Classical Education and Christian Discipleship: Reforming Men (Part II)

In part two, we will consider the remarkable similarities and the complementary functions of classical education and Christian discipleship, even as we draw distinctions between them – the most important of which is that as disciple-makers, we are not seeking to sculpt better versions of Adam, but rather we are God’s instruments in His molding of young men and women into the brilliant image of Jesus.

Brandon Shuman

Brandon serves as the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Midland Classical Academy deep in the heart of West Texas. Over the course of his ministry at MCA, he has Socratically taught over 28 different junior high, high school and parent courses from a wide range of academic disciplines, including Great Books, Greek, apologetics, history and movie production. Brandon writes education articles for Midland's local newspaper and co-hosts the Good Knight Dad podcast, which encourages and empowers parents to better leverage their experience at MCA. Brandon enjoys coffee, fly fishing, playing baseball in the backyard with his two sons, singing to his newborn daughter and adventuring through life alongside his beautiful wife, Laura.

Classical Education and Christian Discipleship: Cultivating Virtue (Part I)

Aristotle wrote that man, “when perfected, is the noblest of all animals, but when separated from justice, he is the worst of all.” In the first part of this two-part session, we will contemplate the enterprise of classical education. We will consider how its foundational assumptions about nature and man; its methodology of the Trivium; its guiding principles of truth, goodness and beauty; and its telos for the good life all intersect in the cultivation of virtuous men and society.

Brandon Shuman

Brandon serves as the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Midland Classical Academy deep in the heart of West Texas. Over the course of his ministry at MCA, he has Socratically taught over 28 different junior high, high school and parent courses from a wide range of academic disciplines, including Great Books, Greek, apologetics, history and movie production. Brandon writes education articles for Midland's local newspaper and co-hosts the Good Knight Dad podcast, which encourages and empowers parents to better leverage their experience at MCA. Brandon enjoys coffee, fly fishing, playing baseball in the backyard with his two sons, singing to his newborn daughter and adventuring through life alongside his beautiful wife, Laura.

Teaching Math Well When Time is Scarce

As grammar school teachers, we have to teach many subjects with a limited time to prepare for each of them. is session’s objective is to equip you with some tools for teaching math. is seminar will o er ideas on how to teach the good, true and beautiful in math, as well as speci c suggestions on how to integrate math with other subjects. You will leave with several very practical tips: a list of warm-up activities, wise time activities and easy ways to challenge your students.

Hana Rodgers

Hana has a master’s degree from the Czech Republic in English, social sciences and education. She loves sharing her love for God with her 3rd-graders and is thankful for the opportunity to pursue the mission, vision and values of The Cambridge School in San Diego. She is grateful for the opportunity to point her students daily to the truth of God’s Word and to form the minds of her students. Hana is passionate about creating wonder and a love of learning in her students and is always eager to improve in this area. She enjoys teaching about the Creator, diagramming, thinking of new ways to integrate the many subjects she gets to teach, creating innovative ways to bring history to life for her students, helping her students enjoy math and much more.

Teaching The Greatest Book

Teaching God’s Word is a wonderful privilege, as well as a great responsibility. Despite the fact that our specific theological views most likely differ, our commitment to teaching God’s Word faithfully and truthfully should be the same. If we want our students to respect God’s Word, we ourselves need to handle it with great care and respect. We will discuss how to “rightly handle the word of truth,” make Bible study enjoyable, help students develop good study habits and help them get to know God – not just hear about Him. We will also discuss integrating a biblical worldview into other subjects and help our students love the Author of the greatest story.

Hana Rodgers

Hana has a master’s degree from the Czech Republic in English, social sciences and education. She loves sharing her love for God with her 3rd-graders and is thankful for the opportunity to pursue the mission, vision and values of e Cambridge School in San Diego. She is grateful for the opportunity to point her students daily to the truth of God’s Word and to form the minds of her students. Hana is passionate about creating wonder and a love of learning in her students and is always eager to improve in this area. She enjoys teaching about the Creator, diagramming, thinking of new ways to integrate the many subjects she gets to teach, creating innovative ways to bring history to life for her students, helping her students enjoy math and much more.

Teaching Writing Slowly

Rhetoric is the art of decision-making in community. As a liberating art, many smaller skills culminate in this faculty of truth perception. Teachers often cultivate this art through writing. How can our students slow down to think before they write? Writing demands attention and consistency, much like learning to play the piano or shoot a bow. The finnal artifact is infused by the initial inventory of ideas. Classical rhetoric offers the canon of invention, and teachers can utilize these tools to guide discussions, launch written responses and pursue unidentified truths. By using these tools, students will have thoughtful responses modeled for them each day.

Matt Bianco

Matt is the Director of Consulting and Integrated Resources for the CiRCE Institute, where he also serves as a mentor in the apprenticeship program. A homeschooling father of three, he has already graduated two sons. The eldest son attends St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and his second son attends Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, North Carolina. His daughter is a high school senior. He is married to his altogether lovely, high school sweetheart, Patty. Matt is the author of Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships.

Tools of Historical Reasoning

What are the tools of historical reasoning? Most curricular discussions revolve around what topics to cover or what information to deliver. Information is important, yet a classical approach to history is more concerned with forming the way our students reason about the past. Historical reasoning is an intellectual skill, a disciplined way of drawing inferences about the past. We want our graduates to go beyond us, discover information that we did not supply them and arrive at sound conclusions that we did not suggest. We must equip them to learn for themselves. What are these history skills? Do they appear in our curricular objectives?

Christopher Schlect

Dr. Schlect has worked in classical and Christian education for over 25 years. He is the Director of the Classical and Christian Studies Graduate Program at New Saint Andrews College, where he also teaches courses in history and classical rhetoric. Schlect has also taught at Washington State University, and has delivered many subjects to 7th- to 12th-grade students at Logos School in Moscow, Idaho. Schlect serves classical and Christian Schools around the country through his consulting and teacher-training activities, and his published writings appear in various school curricula and other outlets. Christopher is a teaching elder at Trinity Reformed Church (CREC) in Moscow, Idaho. He and his wife, Brenda, have five children, all products of a classical and Christian education. They also have three grandchildren.

Creative Biblical Applications Across the Curriculum

How do we infuse the Bible into our various disciplines in accurate and memorable ways? is seminar seeks to equip teachers with interpretive skills, categories and creative inspiration to integrate Scripture with all our subjects. Such integration requires a broader understanding of how to faithfully apply the Bible in different contexts and a willingness to bring other academic knowledge and skills to bear on our reading of the Bible. By elaborating fruitful avenues of integration and exploring specifc examples of it, this session will aid teachers at all levels as they train students to fully embrace a biblical vision for life.

Nathan George

Nate brings a diverse background and a passion for integrating a biblical worldview to his vocation as a teacher. He earned a bachelor's degree in social work from James Madison University, a er which he worked with adults experiencing mental illness. e Lord then led him to complete a master of divinity degree at Covenant Theological Seminary. Following seminary, Nate taught at a Christian school in St. Louis for seven years, where he also developed Bible curriculum and fostered the integration of a biblical worldview across academic disciplines. He loves to draw on his social work and theology background while teaching, striving to shepherd students and continually point them to Jesus. He currently teaches Bible and humanities at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. Nate and his wife have three children and are active members at a vibrant urban church.

Teaching Logic Dialectically

This session focuses on the particular challenges of teaching logic and how these can be addressed by the teacher’s proper understanding of the unique features of students in the dialectical stage of education. 

In particular, we must understand that inquiry governed by logic is both rule-bound and open-ended, and that both the rules and the freedom of logic must be properly communicated to the student. The crucial mistake to avoid is to emphasize the rules of logic at the expense of the open-ended nature of inquiry that it is designed to aid. 

Drawing on the works of Plato and Aristotle, this session reviews the nature and purpose of logic, both in terms of the subject matter itself, as well as the attitude with which teachers must approach students in the logic stage. 

Gary Hartenburg

Gary earned his doctoral degree from the University of California, where he studied philosophy and wrote his dissertation on ancient Greek philosophy. Since 2013, he has been the Director of the HBU Honors College, a campus-wide honors program that educates its students in the liberal arts through intensive, Socratic discussion of great books, dynamic lectures and personalized writing instruction. Gary also teaches philosophy at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has spoken at a number of professional philosophy and classical education conferences, and has published articles on ancient philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is currently working on a book about Aristotle's philosophy of education.

Heroes and Villains: Civic Virtue Through Inquiry and Primary Sources

Participants will work through three Bill of Rights Institute lessons to develop skills for providing students with primary sources, content-rich narratives and critical thinking as part of integrated civic learning and character development.

Rachel Davison Humphries

Rachel Davison Humphries has worked as an educator for almost a decade, most recently as a mentor teacher in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She has presented at conferences and led professional development workshops in a variety of subjects, including economics, literature, adolescence, Socratic teaching, project-based learning and the pedagogy of freedom. Rachel has worked to help students grow and learn in a variety of environments, including charter schools, private schools and summer programs for college students. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, and a teaching certificate in adolescent education from the Association Montessori Internationale. She started at the Bill of Rights Institute in 2015 and now leads its teacher programs team.

Leveraging the Power of Curiosity

Charlotte Mason once stated, “Self-education is the only possible education. e rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature.” is quote has inspired a reevaluation of lesson-planning and teaching. How can we stimulate the curiosity and encourage our students’ desire to know? What tools and methods can inspire their attention and help them embrace the work of learning? Unlocking curiosity and imagination can be successful when approached intentionally.

Harlan Gilliam

Harlan began his lifelong learning in April of 1959, surrounded by God's glorious handiwork in the Big Bend country of Alpine, Texas. He attended Alpine public schools and two years at Sul Ross State University, where he studied music theory and composition. Harlan moved to Austin in 1979 to try his skills in the music scene. He has worked as a tile setter, a fence builder, a chef, a musician, a nurseryman, an organic farmer and a worship leader. Harlan is a voracious reader and has been the Science and Nature Center Instructor at Regents School of Austin for 13 years. He wants his students to appreciate and be awed by creation and, in the process, develop a deep and lasting relationship with the Creator.