Archive for education

Sep
03

Why Memorize Scripture?

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Last year Regents Academy began a school-wide Scripture memory program. Each month the students memorize passages from the Bible and then recite them before their classmates. We’ve seen wonderful success from this memorization program, and it is continuing this school year. Why are we using valuable time and effort to memorize Scripture?

First, we memorize Scripture because we are a Christian school. I’m only being halfway facetious. A school can, of course, be a Christian school without a Bible memorization program, but on the other hand, would you expect a school that is not Christian to memorize God’s Word? Psalm 1 teaches us that God blesses the man who does not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly” but instead delights in His law and “in His law he meditates day and night.” The psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps 119:11). St. Paul reminded Timothy that he had known the Holy Scriptures since his childhood, and he had grown wise in salvation as a result (2 Tim 3:15). In the early centuries of the church, prospective church leaders were often required to memorize all 150 psalms. There are tremendous spiritual benefits to hiding God’s Word in our minds and hearts. We are better able to listen to God and trust in Him while meditating on His promises and commands.

Memorizing Scripture accords well with the methodology of classical education. In the grammar phase of the Trivium students memorize large volumes of information: spelling rules, history facts, multiplication tables, as well as lots of names, dates, and places. Young children, of course, don’t understand the significance of all that they are memorizing, but we teach it to them over and over again until it is rote, and then later that knowledge will be developed as their ability to understand grows. Likewise, children may not understand all that they are called upon to memorize when they learn Bible passages. But as we place God’s words in their hearts and minds, it affects them nonetheless and is tucked away safely for later days when it will be understood better. Older students in the logic and rhetoric schools, with their greater capacity for understanding, receive great benefit from memorizing the Bible as they consider what it means and how it connects to a Christian worldview.

Bible memorization also helps develop recitation skills. Students at Regents Academy recite a lot: Latin conjugations, poems, prayers, memorized pieces. As students grow up through the Trivium, they are trained to recite and speak to audiences with confidence and poise, with a strong voice, and with rhetorical skill. Memorized Bible passages, then, are another training tool in preparing students to be persuasive, winsome public speakers. Francis Bacon famously asserted that “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” We might add that recitation maketh an eloquent man.

Finally, I can say from my own experience that a school-sponsored Scripture memorization program has provided good accountability for my home. Busyness, distractions, and laziness keep me from making Bible memorization a priority. But with the Bible being consistently placed in the minds of my children at school, I can call on that knowledge and be better equipped to lead my children to honor and trust Christ.

I encourage us all to see the value of memorizing the Bible and thank the Lord for yet another gift He has given us through classical Christian education at Regents Academy.

Categories : from the headmaster
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Aug
05

Good Men Speaking Well

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OMG, IM totes rite 4 ths j0b!!1!!

How would you respond if you saw this on the resume of a prospect you were considering hiring? I suspect not favorably. Yet USA Today reported in 2006 that New Zealand’s high school students would be able to use the language of texting in national exams.

Are students today being prepared to speak and write well? What does it mean to speak and write “well” anyway? Having a strong lexicon of OMG’s and LOL’s?

Most young people today are bilingual: they know English, but they also know Textese, the chopped and re-assembled language of texting. Debates rage about the impact Textese and Twitter are having on the English language and on the English skills of young people as well. That technology affects us all is without question. That technology such as cell phones and computers are here to stay is also without question. But how will we prepare our children to navigate a world in which ubiquitous technology threatens to shape their minds and souls far more deeply than our own training of them?

Don’t interpret these words as an anti-technology or anti-texting rant. I am pro-technology, and I am known to text on occasion. But I do want us to consider how our children are being shaped and trained. Childhood is a hothouse of intellectual and spiritual development. Children are developing habits of mind and life that will affect them for a lifetime. Their theology, like ours, is, as Douglas Wilson often says, coming out of their fingertips. We, as parents and educators, must be intentional in shaping our children’s minds and hearts.

Technology, like everything else, is not neutral. We are commanded in the Scriptures to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:4) and to bring up our children in the training of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Our task as parents is to train and shape our children to think, love, and act a certain way, to embody a certain culture. We are called by Scripture to model obedience to God ourselves and then to inculcate that obedience into their lives (see Deut 6:1-8). This training certainly encompasses how our children speak and write, for Christians are called to be discerning, winsome, effective communicators of truth, beauty, and goodness. This training also encompasses our children’s use of technology and their relationship to the world.

What we are about at Regents Academy is constantly raising the standards of our childrens education, resisting the cultural inertia toward being dumbed down. Is texting a threat to excellence in education? Not if we are doing our jobs as parents and as educators. We will be training them to think and speak well, whether they text or not. Together we are training our children toward a different standard, a godly excellence, a commitment to clear thinking and wise living that will make a real difference in the world for Christ.

Until next time, CUL8R.

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Jul
11

What is “Education” Anyway?

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Here is Noah Webster’s definition from his landmark 1828 dictionary:

The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

Notice how all-embracing this definition is. Notice how it includes not just an intellectual, rational component, but also “temper” and “manners and morals.” True education, true Christian education, is all-encompassing — it teaches the whole child in obedience to the whole Word of God. If we think of education merely as what goes on when students are learning subjects or merely as a rational exercise or merely what goes on at a school building, we are thinking wrongly.

Education is all-encompassing. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reminds us of this reality:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  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.”

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Jun
24

Sparking Wonder

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Blogger Jessica Hagy makes sense of the world by reducing thoughts to simple graphs on index cards. I don’t see any indication that Jessica is a Christian, but with this card she shows that she understands at least a bit about education in the Triune God’s universe.

What do we do in Christian education? We ask enduring questions that fuel wonder and spark desire for wisdom and understanding. An unboring life, indeed.

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Apr
13

Visiting Pastor – Dr. Alan Reed

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Dr. Alan Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches, recently visited Regents Academy. He spoke to the students and faculty at the school’s morning assembly. Dr. Reed encouraged the students to avoid the sin of gossip and to use their tongues to glorify God.

Area pastors often visit the Regents Academy campus on Fridays to share a devotional.

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