I often get asked: “So, why don’t the kids have ‘real math’ classes at this school?”
It’s an easy question to answer, but it’s only been made complicated by the institutional experience of most parents - we all went to school where it was an accomplishment to have memorized a times table, or race through a series of addition and subtraction flash cards. All activities that have been proven to impede the child’s logical development as opposed to enhance it.
The easy answer is: Teaching them math, like we were taught, will rob them of their ability to critically think and problem solve, and in turn, retard their development as a whole.
The complicated answer has to do with a review of some history of education in the United States, and cognitive studies in education.
Historically, our education system was designed to supply workers for factories. The great concern was that a worker would be able to add a series of widgets together so they could put them into a box, or take a minimal amount of defected items off of the line, without exceeding an expected quota. Basic arithmetic was necessary to accomplish the big goals of production for factories. While this was of necessity for assembly lines, it was of detriment to the development of the individuals on the line.
Today, studies in cognitive development have shown that the student’s reasoning faculties are dulled by the introduction of arithmetic in early years.
Our approach at The Academy is to introduce the abstract processes of math at a later point in the students cognitive development (i.e. 6th or 7th grade) and focus on developing the child’s intelligence during the formative years (i.e. K-6), so that when it’s time to learn math, the foundation they have will make that experience pleasurable and easy to do. This way they will be able to apply reason to the everyday problems math was intended to address, most practically in the fields of engineering, architecture, mechanics and robotics to name a few.
Below is a link for you to read for yourself on these theories, and to get a better idea of what we’re doing at The Academy. Enjoy the article, it’s a very interesting read.
The Academy for GOD
There are many benefits that come with technology. Most often they come in the way of making things “easier” for the user. Today our children have access to more information, from more times, and from more places than anyone ever in history. Gone are the days of the Encyclopedia salesman convincing parents that for the price of a used car, they could boost their children into a future undiscovered. Now this opportunity is on the other side of an internet connection, and at the Academy for GOD, we are doing our best to take advantage of the benefit.
However, with such opportunity also comes the need to be responsible. While we as an educational institution can do all we can to ensure safeguards, we also need parents to be actively involved in protecting our children from information they’re not ready to see, or know.
In the bible, the man (Adam) and the woman (Eve) decided to have their eyes opened for themselves by obtaining knowledge independent of God’s timing and his revelation (see Gen. 3). This changed the way they saw the world - it was a loss of innocence.
It was never that God didn’t want the man and the woman to have knowledge, it’s that he knew that they needed guidance into what it was that they would see, learn, and experience.
In the same way, our children’s innocence needs protected at the vulnerable stage in life they are in. Though in time, their eyes will be opened to many things, it’s our responsibility to do our best to ensure it comes at a time when they can handle it.
A knowledge of violence and the hostility of the world, to a child, can not only be traumatizing, but also affect their development and their ability to trust; their optimism on the goodness that life has to offer, becomes damaged.
God wanted to walk (the biblical concept of education) with the man and woman in the garden. He wanted to teach them how to see the world. He wanted to open their eyes.
At the Academy, while protecting your child’s innocence, we are also trying to open their eyes at appropriate times, with appropriate subject matter that will allow them to gracefully navigate a world that doesn’t know God, and in turn can be quite hostile. However, with this knowledge of God, and the development of faith, they can be the kind of people who have hope and who can work for the kind of change that leads to a new, and beautiful day.
In an attached article, the writer encourages parents to take charge of their children’s technological endeavors by becoming familiar with both the devices, and the ways in which the devices can be used. While we will do everything we can at school to watch over your children, it won’t be enough. We need you to partner with us in ensuring students’ eyes are not opened prematurely and innocence is preserved for as long as possible.
I hope the article is informative and it leads you into further investigation as you take charge of your children’s technological universe.
God bless you!
Mr. Gregg Garner
After a few semesters of watching the kids drag in at 7:30 (not all of them, but most), it became pretty obvious that a lot of them could’ve used a bit of a warm up. We tried making their first classes particularly active, but that didn’t seem to accomplish the task of getting them energized and alert for the entirety of the day.
That’s when I thought about what seemed to be a very obvious answer - let’s push back the start of the day and just give them more time in the morning to get it together before classes officially started.
The logic for this move also stemmed from our values related to students getting time with their families. Instead of the images of yanking kids out of bed to throw on clothes with their eyes half closed, stumbling into the dining room to slurp cereal, and almost having to be dragged to the van so everyone could rush into traffic and wait…
Instead, images of kids waking up a bit more pleasant to a non-rushed environment where families could slow it down a bit and soak up a little morning fellowship filled my mind. I even thought that perhaps commuters could avoid some morning traffic, and kick off the day with the sun, instead of before it.
I talked to quite a few families before making the decision - everyone seemed to be happily on board. So, if you have any practical suggestions for The Academy, feel free to voice them. Even if you don’t know a solution, raise the issue, and we’ll gladly work together to figure it out.
Attached is an article that was published right before school started this year. A parent sent it to me to show confirmation for our decision. It was good to see. Check it out!
Mr. Gregg Garner
The Academy for God
Is That Building Going To Just Sit There?
Not for long.
So What Happened?
We tried to raise a little over a half a million dollars for a new building, but didn’t get nearly enough funding.
So, we considered this an opportunity for faith and a chance to implement the innovativeness we’re teaching our students to have, and exercise the creativity inherent to the image we’ve been created in.
We looked into a variety of alternatives, and purchased the trailers that you see on the lawn from Iowa. This former school was purchased for about 1/10th the price it would’ve cost to buy it here in TN. We then had to find people who could transport the buildings from Iowa to TN so we could get to work on renovating and outfitting it.
After multiple challenges related to transferring the buildings, they finally arrived. The next step was to get the state to approve them for placement on a foundation. What we learned was that the state never really approves out-of-state buildings for educational purposes. Not for necessarily any grounded reasoning, but it’s just not something they ever really do. So we had to stop from placing them on the foundation that we built until we could get approval. That’s why they’ve been sitting there. It has been a lengthy process with continual urging on our part for approval to move forward, but the state doesn’t respond so quickly.
We’re happy to say that two weeks ago, right when we were planning to look into other options, we were finally approved by the state! We are now in the process of getting all the necessary permissions from Metro (which is a much easier task, so we’ve been told) and this will allow us to place the building, seal it, renovate it, and have an educational space with the capacity for approximately 200 students by this next semester. It could be sooner, but let’s just say next semester.
In the meantime, we have been able to organize the use of our present campus to adjust to a larger student population (80 students). We have done this and also maintained our ideal student to teacher ratios, by expanding our teaching staff. After three days of classes, it seems that all is working really well, and students have both the sufficient space to learn the subject matters they are being taught, and the appropriate amount of teachers to facilitate their courses.
I wanted you to know what was going on with the building, and also to share with you how the leadership of our school are people of faith. We are continually seeking how we can improve not just the physical aspects of our campus, but also the quality of the education offered to your children. We won’t let things like a lack of funding stop us either. We really believe God is doing good things at the Academy, and I want to be faithful to fill you in on how that statement is true. So this is the first of many more blogs on our website that will carry content related to the happenings of the Academy, but also the philosophy of education we are employing to ensure a top notch education.
Look for more updates soon!