Why I Choose Classical Education

Written by Tracy Whitfield and presented at the 2017  State of the School Address Even before I knew what classical education was I knew it worked. It developed students who were articulate, knowledgeable, eager learners, and principled. I have traveled a unique road that lead me to teach classical education. I was educated in the public school system and was taught by great teachers. Teachers who inspire me to learn and to ultimately become like them. But I missed out on an opportunity to learn more about Christ and grow in my knowledge of Him. So, for my first year of college, I decided to attend a small Christian college in Virginia that was known as the “homeschool college”. I was one of six students on campus that year that had ever attend public school, the vast majority of students were homeschooled. I was blown away by how knowledgeable my peers were. My second year of college I transferred to another small liberal arts college in Michigan. Once again, I found myself amongst many homeschool students and now there were many students who had attended classical schools. At the time, I had no idea what classical school were but I saw these peers were vastly ahead of me in many ways. My peers not only a broader knowledge of subjects but they had a significantly deeper knowledge of the subjects. I had a superficial knowledge that lacked true understanding of the why and how. But what stood out to me the most about them was how articulate they were. They naturally were able to communicate their point of view and...

Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten is such an exciting milestone in your child’s life!  Some people question whether their child is ready to start kindergarten and should they attend full or part time.  Here are some guidelines to help you determine if your child is ready to start Kindergarten at Cornerstone Academy. Children should be able to: Language Arts Spell and Write their name Copy a simple sentence Rhyme Speak and recognize most of the letters of the alphabet Write most of their letters Know the difference in upper and lower case letters   Math Count to 50 Recognize and write numbers 0-30 Put numbers in order 0-20 Identify shapes (circle, triangle, square, rectangle) Recognize a penny, nickel, and dime Complete and create a pattern Identify longest and shortest Learning Readiness LISTENING – Follow three step directions TEACHABLE – Take instruction and redirection well ATTENTIVENESS – Focus on and complete a simple project DILIGENCE – Work through difficult tasks and ask for help Understand it is ok to make mistakes and learn from them Social Readiness Feels confident to attend class independently Asks for help Attempts new tasks knowing it is okay to make mistakes Tries to regulate emotions properly Articulates feelings in words with adults and peers *Child must be 5 years old by the beginning of the school year. Assessment is available for early...

Reading far outweighs socio-economic background for impact on pupils’ success

Reading for pleasure far outweighs the impact of socio-economic background on pupils’ success at school, Nick Gibb has said. The schools minister wants every primary pupil to read “at least one book a week” and is concerned that secondary English teachers start preparing pupils for GCSE-style questions too soon. “Reading for pleasure is more important than a family’s socio-economic status in determining a child’s success at school,” Mr Gibb said yesterday. The minister cited UCL Institute of Education research involving 6,000 children which found that reading for pleasure was more important for a child’s cognitive development, between10-16, than their parents’ level of education. “Remarkably, the combined effect of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16 was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree”, he said. “These findings show that given the gift of reading, a child’s life chances need not be limited by their social or economic background. Deprivation need not be destiny.” Mr Gibb said research also showed that “even highly educated people use less sophisticated vocabulary when speaking than the words used in a typical children’s book”. “Which is why it is so important not just to talk to children but to read to them as well,” the minister added. Mr Gibb made his comments in a speech to mark National Storytelling Week, referencing the storytelling abilities of people from the singer Max Bygraves to Jesus. He said that after instilling the love of reading, it was important for children to practice it often. “For this reason, I would like to see every pupil...

How Free Play Creates Emotionally Stable Children in an Unstable World

Are you old enough to remember “the carefree days of childhood” or “a happy childhood”? Once upon a time these were common phrases, but you don’t hear them very often today. According to a recent study released by San Diego State University, there is a sharp generational rise in youth depression, anxiety, and mental disorders in the United States. It’s hard to imagine a time in history when children were more coddled, indulged, or protected, and yet, according to this study, there are five to eight times as many young people suffering from major depression and anxiety today than a half-century ago. Obviously, children raised in the Depression era and World War II had very different lives. By all measures of today’s accepted parenting metrics these children should have been depressed or at least had anxiety issues. You certainly can’t say life was less stressful in the first half of the twentieth century. The increase in the safety and health of our children alone would bring some sort of stability by comparison, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening. In fact, our children have been on a downhill slide for decades. Peter Gray is quick to point out in an article in Psychology Today that this most recent evidence indicating the rise in our young people’s depression and mental disorders has nothing to do with diagnostic changes. Gray offers parents hope with his clear insight into what children are missing–and it’s not what you would expect. First Gray explains, One thing we know about anxiety and depression is that they correlate significantly with people’s sense of control or lack of control over their own...