Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Launching of TaylorWest Academy

[Note: this is a work in progress, a rough draft, and will be revised many times during the year. It is a place to start.]

TaylorWest Academy:

That we may present everyone mature in Christ.
(Col. 1:28)

Mascot: The Pioneers

TaylorWest Academy Mission Statement:

TaylorWest Academy exists to train its students towards maturity in Jesus Christ by teaching them to bring all areas of life and knowledge under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We seek to do this through daily instruction in the following areas: the scriptures, personal responsibility, domestic work, sibling relationships, academics, and family roles.

Additional Purposes of TaylorWest Academy:

Committed to Wisdom: We take Proverbs 9:10 literally when it tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Conversely, the greatest foolishness in the entire world is the person who says in his heart there is no God. (Psa. 14:1) In everything we teach, we seek to turn the attention of our students back to God in reverence and fear. Every child is born thinking he is the center of the universe and needs daily reminders that God IS.

Life Skills: Since no child is born knowing how to be responsible, and since life skills form the foundation for any mature person, we are committed to training in all areas of household chores including: yard work, laundry, dishes, bathrooms, floors, as well as organization of one’s own possessions.

Critical Thinkers: We seek to produce students that are equipped to think analytically in all areas of life. We want them to have the ability to understand and evaluate arguments, identify logical fallacies, and succinctly formulate ideas of their own. This is in order to be well-equipped for the kingdom, and never for puffing up in pride.

Love of Learning: We seek to produce lifelong learners by making education as fun and interesting as possible. This need not interfere with teaching children discipline. For instance, all children will have to learn the times table whether or not they think it is fun. However, we will seek creative ways to teach the times table, especially to a child who is struggling.

Foundational Knowledge: Our first priority in academics is to produce strong readers through phonics instruction, excellent writers, and proficient mathematicians. Next we seek to have students who understand the big picture of history, beginning with creation and the flood. The foundation we are seeking to lay in science is an understanding of the beauty of the creator’s mind as we study his creatures and his natural laws as well as learn objectivity in our study of the scientific method.

Evaluating Belief Systems**: In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul tells us: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” At TaylorWest Academy, we are not afraid of exposing our students to the various lofty opinions that have been raised against the knowledge of God in the past, and are being raised today. As the students mature, they will interact with evolution, feminism, Nazism, fascism, communism, atheism, modernism, postmodernism, and more. We are not afraid to study these systems of beliefs, or their outcomes on individual lives and civilizations.

** Most schools refer to this as worldview training. We think the term “belief system” is more biblical, because the Bible emphasizes that it is our beliefs, not our views, that impact our behavior. We can understand an idea or a viewpoint, without actually believing in it.

Philosophy of Education:

At TaylorWest Academy, we embrace many aspects of the classical model of education while incorporating other methods of teaching that have stood the test of time. We hold loosely to the three classical stages—the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stage—while understanding that these were intended to be viewed as guidelines only. Our focus in the early grades is primarily on teaching reading, handwriting and math. This is the foundation on which all the other subjects will rest.

We embrace a teacher-directed model of education. This means that the teacher, not the student, is best able to discern areas of study will be most useful later in life, while taking into consideration the students' academic strengths, weakness, and interests. As a student matures, he will be given more and more freedom over the direction and particulars of his education.

The two teachers at TaylorWest Academy seek to pass on to their students a contagious love for learning modeled by enthusiasm and curiosity. Furthermore, the teachers seek to motivate each student to be a good steward of the faculties given to him by his creator through challenging him to meet high standards in discipline, organizational skills, and study habits.

We understand that students do not learn well in the presence of conflict or ill feelings. This leads us to deal with any interpersonal conflicts between teacher or siblings before any education can continue. We seek to proactive in our character training, not reactive.

Note on my philosophy of education:
Chris does not prefer the term philosophy of education and wants us to have a theology of education instead. However, this dilemma came up between us the other night when we were both too tired to have a good discussion. So I haven't had the time to hear him out and incorporate his thoughts on this. But the reason I went ahead and posted what I have written even though it will be revised, is that the change may be interesting. For Chris, everything we do in school is a result of theology, what we believe about God. This I understand but wasn't sure how to incorporate into why we do phonics and not whole language. More to come later.

Home schooling post soon to come (some already written just need some cleaning up):
Avoiding pitfall
Setting objectives
Goals for the first 3 years
Vision casting
The home schooler and Chores
A road to help you think through if home school is for you

For more posts on home schooling see the home schooling tab.

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