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.
A founding principle of most classical Christian schools is the idea that parents, not the government, are responsible for the education of Christian children. Thinking this way changes everything. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and again in Ephesians 6:1-4, Christian parents—and fathers, especially, in Ephesians—are given the responsibility to teach and train their children about God and His ways. The classical Christian school comes alongside parents as a partner to fulfill this responsibility. That is one of the main reasons classical Christian schools are serious about enrolling students from like-minded families.
When parents are partners and not subjects or adversaries, all of a sudden they are welcome in the school, even in the classroom. And this is where the dedication of classical parents really shines. They are in the building in the morning discussing academic and discipleship issues with teachers before school. Many stay for the morning assembly and even sit with their child, and every day several parents show up for lunch. Often they are back in the building at the end of the school day asking teachers how the day went and if there is anything that needs their extra attention before the next day. That’s the dedication of a parent who is a participant in his child’s education.
But wait, there’s more! At Trinitas, just as in so many classical Christian schools across the country, dedicated parents really are at the heart of the school. Parents drive for field trips, assist with class projects and feast days, lecture in classes in accordance with their expertise, coach sports, direct drama productions, teach Latin, serve lunch, plan fundraisers, and perform routine maintenance on the building…to name a few.
Helping with homework is a rite of passage for parents, but dedicated classical parents take it to the next level! Classical students have so much memory work that parents sometimes feel as though they are watching and critiquing a performance. Writing, too, is a big part of the classical curriculum, so parents get to help their children perfect the art of written communication over time. At Trinitas we have had parents learn both Latin and Greek alongside their children in past years. And parents have tried to learn a little bit of everything alongside their children because as they learn, parents begin to see how much they missed in their own education.
Classical Christian education is a rigorous pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. It is the kind of education that focuses on the acquisition of permanent things like Christian virtue and character. It is an education aimed at the whole human—heart, soul, and mind—and it therefore has as its end human flourishing through glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. Students thrive in their pursuit of this education because classical parents are dedicated to participating in the pursuit with them.