Archive for Regents Academy

I want to share with you an article found at Memoria Press’s website by classical educator and author Martin Cothran titled, “What’s so Great About Great Books?” Regents Academy teaches the Great Books in our Omnibus classes, and Cothran gives a good, brief explanation why.

There are some books we set apart from the rest and call “great.” What do they got that the others ain’t got? Well, for one thing, they don’t use “ain’t.” But isn’t there something else?

What is a great book, and what makes it different from a book that is not great? Aren’t there differences of opinion on what constitutes a great book? And if so, isn’t this difference of opinion an indication that such greatness is, like we often say of beauty, in the eye of the beholder? And if there is no agreement on what a great book is, then is it even possible to call any particular book truly “great”?

To call something “great” is to attribute to it some combination of three virtues: intellectual, moral, and aesthetic. An intellectual virtue has to do with something’s truth; a moral virtue has to do with the good of a thing; and an aesthetic virtue has to do with a thing’s beauty. Ultimately, however, all of these considerations come into play for a book to be called truly “great.”

When we say a book is “great,” we may mean to say that it communicates some truth. If it is a book of nonfiction, this truth could be a particular truth about God, man, or the world. There are great books of philosophy or history that do this. Plato’s Republic and Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War may relate to us eternal or temporal truths that can tell us of our proper place in the cosmos or of our proper role in this world.

If it is a work of fiction, we still expect that it will communicate truths, although of a more universal kind, communicated in metaphor, parable, or allegory. Homer’s Iliad may speak to us of the folly of wrath. Dante’s Divine Comedy may communicate to us that we are pilgrims seeking the way to God and that we may find reason alone useful for a while, but that eventually we are helpless without Divine Grace.

We may also judge a book great by the moral lesson it teaches us. Aesop’s Fables, like much great children’s literature, is filled with practical wisdom that instructs us concerning what we must do to avoid the common pitfalls in life that often result from greed, ambition, and selfishness. The Bible tells the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of the charity we too should practice.

But there are many books we would not call “great” that instruct or impart knowledge to us or that tell us what we should do. A travel book or a repair manual do these things, but they are not great literature. There must be, then, something in addition to these moral and intellectual qualities alone that makes for a “great” book.

Great literature must not only inhabit our intellect and subordinate our will, but it must also capture our imagination. Without Beauty, Truth and Goodness are simply inaccessible to us. Unless our very desires are ordered to the True and the Good, our desires are ultimately without effect.

John Henry Newman spoke to this very issue:

“Knowledge is one thing, virtue is another; good sense is not conscience, refinement is not humility, nor is largeness and justness of view faith. Philosophy, however enlightened, however profound, gives no command over the passions, no influential motives, no vivifying principles … Quarry the granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a thread of silk; then may you hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man.”

Reason and evidence may yield knowledge, and exhortation may bring about conviction, but what will breathe life into what we know—and know we should do? What will help us to avoid “praising one thing,” as Plato put it, “but being pleased by another”? What will resolve the problem that Allan Bloom once described as the “tension between the pleasurable and the good”?

What is it that will make us whole?

Classical Christian education operates according to the principle that Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are the fundamental criteria, not only of a great book, but of a great education—of which the great books form a fundamental part.

Categories : from the headmaster
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Apr
21

Bravo!

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Regents 7th and 8th grade students performed the comedy “Fairy Tale Courtroom” for parents, grandparents, and students in three shows on April 19 and 20. It was a huge success!

Kudos to the students and to the play’s director, Mrs. Ashley Bryant. This was Regents Academy’s first dramatic presentation, and it was a credit to the students’ hard work and creativity.

Here is the cast on the set of the play.

Apr
07

Green Thumbs

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The second grade students are trying out their green thumbs.

The Regents second grade teacher, Mrs. Melissa Griner, has led her students to plant a vegetable garden behind the school building. The students are having a blast. Not only do they get to learn about gardening and play in the dirt, but they get to taste their hard work, as it produces delicious tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, and strawberries.

The class has gotten help from several members of the Regents family. Mr. Bobby Phillips (Mrs. Shannon Henry’s father and Caleb and Mitchell Henry’s grandfather) has been the class’s gardening consultant. He also tilled up the ground for the garden. Mrs. Jolene Monlezun helped the class get a grant from Walmart to buy seeds, tools, and fertilizer.

Pictured below are the second grade class and also Mrs. Griner. Just one more proof that hard work can be fun and rewarding! And another wonderful way for our students to learn about and enjoy God’s wonderful creation. The second grade class includes Levi Bertke, Abigail Freeland, Sophie Jordan, Ella Milliken, Cody Monlezun, Hayli Stanaland, Reagan Taylor,  Clayton Terrell, Connor Tolson, and Trinity Tyre.


Jan
13

Are students Latin?

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The word student is a Latin word. It is 3rd person, plural, present. It comes from the Latin word studeo, studere, studui- to pursue, be diligent in, strive after. Therefore, it can be translated- they strive after, they pursue, they are diligent in.

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Dec
01

Faith for Boys

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Boys take faith.  Anyone that has had boys or has taught boys knows that they take A LOT of faith!  I must admit that having my own family made up of the male species, me being the exception, and teaching sixth grade boys I have an abundance of exposure to boys!  I must also admit that at times I forget that boys take faith!  I do get discouraged and the boys in my life bring disappointment in ways that are hard for a female to understand.  I regularly have to give myself a pep-talk about being faithful and not losing faith, that God does love these young men in my midst and that I have a duty to our Lord to faithfully love and correct them.

This morning the Lord gave me a big hug from Heaven.  Our morning assembly began as usual and the children that are late are required to wait in the hall until the Scripture reading is completed so that they won’t disrupt the the reading of God’s Word.  We always have some students waiting in the hall.  These children filed in after the reading and the assembly continued on.  We were almost finished with the assembly when I looked into the hallway and there I saw one of our “big boys” in secondary school, obviously later than the rest.  Mr. Bryant was ready for us to sing the Gloria Patri and we all raised our hands to praise the Lord one last time before we were released to start our day in our classrooms.  Tears quickly came to my eyes as I watched this young man, who will soon be on his own in the world, raise his hands and his mouth followed the words that we all sang.  My point being that it would have been so easy for him to just stand in the hall since few could even see him.  He could have stayed at his locker two minutes longer for the assembly would conclude very shortly.  This young man could have walked to his first period class (and two years ago, I would have fully expected him to do so) but he chose to stand in the hallway, raise his large manly hands to Heaven and sing praises to our Lord.    He has no idea what a faith boost he gave me today!  (I almost ran to hug him when the song was over! :>)

With more faith than usual, and a gratefulness for God’s goodness, I pray along with Ignatius of Loyola:

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous.

Teach me to serve you as you deserve;

to give, and not to count the cost;

to fight, and not to heed the wounds;

to labor, and not to seek to rest;

to give of myself and not to ask for reward,

except the reward of knowing that I am doing your will.  Amen.

Nov
17

Extract

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Have you ever had a tooth extracted? The most common definition for extract is- to draw out by effort; pull out. This word comes from the Latin roots ex-, out + trahere, to draw, drag. Looking at the principal parts (traho, trahere, traxi, tractus) it is easy to see where we get the words traction and tractor.

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Congratulations to Regents Academy senior Kelsey Kunk, who has been awarded the Loyalty Fund Scholarship from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Kelsey will receive $20,000 through the Loyalty Fund scholarship, which each year is awarded to 10 high school students who are accepted to UMHB by the end of their junior year. This highly coveted scholarship is given to young men and women who are Christian leaders in their community, church, and high school.

Congratulations, Kelsey! You have made your parents, your church, and your school proud.

Categories : student news
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Aug
25

Conjecture

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The dictionary defines conjecture as guesswork; inferring, theorizing, or predicting from incomplete evidence. The Latin roots are cum, together + jacere, to throw. Therefore the student trained in Latin could easily figure out that conjecture is something that is ‘thrown together.’

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Aug
21

Procrastinate

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Do you ever procrastinate? Then you are saving something pro- for + cras- tomorrow.

Categories : fun with latin
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Regents Academy is a Classical Christian school. I find that people often don’t understand what that means, even people who are actively involved in the school. What does it mean to be Classical and Christian? First, some thoughts on what it means to be Classical. In a later post I will offer some thoughts on what it means to be Christian.

Being a Classical school might call to some people’s minds a repressed, austere boys school like in Dead Poets’ Society, where creativity and independent thought are suppressed in the name of rigor and tradition. Others may think of nuns slapping the back of boys’ and girls’ hands with rulers or of tearful students with endless piles of homework.

But a Classical education is an education bequeathed from the riches of Western civilization. It gathers the best of the ancients – the truly classical cultures of Greece and Rome that sought to produce the ideal man through contemplation and philosophy – and the medievals, who were in love with the idea of integrating all thought into a coherent whole. Classical education builds on the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. By studying these disciplines, students learn the great thoughts of their predecessors, comprehend how language works, grow in their ability to read, speak and write intelligently, and are cultivated in wisdom and virtue. The disciplines of the Trivium (and the accompanying disciplines of the Quadrivium) were called the “liberal arts” because they freed the mind and were a fitting education for free men.

Consider the words of educator Paul Lehninger:

These liberal arts, as distinguished from the servile arts (and, in the middle ages, mechanical arts), were liberal because they freed the citizen from captivity to his own inner perspective to join in the exchange of ideas in the larger culture. In this sense, they were true education: a leading out of the mind from the darkness of subjective ignorance to the light of truth.

So to say we are a Classical school is to say that we have a certain kind of curriculum – one that is built on the classical disciplines that aim to expose children’s minds to man’s greatest thoughts and aspirations from his greatest works of literature, science, and art. It is to say also that our education aims toward a certain goal. The ancients conceived of education as producing the model citizen who conformed to ideals of virtue. We likewise have a model in mind – the biblical ideal of Christlikeness. Being conformed to Christ is to be conformed to the new humanity who is being remade in His image in true knowledge and righteousness.

Dorothy Sayers famously added to the discussion of Classical education the insight that the Trivium corresponds to the natural stages of a child’s development. The grammar stage, when children are young, is when they soak up great amounts of information, especially through jingles and rhymes. The logic stage, when children are young teenagers, is when they are learning how to argue and wanting to know how assertions are justified and how ideas interconnect with other ideas. The rhetoric stage is when children begin to learn how to speak and write winsomely and persuasively, building on their previous grammatical and logical (or dialectical) instruction. So to say that we are Classical, in this sense, is to say that we “cut with the grain,” as Mrs. Sayers put it. We teach according to the God-given frames of our children, from young kindergarteners who memorize readily to later teenagers reason logically and speak beautifully.

Categories : classical education
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in Nacogdoches, Texas