Parent Academy

blog post 4The term “Achilles’ Heel” comes from the ancient story of the great Greek warrior, Achilles, and his mother, Thetis. Concerned for his well  being, she took him to the protective waters of the River Styx and dipped the child into the river holding onto him by one heel.  He would be immune to wounds everywhere the water touched him.  His one point of vulnerability was his heel.  He fought many battles unharmed until he was struck in the heel by an arrow and died soon afterward.

“Achilles’ Heel” has come to describe a point of weakness despite overall strength, a tragic weakness which can lead to one’s downfall.

In classical and Christian education, our Achilles’ Heel is the lack of excellent education we as parents and teachers have received.  We passed each successive grade in school, but can we therefore claim to be educated?   Dr. George Grant, a pillar in the classical and Christian education community, looked back on his education and made this proclamation, “We have been robbed!”

Modern schools abandoned the Trivium, the classical methodology of teaching.  So-called experts persuaded modern parents and teachers to lower expectations of what children are capable of learning.  As a result, we aided and abetted the robbery of our students’ inheritance, the type of education God meant for children to receive.  We must come alongside our children to recover what God has called them to do.  Our children also have an occupation, a vocation to be students.  This is what they dress for each morning.  This is why they work diligently to memorize history chants, Bible verses and catechisms.  This is where they are trained in the tools of their trade as student explorers of the world God holds in the palm of His hand. Classical and Christian teachers and parents are restoring the firm foundation on which to build a house, a foundation that will not shift underneath their children as they grow.

Three times a year, GCCA parents serve their children by learning what it means to be educated classically and biblically.  October 9th is the first Parent Academy of this school year.  As they gather for the third year of Academy meetings, they will soon share with you what they are learning about how to raise up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ceaselessly pray that a new day is coming in which those of us with our Achilles’ heels will hand it all over to future generations who have been completely immersed in the springs of Living Water!

Bruce Williams is the Headmaster of Grace Classical Christian Academy in Granbury, Texas.

Ye Olde Deluder Satan Law

Ye olde deluder lawThe second education law in America was published in 1647.  It was titled, Ye Olde Deluder Satan Law.  The authors remembered that before the Reformation, the church kept the Scriptures in Latin so that only priests could interpret them for the common people.  Never again would these grandchildren of the Reformation let the Scriptures become so remote to future generations.  Reading the Bible was a vital defense against that old deluder, Satan.

Although spelling rules, as we know them, were different then, you should be able to follow this original source. Sometimes the “y” is used as “th”.

It being one chiefe project of ye ould deluder, Satan, to keepe men from the knowledge of ye Scriptures, as in former times by keeping ym in an unknown tongue, so in these lattr times by perswading from ye use of tongues, yt so at least ye true sence & meaning of the original might be clouded by false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers, yt leaning may not be buried in ye grave of or fathrs in ye church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors…

Here’s the back story.  In the seven years since the pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower onto Plymouth Rock, they were busy building homes, common meeting areas, planting fields, and establishing businesses and trades.  That Puritan work ethic created prosperity, to be sure. However, to their horror, it became evident the children’s education was being neglected by too many fathers whose prosperity was devouring faithfulness. To quote one of their pastors, Cotton Mather,

“Faithfulness begat prosperity and the daughter devoured the mother.”

Five years before the Olde Deluder Satan Law, Massachusetts passed the first education law in the colonies, The Massachusetts School Law of 1642.  This legislation reprimanded parents who were “not training up their children in learning”.  Every town was ordered to choose men “appointed to manage these prudential affairs and to be charged with the redress of this evil”.

Fines would be imposed upon the negligent.  An account would be taken from time to time of the children, “especially of their ability to read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of the country”.  The families of the community were to pay and oversee the school managers and provide school materials.  Each time the magistrate came to town, he was given an accounting of the progress of the children.

The follow-up Ye Olde Deluder Satan Law was written to make even clearer the town fathers’ plan to keep school districts local and small, and to make sure no one misunderstood their reason for passing both of these laws – children must never become unable to read for themselves the “principles of religion and the laws”.

They knew the chief end of Satan is to keep men from reading the Bible.  This was the most dangerous threat they saw to their colony’s existence and well-being – that the next generation would lose the “true sense and meaning of God’s word and fall prey to the deceptions of seeming-saints”.

Other New England states followed the example of Massachusetts within the next generation. Six generations later, their concerns about Ye Olde Deluder Satan have proven to be well-founded.

(These source documents can be found in Documents of American History, Henry Steele Commager, editor, as published by F.S. Crofts & Co., New York, in 1934. There are a few hard back editions left on internet sites.  Crofts and Co. was sold in 1948 to become Appleton Century Crofts.)

Jeanette Faulkner teaches 7th grade at Grace Classical Christian Academy.

Separating Christian School From Christian Education

Do you remember where you were on 9/11? It was as though time stopped that morning.  It took our collective breath away.  It was terrible in the extreme.

Do you remember where you were the first time you understood – really understood – what classical Christian education is?   As a homeschool mom in 1993, it took my breath away.  Time stopped as I saw my once-impressive Christian curriculum dwarfing in comparison before my eyes.  It was wonderful in the extreme.  Could such a thing exist for my children?

Surprisingly, the overwhelming realization of how much our family’s lives would change didn’t make us shrink back; rather we picked up speed and jumped right into the deep water.  That is, after all, where all the fun is.

If it was like this for you, it was not the word “rigor” that got you. It wasn’t even the Latin or Logic or catchy little memory ditties.  It was the idea that in everything children learn to see Christ’s hand in every subject.

Before this epiphany, we thought a school was Christian if most of the grammar sentences involved either Paul or Moses; and little children who were often asked, “Who made this?” answered in unison with a loud and confident, “GOD made it!”  Throw in a chapel and prayer each morning and that was a Christian school to me.

However, after reading Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Doug Wilson and Repairing the Ruins from Canon Press, my husband and I realized we had been looking for a Christian school, but longing to give our children a Christian education.

The word, “education” comes from the Latin root, ducere, which means to lead, as in leading someone out of darkness or ignorance into light.  “School” comes from the Greek, skhole, which could be translated as philosophy or a place where lectures are given.  See the difference?

By the middle of the 20th century, Christians would never admit it out loud, but they were faced with a choice between a modern public school and a mediocre Christian school. How did that happen?

To oversimplify a complex answer, 20th century Christians were lured away from their roots like Pinocchio to the Island of Lost Boys – with the same outcome. The industrial and modern eras spawned an idea that children could be run through grades K-12 like cars on an assembly line.  Screw these bolts to the chassis in first grade, weld these nuts onto the drive shaft in second grade, etc., and at the end of the line of  assembled facts, one gets a shiny Model T ready to drive away from Squaresville and experience the world!  It was an easy sell to parents in a rapidly-changing world enticed by the newest new thing.

But, God is good. Like dry bones that rise again, He has called a remnant of Christians who understand that the same Christ who was the Word in the beginning of Genesis 1:1 is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us in John 1:14. In Him is light and His light is the light of men.

Over the past three decades this remnant has sacrificed money, careers, and time to begin schools that classically educate the next generation of the Church.  So it is at GCCA where students are being led out of darkness to see Christ as the One who always has and always will hold all things together in the palm of His hand and who does all things excellently.  Our prayer is that these children will become like Jesus as the Holy Spirit works through the ministry of wise Christian parents, skillful Christian teachers, and the teaching of sound doctrine from faithful pastors.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Let’s pick up speed and jump into the deep water together, rejoicing because this is where the fun truly is!

Jeanette Faulkner teaches 7th grade at Grace Classical Christian Academy.

A Different Kind of Peculiar

by Jeanette Faulkner

Words fail any attempted description of Granbury, Texas  – beautiful among Texas cities, delightful as a recreation and entertainment getaway, people who are welcoming and fun.  This doesn’t help Austin friends when I tell them I teach in Granbury.  They just smile pitifully and say, “well, bless your heart”.  Dallas friends seem incredulous and ask,  “You mean Grand Prairie, right?”  To the big city fellas, those of us who choose Granbury on purpose are peculiar, much like Christians are peculiar to people living outside Christendom.

The Bible says they are right.

However, we are a different kind of peculiar. Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, describes us in 1 Peter 2:9.  The King James Version says it best:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Although God’s word never changes, language does.  Therefore, modern translations render “peculiar” as “chosen for His possession”.  We are peculiar people in the midst of the blob of humanity.  God always sets His children apart as His possession, and indeed blesses our hearts.

How does this relate to Grace Classical Christian Academy in Granbury? In the past year, two of Granbury’s leading residents told me they sense God’s hand moving here. Something eternal is afoot. They also think GCCA is right in the middle of the palm of His hand. Are you thinking what I am? “Yes! I sense that too!”

Those of us in the GCCA community are peculiar. We are odd to those who cannot understand why we’d send our children to this little portable with no cafeteria, gym, computers, or fancy playground stuff. How will these kids ever get into UT?  Actually graduates from classical Christian schools have not only entered Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, and other top tier schools; they’ve also graduated from them.  That, however, is not the yardstick of peculiar people. The real measure is whether they graduated as the men of Issachar:

Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.     1Chronicles  12:32

Truly peculiar people make a difference for God in their generation and bless the nations in which they live.

We are training our students to measure themselves not by worldly yardsticks, but by understanding how to think, move, and breathe in the real world of a chosen, royal, holy people who have been called out of the darkness of this world into the marvelous light of His kingdom here and now.  Each week we will highlight how God is working in the midst of peculiar teachers and the children of peculiar parents.  Hopefully, it will help you show friends that you are not sheltering your children from the “real world”;  rather, you have chosen Grace because it is the real world.

Jeanette Faulkner teaches 7th Grade at GCCA.