tools they need and the mentoring they need to know and love the truth.