Friday, October 04, 2013

Wittenberg Academy!

I'm honored to be on the faculty of Wittenberg Academy.  It may be the world's only online classical Lutheran high school.

WA was established in 2011, and is recognized by the state of Minnesota.  WA allows students to take individual classes, either as an enhancement to their public, parochial, or home school experiences, or students may earn 28 credits from WA and thus earn a high school diploma.  WA is in the process of securing accreditation through the Consortium of Classical and Lutheran Education (CCLE).  Faculty members are also in the process of securing certification from the CCLE, and they attend ongoing educational training as members of CCLE.

Being an online academy, classes are available anywhere on the planet that has Internet.  Classes are offered asynchronously, which means that they are not in real time, thus allowing incredible flexibility for students and their families.  Classes also include an hour a week of live recorded interaction over the Internet (audio or video).  Technology has made classical Lutheran education accessible to the many when it used to be available only to a few.

This methodology combines the features of classical education (Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric; Quadrivium: mathematics, the sciences, and the arts) - including the use of original sources as textbooks and the incorporation of classical languages (Latin and Greek) - blended with the model of homeschooling. Students are taught to think and write rigorously and precisely.  They are not taught to appease a standardized test.  They are taught in an unabashedly Christian paradigm, and not according to politically-correct dictates of bureaucrats and those seeking a lowest common denominator experience.  Wittenberg Academy students know how to think, because we teach them to do so, lovingly, with encouragement, and according to our vocations as Christian instructors commited to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

All courses are taught from an apologetically confessionally Lutheran and traditional perspective.  Pastors teach all theology classes, and the leadership of WA includes both pastors and lay educators, all on the same page theologically and working together within their holy vocations. Virtual chapel services are also an important part of WA life, and all chapel services are conducted by ordained Lutheran pastors incorporating services from the hymnal.

Although WA focuses on high school, plans are underway to begin expanding the curriculum to middle and grade school.  Already, some Latin courses are available to younger students (as well as a Latin course for adults!).

WA blends the advantages of homeschooling with expertise in some areas parents may want help with.  It is a less expensive option than most private schools, and there are no hidden costs, building fees, expenses for uniforms, constant fundraisers, etc. that one experiences in a brick-and-mortar school.

This past summer, I attended a retreat at Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne with other faculty members.  It was held in conjunction with the CCLE conference, which I also attended.  I'm genuinely impressed with the leadership of WA - including the Board and the Administration.  I'm also impressed with the faculty - many of whom include classmates of mine at the seminary.  The faculty displays intellectual acuity in combination with a genuine love for the work they are doing, and a dedication to their students.  The bar is set very high, but not to "weed out" students, but to encourage and nurture them to scale over it!  No student at WA is "just a number".  Our students are treated as individuals, with respect and Christian love.

If that's for you or your children, please consider joining the Wittenberg Academy family!

I'm five weeks into my first of three trimesters that make up the Paideia IV course.  Paideia is a Greek word that means "instruction" and is closely related to the concept of discipleship.  My students continue to impress me with their diligence and insights.  We are studying Christian Apologetics by means of works of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Sayers, and others.  I assign podcasts from Issues, Etc. and YouTube videos (including lectures that I give and record myself).  We will also be reading Marx, Hitler, Darwin, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon as distinct challenges to the Christian faith.  In subsequent trimesters, we'll study Economics and Political Theory as well as modern Literature - all within the Christian worldview.  We'll be reading some very interesting works, and the vast majority of them are available for free download.

For more information, please visit Wittenberg Academy online.  Check out the Frequently Asked Questions.  Here's what some WA parents and students are saying!

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