Posts by Jonathan Wraith

The Goals of a Classical Education

An education at Harvest Christian School is unique: our goal is not simply to fill young heads with knowledge, but to cultivate gentlemen and ladies who will go out and change the world for the cause of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this through several guiding principals:

Purpose:

The purpose of Classical Education is to cultivate virtue and wisdom. The classical Christian does not ask, “What can I do with this learning?” but “What will this learning do to me?” The ultimate end of Classical Christian education is to enable the student (disciple) to better know, glorify, and enjoy God. Since we are able to know things with which we have a common nature, the more we are like God the better we can know Him. A student gives glory to God when he is like Him. Our enjoyment of God is derived from our ability to see Him and to see His handiwork.

Grace:

In a Christian school, learning is not an end in itself.  Instead, the classical Christian teacher asks God to use his teaching, dispositions, and actions as an instrument in His hand to cultivate the students’ souls toward holiness.  In this sense, learning can be a means of grace

Ordo Amoris (the order of affections):

To fulfill a lower order good, one must proceed to the good of the next highest order (i.e. to fulfill the good of finishing homework, the student must proceed to the slightly higher good of trying to get a good grade; to rightly gain food and shelter we must seek first the  kingdom of God and His righteousness; to get into the most appropriate college and to do well when we get there, we must seek wisdom and virtue).
Failure to recognize this principle in every area of education and life leads to a disordered soul and a school that cannot succeed in what it values most highly. To nurture a rightly ordered souls requires the cultivation of the moral imagination.

“Multum non Multas” (Much, Not Many):

Classical Christian education deals deeply with few subjects, rather than hastily with many.  The subjects reflect her emphasis on the seven liberal arts, mastery of which develops the content and skills that flow through all of the modern subjects. The Classical Christian opposes premature specialization (specific training in a given subject or skill for its own sake or for practical purposes, e.g. literature, drafting, etc.) or meaningless generalization, seeking instead an education that consistently recognizes the relationship of all skills and subjects to each other and teaches the foundational skills that every later subject requires.*

An education at Harvest is rooted in deep biblical truth, rigorous academics, and artistic expression that seeks to create a whole soul that loves the Lord and loves others.

If you’d like more information, please contact us at info@harvestpetaluma.org

*list adapted from The Circe Institute

 

Book Recommendation: The Wingfeather Saga

As a father and an educator, one of my goals is to fill the heart and head of my children and students with stories that are True. Not true as in “they actually happened” (though those stories are necessary too), but True as in “they reflect the beauty and faithfulness of God.” This is why the bookshelves in our home and at school are bursting with stories–the Narnian tales, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Arthurian tales, The Penderwicks and, most recently, The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson.

Simply put, The Wingfeather Saga is one of the best series I’ve ever read. The first book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, introduces the reader to the Igiby family: Podo, the grandfather; Nia, the mother; Janner, the eldest son; Tink, the middle son; and Leeli, the youngest daughter who walks with a crutch. Read More >

True Education Includes Moral Formation

N.B. This article is by Craig Dunham and was originally published on the Scholar’s Blog.

Those who would argue that education is the solution to life’s problems do not adequately understand life’s problems. As Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Let us then strive to think well.”

Unfortunately, we in America don’t think well (if at all) when it comes to morals and virtues; we tend to talk more of choices and values. We become more known for our pragmatic and utilitarian practices than anything else, particularly when one considers how easily parents are willing to force their 18-year-old children to declare majors, rack up credentials, and hop through the hoops of so-called higher education.

Read More >

Leave Nothing Out

Note: This article was written by Sam Koenen and originally posted at PetraAcademy.com.
One evening this summer, I sat on my front porch and began a short volume of poetry by Wendell Berry.  The first poem was only three lines long, but its powerful image forced me to stop reading and to think about its implications.

Though this poem consists of a single image, it contains many wise lessons that all of us—teachers, students, and parents—can seek to apply as the new school year approaches.

Like Snow

Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.

The poem’s single metaphor is an exhortation for us to work as the snow works.  By contemplating what it means for snow to “work”, we can draw four lessons from Berry’s exhortation.

Read More >