by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
In his recent book You, Your Child, and School, Dr. Ken Robinson provides information for parents to consider when making decisions about their children's schooling. Even in a mid-size city like Omaha, educational options continue to expand. Robinson’s book is a practical guide, giving parents new categories and vocabulary to navigate decisions about school.
Early in the book, Dr. Robinson offers definitions for three key terms: learning, education, and school. Each of these terms has a distinct definition as it relates to Trinity Classical Academy.
Because Dr. Robinson didn’t mention classical, collaborative, or Christian schools with any specificity or depth in his book, I’d like to provide an overview of TCA in light of these categories.
I hope this addendum to Dr. Robinson’s thought-provoking work will help readers understand what is distinctive about TCA and decide if our school fits your family’s needs.
LEARNING AT TCA
Dr. Robinson defines learning as “acquiring new skills and understanding.” Learning is natural for children, and it will happen before they go to school and regardless of if they go to school.
TCA’s collaborative approach capitalizes on this definition of learning by creating contexts for students to learn both in the classroom and at home. Students complete more than half of their lessons in the kitchen, in the car, outside, or at a coffee shop. Their lifestyle proves that learning can happen anywhere.
At TCA, we acknowledge that book learning isn’t the only kind of skill or understanding necessary to live life fully. At school and at home, our children are learning how to work with others, navigate relationships, and grow in self-understanding.
Dr. Robinson also notes that no matter our age, we continue to learn. This journey should be even more intentional for Christians. To be a disciple is to be a learner. As Proverbs 4:13 exhorts us, let us “keep hold of instruction; do not let go.” The quest for wisdom is continual, and TCA’s model encourages a life where learning doesn’t end at the end of a school day.
EDUCATION AT TCA
Unlike learning, which can happen anywhere and at any time, Dr. Robinson defines education as “an organized program of learning.”
At TCA, we believe an orderly plan for learning reflects the orderly God who created an orderly world. A classical education also teaches students to order the information they take in. Students learn how to read deeply, to organize information systematically, and to communicate it effectively.
This process is described in the classical concept of the trivium. In the trivium, learning is organized into the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages. These stages align with the way God designed our brains to work at each age of development.
Finally, the curriculum at TCA extends to decorum and character. Students receive direct instruction on being diligent, maintaining friendships, and speaking with adults. We believe it is as important for students to have a plan to learn these skills as it is for them to learn math or reading.
SCHOOL AT TCA
Without a school, “a community of learners,” learning and education are just formless ideas. Unlike other schools, parents are the foundation of the TCA school community. Parents are a student’s primary educators, and their leadership, influence, and investment drive our school as they teach their students at home and volunteer in the school community.
Additionally, at TCA our parents and teachers are learning almost as much history, Latin, literature and science as our students. As adults and students learn simultaneously our community is bound together by common experience and content.
If TCA is ultimately a community of people, that means that the “feel” of the school matters. As we teach decorum and character, we hope that our school culture honors God, inspires excellence, and overflows with welcoming kindness.