Forget Not His Benefits

mountainby Neil Anderson, Head of School

[adapted from personal remarks at Closing Assembly May 2014]

I began this year with an admonition about climbing the mountain of truth, goodness, and beauty towards a further revelation of the Godhead. The encouragement was to engage in the process of seeing, identifying, and enjoying the glory of God in the streams that flow from the Fountainhead. Even the murkiest stream contains waters traceable to that glorious Source.

At the end of another year of this process, we rejoice. But we DO NOT BOAST. Now is not the time to point to the tower we have built, acknowledging the glories of what we have accomplished. It is a time for lowliness. It is a time for the acknowledgement of undeserved grace.

What have we achieved that He has not granted us? What have we sown that He has not given us the passion and patience to sow? What have we learned that has not been revealed to us by Him? What good can be perceived in this community that should not be directly attributed to a God who gives what is not deserved?

What will be our ruin but to fail to give credit where credit is due? To run away healed, forgetting to offer thanks to the healer. To be freed from slavery, only to grumble in the wilderness.

Psalm 103 (ESV) states:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all our iniquity,

who heals all our diseases,

who redeems our lives from the pit,

who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies us with good

so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

The LORD is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

Bless the LORD, all his hosts,

his ministers, who do his will!

Bless the LORD, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

We shall not forget our great Benefactor.

There are many ways we attempt to evaluate our success at TCS as an educational community. I can’t think of one more vital than this: that we are a people of gratitude, aware of undeserved graces, aware of the privileged place in which we stand, singing the refrain “all glory and honor and praise to you forevermore.”

If this higher education we seek does not make us low, it is an unworthy pursuit. As we ascend this mountain I spoke of, tracing the streams, the great irony should be that the higher we climb—the more clearly we see truth, goodness, and beauty—there is an opposite and internal mountain being descended. He must increase, we must decrease.

Five years is a laughable landmark for academic institutions, even for some of those right around us. But it is significant for us. Some of you have five-year-old children… significant right?  At the end of the 2013-2014 school year and at the end of our first significant landmark of five years, let us build a monument in our hearts, marking all progress made as the Lord’s. If He is so gracious as to pave the way towards the 50-year monument, the inscription will read the same: “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

With Gratitude for Our Founders

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace… And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.–Philippians 1:3-11

Each July, we become bold and patriotic in unison, celebrating the United States of America’s vast history. We even get teary considering the cost our founders paid while viewing parades displaying aged men in uniform proudly remembering their past accomplishments. We know we wouldn’t be where we are without the sacrifice of a few strong leaders who knew what had to be done and were willing to move forward no matter the challenges ahead of them.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years from that initial founding of the USA to our own school’s inauguration. It was late in 2008 when a friend, who knew I’d been homeschooling my boys, asked if we would be interested in joining a new school. I replied “Yes!” before she could explain to me very much. Exhausted and bewildered, this momma knew there had to be a better way than the path I was trudging. There were information meetings held in our homes, pencils made with a potential school name, and friends were recruited to join in. I really didn’t have any expectations of what it was to become but only knew I was ready to find someone else to lead in the curriculum and lesson plan department.

This idea came to realization and they amazingly began to hold classes in the fall of 2009, less than a year from the initial idea. You can read its history here. Now, we have planned and readied ourselves to begin our sixth year as Trinity Classical School in the fall of 2014. We expect 400 students to count themselves as TCS Owls with many more waiting for a spot to open that they too can fill. We are here now due to the dedication of a few.

It took a handful of Christian parents committed to the cause and forging ahead with research, plans, and action to build a school unlike any other. Their determination brought forth an organization that thrives on pouring into students and parents classical education and encouragement in the faith. They kept a focus, akin to that of a Pre-K student at snack time, on the goal of securing the best teachers and staff to do the right jobs.

If I named the stalwarts, it would embarrass them and they would just point to each other, taking the focus off themselves. These families sacrificed many a home-cooked dinner with their children to meet with each other or potential families/staff/facilities. They have spent long hours at the computer with emails, financial statements, and contracts. They pressed on with great conviction, no matter the circumstances in their own lives, to build a place for their own children’s education—and invite the rest of us to join them in the ride.

My own family’s life is richer with a depth of learning in my children than I could have ever achieved on my own. The redemption in education I have received is a great miracle in that I now know details of history, literature, and science that never entered my brain during grammar and middle school years (my verbal abilities could talk me into passing grades). The home days are relaxed, comparatively, to that of other school children. Our TCS friendships are like-minded, with discipline of children’s hearts at the forefront.

Thank you, TCS founders, board members and our dear Head of School. We are grateful for you and for these last five years. Your sacrifices haven’t been for naught. I’m a little teary now remembering the personal costs and admiring the accomplishments. Now to plan a really big parade.

Role Modeling for Our Role Models

A reflection by Dr. Christi Williams, Logic School Humanities teacher

For this blog post, I would like to simply share an experience I had this past year that was one of the countless examples to me of what a Christian classical education can and should be. I was reminded of the role parents and teachers have in motivating their children and students to pursue wisdom for the right reasons, in the right way, with the right kind of hearts, and how it is crucial that our children have role-models – older human beings who are daily striving in humility and passion to truly embody all that we teach, in whom love of Christ is central, and who can help us take on this arduous and delightful task of raising and educating our children.

This past year I taught the oldest students currently at Trinity, the seventh graders. Early this spring, the head of our school – a man all the students deeply love and respect (he reads aloud to them at lunch, knows and prays for them all, doesn’t hesitate to express compassion for them individually) – came into my homeroom and sat down to have a short chat with the students. He told them, with warmth, conviction, and earnestness, that he prays for them regularly by name, that as the oldest kids at the school, they have a great privilege and responsibility to be models of Christ. God has implicitly given them the beautiful task, he said, of becoming the kind of human beings all the other students can look up to.

And he said that, more than anything else he could want for them at Trinity, he wants them to experience learning as an act of worship to God – not for self, grades, achievement, temporal recognition, or as a stair-step to “success.” All these things, he added, will actually become great temptations, if they are not already. And he humbly admitted that he struggles with these things, even though he loves learning, loves the Lord, and wants to be in school his whole life.

He told them that if education is not done as an act of worship and for Christ, with purity of heart, it is meaningless (and could even do great harm). Then he prayed for them. And they hung on every word.

This, I believe, is the kind of spirit that can light fires in our children’s and students’ hearts, set them journeying in their pursuit of wisdom, especially and only insofar as it is bathed in humility, supported by prayer, delighted in with genuine joy, and consecrated to Christ, for His glory.

The Donation of Constantine: Why Academics Matter

forgeryby Dr. Lindsey Scholl, Logic School Academic Coordinator

Sometimes those involved in Christian education feel the temptation to simply give it all up and go preach the Gospel in the simplest terms possible. Why are we teaching our kids Latin, algebra, pre-modern history, and formal grammar when all that is truly needed is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds?

I have no idea what heaven’s educational scene will look like, but down here, proper and rigorous education can save us a great deal of grief. I’m not simply talking about scientific and technological breakthroughs, although those are fabulous. Today I want to give you an example of what might be considered an “obscure breakthrough,” but one that changed the face of Christianity’s relationship to secular powers such as kings, dukes, etc.

For centuries, the medieval papacy believed it had two particular prerogatives. The first was a right to appoint or depose secular rulers. You can see why this would give the medieval popes a great deal of power: if you feel that you can appoint King A and get rid of King B, then you are going to use that power (and perhaps for good reason). Yet King B might object, which can cause a tension and even violence.  The second was the right to own lands in Italy, specifically Rome and surrounding areas. Again, more power and more tension, because the papacy becomes a government all on its own that could collect taxes, wages wars, and behave like a secular government.

The papacy believed it had both of these powers partly because of a document called “The Donation of Constantine.” This “donation” was supposedly given by Constantine the Great in the 300s to the pope at the time. In this act, Constantine gave the pope jurisdiction over “the city of Rome and all the provinces, districts and cities of Italy or of the western regions” (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/donatconst.asp). If such a document were authentic, imagine how remarkable it would be! It would be as if the President of the United States said, “Church, I give you all the power you want over the state of Texas. You can own it, govern it, tax it, and even go to war with it.”

The trouble was, “The Donation of Constantine” was a forgery. Constantine never wrote such a document—nor, as a savvy politician, would he. It was forged in the 700s, four hundred years after Constantine’s rule. It was not the papacy’s fault that this forgery had crept in, but it was a forgery nonetheless.

Now to the point of this little essay: someone had to discover that it was a forgery. In doing so, that person released the secular rulers from certain obligations to an over-powerful papacy. It also released the papacy itself from feeling like it had to rule the world in a governmental sense.

Although some had already suspected the document’s authenticity, the person who proved and broadcasted it as a forgery was Lorenzo Valla, who wrote in the mid-1400s. Valla was a highly educated man who knew Latin better than the back of his hand, as well as other classical texts, theories, and trends. When he applied his considerable learning to “The Donation of Constantine,” he found that the Latin in the document was not the sort of Latin Constantine would have used. It was the sort of Latin that writers in the 700s would have used. Thus, it was a forgery.

In the history of forgeries, “The Donation of Constantine” is neither the most troubling nor significant. Nevertheless, it was a falsehood that had crept into the Church and provided support for a false way of thinking. It took an individual of great education to discover and correct it (after all, who on the medieval street could tell the difference between 4th century and 8th century Latin?). Without someone applying a certain degree of learning to the document, the forgery could have persisted even to the present day.

As we wrap up another school year, we have no idea how God is going to use our students’ education. Undoubtedly there are still more forgeries to uncover and more truths to reveal. Perhaps their studies in ancient history in 1st grade or physics in 7th will contribute to ridding the world of significant, detrimental misconceptions? I’m thinking on a grand scale here, but as summer approaches, anything seems possible.

Thrill, Son of Werva: Part 10 of 10. The grand finale!

Original fiction by Dr. Lindsey Scholl, Logic School Academic Director

Part 1: We meet Thrill the goblin. He is fascinated by the Declaration of Goblin Rights, which stands as a monument to goblin pride, though no one can read all the words carved into the high, dark cavern wall.
Part 2: Thrill admits to his co-worker, Sistig, that he reads books only reserved for the librarians. Before Sistig can work the situation to his advantage, the goblins are called out to attack some wealthy humans travelling through the woods.
Part 3: Thrill is caught in a very un-goblinlike activity by Sistig. He has been watching ducks on a pond while his fellow goblins are having a riotously successful time attacking humans. The incident convinces Thrill that he must leave the inside of the mountain, which means getting himself exiled.
Part 4: In an attempt to get himself exiled, Thrill offers to alphabetize the books in the goblin library. His activity creates quite a stir.
Part 5: Thrill finally finds himself on the outside, but Sistig is exiled, as well. His griping threatens to undo all of Thrill’s well-laid plans.
Part 6: Thrill and Sistig are arrested by the first humans they meet.
Part 7: Sistig is enraged to find out Thrill’s plan, but Thrill finds some unexpected allies.
Part 8: Thrill makes the rounds in the town. No one knows about the Declaration, but he does get some free food. 
Part 9: Thrill gets in trouble, but not before learning the location of the Declaration, or what’s left of it.

Part 10 (note: this installment is longer than the others, as it has so many fascinating events that must be told):

Thrill had rarely been scared in his life, but he was scared now. Hauled roughly and wildly through town, he kept thinking: Guy will be expecting me in the morning. What do I do? Guy will be expecting me. Now I’ll never see the Declaration. Never see the Declaration! The injustice of it made him howl, which earned him a rough clap on the head.

“Quiet, traitor!” Sistig snapped. The blow, though unpleasant, stirred Thrill out of his terrified stupor.

“Help!” He began to bellow at the top of his lungs. And then, upon greater inspiration, and before they could clap something over his mouth, “Goblins! Goblins are attacking!”

But if the inhabitants of the town heard him, they gave no sign. He drew breath for another big effort, but by then a rag had been shoved into his open mouth. To be silenced and to be bound cut of all his escape options. His ears drooped. His shoulders sagged. He walked quietly with his captors. Even in his despair, he did wonder why Owlich and Sistig were taking him down the main street of town. Arrogance, perhaps? Or to show him the remains of the children’s house? But the town was not up in alarm, as it should have been in the house were on fire. All was quiet, and yes, the house was still standing.

His spirits leapt. They leapt even higher when he noticed that a light was on. Higher still when he heard a man’s voice speaking inside. Their father!

The unexpected presence of their father gave him fresh strength. He lunged forward with sufficient violence to knock over a bundle of rods near their front door. The attempt earned him several painful cuffs, but it was worth it: the rods caused an enormous clatter. The father’s voice stopped. Thrill held his breath. Three seconds later, the door opened a crack.

“Somebody there?”

The street was so dark that the man could not see the owners of the shadows outside his door. But he could hear the scuffling.

“Guy! Fritz! Get some torches!”

Thrill continued to make as much noise as he possibly could, even managing to bite Owlich’s hand, which caused a noise of its own.

“Guy! Over here!” he hollered before a hand clapped over his mouth again.

The children’s father raced towards the sounds, at which point Sistig, Owlich, and the others decided to yield their prey. With a vicious shove, they sent Thrill barreling towards the dark form, which received him with a grunt. Candles were starting to be lit through the town now. In their soft glow, the father held Thrill at arm’s length to look at him.

“A goblin!” he exclaimed. “We had better get you inside.”

Once inside, the children introduced Thrill to their father with many excited gestures. Raymond de Hubert heard them out, introduced himself to Thrill, and sent the children to bed. Then Thrill told his entire tale to him, during which he frequently shook his head and said, “A goblin! Well, I never!”

At one point, Thrill was so exasperated with his exclamations that he interrupted his own story. “Why do you keep saying ‘a goblin!’ as if you’ve never heard of us or seen us before?”

“Oh I’ve seen and heard of you, no doubt about that. I just returned from some dwarves on the other side of the mountain who would kill a goblin just as soon as look at him.”

“That’s no surprise. They’re a nasty lot, the dwarves.”

“Nastier than you?”

“No, I suppose not. Excuse me for asking, but what is it exactly that you do again? The children said you were some sort of priest.”

Raymond nodded.

“That’s exactly what I am. As a priest, I build bridges between the races and also between them and their creator.”

“Our creator! What do you know about our legends? Goblins are as old as the mountains. Older, perhaps.”

“But there is one older still. The one who created the mountains.”

“Bah! No one created the mountains. They… They have always been.”

Raymond winked. “Then how could the goblins be older?”

Thrill flushed and changed the subject. “So I’ve told you about the Declaration. I don’t want to betray a trust, but Guy mentioned that he –”

“I know. He has a bit of it tucked under his bed. He may not have told many people about it, but he has told me. In the morning, we will have a look at it. But now it’s time for bed. I have journeyed many hours today, and a few hours’ rest would do me good.”

Raymond slept late the next day, much to Thrill’s impatience. The children would scarcely move without him, nor would they even speak of getting the Declaration out. Thrill therefore spent a restless morning. He was too excited to get more sleep. He didn’t dare go outside because of last night’s fiasco. The children talked only in low whispers, and to make matters worse, Thrill’s over-sized ears picked up every one of Raymond’s gentle snores.

By the time the patriarch awoke, Thrill had retreated into a corner to bang his head on the wall. Much to Thrill’s disgust, the children fawned on their father when he awoke. Heloise made him breakfast while Guy and Fritz monopolized conversation with him. The sun was almost at its zenith when Raymond turned his knowing gaze on Thrill.

“Well, Thrill, son of Werva? You have waited patiently for me to get my rest and talk with my children. Shall we go see what is under Guy’s bed?”

“Dust and mud, I expect,” Heloise offered.

Guy did not say anything. Instead, he led them all up to the loft. Thrill’s heart was pounding. Would it be the whole thing? No, surely not. A large fragment, perhaps. He couldn’t bear it if it were the same fragment he could see under the mountain.

“I found this several years ago,” Guy declared as he pulled out a large, wrapped bundle. “It was barely legible when I discovered it. It took a lot of hours to scrape off the moss and the lichen. I had to be careful not to carve into the original letters. I call the technique is ‘escraping,’ which is more like erasing than scraping.”

Out of the mercy of his great heart, Raymond cut him short. “I think we will be more interested in your story after we see the item, Guy.” Guy stopped talking, placed a bundle on the bed, and uncovered it.

Thrill almost fainted. It was a slab as large as Guy’s torso, covered in small letters. The top of it read, “THE DECLARATION OF GOBLIN RIGHTS.” Underneath those blessed words was the entire text. It read as follows:

The Declaration of Goblin Rights, drafted by the Goblin Senatorial Committee (hereafter named GSC) and approved by the International Goblin Congress, in which Goblin rights and feelings are addressed. The drafters of this Declaration are of the belief that certain negative views toward Goblins have shaped the majority of presentations concerning our kind. Consequently, Goblin-kind has been maliciously attacked, libeled, and humiliated in the eyes of the public.

In the interest of this same public and for the preservation of world order, this Declaration will withhold specifics regarding the offending parties. It is sufficient to say that certain publications concerning Hobbit-kind have debased Goblin-kind by characterizing it as terrifying, cruel, and foul-smelling. Such characterizations have been the cause of multiple anti-Goblin protests and attacks. Other certain publications, while pretending to present a more honest view of Goblin-kind, have nevertheless classed Goblins as avaricious, unkind, and attached to the banking profession to an unhealthy degree.

This Declaration asserts that such negative treatment is inaccurate, unnecessary, and detrimental to the cause of a diverse yet peaceful global population. We the GSC and with the approval of the International Goblin Congress, therefore propose that the following articles be honored by all races as essential to proper and sensitive Goblin relations…

Article One: That dwelling inside of mountains and other dark places is a simple dwelling choice, rather than a character trait reflecting evil intentions.

Article Two: That if any Goblin be considered in a negative fashion, it be made known that such a consideration is a testimony of the subject’s individual character, rather than on Goblin-kind as a whole.

Article Three: That Goblins be allowed equal participation in heroic actions, comparable to the participation enjoyed by Humans, Fairies, Elves, Dwarves, etc.

Article Four: That physical characteristics of any race, Goblin or otherwise, not be equated with or considered indicative of the vices or virtues of said race; likewise, personal odor is a right of all species and should not be identified with moral propensity.

Article Five: That Goblin-kind’s past alliances with what might be considered ‘evil powers’ be addressed in light of exceptional circumstances.  Goblin-kind as a whole should not be judged on the basis of possibly ill-advised cooperative enterprises.

Article Six: That Goblins are a unique and noble race, born with all due rights, and not a perversion of any other race, such as Elves or Dwarves.  The Committee nevertheless acknowledges the possibility that both Elves and Dwarves could be products of corrupted genetic material. T

The GSC hereby declares that the above articles are true and inviolate.  Should amendments become necessary, said amendments must be approved by the Committee itself, the International Goblin Congress, and a unanimous vote of the international Goblin population.  If any race or sub-race fails to honor the above articles, the Committee and relevant affiliates approve the use of beneficial force in order to ensure Goblin equality and freedom.  Such force is likely to include violent attacks, alliances with appropriate evil powers, and the necessary destruction of civilization.

Respectfully signed,

Thrak – President of Goblin Senatorial Committee, Lead Resident of the Caverns of Doom

Unghgar – Chief of International Goblin Banking Association Orif – Ambassador to Evil

Powers Alliance, Head Gardener

Nukdar – First Geneticist of Goblin Research and Vivisection Laboratories, Inc.

Steve Jensen – Ambassador to Human-kind, currently under Goblin mind-lock

Werva – Lead Advocate of Goblin Civil Rights Committee, co-chair of World Domination Board.

Thrill’s thirsty eyes read it again. And again. When the family had retired to lunch, he was still reading it. When the children asked him to help with their chores, he read on. After dinner was served, he returned to it like a fish to water.

“What you looking for?” Raymond asked him as he read through it again by the light of the fire, after the children had gone to bed.

“It’s everything I expected it to be. It describes goblins perfectly. Too perfectly. It describes Sitig and Owlich and everyone I’ve ever known. Every goblin would get behind this Declaration and say, ‘That’s what I want from the world.”’

“But?”

“But somehow I don’t feel any better about being a goblin. We want equal rights, but we don’t want to be any better than we already are. We don’t want to be good. Why don’t we want to be good or kind? Why must we always be defensive, and violent?” He stopped. “I wanted it to say that goblins are good. Or rather that we could be good. Or even that we realize we’re bad.”

Raymond gently took the slab from his lap. “But goblins aren’t good.”

Thrill’s eyes filled with tears. “I know.”

A caterpillar was crawling across the floor. It paid the larger creatures no mind until Raymond picked it up and positioned his fingers to flick it into the fire. Thrill watched him.

“What are you doing?”

“I was going to throw it into the fire.”

“Why?”

Raymond shrugged. “Why not?”

“But it’s unnecessary. I mean, I’ve kill caterpillars before, but you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t seem right, just right now.”

Raymond returned the caterpillar to its road.

“Thrill, do goblins have a sense of right and wrong?”

“Of course. We have laws like everybody.”

“According to goblin law, is it illegal to kill the caterpillar?”

“No. But it doesn’t seem right.”

“So goblins do have a sense of right and wrong—outside the law, that is. Thrill, do goblins always choose what is bad?”

“I suppose not. We build things. That can’t be all bad.”

“But that’s not good enough, is it?”

Thrill shook his head. “I didn’t want to find the Declaration because I wanted an adventure. I wanted it to tell me that goblins were something good. And not just for ourselves. That we can be good for others.”

“The Declaration can’t tell you that.”

“I know!” Thrill’s ears drooped, and he considered consigning the caterpillar to the flames.

“But I can.”

“What?”

“Thrill, I am a priest. I reconcile and build bridges, like I told you. And not just between races. I build bridges between the bad and the good. Did you know that it was goodness that created the whole world, including goblins?”

“You said it was a creator.”

“A good creator.”

“Then why are we so bad?”

Raymond looked at him.

“You mean it’s our fault that goblins are so bad?”

Raymond nodded. “And if you can choose to be bad. . .”

“I can choose to be good. A good goblin?”

“Sort of. Let’s be frank. Goblins have done a lot of damage to themselves and to others. Humans have, too,” he added as Thrill’s opened his mouth. “We all need help, and the only one who can help us is the one who made us in the first place.”

“The creator.”

“Even the goblins need him.”

Thrill looked again at the big slab. “What a horrible Declaration. What rights can we possibly have, since we’re so rotten?”

“Come now! I have just given you hope. Rights are but a means of preserving hope.”

“But I don’t know anything about this creator.”

So Raymond told him. He told him about the maker of goblins, humans, dwarves, elves, ducks, and everything else. He told him about patience and justice and forgiveness and all the things the Declaration left out. He told him the difference between being created and just being. And Thrill had ears large enough to listen.

In the morning, Thrill began to change a little. He began to mimic the children as they did things that were good. He began to think of others before he thought of himself. It was a slow process, but even slow processes need a beginning. And he began to ask Raymond if he could meet this creator fellow, who would continue to instruct him in the difference between rights and what is right.

“I’ve got it!” Thrill exclaimed one day. “I will write ‘The Declaration of Goblin Right.’ And then I’ll carve it in stone so that everyone—goblins, humans, dwarves, and ducks—can see.”

“I believe you will,” Raymond answered. “But first, please help Heloise with the laundry.”

Thrill hurried to obey. As he did so, he glanced at the bright blue sky and wondered if the creator could see him. It was an unnerving thought but not a horrible one. Maybe the creator himself was a bridge-builder. Maybe he, Thrill, could be one too.

The End.

Encouraging Your Child to Read

by, Julie Moore, Grammar School Academic Director

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss 

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Learning From Experiences

Experiences can have a huge impact on whether reading excites a child or not.  The experiences we have during our childhood are often the ones we remember most vividly.  Helping your child discover and appreciate these experiences will be an important part of his/her growth in reading.  Readers tend to use the experiences they have encountered in their lives as a foundation for understanding and enjoying the ideas in the books they read.

Your child’s success in reading can be stimulated by offering a variety of experiences inside and outside of your home.  Reading becomes more personal for a child when he/she can relate it to actual experiences.  When children feel they are a part of the action in a story (or can relate the actions to their own personal experiences), they will most likely develop a positive attitude toward reading.  Even seemingly insignificant experiences may aid in improving your child’s attitude towards reading.  Try some of these ideas to help your child discover new experiences.

  • Keep the book(s) your child is reading in mind when choosing an activity or place to visit. For example, visiting a farm while reading Charlotte’s Web would be a great way to make the setting come alive.
  • Plan a special trip to the museum, zoo, arboretum, dairy farm, aquarium, or other place that relates to a book being read.
  • Pull out old family albums or documents. Talk with your child about your family history, ancestors, where family members have lived, etc.
  • Visit community buildings.  A fire station, police station, and city hall offer wonderful opportunities for your child to expand his/her world of experiences.
  • Plan a simple family project such as planting a small garden, building a simple bookcase, or other activity that relates to a book being read. Encourage your child to participate in the planning of the project.
  • Read books to your child about the past. Discuss the similarities and differences in the way we live now.
  • Try to expose your child to something new once a month.  Open a lemonade stand, fly a kite, go camping, or participate in another activity that relates to a book being read.
  • As you work around the house, share your job with your child.  Take some time to talk about the various parts of the work you are doing (fixing a faucet, cooking a meal). If practical, have your child participate in the activity.

Ways to Encourage a Love for Reading

In order for children to enjoy reading and make it a significant part of their lives, they must be motivated to explore new books.  Children who are excited to read are children who will want to read. Try some of the following ideas to help inspire your child to read:

  • Create a culture of reading in your home.
  • Read aloud to your child every chance you get.  When children listen to adults read, it helps them develop an appreciation for written material and the thoughts and ideas that books can convey.  You can open up a whole new world of adventure that cannot be found anywhere else, including television!
  • Set a good example by putting aside a special time each day for all family members to read together.  You may wish to use this time as silent reading time or an opportunity to read to each other.  If your child has a pet or stuffed animal, let him/her read to it occasionally.  This silent audience gives your child an opportunity to share the joy of reading with a non-critical audience.  Older children can be encouraged to read to younger brothers and sisters.
  • Place a small rug in a corner of your child’s room along with some large pillows or a bean bag.  Hang some posters or pictures and make this a special reading place for your child.
  • Encourage your child to look for and notice all the things which surround us daily that contain words, letters and/or numbers (i.e., signs, toothpaste tube, globes, price tags, etc. …).  Your child may choose to start a list and add to it regularly.  Making the connection between written words and the importance of reading may inspire your child to pick up a book of his/her own accord.
  • Try one or all of the following reading activities:
    1. Map it Out – Purchase a map specifically for the books your child is reading.  Identify the setting of the book by labeling the location with the book title; compare the locations from the different books.  Older students may be able to provide historical events that took place there.
    2. Bookmark ­– Provide your child with a bookmark or allow him/her to make one.  At times, reading can become more enjoyable if the child has a bookmark he/she likes.
    3. Puppet Show – Work with your child to create puppets for characters from the book and put on a play for other family members.
    4. Advertisement – Have your child create an advertisement for the book. If needed, provide examples of advertisements from magazines or newspapers.  Your child may wish to “sell” the book to other family members.
    5. Pantomime – Provide your child with a few simple props (chair, box, pencil, etc.) and ask him/her to act out the book for family or friends.  You may also wish to help your child locate clothing or objects that a character may have worn or used.
    6. Name Game – Write your child’s name in large letters vertically on a large piece of paper.  As your child reads new books, look for characters whose names begin with the letters in your child’s name.  Record the names on the paper until all the letters are completed.

Helping and encouraging your child to love reading is one of the most worthwhile investments of your time and efforts.  Your child will thank you for it later!

 

A Life of Education

By Jasmine B., Logic School teacher

I stood in front of a father and his two uniformed children at the grocery store the other day, eavesdropping. 

“Nine times two is?”

“Eighteen!” 

“Twelve times three is?”

“Twenty four?”

“Say what now?”

The kids laughed, but Dad looked pretty serious. “Thirty-six,” his son said, and Dad immediately cracked a smile. “No more B’s on our math tests.”

This dad understood that his responsibility to help his son learn math couldn’t be completely abdicated to whatever school they were enrolled in. He was taking an active part in getting those math facts into his kid’s head. And it didn’t just take place at his desk at school or at the kitchen table at home, but in the grocery store checkout.  

And that poor kid’s eye roll resonated deeply with the childhood “me.” 

Education as Part of Life 

As a homeschool graduate, the scene looked familiar. 

Growing up, we did school all year round, taking breaks whenever family vacations or burnout presented themselves. We didn’t have a set time to finish school each day, sometimes finishing at noon, sometimes taking long breaks during the day and finishing after dinner. And, speaking of dinner, our conversations could range anywhere from why mathematics is important for believers to conquer (there are very few math lovers at my house) to why George Orwell is just a much better dystopian author than Aldous Huxley (my brother and I could never agree). 

For us, education wasn’t just something that happened at school time. All of life was full of opportunities for discovery and illustration. We weren’t antisocial eggheads by any stretch of the imagination, but our thirst for learning was stoked by realizing that learning wasn’t just something that we did from eight to three every day—it was the active worship of our Lord. 

Education as an Act of Worship

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” –Deuteronomy 6:4-9

As the Israelites stand on the verge of walking into the Promised Land, Moses speaks the commandment given him directly from the Lord: love him with all of your heart, teach his ways diligently to your children, and never let up. 

Now, true, this passage says nothing about drilling math facts while you’re buying produce. But throughout the ages the Lord has made himself apparent in a redemptive plan that has been ever-unfolding, a plan that has been revealed to us through the years, a plan that we interpret through his Word. 

And as the plan has unfurled, great mind after great mind has interacted with thought after thought. The act of educating ourselves about these thoughts not only enables us to gain deeper insight into truth, but to articulate that truth with a confidence all our own. And the greatest thinkers have always known: this discovery does not take place in a box. 

Education as a Lifestyle

The concept of education as a lifestyle may be hard to impress upon a middle schooler rolling his eyes in the grocery store checkout. And the concept of education as a lifestyle isn’t always rooted in the gospel. 

But when it is, something beautiful happens:

Education becomes less about not getting a B on the math test and more about viewing math as a vessel for God’s glory. It becomes less about winning an argument and more about relating to others in a meaningful, challenging way that points them to truth, goodness, and beauty. It becomes a passion, a fire lit by educators who want more for their students than empty, heartless repetition eight hours a day. 

This is my goal in the classroom because this was my parents’ goal at home. And abroad. And in the car. And during soccer practice. And in the grocery checkout. 

I hope I never stop learning, never stop growing in a curiosity that is rooted in a desire to know more about the world the Lord has given us, and to become more adept at communicating those truths to others. I hope that for my students, and I hope that for their parents. 

I might have balked, mouth wide open, during those summer days of homeschooling if you told me that I’d end up spending my days in a classroom. But the older I got, the more that balking gave way to the fact that being involved in education as an adult was just inevitable for me, because education is such an inextricable part of my life and my walk. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.