We continue our classical parents series this week, discussing how parents who choose a classical Christian education for their children are dedicated. The first week we established that classical parents have to be dedicated to going against the status quo in education because cCe is so different from the education most of us are most familiar with. Last week parent participation was the topic. Classical parents are dedicated to participating in their children’s education, and they are invited and encouraged to do just that in cCe schools. This week we will close out the series for now by discussing the most important of three ways classical parents are dedicated: they are dedicated to the role of the Scriptures in the education of their children.
Last week we started a series about classical parents. The word we used to describe parents who choose classical Christian education for their children is dedicated. In the first installment we said classical parents are dedicated in at least three distinct ways, and we explored the first way: classical parents are dedicated in the way they buck the system, or go against the grain of modern, progressive education. This week we really begin to get to the heart of classical parents as we discuss how they are dedicated to participating in their children’s education.
Classical Christian schools can come across as pretty odd to most folks. While Latin can still be found in other private and public schools, not many schools teach six years of it. (I know of one classical Christian school that teaches eleven years of Latin.) And good books can certainly be found in other private and public schools, but not very many will read Homer, Virgil, Plato, Augustine, Rousseau, and Nietzsche. Memory is part of learning no matter what kind of school one attends, but not many schools will memorize hundreds of lines of prose, poetry, and Scripture every year. So yes, classical Christian schools can come across as odd even if only because of differences like these.
Parents who send their children to classical schools often have to defend that decision to their siblings, their friends, and even their own parents. The conversations can be tense, and especially so if everyone involved received a free public education. It isn’t as though your friends and relations know a lot about education; it is more likely their opinions have been informed by public debate, federal initiatives, and the latest trends. If the parents defending classical are sacrificing financially to afford the education, they often find themselves doubly on the defense. Points of debate include uniforms, classroom rigor, Latin, and always, always classical education’s lack of emphasis on STEM.
The seniors at Trinitas Christian School recently finished their senior thesis project. Trinitas is not the only school where seniors write and defend a thesis as a requirement of graduation. Thesis papers, and sometimes a defense of those papers, are a requirement in most classical schools and some prep schools around the country. It is a good project to cap off a high school career and prepare for the next step, which is almost always college for Trinitas grads.
Every once in a while at Trinitas a student will ask, “Why do we do that anyway?” and it reminds me that we don’t always do a thorough job of communicating to students why we do the things we do. If the student also says something like, “My friend who goes to [fill in the blank] school doesn’t do that,” then it becomes clear that we are not talking enough to our students about the methods to our madness. There is more going on at Trinitas than reading, writing, and arithmetic.
A couple weeks ago I made Trinitas families aware of a few openings we still have for students in the grammar school and asked them to invite families similar to theirs who share their beliefs and values about Christian education to come check out Trinitas. Most of them don’t have an hour and a half to tell their friends about the school, though, so I thought an elevator speech might prove helpful.
In our weekly email to parents last Friday, we embedded a video of Dr. George Grant telling the story of replacing the oak beams in the dining hall of Saint Mary’s College, Oxford. That story was part of the first talk I ever heard Grant give some fifteen or so years ago. It is a powerful example of the kind of foresight Christian people should exercise all the time in all facets of life.