My Favorite Quotes From the ACCS Conference About Classical Education

A few weeks ago I attended the Association of Classical and Christian Schools national conference "Repairing the Ruins."

Here are my favorite quotes from the conference—the thoughts that challenged me, inspired me, and got me to think about what I do as an educator differently or on a deeper level. Also included are quotes from 2 of the teachers in my school who attended the conference with me.

From Abbie Corey our Kindergarten teacher:
"The good is not in answering the questions, it is in reading the book"
Douglas Wilson

"Love God with everything you've got in the presence of kids who need to learn to love God with everything they've got". 
—Douglas Wilson

"Humility: thinking of yourself less, not thinking less of yourself". 
—Douglas Wilson (possibly taken from another source)

"Through 2nd grade, students are learning to read. 3rd grade and above, students are reading to learn". 
—Sharon Miller 

A few notes from The Charlotte Mason Distinctive by Maryellen St. Cyr of Ambleside Schools:

Charlotte Mason warns against using rewards to get children to do what they ought to do. Maryellen explained to her students how she was using candy as a reward to manipulate them and she quit doing it. (Side note: I have always been against using rewards in the classroom but could never really articulate why).

She also talked about what to do when children complete their work before others: They should have ongoing work to work on rather than just being given free time to do whatever they want. When students know that they will get to have free time when they finish, this can cause students to rush their work. (Side note: I personally agree with this wholeheartedly. I have never liked the idea of students bringing things from home to play with or do at school...they are at school for such a limited amount of time as it is.)

From Gabriela Michlik, Second Grade teacher & Art teacher:
From a workshop on teaching art: when the teacher's students get overwhelmed with the task ahead and ask her: "but Mrs. M, how do we draw a duck?" She answers: "one feather at a time."
(Side note: I found that deeper than she might have meant it...And I feel like it applies to more areas in my life—teaching, mothering, serving...It's all one feather at a time)

From me, Chris Marchand:
Bill Simmer, giving a talk called "Sustainability, affordability, school finance, and all that jazz..."

—We have to reject the lie that our parents don't have the money to pay for tuition.

—All our classes should primarily be about character development and spiritual formation. If you operate a school that offers this kind of education, people will pay for it!

—Hard income (coming mainly from tuition payments) should cover 100% of your operating costs every year. Then, you charge more for tuition because the wealthier families can afford it and in so doing can provide discounts for the families in need. Your fundraising should go entirely to investing in new programs and resources and then to long term savings.

From Nathan Carr, giving a talk called "Anticipating the Trivium with your three year old..."

—We need to tell our children stories of how the world works and how the soul is made. Then we need to make sure to tell them stories that are full of evil as well. This will also teach them how the world works.

—Educating 3 year olds is about awakening their affections.

—Your primary purpose in being a presence with your children is to offer them a life of unhurried wonder.

—The soul is a city. Each of a child's senses is a gateway to that city.

—Teach gentleness and compassion in such a way that you are training up the liberator of the future.

—Teach them to pray.

—Play constructively with them with a view towards greatness, courage, and conscience.

—Buy castles, play dress up and make believe, teach them the first few questions of a catechism, buy a world class library, tell them the stories of the saints of old, and don't spend too much time in class—GET OUTSIDE!

From Douglas Wilson, giving a talk called "Images and Imagination"

—Education is about our sanctification, not our justification.

—If you worship something other than God you always end up losing that thing.

—On multiculturalism in education: You do not teach people to respect other people's mothers by teaching them to disrespect their own.

Finally, here are my recaps of the ACCS conference:
ACCS Conference Day 1
ACCS Conference Day 2

Past Articles on Classical Education:

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