Tag: classical education
We started our day this morning with a visit to the Boston Public Market. This was a change of plan due to rain this morning, but everyone agreed it was a great place to visit. The Boston Public Market has a diverse array of local artisans – students ate yummy crepes and donuts, sampled teas and coffees, had kumbacha, crème soda, pretzels, ramen and more! It was a great time and the students all enjoyed it.
From the Public Market, we journeyed by train to the Museum of Fine Arts. Here we divided into groups and explored the diverse artwork and artifacts of the museum. We saw Monet, Greco-Roman artifacts and coins, mummified Egyptians, Ancient Near Eastern reliefs, and much more.
After lunch at the Fine Arts Museum, we split groups to explore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the MIT Science Workshop for the opposite groups as yesterday. At the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, students learned how the museum came about, saw an eclectic collection of artwork and a beautiful courtyard. Students enjoyed the beauty of the museum. At the MIT Science Workshop, students were challenged to build a bridge across plastic cups that would hold 200 grams at the center. They were given newspaper and tape. It was great to see them put their math and science knowledge into practice. After they experimented with the bridge, they designed cables for a suspension bridge which were 3-D printed and they determined how much weight their bridge would hold. The students really enjoyed the workshop!
We then journeyed by train and bus back to the airport for our return flight home. We have gotten dinner and are waiting to board our flight. Everyone will be happy to be home and sleep in their own beds tonight.
Our stats for the week: We totaled over 72,000 steps, 100 flights of stairs, and almost 30 miles!
by Janet Andreasen, parent blogger
After a late night last night at the Boston Pops, we journeyed out early this morning to visit the USS Constitution. We took a ferry across the Boston Harbor which was a beautiful, but chilly voyage. The USS Constitution was an amazing ship, and we had a great tour guide. We learned about the ship’s history, why it was called Old Ironsides, how it was created, what wood was used (there was a Florida connection there!), and all about its battles and life on board. Ask an 8th grader what they learned. We saw four different decks of the ship climbing through ladder wells to get between the floors. Some of us could walk without ducking, but not many…
After our tour of the USS Constitution, some of the students conquered Bunker Hill – all 300 steps! We walked across a pedestrian bridge to the North side of Boston for an amazing lunch at La Famiglia Giorgios. After this, we journeyed by train to Harvard. The campus is beautiful! Half of the students explored the Harvard Art Museum while the other half explored the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Highlights of those tours included examining artifacts with Dr. Reid including a canopic jar and coins (the coins were a favorite) as well as exploring the artwork in the museum which included Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas just to name a few. The Museum of Natural History included interesting rocks and a whole room of flowers made from glass. Tomorrow, we will return to Harvard and the groups will switch places to explore the other museum.
We finished our night with America’s Pastime – a Red Sox game at Fenway Park! It was a fantastic game that went to a 10th inning with a thrilling 6-5 victory by the Red Sox. Students experienced baseball dining with lots of hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels, and, of course, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks!
by Janet Andreasen, parent blogger
Our journey started bright and early at the Orlando International Airport. Students arrived at 5 am(!), and we proceeded quickly through security. Everyone was excited to be there, although tired, too. For many of us, this wasn’t our first plane ride – 20 of us have traveled by plane to destinations more than seven hours away! But for two students, this was a new experience for them.
We traveled over 1120 miles, and the temperature dropped 30 degrees between Orlando and Boston. We landed in Boston shortly before 10 am, and the adventure began. We have been going non-stop ever since.
We have experienced multiple train rides all around the city and have learned some interesting facts about people in history and the city of Boston. We have climbed lots of stairs (32 flights), walked up and down hills (9.5 miles), and explored the Quincy Market, New State House, Boston Commons, the Skytower Observatory, and the Boston Public Library.
We learned some interesting facts including where the saying, “it costs an arm and a leg” comes from – you should ask an 8th grader after they get back to explain it! We learned about the sacred cod, the holy mackerel, and the pine cone on top of the state house. We were able to see beautiful and huge views of the city from the Observatory and learned all about the Boston Public Library.
We finished our day with a pizza dinner at the hostel and the Boston Pops where we saw Star Wars with the Boston Pops accompanying the movie. This was definitely a highlight of the day! Students also enjoyed the variety of food at the Quincy Market and the tours at the state house and the public library.
by Janet Andreasen, parent blogger
But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me. – George Washington
Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground – A Native American fighting Washington in the French and Indian War
Our last day in Williamsburg started off a bit slower and (sigh) baconless. I guess the hotel learned their lesson. We bussed over to Yorktown where we learned the French really can fight! They still had a sour taste in their mouths after losing most of their New World claims in the French and Indian War, so they supported the cause of American independence and, in so doing, insured that they would not be speaking German in the 21st century. The French may have waited until momentum was on the side of the colonialists to commit soldiers, but for most of the war they supplied the Continental Army with everything from munitions to uniforms.
Yorktown was the battle that truly secured our freedom and put an end to the war, so we were thrilled to be able to tour this site with the insight of a Park Ranger who held every student’s attention. She told us how Washington made the British think he was going to attack New York and then, in the heat of summer, marched his men 450 miles south in less than six weeks to surprise General Cornwallis who was now blocked by Washington on land and the French navy by sea. It was clear to the students that to lead an army, you not only have to be brave, wise and hardworking, but excel in math, science and history as well.
After touring the battle site, we went to the Yorktown Victory Center to see what life on and off the battle field would have looked like. Life as a family in the colonies will shame the hardest working among us. Only the coldest parts of the year, when everyone is snowed into a one or two room house for weeks on end, would there be any rest. We watched as historians dressing the parts walked us through planting farms, making dinner, patching clothes and more. Some of our boys took a special interest in hauling water to do laundry so don’t be afraid to show them the washing machine when they come home.
When war broke out, though, families had some hard decisions to make. Does the husband go fight? If so, for which side? Do the wife and children remain at home or join the husband at camp? Park historians showed us what the life of a soldier would have demanded. The camp was cramped and smelly, the food was meager and more soldiers died from disease than gunshots. The students were shown their tight quarters (6 to a small tent), where food was prepared, how the injured were tended to, how troop movements were organized and even how secret codes were sent between troops.
One soldier demonstrated how a real musket fires and the origin of the phrase ‘half-cocked.’ We learned that rifles had been in use for some time by the outbreak of the war, but muskets were chosen for our armies because, despite being much less accurate, they could reload in a fraction of the time and send out three times as much lead. The kids had fun trying to shoulder this musket, but proved the British would have been in no danger:)
We talked about how hard it is to imagine a war in our own backyard raging twice as long as American involvement in WWII, the cost paid on all sides of the Atlantic or Americans, French, Native Americans and Africans all storming Yorktown armed side by side. But even more astounding are all the very little things God alone can control that came together to insure an American victory. The storm that protected Washington in Boston. The fog that protected Washington’s retreat in Long Island. The storm that prevented General Cornwallis from retreating at Yorktown. The bullets that simply could not hit Washington. As you retrace the steps of the American Revolution, you can’t kick the feeling that God wanted this country to form.
The kids spent the end of the day back in Colonial Williamsburg seeing some more of the old town, getting muddy in the brick making building and spending whatever money they had left on trinkets they won’t care anything about in a week. But, we did create great memories!
by Jim Davis, parent blogger
We traveled forward about 150 years from the Jamestown settlement today to tour Colonial Williamsburg, the capitol of Virginia from 1676-1780, named after King William. Thanks to money from John D. Rockefeller, the entire colonial center from this era has been perfectly restored and staffed. The students, dawned with breeches and doublets, were able to visit the blacksmith, printers, silversmith, gaol (jail), the House of Burgesses, the old governors palace, and many other 18th century businesses. We got a glimpse of what trial without representation looked like and we were, once again, thankful for 21st century America.
Our tour guide taught us all the manners expected of the day including how to bow, curtsy and where to the find the ‘necessary’ when necessary. We visited a wig store for those willing to spend a month’s salary on dark hair for the day and another month’s salary on gray hair for the evening. The students were proud to have learned that George Washington resisted the style of the day and wore his own hair. That’s the kind of first president that you want!
The staff in this town are much more than actors. They are historians who can knowledgeably answer any questions the students have. When explaining that we are from Florida, one colonialist responded, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Florida.” We all had fun dressing up in the garb of the time, but one of our parent chaperones, Warren Dietel, gets the best colonial dress award. He was actually stopped multiple times by inquisitive tourists who thought he was part of the show.
We were able to attend a noon day prayer service at the 300 year old Burton Parish Church. The names of the dignitaries who frequented the old church were written on the pews and in the center was a large, throne like chair reserved for the sitting governor of Virginia. You can imagine the self-control the students had to muster up to leave that chair alone! Speaking of self-control, we are so proud of these students. Almost everywhere we go we are complimented on how well-mannered, inquisitive and engaged they are.
If you ask your kids what their favorite part of colonial Williamsburg is, you will likely hear, “Anything with A/C!” Yes, it was hot, but that is all part of the experience 🙂 The boys shed all they could, but the women, well, not so lucky. Fortunately, it did cool down around dinner and then…off to the dance.
The students went to a colonial ball in the Capitol Building and it began just as awkwardly as you would imagine. They were paired up and taught three English dances and one French dance. The students did beautifully, though, and gave you the impression they might even enjoy it.
by Jim Davis, patent blogger
By Robert Ingram, Headmaster
We are the Geneva Knights. Let’s be the Geneva Knights Errant. Last spring I listened to the Audible recording for 12 hours of The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, by Sir James Knowles. It was fascinating to realize how each of the legends began with the expectation and excitement that the knights would commit themselves to seasons, and even years, of seeking adventure wherever it may be found in service to the king and codes of heraldic chivalry. More often than not, adventures found them.
Over the summer I listened to the 11 book series of Horatio Hornblower and the adventures he encountered during the great age of sail on the high seas throughout his career in the British navy. Only last week I finished for the second time the fantastic British recordings on Audible of all 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia.
Each of these stories is rife with adventures; the word occurs more frequently than Aslan’s name in some of the books. The children are forever committing themselves to adventures for the sake of following Aslan and pursuing the good that he intends for them to do. Many involve harrowing escapes; faith is tested, virtues extolled, and yet they are willing to persevere unto the end.
There is a contagious spirit that prevails in King Arthur, Horatio Hornblower, and in Narnia. I love this genre and its adventuresome themes. This is what animates my moral imagination and supplies me with metaphors for understanding my calling in life.
I am hoping that each of us will regard ourselves as a Knights Errant, missionally committed to this adventure of Christian classical education. It requires an attitude, a decided level of energy, a sense of calling, a purpose to fulfill, and always has its sights set on attaining something good for the benefit of others.
Even after 25 very good years we have not even begun to know the length and breadth of the liberal arts landscape. There is more to this realm than we have experienced, and I am eager to explore it with you.
(This piece was part of a larger talk that Mr. Ingram gave to the whole school during faculty training.)
As our trip comes to a close, there is much to reflect on. The weather was near perfection, ranging from 50-72 degrees with no rain. We had great favor regarding the T (subway). Most of the time, as we were arriving to the platform, a train would pull right up! Every meal had a unique feel, from lobster rolls at the hostel to choosing a local ethnic experience.
Our students got very good at traveling on mass transit. We walked a sum of 32 miles, so our legs are strong (some a little sore), plus we could justify eating all the yummy food. Our kids get along…surprisingly well. Many relationships were deepened and horizons expanded.
We have new perspectives of beauty through art. We saw (and even touched) coins older than the time of Jesus. Our students have a greater sense of awareness regarding their surroundings and being alert on sidewalks. Only one wheelchair was used in only one museum, and only three train cards were misplaced.
When asked about my favorite part of the trip, it is hard to choose one. It definitely falls into the category of ‘the sum of the parts is greater than the whole’. Each individual activity, meal, conversation, or transportation experience was excellent, and every one added to the cumulative experience making for what Dr. Clark called ‘a touchstone memory’. Our capstone experience today was Mike’s Pastry…and the cannoli was amazing!
by Melissa Paul, parent blogger
Boston is an amazing place to explore Christianity through history and art. We began our third day with the Harvard Museum of Natural History where we found way more than just bones of creatures from long ago. This museum has one of a kind specimens (think deer the size of a bunny), a skeleton of a water dinosaur longer than seven of our students lying head to toe, cases and cases of glass replicas of plants created to help researchers study plant life, and much, much more. These exhibits prompted questions by our students (Mr. Clark was our guide through these muddy waters) about evolution theories and other important topics.
The questions (yes, more questions) led to several great discussions. While they could (and probably do) have these types of discussions at school, somehow the fact that so much time, energy and expense was given over so many years to express Christian themes give perspective and make it real. At the art exhibit they experienced pieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas and Cezanne. Between all of the museums we have seen so far, the students have noticed a strong focus on Christianity and themes of faith. There are so many different ways to depict Mary and baby Jesus, but all of them cumulatively in one trip express the importance of the subject to artists of many different centuries.
Speaking of Harvard, our Harvard graduate chaperone gave us the inside scoop – the iconic statue with ‘Veritas’ (truth) written on the side is known by Harvard students as the statue of lies. In case you like trivia: the year is off by two, the statue is of a stand-in student, and the name listed is not actually the founder, he is really the first benefactor.
Trinity Church was beautiful…and filled with faith based art. The students had plenty of time to view and explore the church, then we were off to see the city from 50 floors up. The view was a highlight for many students, especially because you could walk all the way around and see the city from every angle. Talk about perspective. It was just beautiful, with buildings old and new, a smattering of sailboats, beautiful bridges and wonderful teenagers!
by Melissa Paul, parent blogger
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”
Our day started at the Ford Theatre where President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. Both the students and chaperones were surprised by how much they enjoyed their time there. We had a highly knowledgeable and entertaining park ranger who treated us to retelling the story and aftermath of Lincoln’s death in a way that felt like a performance, highlighting the history, drama, and surprising details of how Lincoln’s death effected all those involved. The ranger finished by encouraging our students to be lights of their generation, shining in the darkest hours.
Following our time in the theatre, we crossed the street to see the museum, where a spectacular three-story tower of books greeted us. It was amazing to think that many books had been written about Abraham Lincoln, but it really only contained less than half the books written about him.
Leaving the museum, we stopped for an open-air lunch where the students enjoyed spending time together. It’s amazing to see our children still entertained by simple things in life like looking for a four-leaf clover. The day had been mostly overcast up until this point, but after a few raindrops fell, we left the green space with the sun shining.
Then we walked to the recently opened National Museum of African American History, which was new to all of us. Reading and listening to the stories told throughout the museum of horrible atrocities of slavery, segregation, and oppression led to some profound questions and discussions. It’s one thing to read about this subject and another thing to hear first-hand accounts.
We began three levels down, in a dimly lit area, and as we moved up through history, the museum became a bright celebration of culture and achievement, literally moving from darkness into light.
We can’t wait for what our last day in D.C. will hold!
by parent bloggers, Chris Lemieux and AnnMarie Hoyt