One quarter down and three quarters to go. I am thankful for a smooth first nine weeks. Feedback from the teachers has been very positive. Veritas has a great group of students and families. Yes, some weeks we face challenges, some days we hit bumps in the road, and occasionally we need to talk and pray to nurture relationships, but day in and day out Veritas is blessed to work with students who love to learn and parents who desire to see Christ honored in the education of their children. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from our biology teacher that I want to share with you. To appreciate what she told me you need to know that this happened in a room full of ninth graders who had been studying Protista (think amoeba, algae, and paramecium).
At the end of our test review I asked the students if they would like to share something they had enjoyed learning while studying Kingdom Protista. Sixteen hands shot up in the air with hopes that they would be able to share what they had enjoyed learning. My eyes filled with tears and my heart was filled with joy. I am thankful to be able to experience such moments as these.
These sorts of moments happen when God puts a passionate and knowledgeable teacher in a room with diligent and eager students.
This week we will look at the Second Essential Element of Classical, Christian, and Covenantal Education. These posts are examining the truths we assume as we teach your children week after week.
It is critical that we understand the theological, philosophical, and educational ideas that inform and shape how we teach and learn at Veritas Academy. It is important for schools and parents to think through these things. Assumptions are always present. Every school has a set of “essential elements” undergirding their teaching and learning. The elements might be unspoken, vague, and arbitrary, but they nevertheless drive the school’s approach to instruction, curriculum, standards, discipline, admissions, and families.
As I said in the last post, you’ll need to sit down and think through this. I know it’s heady, but it is also very essential to shaping your child’s mind.
The second Essential Element of Classical, Christian, and Covenantal Education is Neutrality of Knowledge is a Myth. Many believe that facts and truth exist irrespective of God’s existence. They believe and teach from the perspective that the fact “2+2=4” is true whether God exists or not and that facts and truth have absolutely no relationship to any sort of religious truth claims. The secular mind asserts that facts like “the atomic weight of oxygen is 16” or “the area of a circle is equal to π times the radius squared” or “the battle of Hastings was fought in 1066 A.D.” are true without respect to God’s existence. They believe these things are true because man says they are true. They believe that Knowledge is Neutral with respect to God, that God has nothing to do with 2+2=4, that God’s existence has no bearing on the truthfulness of the fact 2+2=4.
But the Christian mind affirms that NO knowledge is neutral with respect to God. We assert that 2+2=4 precisely because God made it so and He created an orderly universe in which it will always be so.
The secular view argues “that mankind is the measure of all things -beyond him there is no higher authority. The ultimate locus of rationality and intelligibility is man himself. But for the Christian, it is God’s creative act which gives all of the facts of reality their purpose and meaning. Man is able to understand the world in which he lives because he too is a part of the rationally ordered creation, created in God’s image . . .” (Perk, The Christian Philosophy of Education Explained, p. 15). For the Christian the ultimate locus of rationality and intelligibility is God Himself. Order in the universe and hence the ability to conduct experiments and discover knowledge about the universe exists because the God of order created an orderly world. Order is not the product of random chance accidents arising out of a matrix of chaos -how could it be? Rationality -the human capacity to think and reason -exists because the God who made the world and everything in it also made us in His image. We who bear His image have cognitive resonance with the world God made. Think about it -We can know and understand, we can grasp truth, we can think and reason, because the God who made the world with all it’s beauty, complexity, and order, is the same God who made us in His very image.
This fact -the fact that knowledge is not neutral but has everything to do with God -is what makes education work. It is what makes language work. It is what enables our students to learn and our teachers to teach. It is what sparks the imagination and inspires wonder in the minds of our students. It is what drives knowing, understanding, memorizing, analyzing, and reasoning.
Know that the LORD, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His . . . (Psalm 100:3)