Our Academic Philosophy
Teachers within a Christian classical school believe education is about forming souls, not just transmitting skills.
The goal of education at ToFA is to form a mature person whose thoughts, emotions, and desires reflect truth. In classical schools, we want children to become strong readers, but we also want them to read well: We think WHAT they read is as important as THAT they read. We look for books that strengthen the student’s moral imagination and inspire a love for what is good, true, and beautiful.
Classical educators seek to cultivate wisdom and virtue as their primary goal. Although classically educated students do well on standardized tests, we don’t measure success by scores, but rather by the development of a mature person who loves learning and who makes the connection between learning and life—one who ties knowledge to responsibility and struggles to live not for himself, but for God and his neighbor.
In order to develop wisdom and virtue, classical educators make use of the humanities, the timeless works of history, literature, and poetry, along with the arts of the trivium and quadrivium. The trivium consists of three arts related to human language and subjects taught within the classrooms. The first, the art of grammar, includes reading, writing, interpreting, and judging written texts. The second, the art of logic, teaches critical thinking and develops the faculty of reason. And the third, the art of rhetoric, is comprised of beautifully ordering words so that they might persuade. For both Plato, a Greek, and Quintilian, a Roman, wisdom, justice, and eloquence are inextricably linked; a good rhetorician is “the good man speaking well.” In addition to the trivium, classical educators also consider understanding the created order to be of crucial importance. Thus, the quadrivium consists of four arts related to number–arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music–which we approach today through mathematics and the sciences.
Although classical education was developed by the early Greeks, it came to fruition in the Christian church. Therefore, to speak of classical education is also to speak of Christian education. The best of the ancient Greeks and Romans desired to live lives of piety and virtue, and with the coming of Christ their imperfect vision of man was fulfilled. The cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude were crowned with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Classical education asks the questions: Who is the good man? What is the good life? Christianity answers them: The good man is Jesus Christ and the good life is the one which follows Him.
Christian & Biblical World View
A Christ-Centered Approach to Education
At Trinity of Fairview Academy we teach all subjects based on the principle that God is the center of all knowledge and Lord of all. Therefore, all knowledge is interrelated and points back to Him. We practice this concept in the following ways:
-By using an interdisciplinary approach to academics, in which our faith is embedded in all classes, as opposed to having God discussed separately and only in a faith-based class.
-By applying Biblical standards of conduct in all arenas of school life, including school behavioral expectations, through rewards, and in discipline.
-By acknowledging that God has given parents the responsibility for the education of their children and that teachers and administrators instruct our students under the parents’ delegated authority.
Biblical World View
On an intellectual level, a worldview is a way of thinking or perceiving the world. It has been defined as a lens, a framework, or a set of presuppositions about basic questions of reality—Is there a God? What is the nature of the universe? Who is man?—and so on. Worldviews can be personal (the unconscious heart assumptions that guide our daily choices and actions) or formal (theistic, humanistic, naturalistic, and so on). They permeate every sphere of public and private life: art, music, media and entertainment, government, business, the family, our educational institutions, and even the church.
As Western civilization has abandoned its theistic foundations in reason and revelation, a host of humanistic worldviews have filled the void, and the results have been catastrophic. When man sins and separates himself from God, he loses the good of reason—his thinking becomes “futile,” his heart is “darkened,” and his mind becomes “depraved” (Romans 1). With his heart and mind no longer valuing or beholding Truth, his way of seeing and understanding the fundamental issues of life—his worldview—becomes distorted, no longer providing him with an accurate picture of reality. As a result, many people today cannot even recognize, much less solve, the serious social, political, and cultural problems that confront the nation and the world.
A Christian worldview, however, is much more than an intellectual stance, a perspective on the world, a body of knowledge or ideas; it involves the whole person—body, soul, and spirit. With it, thinking is wedded to being, information is connected to action, and worldview instruction addresses not only what one knows but also what one loves or ought to love (See James Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 18). A Christian worldview requires not just new information, but a complete transformation of the mind and heart—a new person.
As individuals come to know Christ, they become aligned with the truth and the exciting process of the renewing of their hearts and minds begins. Followers of Christ no longer take their views of the world from those who frame it falsely. They refuse to “walk in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1) or be “taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophy” because these rely on “human traditions and the principles of this world” (Colossians 2), rather than on Christ. Instead, they are to put on the “mind of Christ,” recognizing that a Biblical worldview is not only a comprehensive truth system that speaks to every area of life, but also one which involves an ongoing heart transformation that leads to righteous behavior and Kingdom actions, the “good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Students in University-Model® schools must recover and then learn how to think and “be” according to a Biblical worldview framework anchored in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Truth, and God’s Word. Students must not only discern the faulty worldviews in contemporary culture, but also be able to defend courageously and champion boldly Kingdom ways of “thinking” and “being” in the competitive and often combative secular marketplace of ideas.