Archive for private schools

Aug
13

Is ‘Obey’ a Four-Letter Word?

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I once read an article about parenting with the headline, “’Obey’ is not a four letter word.” Indeed. I see a lot of parents in Wal-Mart who seem to think it is. But a biblical view of parenting teaches us otherwise.

The Bible very rarely speaks directly to children, but when it does so it is unequivocal. “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex 20:12). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph 6:1). And parents are likewise unambiguously commanded to be in authority over their children, instructing them in God’s ways. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them [God’s words] diligently to your children,” said the Lord to His people (Deut 6:6-7).

But what does it mean for children to obey?

It is obviously possible to do what you’re told with a heart full of rebellion. Is the standard mere external, compulsory compliance? I am reminded of the little boy sitting in the corner who told his mother, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m standing up!”

The biblical standard of obedience is captured well in the dictum, “We obey right away, all the way, with a good attitude every day.” This is something that children hear around the halls and classrooms of Regents Academy quite often.

Obey right away. Slow obedience is no obedience. Prompt obedience is evidence of a heart that is willing and ready to obey. This heart-readiness to obey honors the authority and position of parents or teachers and therefore honors God.

Obey all the way. True obedience is complete and thorough obedience. If I tell my daughter to place the dirty glass in the dishwasher, but she places it in the sink instead, I don’t do myself or my daughter any favors if I say, “Well, at least she got close. At least she didn’t leave the glass on the table.” Obedience means obeying all the way, not just half the way or most of the way.

Obey with a good attitude every day. Sour-puss obedience is dishonoring to God. God desires our joyful obedience to those in authority over us, and He desires this same joy of our children. Obedience that says with facial gestures or posture, “I’ll obey but I don’t like it” may be compliance, but it’s not obedience.

We must train our children to obey. Our children are sons and daughters of Adam and are born with a bent toward selfishness and rebelliousness. But we must seek to capture their hearts and win their loyalty. Children who are thankful, joyful, loyal to their parents are children who obey from the heart. Only the gospel of Christ produces this kind of heart obedience, so we are reliant on God to give us and our children His grace. We must pray for our children diligently.

This year at Regents Academy teachers are joining parents in this training process, training children, both young and old, to obey from the heart. Like any training process, there is pain involved – the pain of correction and discipline. But there is also great joy when children are heartily obedient and readily loyal to those who are charged by God to instruct them.

You love your children and want the best for them. That is why you have them at Regents. We are aware of that great trust, and we will do everything in our power to love our precious students and strive daily to train them toward obeying right away, all the way, with a good attitude every day.

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Jul
13

Avoiding Lord of the Flies

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Here is another reason Regents Academy strives to inculcate proper manners in its students:

Manners are minor morals. They are the everyday ways we respect other people and facilitate social relations. They make up the moral fabric of our shared lives. They need to be taught.

— Author and education professor Thomas Lickona

Children do not naturally come by manners. Leave them alone, and, well, have you read Lord of the Flies? Manners must be taught, trained, reinforced, modeled, corrected, and then trained some more.

This is an essential component of a Christian education.

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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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Dear Regents Family,

It is my privilege to serve Regents Academy as chairman of the board. I know I speak for the whole board when I express my sincere appreciation for MaryAnn Bentley’s service as administrator of our school.  Her presence on our school campus is proof that God has been faithful to our school in its early years.  She has been a blessing to the board as a great source of leadership, knowledge, and experience as well as being a blessing to our families as an educator, organizer, and friend.  Over the past four years, MaryAnn has helped to transition Regents Academy from a somewhat informal collection of families to a thriving, growing school.

Having worked directly with MaryAnn on multiple projects and in a wide variety of school situations, I can say that she is truly a pleasure to work with.  MaryAnn always has a smile when times are tough. She often shares a story from her years in education and wisdom that can only come from a great mother.   For this rookie school board chairman, I deeply appreciate her calm approach and I’m sure this school year, and my life, has been better for it!

Her experience has proven to be invaluable to the board and her new role as fellow board member will allow for her continued involvement and input.  Additionally, MaryAnn’s new role as Placement Director will help our students find God’s direction for their lives and have even greater success in the pursuit of their goals.  MaryAnn has sacrificed greatly for Regents Academy and her love of learning and the students has led to many great accomplishments.
During her tenure as Regents Academy school administrator, she has endured the building of a new educational wing, formalized many school processes, grown the enrollment significantly, watched many seniors go to the colleges of their dreams, led times of devotionals and singing, disciplined students when needed, and prayed with students and families in times of trials and blessings.  MaryAnn has worn too many hats to count!  We are thankful also that Farrar will continue to serve the school as our Spanish teacher. Yes, we have been blessed to have the Bentleys at Regents Academy, and I look forward to many more years of serving the school together.

Mrs. Bentley’s mantle of leadership will be passed on to Mr. David Bryant, our current Academic Dean, who will become the administrator in June. The board is grateful that Mr. Bryant and his family are a part of our school.

On behalf of the Regents Academy school board, and from the very bottom of my heart, thank you MaryAnn for your impact on the lives of our students, our families, our school and our community.

Sincerely,

Mark E. Sowell, DPM
Regents Academy Board Chairman

May
05

Teachers Appreciate

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The door remains open in my classroom almost always.  This late morning we hear maraccas, the rattling of foil and smell cumin and garlic.  This week at Regents Academy is Teacher Appreciation Week.  A good teacher doesn’t need much to feel appreciated, but a good teacher wants to feel appreciated.  If we weren’t appreciated then we could be replaced, and I know that I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t teach for it satisfies a deep need in my soul.

Yesterday morning we were greeted by doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and a selection of coffee.  Today we had plans for a duty-free lunch provided by a local restaurant.  I was surprised when I walked into the kitchen this morning and it was filled to over flowing with breakfast goodies!  Hey, wait a minute!  This wasn’t on the email!  I told one dedicated mom that I appreciated all her help.  She sweetly replied that we deserved all this and much more.  I am fortunate to teach at a school with such awesome parents!

The teachers at Regents appreciate our wonderful parents that support us in the daily task of teaching God’s shortest people!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  (I’ll try not to think of the extra few pounds this week is going to leave me with!) :>

Categories : teaching
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Sending your children to a private school requires sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice is a financial one that requires you to forgo that new car or vacation. Sometimes the sacrifice is more intangible. Sending your children to a classical Christian school with high academic standards often exposes your own inadequacies and requires you to humble yourself.
Is it worth it?

R.L. Dabney, the great Southern Presbyterian theologian from more than a century ago, asserts that it is.

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it, all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent, especially, ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God— this is his task on earth.

Every day I spend at Regents Academy, I am more and more convinced that Dabney is right. What is it worth to have your children in a loving environment where they are taught to love learning and are cultivated in Christian virtue so that they can be remarkable servant leaders? And what is it worth to fulfill, with integrity, your calling under God to do “the one business for which the earth exists”?

When I look at 106 faces every morning, I say it’s worth more than I know.

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Apr
27

Bree-hee-hee

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Jewel proclaims as he enters the real Narnia,

I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.  Bree-hee-hee!  Come further up, come further in!

And it was at this passage that my voice cracked while I was reading the last few pages of  C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle aloud to my sixth graders.  I tried valiantly to remain unmoved by the thoughts of how delightful Heaven is, but even my best efforts were of no use by the time I had rounded the corner to the last remaining page of the book.  When I read of the hope that sprang up into Jill and Eustace’s heart when they thought they might not have to leave Narnia again and then I went on to read of Aslan confirming that there had indeed been an accident in England and that they were dead and would certainly be able to stay in the real Narnia forever, I could hold back the tears no more.  My sixth graders were thrown off a bit as they adjusted to the new choking sound my voice possessed.  I’m not sure what actually caused the tears, possibly the thought of how wonderful Heaven is or maybe I imagined what it must be like for my own mother who lives there now or maybe I was moved because I have a student who recently lost her mother as well and I understand the pain of loss.  Whatever the reason, I’m not ashamed that I was brought to tears while reading a great classic in front of the sixth graders that I adore!  As I love and instruct my students  in Latin, History and Math, I’m with the Unicorn as he proclaims, “Bree-hee-hee!  Come further up, come further in!”  Is your child’s teacher proclaiming the same?

Why, in education, are we so reluctant to tell a short person that the letter “A” has three different sounds? Why are we afraid to read a Bible story to God’s children because it might be too long or too difficult to understand? Why do we keep so much information from them until we deem it the age appropriate time? Shouldn’t we just give them the information that we know they will need to succeed and allow them the opportunity to store it or allow us the opportunity to teach it again? Little children love to learn, let’s stop keeping them from it.

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Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Psalms 127:4

Here is my job description, simply stated.   Living in a small town of East Texas, driving used vehicles, teaching in an old day-care building, rubbing shoulders daily with people who bet that “ain’t ” is in the dictionary, this seems to be a high calling for someone like me.   God is in the business of issuing high callings, or tall orders to seemingly small and insignificant people.   Just thinking of Mary’s birth story or David’s size when taking on Goliath or Abraham’s trek in the wilderness and one realizes God expects great things out of his rather small people.   Here we are in a rural Southern town and God has asked or rather required me to prepare His arrows, sharpen their points and ensure that they will fly straight when released into flight.   This is God’s story and I’m simply a small character trying my best to play my part to the glory of God.   Some days will be foggy, a few will be rainy, but most days will be sunny with a sure chance of God’s goodness.

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