True education begins with God. In fact, He is the beginning and the end of all things, as well as the environment in which all things live and move. In other words, God is the great context in which all else must be understood. Therefore, to understand our world, and even to understand ourselves, it is necessary to understand God. This fact alone makes Christian education a necessity for our children.
Spring Branch Academy offers a Christian high-school education in the liberal arts for home-schooled children. In keeping with the example of Jesus, who sought out the priests at age twelve and yet remained submissive to His parents, the academy enables students to interact with a pastor or teacher outside the home, while yet remaining home-schooled. This unique form of youth ministry is sometimes called a “cottage school,” although a better description might be home-school academy. In a sense, the pastor or teacher is invited to give the child lessons, in much the same way as tutors are hired to give piano lessons. Given the diversity and difficulty of high-school courses, it is a privilege to offer busy parents courses from a fully-planned, fully-taught Christian curriculum.
- The academy seeks to promote the knowledge of God in everything. Just as your room and your hobbies express your personality, so does God’s world and God’s works. God is personal. He can be known through the consistent character of His thoughts and ways. However, since His thoughts and ways are higher than ours as “the heavens are higher than the earth,” we need help. We need His word, the manual of interpreting God; we need His Son, who fully displayed His Father’s character to us; and finally, we need His Spirit, to enlighten our minds. Therefore, in keeping with these necessities, the academy encourages the use of Scripture and prayer in the classroom, both at the start of each day, and as the teacher is led by the Spirit. Moreover, each student enrolled must take theology class.
- The academy is committed to parental authority and home education. Parents select the classes, review the curriculum, monitor progress, and even read some or all of the assigned books as an aid to home discussion. Parents also keep track of the transcript, add electives, and issue the diploma. In turn, students do most of their work at home, under the supervision of their parents. Classes meet only once or twice per week. In a sense, the format resembles college, and is actually a good preparation for college and for wise living in general.
- The academy teaches the liberal arts from a Christian perspective. The liberal arts include foreign languages (Greek, Latin), the languages of nature (mathematics, science), a core of history and literature, and a capstone of theology, all based on the word of God, the One Source of wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). Regarding pagan literature, the academy seeks to avoid works that turn sinful content into entertainment. In general, assigned works are carefully critiqued, with virtues applauded (Philippians 4:8) and vices exposed (Proverbs 7).
- The academy aims to be a gospel ministry that promotes discipleship to Jesus Christ. Pastors are encouraged to participate, and teachers are encouraged to be pastoral. In turn, students are taught what the lordship of Christ looks like in all aspects of life—from the highly philosophical and cultural aspects, to the home-oriented and practical ones. In particular, men are encouraged to become loving leaders in their church and community—that is, “in the gate” (Psalm 127:5)—while women are encouraged to become resourceful managers of their homes and businesses, in keeping with the initiating spirit of Proverbs thirty-one. It is hoped that each student will eventually become a contributing member of a local church through faith in Christ.
- The academy seeks to promote both the fear of God and the love of God. Lord willing, these spiritual graces will supply the atmosphere in which all learning takes place. They will also strongly affect how His word is read, how His songs are sung, and how His people are valued. At the core, the academy stresses the lordship and the worship of Christ, which together comprise the basis of Christian unity and the compass for Christian living (see Psalm 16).
A complete handbook for Spring Branch Academy is available here: Spring Branch Academy 2015-2016 Parent’s Handbook