Classical Conversations Across the Atlantic

Pam Rohde

We knew we would encounter different ways of thinking about education upon moving to Scotland for a year. What we didn’t know is how often we’d be reminded of home and the classical pedagogy we’ve grown to love. Here are three short glimpses into classical connections here in Scotland and how they helped us see the broader movement of which Morning Star is a part.

Universities are noticing the caliber of students

My husband Joel and I were at a lecturer’s house for tea earlier this spring, and he told me that the university has started sending representatives to classical school conferences because they’ve noticed that the students emerging from classical schools are well equipped for the rigors of further education. Students often demonstrate a varied skill set the classical movement nurtures including prioritizing tasks, asking meaningful questions, research, and communication.

Teachers with graduate degrees want to invest in K-12 classical schools

One of my classmates served as an officer in the U.S. military for eight years after graduating from West Point. He was recently awarded a competitive full doctoral scholarship for a Ph.D. program in philosophical theology. He’s considering teaching at a classical school when his program is complete. His reason? He sees teaching young students how to delight in thinking well as a meaningful investment of his leadership and intellectual skills. I agree with him, but I’m not the only one. I’ve met a handful of Ph.D. students considering this course.

Students are engaged in the Great Conversation

The term “the Great Conversation” is shorthand for exploring the riches of Western civilization and God’s purposes through it. An undergrad in theology I met this fall brightened when he learned I taught at Morning Star. He was a classical school graduate, and he also wanted to teach at an ACCS school. (ACCS stands for Association of Classical Christian Schools, of which Morning Star is a member.) A young woman from China studying the classics credits being homeschooled through Veritas with her love of ancient languages. A literature student who just handed in her dissertation (a defense of objective truth using Augustine) met me for coffee recently to talk about the model as she filled out an application to teach at a classical Christian school next year. Joel recently met another ACCS-bound senior at a gathering. These students are thoughtful, winsome, and would be wonderful assets to any school. I love that people who value thinking deeply about the world and the Great Conversation see the value in training younger people to do the same! 

Our family is looking forward to returning to Iowa this summer, and these connections across the Atlantic have shown us how God is working through classical Christian education.

Pam Rohde and her husband, Joel, have four children who attend Morning Star Academy. Pam has taught Bible, worldview, and art at MSA. This academic year the Rohde family took a sabbatical in Scotland while Pam pursued a master’s degree in biblical studies through the Logos Institute at St. Andrews University.

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