Editor’s note: This post is the second in a series on how we teach the Trivium at Morning Star Academy. The Trivium forms the structure of classical education. It includes three stages: Grammar (grades K-5), Logic (6-8) and Rhetoric (9-12). Keep reading for a parent perspective on the Grammar stage!
As a parent with three children in the Morning Star Grammar school, and one who’s recently advanced to the Logic school, I thought I’d share a few glimpses into our journey at Morning Star and why we’re excited to continue.
While it’s great fun to be a child, and I’m certain children are having fun at schools all throughout the Quad Cities, Morning Star offers a deep sense of delight. Maybe the word I’m looking for is closer to marvel or wonder. Reading great books triggers wonder and a love of learning. In Kindergarten, during Mrs. Norton’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe unit, my children would stare out of the van in the evenings, watching carefully for the entrance to Narnia at neighborhood lampposts.
The way in which the Grammar students learn—using songs and hand motions—is also great fun. One of my best memories of Mrs. Spykstra’s second grade class was watching my middle son dance (!) and sing (!) in front of an audience (!) as he recited all the countries of Africa. Singing is not only a method of learning at Morning Star; it also develops a love for music in my children, cultivates selflessness in their ability to overcome shyness, and builds an appreciation for lyric verse.
I am thankful my children are growing up alongside children who, along with their parents, love Jesus and honor and obey God’s Word. My kids are not just making lifetime friends—I’m certain they are building friendships for all eternity. This extends to their teachers and parents whom we are privileged to know more and more each passing year. All four of our children were adopted from foster care in Iowa. As they continue through adolescence, they are going to have big questions about why God allows sad and bad things to happen and also wonder about His plan for their lives. We’re counting on like-minded friends to keep pointing our children to Jesus.
There are several Christian schools to choose from in the Quad Cities. One of the reasons we chose Morning Star is for its holistic approach to learning. Its classical model includes curriculum and teaching methods that reflect how God made our children. Little kids love to sing and move and memorize facts (Grammar). Tweens, I’m discovering, like to argue (Logic), and teenagers like to express what they know (Rhetoric). But Morning Star isn’t just a rigorous academic school with a Bible class. Every subject is taught as though it were under the Lordship of Christ, because in fact it is (Colossians 1:16-17).
Science and mathematics point to the universe’s created order and reliability. God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33). He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). Neat penmanship, cursive, and spelling point to the beauty of the written word and the importance of not adding to or taking away from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 12:32). Mrs. Bohonek, the third grade teacher, once left a note in one of my son’s science notebook, saying “Being neat and orderly is a reflection of who God is. Be sure to always work your best at that!” This was such a great exhortation. We strive for godliness not to earn God’s pleasure but to reflect His excellence!
The Great Given
At Morning Star, our family appreciates the fun and wonder of learning, friendships that encourage and sustain us now and into eternity, and the faith-filled education our children are receiving under the “Great Given”: that all things were created by Him and for Him, He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1 again!).
As our children’s academic journey continues in light of this reality, we pray that they will be less likely to disassociate their education from their faith as they reach adulthood. As all their learning, questioning, debating, and wrestling occurs under this Great Given, we pray they will be more likely to trust God when they doubt and struggle later in life. We are thankful for Morning Star’s holistic approach to educating our children and pray it will result in whole-hearted devotion to The Morning Star—Jesus.