The classical Christian educational movement began when Christian educators were inspired by Dorothy Sayers essay The Lost Tools of Learning to find a way to produce better educational results. People realized modern education was not giving our children the education that they deserve and began looking for a better way. That essay birthed a movement to reconnect with our Western educational heritage, and Fortis Academy is part of that tradition. It is easy to discern the quality of classical education when we read the writings and historical accounts of our forefathers, and our approach to Classical education is to reproduce the quality and characteristics of a classical Christian education through implementing classical methods and pedagogies. Our overarching method is to evaluate the results of our education with classical results, and if they are not the same, then our assumption is that we need to change our methods. This is actually one of the current schools of Classical Christian educational philosophy which has been producing increasingly better results. As a movement, it is reasonable to expect that classical Christian educational methods and philosophy will mature significantly over the next half a century, and we want to be a part of that growth at Fortis Academy.
One may ask, why is classical Christian education so important? There are many reasons, but the first one that leaps to my mind is that it gives our children the very best education that prepares them for life and opens opportunities to them. I received a liberal arts degree in my twenties, but it was really a liberal arts in name only degree. Tradition had kept the name, but lost the substance. Originally, the liberal arts were the arts (skills and knowledge) that made a person free (liberal). They understood all disciplines to be related, and able to be mastered by almost all who apply themselves to learning. This is no more difficult to believe than the idea that almost everybody has the capacity to speak. Everything we study is ordered and makes sense like a language because all things were created and ordered by God. As we explore His creation, we become creative like Him and are able to put our talents to work for the glory of God and the benefit of men.
When I attempt to encourage students that they are able to learn any subject, I try to use examples they understand. It is true that learning different subjects are easier to some than others, and that God created each of us to learn differently, but we all have the potential to learn. Helen Keller is a great example of someone who had to overcome great learning challenges because she was born deaf and blind, yet learned to communicate, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, and become a speaker and writer. The example I often use with students who love to draw is the fact that the extent of my drawing skills are basically stick figures. I ask whether they believe I could develop my artistic abilities beyond stick figures, and every one of them who has learned how to draw states that it is a fact I could develop my skills far beyond that. They understand the process to develop the skill. It is not a matter of ability but of desire to learn. One of the many benefits of a classical liberal arts education is that it teaches students how to learn and gives them the confidence to learn so that they can go into the world and pursue any profession they desire. Each of us has the ability to learn, but we need to know how. It is also impossible to master many subjects in depth, but a classical education prepares our children to master the subjects that that they will one day make a profession.