Last Sunday evening many of us (i.e., the Committee and a number of interested families) gathered to talk about ECS and the classical Christian model of education. While there were a number of things we discussed that would be worth reproducing for you here, there is a thick thread that runs through everyone’s task list: WORK.
And this is a problem, because we hate it. We don’t like having work to do, and we definitely don’t like being told to do it. We are accustomed to ease and given to laziness (which we call “efficiency”). But none of that changes the fact that there is work to do.
Maybe you’re the father of a second grader and you’re thinking about homeschooling your daughter in this model next school year. Perhaps you’re a recent high school graduate who wishes she were trained in the classical Christian model and who wants to make up for lost time. Or maybe you’re a grandparent who would like to see ECS well-established by the time your grandson is ready for kindergarten. It’s even possible (not as likely for those reading this) that you’re an eighth-grader who is thinking about attending ECS as a freshman, but are despairing because you have never studied Latin or formal logic. Whatever the situation, you have plenty of work to do. Why is that?
For starters, parents are responsible for the education of their children. Sadly, many parents abdicate this responsibility. Others delegate it to a school, expecting for “education” to happen from 8:00AM to 3:00PM, Monday through Friday. Others know better and strategically select a school that will effectively support them in the education of their children by reinforcing common biblical principles while loving academic content into their children better than they could as parents. But regardless, the parents are responsible. And if those same parents are going to make good decisions, they must be well-informed.
The recent high school graduate should’t expect to fully understand the Greco-Roman mindset of the first century by reading one poem by Homer…but it can sure help. To know better, or how to best prioritize your time takes work. You have to learn what to learn. Then once you’ve decided, the real work actually begins as you do read Homer and Virgil and Milton and Euclid and CS Lewis and study Latin and logic and more (or More). Some would use that to excuse inactivity, because making excuses is easier than work.
Proud and well-informed grandparents are excellent ambassadors with contagious enthusiasm. But if they want to be able to effectively champion the school or speak of it intelligently to others, they have to learn more. We’re very glad to help, but it still takes work.
The student looking to enter the classical and Christian model had better be ready for (yup, you guessed it!) work. Now the work is supposed to be hard and fun and rewarding and rigorous, but it’s still work. If you can work hard and you’re open to the possibility of sacrificing the immediate gratification of straight A’s for sake of the greater, more lasting payoff of being able to use your mind, to handle the tools of learning as a homemaker or a widget-maker, and to be able to understand your place in the stream of Western culture, then you’ll be just fine. We believe that these things make for better worshipers, and becoming a better worshiper takes work…for all of us. But be working hard now, and be ready to work hard next year.
I write this first for myself. I’m excitedly overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do, and yet I know that this is a necessary and precious season in the life of our school that is marked by high dependence on God. And we will be quick and glad to give Him the glory for the fantastic outcome (or shall I say, “process?”) we anticipate by faith.
As always, if we can better inform your work, or if we can answer any questions for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Risus est bellum.