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A Christ-Centered Education

At Grace Christian Academy, we believe that education must have Christ as the center of all learning. This means the Scriptures must be at the center of our education. Education only makes sense, in other words, has meaning and purpose if viewed through the eyes of the creator. Any education that eliminates God is inherently flawed. Therefore, while we have individual bible or theology classes, the scriptures are preeminent in every academic discipline. That includes the fine arts, music and physical education. It is essential to have a biblical world view of the arts since the arts not only reflect the philosophy of a culture but are a strong influence in shaping the culture.

The teaching of scripture is also the basis for the social aspects of the Academy. The students are taught to relate to one another according to the principles of scripture. Jesus Christ taught that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love each other as ourselves. Therefore, putting the interests of others first is the rule for the Christian.

Discipline is an essential ingredient in the educational process. The system of discipline employed at the Academy is also based upon the teaching of scripture. The goal of biblical discipline is always restoration and reconciliation. Therefore, discipline is designed to reach the student’s hearts to bring about change from the inside. We encourage all parents to read Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp which is an excellent guide to the biblical model of raising children.

Classical Education

In the 1940’s the British author, Dorothy Sayers, wrote an essay entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” In her writing, she called for a return to the application of the seven liberal arts of ancient education, the first three being the “Trivium” – grammar, logic, rhetoric. Miss Sayers also compared the three stages of children’s development to the Trivium. Specifically, she matched what she called the “Poll-parrot” stage with grammar, “Pert” with logic, and “Poetic” with rhetoric (see the “Lost Tools Chart”). At GCA, the founding board members were intrigued with this idea of applying a classical education in a Christian context. GCA has been committed to implementing this form of education since the school’s inception.

The main goals of classical education are to teach the students how to think and to give them a love for learning. This is accomplished by employing the principles of the Trivium as outlined in Mrs. Sayer’s essay.

The Grammar stage studies the fundamentals of disciplines in order to build a framework of knowledge on which later information can be hung. Questions of who, what, where, and when are the focus.

The Logic stage brings the grammar of disciplines into ordered relationships. The goal is to equip students with the thinking skills necessary to recognize sound arguments and ideas and to detect and correct fallacious ones. This stage addresses the questions of how and why.

The Rhetoric stage seeks to produce students who can use language, both written and spoken, to express their thoughts eloquently and persuasively. The goal of the Trivium is to educate students not in what to think primarily, but in how to think, thoroughly, maturely, and biblically.

The Trivium has been used by Christians to train their children for almost two thousand years. The great teachers and poets of the Middle Ages were trained in the Trivium, as were the Reformers and many of America’s founding fathers. Men who were to lead free societies in the past were trained according to this method because it teaches them how to think and how to persuade and lead others.

Latin @ GCA

Like many traditional particulars of good education lost in the name of “modern” or “progressive” education, Latin’s advantages have been neglected and forgotten by a couple of generations. Latin was regularly taught even in American high schools as late as the 1940s. It was considered necessary to a fundamental understanding of English, the history and writings of Western Civilization, and the understanding of Romance languages.

GCA teaches Latin, therefore, for two major reasons:

  1. Latin is not a “dead language,” but rather a language that lives on in almost all major western languages, including English. Training in Latin not only gives the student a better understanding of the roots of English vocabulary, it also lays the foundation for learning other Latin-based languages.
  2. Learning the grammar of Latin reinforces the students understanding of the reasons for, and the use of, the parts of speech being taught in our traditional English class work, e.g. plurals, nouns, verbs, prepositions, direct objects, tenses, etc.

Additional benefits from studying Latin include:

  1. Students who study Latin learn basic skills in reasoning which carry over to the other educational disciplines.
  2. Studies suggest that Latin student’s score higher on standardized testing.
  3. In addition, knowledge of Latin enables students to connect directly to much of the theological, historical, and literary heritage of our Western civilization broadly and of our Christian roots narrowly.
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