Why Teach (or Learn) Latin?

laOur neighbors are over for Thanksgiving dinner and one of them asks me “so — what do you do for work?” I look up at her, smiling: “I’m a teacher for an online school.” Continuing the small talk, my neighbor asks what I teach. “Latin?!” she questions with a puzzled look, “that’s…so… interesting! Why Latin?”

These are the sorts of conversations that I have at dinner parties, the grocery store, and Bible studies. Yes, Latin is unusual. Yes, Latin is a dead language. Yes, I willingly (and happily!) chose to teach this unusual and dead language to online middle and high school students. So why Latin? Why would I ever want to spend hours upon hours studying the language, let alone teach it? I’m sure many of you have asked yourself the same question — maybe “useless” has even crossed your mind: why would I want to sign up for a class to learn a dead language? I once heard that Latin is not dead, it is immortal. We must not think of Latin as a useless language merely because it’s no longer spoken. Rather, Latin is timeless—everywhere we look, whether it be in government buildings, in a theology book, or in your wallet — Latin is there.  Continue reading

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Logos Online School Class of 2015

We’re proud to have awarded diplomas to these 3 bright students on June 1st:

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Allyson Bailey

Allyson’s plans for college include attending Virginia Tech in the Fall and graduating with a degree in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.  With this degree, she can go into multiple directions, one of which is furthering her education and getting a doctorate in Physical Therapy, specializing in vestibular therapy (something she has had to undergo as she has recovered from three traumatic brain injuries).  Another option would be to obtain a different medical degree in Physiatry or some other medical field.  Either way, she would ultimately like to provide hope and help to brain-injured patients and their families.

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Mariya Golub

Mariya’s future plans, as of this point, consist of doing college through an online program called CollegePlus and finding a part-time job alongside her studies. Although she is still undecided, she is aiming to pursue a double major in Liberal Arts and Biology, and perhaps afterwards, study for a nursing degree. Mariya is intending to stay active in her Church, particularly by serving the youth, and wherever the Lord plants her. Whatever happens in her future, one thing she knows will always be on her agenda, and that is to love and obey the Lord, and teach others to do the same.

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Megan Marshall

Megan was born in Houston, TX. She began her classical Christian education in third grade at Regents Academy in Nacogdoches, TX. During her education, she enjoyed the Drama Class where she was able to really show off her facial expressions. Megan was able to participate and achieve many awards through the TAPPS Program (Texas Association of Private Parochial Schools). She was also very active in the school’s sports department. Megan played soccer and basketball and was named Most Valuable Player multiple times for track and cross country. Megan has always had a love for photography, but only started to develop her talent for it in her last year in Nacogdoches. After she moved to Texarkana, she was very blessed to find Logos Online School. The teaching she has received at Logos has helped to develop her love for God. Megan received teachings from Tyler Antkowiak, Daniel Ryan (both of whom are in Moscow), and Jackie Amorelli (who is in New York). She made many friends online through the school. She is a little sad to leave high school, but could not be more excited to move on! Megan will be attending Texas A&M University in Texarkana on the Presidential Scholarship and will be pursuing her dream of becoming a high school math teacher.

To learn more about our curriculum and diploma track, visit our website.

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The Company You Keep

Paperback Advice from Livy

I wish there was a magic way to identify good literature for children—especially for boys. Unfortunately, there isn’t… and this discussion is as important as it is difficult! This is because paperback friends—just like the flesh-and-blood variety—exert a powerful influence on the lives of children. Bad company corrupts good morals. Are your kids searching for pearls in a literary dung heap? How do you even determine that there’s a pearl there in the first place? What’s a good book even supposed to do?

In his account of Rome, the renowned first-century historian Livy listed two fundamental purposes for studying history. In history, “You see examples of every possible type. From these you may select for yourself and your country what to imitate, and also what you are to avoid.” Why is this important? If you don’t pay attention to this kind of thing, you’ll end up where Rome was at the beginning of the first century… a society “in which we can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies.” (Sound familiar?)

The same two purposes hold true for other literary genres as well: all good lit should help the reader imitate the good and shun the bad.

As Christians, we want our sons to become devout men of God. We want them to be just, compassionate, and humble. We want them to be courageous, bold, men of integrity. In keeping with this, the stories we give them should be rife with heroes who embody such strengths. Our boys should be filled to the brim with heroic virtues. If we turn our sons upside-down, giant-killing bravery, humility, and sister-protecting instincts should pour out onto the carpet. And this will be due, in part, to the potent heroic examples floating around in their heads.

Such heroes reside in healthy stories. But we don’t want to confuse “healthy” with “safe.” Continue reading

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On Writing, The Third “R” of the SAT

by Rachel Olson

lt’s not difficult to convince a parent or teacher the children under their care must learn to write well. Writing is an essential part of every child’s education from grade school through college. Nearly every humanities subject requires multiple essays. And if you’re planning on going to college, the Reading and ‘Rithmetic sections on the SAT have of course been joined by a third R: Writing.

Moreover, there are dozens of careers which require professional writers. Journalists make their living composing a glorified form of the grade-school essay. Playwrights and lyricists earn their bread by putting words on the page. Someone writes all the advertising mail you throw away—and someone else checks it twice to make sure there are no mistakes.

But, a conscientious mother might protest, what if my child does not want to be a journalist? And who’d want to make a living off the junk mail nobody reads? Is learning how to write worth it if you don’t plan on writing to support your family?

With no reservations: yes! From a practical standpoint, no matter what job a person gets, whether it be office executive or barista, his success level will be largely dependent on how well he communicates through writing.

In this age of emails and text messages, everyone is speaking to each other through the written (and read) word.  Whether you’re writing instructions, or giving reports, or helping customers, or even scheduling appointments or taking down memos, clear communication is essential.  Continue reading

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Science and the Classics

by Rachel Olson

What has science to do with Cicero? What has chemistry to do with the Trivium? Why ought mychild to spend his time memorizing the muscles of a cat rather than his Latin declensions?

In order to answer these questions, we ought to pose one more. Why do we educate our children at all? For Christians, the answer is simple. We are raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord so they might love and serve Him as well as understand the world in which He has placed them.

The world is a huge, complex, scary place. God has made it that way. But he has also made man to explore this giant maze. The world outside the Garden of Eden was a veritable treasure map. The river flowing out of the Garden split off into four tributaries. One flowed into Havilah, where there was gold and precious stones. Another flowed into the Promised Land, where the soul was fertile. Still a third led to the sea. Later in Genesis, men explored this map, found the treasures and made things of them. That is what man himself is made for. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and it is the glory of kings to seek it out. King Solomon, the epitome of wisdom, was a thorough biologist as well as an excellent rhetorician. And once he discovers a thing, man is called to steward it, but how can he be a good steward if he knows nothing about the world under his care? Ignorance, in this case, is far from bliss. Science relieves this ignorance and thus helps man to love and serve God to the best of his ability. Continue reading

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The State of Classical Education

An interview of Douglas Wilson by David Kern of the Circe Institute

 

DK: It’s been more than 30 years since you and your colleagues started Logos School in Moscow, ID and more than 20 years since Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning came out. Since then classical Christian education has grown quite a bit, in no small part because of the work of ACCS and organizations like it. In looking back, what gives you the most satisfaction? 

DW: I think I would have to say that it is most gratifying that the movement now has enough history and momentum to continue on when I am out of the picture. We are well past our lift-off stage, and we can turn our attention to the work of consolidation, and deliberate expansion. I am very grateful to God for how far we have come.

 

What challenges have been most resolute in testing the mettle of this movement?

There is nothing new under the sun, and so our two great challenges have been the same as they have been for every form of culture building. Those challenges are failure and success. The challenge of looming failure is the challenge of keeping enough students enrolled, paying for the books, keeping teachers fed, and so on. Some schools are challenged every year with the daunting prospect of simply making it. The other great challenge is the challenge of success. You don’t have to worry about survival, and your waiting list goes around the block three times. One of the great challenges for our schools that have been successful (in this sense) is the challenge of staying true to the mission, and not becoming just another private prep school.

 

What do you foresee being most challenging moving forward? How can these challenges be overcome?

I believe that classical Christian education has proven itself academically, so — as a movement — I don’t think we need to worry about disappearing into nothing. I do think we need to worry about disappearing into something else. I am concerned that many of our schools are starting to measure success by how assiduously established colleges and universities are recruiting their graduates, and luring them with big time scholarships. But we are at the tail end of a higher education bubble, and so I don’t believe that this should be how we measure success. I would love to see a deepening commitment to Christian higher ed. I know that God calls some of our graduates into the existing system, and God bless them all. But I don’t want anybody going there under false pretenses. So I think the prep school vibe is a big temptation to be resisted.

 

What does the classical Christian education need for continued growth? 

We need to deepen our bench. By this I mean providing a thorough classical Christian education to our next generation of teachers. That would be one thing. We also need to develop and enrich the curriculum choices that we have available to us. A lot has been done here, but much more needs to be done. We are trying to do our share in this, and are grateful to everyone who has a hand in it. For an example of the “next generation” kind of thing we are trying to do in this area, you could check out — http://www.logospressonline.com.

 

Ideally, what would you like the movement to look like in ten years?  

In ten years, I would like to see a great increase in the number of ACCS accredited schools. I would like to see resources developed (curriculum, online teachers, etc.) for schools that don’t have large numbers. And I would like to see the development of a large data base that would enable us to track our graduates and make note of their accomplishments.

 

 

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The Headmaster’s Huddle

Here at the start of the 2013-14 academic year, Dr. Larry Stephenson reminds us why we do what we do.

As we begin another academic year, I simply want to take a moment to remind myself (and all of you) why, specifically, we do what we do – the goal of all our labors. The demands of any given day… the many decisions which must be made, the conversations which must be had, the crisis which must be managed… threaten to obscure our vision. Amid the pressing demands of the day, we sometimes forget the mandate that all of us, as administrators, have been given.

God has called us to the task of educational leadership – specifically to future generations.  The leadership we must provide is not understood by the world, but has been modeled for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Continue reading

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Logic: The Secret Weapon of Tomorrow’s Lawyers

by Amanda Perry

From the time Logos School in Moscow, Idaho entered the speech and debate ring in 1995 they have maintained a long-running track record of success. Fourteen-time Regional winner, twelve-time Idaho State Championship winner, Logos holds a ten-year history of stellar performances at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, going toe-to-toe with schools from across the country in a courtroom setting. Logos continues to beat its own record, ranking higher every year. In 2012, they placed fifth in the nation.

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How does a small Christian school from a small town hold its own at a national level? The ace up their sleeve is a little thing called logic, the art of reasoning well; of defining terms, making accurate statements, constructing valid arguments, identifying fallacies; and it’s no parlor trick. Head coach Chris Schlect explains, “In Mock Trial, logic is enfleshed. It works the same way baseball players learn how to turn a double play— performing them over and over, learning that no two infield balls come at you the same way. We grow proficient at logic by performing it over and over again, and in the process we learn to creatively deploy logic in new and creative ways.”  Continue reading

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Train Classically. Do Anything.

by Douglas Wilson

I was very grateful for how the Lord used my first book on education—Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. At the same time, it could be argued that the title of the book was not given in great wisdom. That word recovering suggests a lot of alternatives, and it turns out that people use them. Restoring the Lost Tools of Learning, Repairing the Lost Tools of Learning, Reupholstering the Lost Tools of Learning, and then there was the time we even got it wrong on the back of another book on education, The Case for Classical Christian Education, where we called it Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning. Or something.

So perhaps you will pardon me if on this occasion, we focus on the word tools. The use of that word of course comes from Dorothy Sayers’ seminal essay “The Lost Tools of Learning”, where she laments the tendency of modern education to teach the students what to think, instead of teaching them how to think. This failure is a manifest and obvious one, and cannot be covered over with phrases like “critical thinking skills.” Nobody is doing any critical thinking when one bit of propaganda displaces an older bit of propaganda.

What Sayers suggested, and what Logos School has been seeking to do from the beginning, is to provide the students with the grist for thought (facts), the laws and methods of thought (reason), and the loveliness of thought (rhetoric). This comes through successive application, using the Sayers’ Insight, as the students grow through the grammar stage, the dialectic stage, and the rhetoric stage—the three components of the medieval Trivium.

And this is why it is not arrogance to urge your graduates to “do anything.” They know, for they have been taught, that the anything does not include the flying of pink unicorns around your own private moon base. It refers to anything within our implied realm of discourse. It means that a genuine liberal arts education is an education for life and living, and is not to be treated as vocational training for future English teachers. It means that classical education is not vo-tech education for Latin geeks.

So when Logos Press uses the tag line “Train Classically. Do Anything.” this is what they are talking about. The classical methodology, which Logos recovered (or reupholstered, whatever), and which Logos Press is actively engaged in getting into resources that you can use, is a process of educating and training which will provide your student with many more options that he otherwise would have had. And that is a good thing.

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