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Christian, Classical, and Charlotte Mason

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The origin of classical education is in the ancients who lived in Greece and Rome.  By the Middle Ages and Renaissance, classical education had been formalized into much of what we draw on today.  Both Plato and Aristotle desired to teach children to love what was good, true, and beautiful in order for their conduct to reflect wise understanding.  One of the hallmarks of classical education is the interconnectedness of new to old, one subject to another, and man to all things.

We are so fortunate at Sterling to be able to provide students the type of education that is Christian and classical, and following the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, who valued classical education for its primary purpose being to develop wisdom and virtue in the learner.  Charlotte Mason lived in the late 1800s and recognized that a classical education was tried and true, and that this approach to knowledge was relational or synergistic, providing the learner with an understanding of the unity of all knowledge and our place in the universe. 

While the intellectual aspects of the classical tradition are apparent in a rigorous curriculum which teaches history chronologically, includes the study of Latin, as well as reading from great works of literature, the center of the classical tradition is Christianity.  This is what makes a classical education whole and complete.

If truth is our end goal in a classical education, then God's revelation of Himself through Christ's humanity ensures that our faith is rooted in reason.  A classical education is one that teaches us that truth is real through the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  In this knowledge, we learn what it is to be more fully human as we strive to become more Christ-like.

If ever there was an age that needed wise, Godly leaders, who love this nation and desire to serve, this is that time.  I am so proud to be part of our efforts at Sterling to raise up just such leaders for the future.

I will leave you with a scriptural passage...

Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Posted by Tara Hargrove with

The Scully Family

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From the Scully family!  Kensington is in 3rd grade and Brennan is in 5th.  Here's a snapshot of their Sterling experience...

"It was winter 2014 when my husband, Matt, and I embarked on that weighty and emotional journey of discerning where we wanted to send our children to school.  Our firstborn, Brennan, was set to enter Kindergarten the following fall, and his sister, Kensington, was just two years away from the same milestone. We researched; visited various school campuses; prayed; talked with friends whose children's education ran the gamut of experience and models.  

When we heard about Sterling for the first time, we were immediately struck by its model, its values, its mission, and we were eager to get a sense of what the campus was like.  I distinctly remember being in awe of what was displayed in the hallways when we took a tour: the colorful artwork, the hands-on projects, the creative writing. The opportunity of additional time that the University-Model would provide our family; the blend of the Classical and Charlotte Mason philosophies; as well as the Christ-centered atmosphere of warmth, joy-in-learning, and respect drew us in.  A couple of months later, we left our family interview having found out that Brennan could start Kindergarten that fall, and we were quite excited!  

Fast-forward (isn't that the truth?!) to winter 2020, and Brennan is now in 5th grade and Kensington is in 3rd.  Over the years we've had our fair share of back-to-school bumps (which last usually about 6-8 weeks for us) and homeschool days in which I wondered if I could last another day.  However, in the midst of some of those kinds of days, these are the gracious gifts our family has received through our years at Sterling: 

- supportive and skilled co-teachers who are for our children, who want to see them thrive and flourish; 

- curriculum, projects, and special events that have fostered a love of learning and discovering; 

- the opportunity for me to also keep learning alongside Brennan and Kensington (hello again, fractions), and to be engaged in their learning processes; 

- spaciousness in our family rhythms to have more time with each other; and 

- valuable 'training ground' (at home and at school) to be in relationship with others; learn from mistakes; problem solve; develop important life skills and character.

Just the other day, with binoculars around their necks and field guides in hand, Brennan and Kensington enthusiastically roamed outside to bird watch and record what they saw.  That's in part because the 5th grade science classes are beginning their spring semester studies about birds, and little sister (always) wants to experience it as well. It's also partly because we have the flexibility during some of our homeschool days to make room for some imagination and exploration.  And finally, it’s in part because their curiosity and love of learning has been cultivated in an environment that nurtures and encourages it. While our homeschool days certainly don't always look like that, and the bird watching jaunt ended in conflict resolution, it was a moment that in total, gathered together some of the best outworkings of the school that is Sterling.  And our family is thankful."