The Greyfriars Archer
Volume 2 No. 8 November 22, 2010
Last Day of Semester
Spring Semester Begins
Board of Directors
First Greyfriars Banquet a Memorable Success!
The evening of November 11 marked the First Annual Fall Fundraising Banquet for Greyfriars Classical Academy. We are thankful to God to be able to report that the event was a huge success. Highlights include:
If anyone was unable to attend the Banquet but would like to learn more about the school, please let us know. Similarly, if you would like to support us financially, we would be happy to have you partner with us. You will find more information near the end of this newsletter.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Psalm 24 (C)
“The Earth and the Riches”
For there are some who want knowledge for the sole purpose of knowing, and this is unseemly curiosity. And there are some who seek knowledge in order to be known themselves; and this is unseemly vanity . . . and there are also those who seek knowledge in order to sell their knowledge, for example, for money or for honors; and this is unseemly quest for gain. But there are also those who seek knowledge in order to edify, and this is charity. And there are those who seek knowledge in order to be edified, and this is prudence.
- Bernard of Clairvaux
For if [parents] had not sought only the belly and a temporal living for their children when they sent them into the monasteries and cathedral schools or into the spiritual estates, but had been earnestly concerned for their salvation and blessedness, they would not thus fold their hands, relapse into indifference and say: “If the spiritual estate is no longer to count for anything, then we will let education be and not bother our heads about it.” They would rather say: “If it is true, as the Gospel teaches, that this estate is dangerous to our children, why then, dear sirs, show us another way to educate them that will be pleasing to God and profitable to them; we certainly want to provide not only for the bellies of our dear children, but also for their souls.” That, at least, is what true, Christian and faithful parents would say.
- Martin Luther
Two New Board Members Added
We are pleased to announce that Henry DeBoer and Jeffrey Roach have agreed to add their talents and energies to the work of Greyfriars Classical Academy by accepting appointments to the Board of Directors.
Mr. DeBoer and his wife, Herma, have been heavily involved in Christian education for many years. After moving to the area in 1998 from Canada, the DeBoers have seen five of their six children graduate from Christian school, and their sixth child is enrolled in GCA's 10th grade. Henry operates a landscape design and service company called DeSignia. He is a deacon at Matthews OPC.
Dr. Roach (Ph.D. in Applied Economics, Clemson University) is no stranger to returning Greyfriars' families, as both he and his wife, Erica, taught the inaugural 9th grade class last year. Since 2006, Jeff has been the Chief Economist at Horizon Investments, LLC, headquartered in Charlotte. He is a deacon at Matthews OPC.
Lunch Bunch Social Club Begins
Parent Chris Vaughn has organized a club called the Greyfriars' "Lunch Bunch". On the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month, students gather after school at a local restaurant to enjoy food and fellowship. So far they have met at Chick-Fil-A for the month of October, and McAllister's for November.
Latin Club Resumes
A number of Greyfriars students have begun meeting once per month again this year (with sponsoring faculty member Beth Harvey) as part of the Junior Classical League (JCL). This "Latin Club" does not require students to be "good at Latin" in order to be involved. Rather, it is for any student who is interested in having fun while learning more about Greek and Roman culture and language.
Charlotte Waites Visit Aesthetics Classes
Recently, the 9th and 10th grade Aesthetics classes spent an afternoon learning from the musical group, The Charlotte Waites. Playing medieval music on period instruments, the four members of the group helped our students "get a glimpse into a culture long past but certainly not forgotten" (quotation from a thank-you sent to the group by Mrs. Van Patter).
"Waites were medieval town musicians popular throughout England....They welcomed important visitors to the city, led processions, woke the townsfolk on dark winter days, and otherwise provided music for the benefit and enjoyment of all" (from the Charlotte Waites' Facebook page).
Liberal Arts and Classical Education
What do we mean when we use the term “liberal arts?” How do “liberal arts” fit into a classical Christian approach to education? And perhaps most importantly, what are the interrelationships between “liberal arts,” “humanities,” and “math and science”? These seem to be important questions for many, and the source of a good deal of confusion. I will attempt to dispel at least some of the confusion.
First, let me define the terms as I intend to use them here:
“Math and Science” – I lumped these together, because they are often lumped together by those raising questions. For purposes of this discussion, I intend these terms, individually and collectively, to refer to the general course of study in mathematics and natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy, etc.).
“Humanities” – This term is intended to cover literature, language arts & composition, rhetoric, history, philosophy, etc. – in short, all the “non-sciences.” Note that this group of subjects is sometimes informally referred to as “liberal arts,” but it is precisely that emasculation of the term that I am trying to refute here.
“Liberal Arts” – This has two useful definitions, and for the most part, I mean to employ them both simultaneously. (1) Specifically, this term refers to the enumeration of the seven liberal arts that made up a “classical education” as it existed from about the 4th century AD until the mid 18th century. These included Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy.1 They were commonly divided into two groups with the first three constituting the trivium and the last four constituting the quadrivium. (2) Generically, this term refers to the qualitative description of the seven liberal arts. The term “arts” comes from the Latin artes and means roughly “skills and methods”, while the term “liberal” derives from the Latin libertas for “freedom.” Roughly translated then, a liberal arts education describes “the skills and methods necessary to equip a free citizen to discharge his civic duty.”
“Classical Christian Education” – This is the approach to Christian education that is informed by the 1500-year track record of the application of the trivium and quadrivium throughout the late Roman, medieval, renaissance and reformation periods. The best brief description is contained in Douglas Wilson’s book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, and in Dorothy Sayers’ essay The Lost Tools of Learning. The essence of this approach is to convey the “tools of learning” (the necessary skills and methods) associated with all subjects in order to equip students “to know, love and practice that which is true, good and beautiful.”2
As Christians, we need to be sure that we understand these terms in Christian (also medieval) terms rather than pagan (Greco-Roman) terms. We know as disciples of Christ we “shall know the truth” and it is this truth about God, man and all the rest of God’s creation that “shall set us free.” We need to join with Augustine in avoiding both the humanistic “ideal man” of the Greeks and the legalistic commitment to “duty and preservation” of the Romans, while still recognizing the role of education in preparing ourselves and our children to be free citizens of the City of God. In fact, acknowledging the essential antithesis between the City of God and the city of man as Augustine so clearly presented it is an essential foundation for a classical Christian education.
How then are we to understand the apparent tension between “humanities” (Grammar, Rhetoric, Music) and “math and science” (Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy) in application to our present time? One clue is in the missing “art” – Dialectic. This was Aristotle’s great contribution, as it drew together the mathematical and verbal arts and became the basis not only for logic, but for an approach to education that is largely responsible for the shaping of Western culture. It is often included in “humanities,” yet is built on the science of logic. Dialectic is, in fact, a generalized form of the scientific method. Another hint may be found in the inclusion of “Music” in the list of humanities. We moderns are very comfortable to resign music to that category and treat it as a matter of relative taste. The ancients understood that it was a mathematical art – the study of ratios (or relative quantity).
The real key, though, is to recognize the dual purposes of our modern schools. On the one hand, they exist to educate – to equip students to assume the responsibilities of freedom; to equip them to engage the culture with a highly-developed Christian worldview and an ability to articulate the Gospel in its fullness to a fallen world. On the other hand, they exist to train – to equip students to make their way in the world financially and vocationally. Both are important, and God calls us to both. The conundrum comes when we try to disentangle that which the world, in its denial of God’s majesty and dominion, has so hopelessly muddled. There is a hierarchy, though, which may help us find our way. God has called us to educate our children; to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord so that they might serve Him. God has also called us to provide for our families, calling those who fail to do so “worse than unbelievers.” Since belief in God is a key to freedom, we can infer that a free education also prepares us to take on the responsibility of providing for our families. This means that schools should thoroughly educate as a means of preparing students to be trained. This preparation comes in stages, which means that the training can begin before the education is finished. In other words, it is perfectly appropriate to include purely vocational (or pragmatic) concerns in the formulation of a classical Christian curriculum as long as those concerns do not crowd out the primary purpose – education.
• There is no essential conflict between “humanities” and “math and sciences” in a true “liberal arts” education. Both subject areas are essential.
• “Liberal Arts”in a classical Christian education must prepare students not only for college, but for all of life. It may be that some will not attend college, but all are responsible to God for loving Him with their heart, soul, mind, and strength; we must also equip college-bound students to do that.
• We must resist the temptation to allow the world to define education, when it cannot even define freedom. The world may dictate training requirements, and we would be fools to ignore them. We would be greater fools, however, to exchange the God-given rights of freedom that can only be fully developed through Christian education for “a mess of pottage” that might equip us for a good job, but would leave our souls hungry and leave us unable to love God effectively with our minds.
2 Specific wording from the mission statement of Regent School of Austin (TX), an ACCS member school.
Reprinted with permission from CLASSIS,
You Can Make a Difference!
The mission of Greyfriars includes providing an education for Christian families that is financially affordable. Our unique university model (without full-time faculty or a physical plant to maintain) means that our tuition is well within the reach of most families. However, until we have added all four grades, 9-12, keeping tuition affordable is much more difficult.
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Greyfriars Classical Academy
1460 Longleaf Court, Matthews, NC 28104
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