“…the greatest service we can do to education today is to teach fewer subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects, we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.” - CS Lewis
Dilige Deum, Dilige Proximum - Love God, love neighbor. When God made man He made Him male and female. He made them a community reflective of God’s own triune nature. And thus He made them to love, as He had always loved. For too long schools have assumed a truncated view of man that reduces him to an individual in need of knowledge. At LCCS we believe in the primacy of discipling children to love God and their fellow man well.
Students, wherever they study, are discipled in some faith or another. It is inescapable. The underpinning faith of their teachers may teach materialism, secularism, agnosticism, pluralism, or a more organized religion, such as Christianity. And so we “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (II Cor. 10:5)
Practically, this means teaching from a distinctly Christian worldview. Whether we are teaching math or biology we keep Jesus and His Word as our intermediary. All truth is God’s truth, and God’s truth is integrated. History and science, for instance, don’t have independent relationships to reality. Knowledge is deeply personal, local, historical, relational, and integrated. Our two-hour humanities block is right at the core of our curriculum, and it is organized around these two principles of worldview and integration. Science, history, art, economics, civics, theology, and philosophy are woven into an integrated Christian whole.
This humanities block reflects our commitment to redeeming not only the content but the structure of education. We must be willing to sacrifice the technical and modern notion of divorcing art and philosophy, for instance, in order to teach either well. To accomplish this integration we create the humanities block and sacrifice a rigid class schedule that moves students from one specialized class to another regardless of the discussion that is going on, the questions students have, or how well they have mastered the material.
The conviction to integrate is complimented by a commitment to high levels of comprehension. Again, sometimes arbitrary schedules are at odds with education. Modern schooling is reflective of the Industrial Revolution in which it was born. The rigid schedules are like a conveyor belt, never ceasing through the course of the year. This factory school doesn’t teach to any particular student, but to the mythical “middle” as it moves down the line. Teachers pour in information, and the students obviously receive it in varying capacities. But as long as students receive 70% of the given subject matter then they can move on to the next conveyor belt, even though they clearly haven’t mastered the material. This is especially problematic in cumulative subjects like language or math where deficiencies are rolled forward grade to grade. So what can be done to retool the factory?
Put the teachers and schedules on the conveyor belt! Now revolve the factory around the student, making their comprehension the goal, while teachers and schedules flex to ensure comprehension. In humanities this is accomplished by breakout groups that are much smaller, where no student can hide. It is also accomplished through skill- and age-specific guided readings with master teachers. In math or language, which are more cumulative in nature, the principle of fixing comprehension is even more central. We go so far as to provide individual tutoring and video conferencing to ensure that our students do not progress without mastery.
While our job as a school is primarily academic, we recognize that discipleship is not just academic. Our students study the Word devotionally, pray, and sing every day. We also require outreach to the local community on a regular basis. We don’t want school to be dis-integrated from the rest of the Christian life. We want our sons to “be like plants full grown, and our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” (Psalm 144:12)
Finally, we take a unique approach to assessment. There are plenty of exams at LCCS, but that is only one small part of evaluating student performance. Student portfolios are the ongoing and final determination of a student’s success. This includes transcripts, but it also includes descriptions of service projects, science projects, and apprenticeships. Portfolios include recorded speeches, writing projects such as poetry and position papers, art, music, translations, computer programs, independent research papers, sculptures, wood crafts, and more.
These portfolios are reviewed at key junctures by the education council, which is composed of local leaders and field experts as well as parents and teachers.
LCCS is a community of scholars dedicated to loving God and loving each other to the end of making disciples to serve our Lord. We hope there’s room for you in our exciting and innovative community of scholars!