A well-known educational philosopher, Charlotte Mason, believed that as much as 1/3 of education is atmosphere. Life is dependent on atmosphere. Atmosphere is essential to life’s existence. A gardener understands this quite well as he knows that his plants, vegetables, fruits, and flowers’ survival depends on the perfect atmosphere for thriving growth. A doctor or surgeon understands the importance of a sanitary and clean atmosphere for his patients’ well being. Mankind depends on the perfect atmosphere of oxygen and temperature to survive. Atmosphere has the power to bring life or death.
An education that nourishes a child’s whole being, not just his mind, or his test scores, hinges on his atmosphere. A truly vital question in the discussion of a child’s education is, “Is my child’s atmosphere conducive to life and growth, cultivating truth, goodness, and beauty?” The two most important factors of a child’s educational atmosphere are the home and the classroom.
The life-supporting atmosphere of the home cannot be overlooked as one of the key elements of a child’s education. Historically, children were schooled within their families. Children learned right alongside their parents and siblings. The wealthy were able to outsource some of that education to personal tutors, and some, to private schooling. But, long before the establishment of public and private, brick and mortar schools, home was education.
This is not to say that all education should return to children simply “shadowing” their parents’ and/or family’s skill set and call it education (although one could argue we all need a lot more of that). It’s not even saying that full-time homeschooling is the way every family should conduct their child’s education. The reality is that in our day, in this place, at this time, more is required from an academic standpoint than it was hundreds of years ago. However, I fear that in recognition of that reality, we’ve outsourced everything and took out one of the key elements of our child’s educational atmosphere… the home.
The reality of a five day a week, full day school means that our children spend a very large portion of their waking hours apart from their family. For us, we feel what we call “the family years,” before our children leave home, is far too short for them to spend so many of these hours in a traditional school setting. There is so much we want our family and children to experience in life and the time constraints of traditional school make that difficult. We desire to live out this crazy, glorious, messy walk of life together, more hours than not.
Just as the life-supporting atmosphere of the home cannot be overlooked as one of the key elements of a child’s education, the atmosphere of the classroom and its educational provisions shouldn’t be overlooked either. There absolutely is value in the classroom. There’s value in other mature, and character worthy adults speaking into the lives of our children. There’s value in children being around others different from themselves and their family unit. There’s value in our children sitting in a class of peers discussing the arts, rich literature, and the great men and women of history. There’s value in our teenagers taking their learned skills of persuasion, speech, and writing and constructing credible and strong arguments among their peers. There’s value of having educators who have become masters in their specified fields breathe wisdom and clarity into subjects the family isn’t as comfortable with. There’s incredible value in skilled educators bringing their sphere of expertise to the process of a child’s education.
Home and the classroom. There is tremendous value in both. When the question arose, “so how do we get the best of both worlds?” The Classical Academy was born.
Through enrollment at The Classical Academy students can continue to glean the benefits of the classroom: teachers with specified areas of expertise and knowledge, and a class of peers, not simply for “socialization,” but for a genuine community of students growing and learning side by side. Families with students at TCA can benefit from the classroom setting and still maintain primary influence over their child’s education and overall development.
Partnering through enrollment at TCA gives your child a rich atmosphere conducive to life and growth, cultivating truth, goodness, and beauty.