Classical Christian Education: Rooted in Love, Bearing Fruit in Community

By MSA Parent Teacher Partnership

Where can you find merry storytelling, a hospitable home, and truth-seeking moms and dads? At the MSA Parent Book Group! Morning Star has a very active Parent Teacher Partnership (PTP), and our new book group for parents just launched in January. Our goal is to discover together why Morning Star is committed to classical Christian education and what the model looks like in practice. We hope this blog post will give you a taste of this.

At our gathering, we shared our stories of how we first encountered classical Christian education and how our families came to Morning Star. Some parents knew about the classical Christian model from their experiences homeschooling or living in other cities. Others learned more about it after enrolling their students at Morning Star.

That second story is common: Many parents aren’t sure what classical Christian education is exactly, but they want their children to be in a Biblically-based Christian school. We have a wonderful “tour guide” in Brenda Porter, one of Morning Star’s faculty and an avid reader. She noted how seriously MSA parents take their responsibility for their students’ education—and how the love of Christ is the foundation for how we answer that call.

Mrs. Porter prompted us to consider how who we decide to “think with” is important—whether it’s a particular author, a good friend, or a faculty colleague. Ideas bear fruit in community. Discussion brings out varying perspectives, stories delight, and challenging topics can be addressed honestly with those whom we trust.

Participants had a short assigned reading for the gathering, and we pulled out a few highlights from Dorothy Sayers’ essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning.” One highlight was Sayers’ analogy about music:

“Is it not the great defect of our education to-day … that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think? They learn everything, except the art of learning. It is as though we had taught a child mechanically and by rule of thumb, to play ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’ upon the piano, but had never taught him the scale or how to read music; so that, having memorised ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith,’ he still had not the faintest notion how to proceed from that to tackle ‘The Last Rose of Summer.’”

One mom said this example really helped her grasp the aim of the classical model: teaching students how to think and how to learn, not just to memorize something or absorb facts. Morning Star students learn “the scale” of a given subject—for example, phonics—and come away ready to keep learning their entire life.

Another mom noted the “rich heritage” we have in classical education, with primary sources and voices from the past. Faculty member Greg Bradford replied, “I’d go further. I’d call it a refining fire.” Mr. Bradford added that he loves teaching at Morning Star because our classical education is distinctly Christian. Ancient thinkers asked questions about the good life and man’s purpose. At Morning Star, we know there is an answer to every ancient question: Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

All parents and faculty are invited to join us next time! Details will be posted on the Parent Teacher Partnership webpage and in the MSA newsletter.

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