Our 2nd grade science students took a field trip to The Way in Perdido, Florida. Led by Master Naturalist, Jerry Patee, the children were exposed to native and exotic plants common in Florida. The raised boardwalk trail expands through the lush wetlands allowing students to see various trees and wildlife. Pond cypress, sawgrass, red maple, and milkweed, along with lizards, snakes, turtles, and toads are some of the many things the children could experience along the way.
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Long time Trinitas rival, Central Christian School of Robertsdale, AL, traveled to Pensacola last Saturday for a baseball double header. The Knights were victorious in two consecutive match ups – 8-5 in game one and 6-2 in game two – against the competitive Saints. Way to go Knights!
The Trinitas Knights will be in action again tonight against Santa Rosa Christian School. The boys could use all the fan support that you can muster at 5:30 PM on April 11th, at Santa Rosa in Milton, 6331 Chestnut St, 32570.
At other times I have written here about the importance of the home, church, and school being in agreement, and it is a message that bears repeating. Those three entities have the most influence over a child’s formation. If the home, church, and school have different messages about who God is or who His people are or how they are called to live, a child’s mind will be divided on issues that are foundational to her existence. For a child to flourish spiritually and emotionally, hearing a consistent message from home, church, and school is necessary. By that same standard, a classical education cannot take root and flourish in the life of a child if it isn’t being supported at home.
Often parents enroll their students in classical schools, not for the classical education, but because they are attracted to the culture of the school when they visit: children seem happy, polite, articulate, and mature; teachers don’t seem frazzled; the décor looks less like a school and more like an art gallery or cathedral; and the list goes on. Ironically, (or maybe not) these are sometimes the same parents who, two years into their classical experience, get frustrated with the study of Latin and Greek or the reading of so many old books or the absence of STEM.
Is there a bait and switch going on in classical education, these parents may wonder? No. What they do not realize is that it was the classical education that created the culture they were attracted to at the beginning. Someone will say, No, it is the Christian aspect of the school that creates the culture. Well, of course, that is part of it. A Christian classical school will turn out committed Christians while the non-Christian classical school will turn out what C.S. Lewis calls “clever devils.” But they will be clever devils who are polite, mature, articulate, winsome, and all the other characteristics that attracted the parents in my example to the classical Christian school in the beginning.
David Hicks in Norms and Nobility, his treatise on education, asserted that the end of a good education should not only be right thinking but even righteous acting. And that is what classical Christian education done well at school and at home is able to produce. Prospective parents who are attracted to the culture of classical Christian schools are being attracted by the fruit of classical Christian education. But fruit does not come easily, friends. Trees that are not nourished produce no fruit—perhaps even worse, trees that are nourished only part-time produce little or no fruit, or perhaps even bitter fruit.
Parents who lose patience with the curricula of classical schools, who grow to despise the time spent on art and music and Latin and theology, are despising the very nurture that produced the fruit that attracted them to classical Christian education in the first place. To get the fruit of classical Christian education, the home and school must work together. This idea may seem foreign to parents who themselves have had no classical education, but take heart, many have done it before you. It is possible.
I want to suggest a few do’s and don’ts for parents who are attracted to the beautiful culture classical education can produce but who may not understand how to support it at home:
- Do read books. Put down those self-improvement books and let your children see you reading real literature. Depending on the age of your children, you might start with Lewis or Tolkien, but the options are nearly endless. Homer’s Odyssey can open up whole worlds, and fairy tales aren’t a bad place to start either. The bottom line: turn off the imagination-killing TV and be bookish.
- Do trust the curriculum. Classical Christian schools are teaching your children using method and content that has produced great minds and righteous acting people for centuries. STEM, on the other hand, is a fad—the latest stopgap measure to rescue math and science test scores for U.S. public schools. Trust the curriculum. Sure, Latin isn’t being spoken on Wall Street, but there is something else going on when a student learns Latin. Be patient. Give it time. Openly support it so your child will not resist it.
- Do try something different. Cancel the family video game-a-thon for next Saturday and go to the art museum or the opera or a play or the symphony. Study it before you go so you know what you’re getting into. Talk about it afterward. What did you like? What did you not like? What parts did you not understand?
- Eat dinner together every night and listen to your child tell you the story of her history lesson from the week. Ask her questions. Make her think. Learn something about what she is learning. Be interested.
- Don’t spend the afternoon and evening undoing what teachers have spent all day building up in your child. In an article over at the Circe Institute, Josh Gibbs said it this way, “The young man who attends a classical school— but spends his free time playing Fortnite, listening to Top 40, watching banal television, and gossiping on social media— is never going to receive a classical education. He will merely come near it and occasionally sense its presence, perhaps in the same way a superstitious man sometimes claims there is a ghost in the room.”
The culture that attracts so many parents to classical Christian schools is not a warm and fuzzy fluke, nor is it an accident of a bunch of nearly perfect people coming to the same school by chance. It is the result of classical Christian education. It is not only right thinking but also righteous acting. And it can be yours, but it is going to take a little work. I hope you will join us.
Mr. Ron Gilley
Meet Beatrix Potter, creator and mastermind behind countless tales of characters like Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Benjamin Bunny. These characters and creative tales will be brought to life on our stage which will be transformed into a scene from these beloved books. With feathery fun costumes, bunny ears and duck feet, our drama cast will entertain guests of all ages. Get your tickets now and enjoy the show!
“Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don’t care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.” And win they did in the Knights’ game against Santa Rosa Christian Friday night. House Valerian organized a service project to host our friends at University Pines assisted living facility and invited them to join us in cheering on our team during our first ever baseball tailgate. We provided them with hot dogs and great memories as the sun set on a perfect night for watching baseball.
One of the most beloved field trips at Trinitas, the annual pilgrimage to the strawberry farm, blends the oldest and youngest of our students to enjoy harvesting buckets full of beautiful red berries. After gathering their summer time treats on Tuesday, the seniors and kindergartners relaxed together in the sunshine. It was a perfect day for a picnic at Benny Russell park, complete with piggy back rides and fun in the fort. Two seniors even enjoyed the lost art of changing a flat tire!
This trip brought everything full circle for seniors Cole Chandler, Alex Johnson, Jillian Todd, and Adam Strickler, as it was just twelve short years ago that they too were in kindergarten here at Trinitas and on the same field trip. My how time flies! Godspeed to our seniors and may God bless you all.
In case you haven’t noticed, children do things adults don’t; for example, children run. They just run to run, not to go anywhere or for any reason, but just for the sheer pleasure of running. They will also pretend-play with just about any item they find. A stick becomes a Greek sword, a jacket is shaped to make a baby’s blanket, and sofa cushions become a fort.
It is this last characteristic that is so appealing to teachers. It is one of the tools teachers can use to make a lesson come alive. I can tell my class the history lesson, and they can tell it back to me the same way, but if I want them to gain deeper understanding of the same lesson, I will use their God-given urge to play, explore, discover, and yes, touch everything to bring history to life for them. Trinitas teachers spend hours preparing hands-on activities to use in the classroom every day for this very reason, but occasionally we pull out all the stops and have what we call a feast day.
Feast days are planned with specific goals in mind using three basic components: 1) an individual or class project, such as a presentation, skit, or dance, 2) an actual feast around a table of food that is unique and authentic to what is being studied, and 3) hands-on activities that support the topic. It is this third component that I want us to consider here.
Doing and pretending to do through hands-on activities give our students the opportunity to go back in time and participate in history. Some activities they might actually do in real life, like chopping wood; some they will probably never do outside of a school activity, though, like churning butter. Either way, all those experiences give them a clearer understanding of the time period they are studying and a broader picture of how God has faithfully provided for mankind through the ages.
In this age when most everything is available ready-made, doing something “the way they did it back then” gives students an appreciation for the diligence and hard work it took to survive in earlier times. It makes them concentrate and work hard, and then they experience the joy that comes from completing a project or a difficult task.
Working with their hands allows children to wonder, imagine, explore and discover. Perhaps working on a hands-on feast day project will spark a desire in a student to learn something beyond the lesson. When a youngster whittles a piece of wood, maybe he’ll want to learn more about wood-working and be able to use that skill to serve others. Or when a young girl sews a 9-patch quilt square, perhaps she will want to learn to make quilts that will bless her family. Making an Egyptian cartouche affords students the opportunity to consider the work of a sculptor.
We have all heard children declare something to be “awesome,” but we don’t hear them define anything as being profound. The word profound, from the Latin “profundus,” carries the meaning of “beyond the deep,” but children have not been deep enough to have preconceived ideas yet. Everything is new, allowing them to discover something new every day. For children, a new experience is a wide-open portal to depths they haven’t even thought about exploring yet. When that experience is a hands-on experience, it can be profound.
Mrs. Wendy Phillips
The Junior and Senior students and parents reported a wonderful trip to New York City last weekend. With 36 in attendance, much ground was covered in the city with some people logging 12 miles per day! Not long after arrival in NYC, they crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot to have a delicious meal at Juliana’s pizza (voted best pizza in the US!). Over the weekend, they saw the Cloisters, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a Metropolitan Opera performance, and the NY Philharmonic. They toured the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the New York Public library, and walked through Central Park. They had a breathtaking view from the top of the Empire State building and toured the beautiful Frick Museum, a person favorite for many. They ice skated in Rockefeller Center and paid tribute to 9/11 victims at the memorial erected on the victims’ behalf. The weather was chilly and skies were uncertain at times, but the smiles were from ear to ear! Thank you to all that participated and organized this trip of a lifetime. It was unforgettable!
The Trinitas 1st grade class enjoyed a “Peter Rabbit Tea” in true Beatrix Potter style this week. To celebrate their completion of the Tale of Peter Rabbit, the students enjoyed a lovely tea party reminding them of different foods Peter and his friends enjoyed in the stories. Items such as blackberries, radishes, parsley, currant buns, lettuce, brown bread, and chamomile tea were all goodies that helped bring the adventures to life. The children were all smiles as they enjoyed the food while their lovely teacher, Mrs. Wark, read to them.
Trinitas supported World Down Syndrome Day last Thursday, March 21st by raising money and bringing awareness to support efforts. Our Juniors and Seniors even spread the word about Genes of Joy in New York City. Students on campus as well as in the Big Apple wore wrist bands in support of our friends with Down Syndrome. The McDonald family at Trinitas founded Genes of Joy to educate and support families blessed with a Down syndrome child. Funds generated will provide literature and supplies to new parents as they begin their journey. Over $700 has been raised/donated at Trinitas in the last two weeks. We thank you for your generosity!