Greetings to you all on behalf of the Evangel Classical School Committee. FYI, at some point in the next few months the Committee will officially pass the baton to the first Board of Directors. These emails will then come on the behalf of the Board, not the Committee.
A special “thank you” to all of you who attended the viewing of Trivium Sketches at the Weinbergs’ last Sunday night. We trust it was helpful and informative. There were a number of good questions from the crowd after the viewing, and each family who attended took home their own copy of the cleverly-entitled booklet Classical and Christian Education, by Gregg Strawbridge. If you were not able to attend, but would like your own copy, you may purchase your own via the link, or just ask me and I’ll see if I can provide you one for as long as we have some left. But you must promise to read it and share your thoughts or questions with the rest of the class. :)
Last week, you’ll recall that I sent a faulty link to the school’s webpage, so here it is again. That’s www.evangelcs.org. On the site, we’ve endeavored to answer some frequently-asked questions and share our vision, so I’d encourage you to take a gander if you have not yet done so.
I thought you might be provoked (in a good, thoughtful way) by some comments from Gregg Strawbridge, pastor of All Saints Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and author of Classical and Christian Education (mentioned above). (To be fair, there is more to the title, namely, “Recapturing the Educational Approach of the Past.”)
Strawbridge points out the following:
One can hardly think of education in the past without being impressed with learning and academic skills that far exceed our own. Pick up any book written before this century, and it will be a challenge to the ordinary college graduade because of the eloquence of style, complexity of sentence structure, and vocabulary. Even the common letters of the literate ‘uneducated’ in the last century stand out as supremely elegant. (1)
It’s hard to argue with this point because our own experiences only confirm it. Like most of you, I need to think harder and focus more intently when reading an old book. Now there are probably a few additional factors that play into this that Strawbridge doesn’t mention (e.g., those that contribute to the natural evolution of language; some verbiage is just antiquated). But generally speaking, it’s because I’m ignorant of the big words or can’t follow the sentences unless I break them down into small pieces. I’m a little embarrassed to say that, but it’s true.
In “The Lost Tools of Learning,” Dorothy Sayers pointed out that her generation was actually getting a poorer education that the one before. That was – to that point – unprecedented in history. Sadly things haven’t gotten better since then. And this comes as little surprise given that our approach to education has only gotten further and further from the time-tested model of our ancestors.
To be sure, there are other things at play here, including our society’s moral decline, but it is silly for us to continue to practice the same methods – educationally and otherwise – and expect a different result. We cannot reasonably expect for a downward trend in the quality of education to suddenly reverse unless we intervene.
Enter the classical and Christian educational model. Whether utilized at home or in a classroom, it saturates a millennia-old educational tradition with Scripture and endeavors to support parents in the rearing of a generation of worshippers who hone the skill of learning. It’s not a panacea, but it is compelling. And it is different from what most of us experienced in our own educational upbringing. If you want to know more about it, here is our resource page. You are also free to ask away; we’ll happily answer whatever questions we can to the best of our ability. (Oh, and “we” is the Committee.)
Risus est bellum.