Ivywood Classical Academy is a tuition-free public school that is opening for the 2019-2020 school year in Plymouth, Michigan. Ivywood will start with grades K-5 and plans to add a middle school and high school in the future. The school will educate students using an authentic, classical curriculum. Future Ivywood parent Caitlin Horning shares her experience with the Detroit Moms Blog community.
“I gave you life so you could live it.”
That’s one of my favorite lines from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I saw that movie years before I had kids, but that line has always stuck with me.
Now that I have three little boys, I often think about how I want them to live out their lives: to know and experience the good, the true and the beautiful. My boys are five and two; they have an insatiable appetite for the world around them. They ask questions about the why and how of our world; I love experiencing that wonder through them. It’s important to me that their school fosters this natural love of learning too.
What does “loving to learn” look like at a classical school?
1. The Curriculum is Interesting!
How many times have you asked your kids, “What did you learn in school today? And they reply “Nothing.” How does that make you feel?
I can’t wait to have that conversation with my children. I’ve seen that at Ivywood, every grade focuses on learning about historical events, characters, stories, fables, myths, scientific facts and mathematical proofs, at an age-appropriate level. I was hooked. The students read entire literary works in great depth, and they learn to approach books both in moderation to learn and with the courage to question. For example, second-grade students read Peter Pan and Greek Mythology. They learn about the War of 1812, Abstract Art and Beethoven.
I can’t wait to have a conversation with my son about what he is learning in kindergarten in the fall.
2. Students are Encouraged to Ask Questions!
I don’t know about you, but my children ask “why: about almost everything around them. In a classical school, students are encouraged to ask questions and find the beauty and the reason behind things. It is not just, “because I said so!”
At Ivywood Classical Academy, students are not the passive recipients of knowledge, but active participants in the discussion. Ivywood incorporates the Socratic method of engaging dialogue between the student and the teacher.
Asking how or why is encouraged.
3. Students Form Their Own Thoughts About What They are Learning.
Mentioned above, the answer to the never-ending “why” question is not “because I said so!” The answer is “why do you think it’s that way?”
According to the Barney Charter School Initiative, “The dissemination of knowledge should be purposeful, and it should begin at an early age. Students do not merely need to learn ‘critical thinking skills,’ but also need to furnish their minds and imaginations with something to think about.”
Our students will not simply learn what critical thinking skills are, but develop their own ways to solve problems, think through complex issues, and develop a sense of curiosity.
That’s why it’s so important to me as a mother, that my boys will go to Ivywood Classical Academy. The school will foster their wonder of the world. At Ivywood, they will be taught how to think not what to think. They won’t just be memorizing to pass the test (much like I did in school). They will be immersed in a classical education that is content-rich and virtue-based. This type of learning will help to shape my boys into independent thinking, self-governing, virtuous men.
Bringing my boys into the world is my proudest accomplishment. Now I want to give them the gift of context for their lives. How do we fit within the bigger picture of history and culture: who were the people that came before, the civilizations that thrived and collapsed, the leaders that faced adversity and overcame, the beauty and the intricacies that form the natural world and people around us. And much more! I gave them life so they could live it. I can’t wait to see what they will do with it.
You can enroll your children in this type of school for free. Ivywood Classical Academy is a tuition-free, charter school located in Plymouth. Spots are limited, so enroll today at IvywoodClassicalAcademy.com.