I have spoken about Charlotte Mason’s student motto “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” before. I love this motto and would like to visit it again as we think about classical Christian education and Fortis Academy.
I am a child of God,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,
I ought to do my duty to obey God,
I will watch over my thoughts and choose what is right.
This is not an elitist statement. It is not “I am better, I can out-perform, I ought to have more opportunity, I will make more money/have a better job than you.” When we instruct students with a Christian worldview, we should not be equipping our students to be prideful. A classical Christian education prepares and equips our students to use their God-given gifts with humility to fulfill their God-given purpose.
We also embrace the motto, multum non multa, which means much not many. Does this mean that we are lowering the bar? No! If our intention is to equip students to be prepared to fulfill their calling and be disciples of Christ, we must prepare them with much virtue, much knowledge, much wisdom. We do not believe that this is accomplished through many worksheets, many assignments, many tasks, many textbooks.
How does multum non multa marry with “I am, I can, I ought, I will”? It is not “I am a vessel to be filled up with facts, I can complete 14 worksheets in one day, I ought to acquire knowledge above an age appropriate level, I will ace this standardized test.” The statements also do not marry to promote idleness or laziness. I am a child of God and created in his image. I will be asked to do challenging things, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is my duty to obey God, my parents, and those who have authority over me. They will guide me in doing what is best to help me fulfill my purpose, even if I do not see the point in this assignment right now.
With the alignment of our curriculum, we have ordered learning with these two mottos in mind. Some of the changes include reducing the number of textbooks so that content can be mastered within the context of a unifying topic, identifying age-appropriate objectives in certain content areas at certain grade levels to ensure proper treatment of content, identifying proper focus on mastery of necessary content, and allowing for access to higher level courses through ordered preparation.
When will you see these changes? Our classroom teachers are so skilled and are already starting to make some changes in how they are using the text to support objectives. In our next scheduled faculty meeting we will be discussing how to continue to grow in our understanding of this philosophy and implement it so that the home and school days are operating in harmony. We will also be discussing how to maximize and differentiate classroom time and home time. We acknowledge that some of our families envision a loss of family time because of some of the curriculum changes. We are working on implementing innovative ways to support our co-teachers and home days in family time through shared inquiry discussion next year.
We will continue to update you on the progress that we are making this year and plans for next year!