Classical Education and Family Rhythms for Discipleship

Jon & Mary Sievers

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

God gives the primary responsibility for discipling children to their parents. Choosing Morning Star Academy gives us the opportunity to be involved in our children’s day-to-day education, know their curriculum, and partner with teachers for their success as they learn to rightly order their affections during the school day. We know that the classical Christian difference is the recognition of how children are created in the image of God. Together, we are training children to rightly worship Him and engage in their community for the good of its people and the glory of God. 

How do our everyday rhythms as a family tie into our children’s education at Morning Star? 

  • Catechism – We work on memorization together as a family. We practice in the car, practice at the dinner table, and use them as a topic of conversation. Memorizing allows us to quickly recall truth, to discern what is true, and to speak truth.
  • Prayer – We have set rhythms of praying together through the day (in times of thanksgiving and sorrow alike, before a meal, as a part of the bedtime routine, as an essential part of discipline, and as we model repentance in the home). We include praying for our school community and the unfolding of their days.
  • Music – We often listen to hymns on our commute to and from school, and in the background at home. We choose music that is beautiful and that rightly worships God, praising Him for who He is. When possible, we tie this back into music they are learning at school. Songs that come to mind from our time at MSA include “In Christ Alone,” “A Mighty Fortress,” and “We Believe.”
  • Sabbath day – We gather with our church body for a time of worship together and then set out to rest and recreate. When the weather allows we aim to be outdoors on Sunday, enjoying God’s creation together. It seems impossible to take in the beauty of nature without being in awe of God’s majesty. We speak this out loud and notice that our children are learning to see the beauty in God’s creation, and be reoriented in Him for the week ahead.
  • Living in community – God created us to be in community, giving us all different spiritual gifts to be a part of His body living on mission together (1 Corinthians 12:14-16). Morning Star is a part of living in community for our family, and we continue to model the importance of that by gathering and serving in community throughout our week.
  • Serving together – We include our children in mission work monthly in the Quad Cities. Our family serves at Hope At The Brickhouse, Kings Harvest Ministries, and One Eighty Davenport.
  • Modeling repentance and forgiveness – We recognize our fallenness, acknowledging our weakness and our deep need for the Savior throughout our days. We screw up these rhythms all of the time, we find ourselves worshiping “things” instead of God, and we sin against each other and against God (Romans 3:22-24). We repent and forgive in our household. We know that our children are faced with temptation and fall short of the glory of God daily. Many times this happens within the walls of Morning Star, where we trust teachers to point back to our children’s identity in Christ. What is that identity? In Christ, they are adopted into God’s family; because of Christ’s sufficient sacrifice on the cross, they can stand pure before a holy God.

These everyday rhythms help our children rightly order their affections. This means loving things in their proper place, with an utmost love for God that results in a desire to obey. How can we desire obedience and submission to a Holy God? Because He is good and gracious. Out of His goodness He created all things and gave us dominion over them (Genesis 1:26). God’s law also comes out of His goodness and provides guidance for how we are to reflect His image for an abundant and flourishing life. 

As parents, we have the primary responsibility for training our children in the way that they should go and discipling them to humbly submit to the authority of God. A classical Christian education at Morning Star Academy is a piece of this discipleship … our children are receiving an education focused on what is good, true, and beautiful.

Jon & Mary Sievers are the parents of four children, three of them being students at Morning Star Academy. They raise their family on an acreage west of the Quad Cities. Jon is an attorney at John Deere and Mary owns a women’s boutique, Caty + Rose Market, in Bettendorf. As a family they enjoy hiking, camping, golf, and being outdoors.

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