Why is it that in general, students today read at a lower level, reason less clearly, and are more receptive than ever to the misinformation constantly bombarding them? Why is it that Christian students are ill prepared to defend what they believe and often drift from their biblical moorings? Educationally, how has this country lost its way?
Has it always been this way or did teachers of past generations educate children differently? What is missing? These were some of the concerns addressed by Dorothy Sayers, student at Oxford who delivered a 1947 landmark essay entitled, The Lost Tools of Learning. Since then many have been motivated to rediscover classical Christian education. Predominant in this quest has been the desire to fulfill the Luke 10:27 mandate of teaching students to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength and with all their mind, and their neighbor as themselves. Our ancestors achieved this through purposeful education.
Ancient education, birthed by Hebrew, Greek and Roman civilizations, has long taken the instruction of children seriously. Directives from the past still guide teachers today:
- teach to the physical and intellectual ability of the child as he/she grows
- establish the foundations of language and numbers first
- train students in the principles of all knowledge and their connectivity
- instruct the student in the fine art of communicating all of knowledge
Early Christians recognized the benefits of such an education and acknowledged the fullness of all to be found in Christ. All learning, they believed, must begin in wonder and aim towards wisdom. Christian medieval educators continued to build upon these foundations recognizing that students trained in the liberal arts (those skills needed to take an active part in civil life) would become fully human and produce great fruitfulness in the world around them. Students truly learned to love the Lord with heart, soul, mind, strength, and their neighbors as themselves.
The Apostle Paul, Saint Augustine, John Chrysostom, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, and C.S. Lewis are just a few of the great minds produced by classical training.
Today, classical Christian education is a multigenerational undertaking with parents and grandparents joining their students in a love of learning and a deep yearning for usefulness. This education equips students of all ages to view the world wisely. They learn about the past, understand how it shapes the present, and become prepared to serve their neighbors in the future. This is what we do at Arma Dei Academy, come join us.