WHAT IS HP'S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY?
Horizon Prep holds to a Christ-centered classical philosophy of education and teaching methodology as defined in Douglas Wilson’s book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. This approach to education is inherently different from many contemporary school models that hold to non-Biblical, humanistic philosophies and that merely teach to prepare students for a career in the workplace. Rather, we create lifelong learners and thinkers equipped to fulfill their life purpose.
The primary objective of a Classical Christian education is to instill students with wisdom and virtue. These two cannot be separated. The ancient Greeks understood that an educated man was not someone whose mind was simply packed full of knowledge, but one whose heart was aligned with the virtuous.
At Horizon Prep, wisdom means the “wisdom of the Lord” (Greek = sophia). “Sophia” is a term found numerous times in scripture, and highlights the various aspects of understanding the Creator and His creation. For example, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). In Stephen’s sermon to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, he referred to the great wisdom and learning Moses acquired while growing up in Pharoah’s palace in Egypt (Acts 7:22). Furthermore, those who are wise also practice good deeds towards others on a habitual basis (James 3:13). As students grow in their understanding of everything from science to Scripture, they also learn how to serve God and their fellow man.
The Classical model has provided an exemplary standard of teaching for more than 1500 years. It is a time-tested methodology that capitalizes on the stages in a child’s development – the way God created us – to help students realize their full potential. The three stages comprise what is known as the Trivium, made up of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, which can be compared to the Biblical terms knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
As students learn writing, logic, persuasive speech, and the sciences, virtue sits as a cornerstone of such efforts. And for HP, virtue refers specifically to the biblical tenets of the Christian life taught by Jesus and his apostles. As one example, the Apostle Paul, a skilled Greco-Roman rhetorician in his own right, offered the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). These virtues that enrich the body, mind, and soul are taught and set against the sinful vices of the flesh that destroy one’s body, mind, and soul.
In the 21stcentury, our classical Christian philosophy bridges the gap between “the Greeks and the geeks.” Science, math, innovation and entrepreneurship are key components of our academic and extra-curricular programs. Recent articles such as “From Greeks to Geeks: The Classical Liberal Arts as the Best Foundation for STEM,” and “The Surprising Thing Google Learned About Its Employees—and What It Means for Today’s Students,” are current examples of how invaluable the principles of a classical education are for HP students. It’s not enough to know science and math, and to just be computational. Some of the most important skills employers such as Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban look for are the ability to speak and write well, to pare down complicated thoughts into understandable and persuasive points in the context of a quickly changing technological world. These are the skills of the innovators and entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.
At all levels, programs and teachings, HP seeks to:
- Teach all subjects as parts of an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Provide a clear model of Biblical Christian life through staff and leadership (Matthew 22:37-40)
- Encourage every child in developing and maintaining his/her relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Create an environment students enjoy. Students that want to be at school are motivated and therefore put forth more effort.
- Encourage every student to develop a love for learning and to achieve his/her academic potential. Students that love to learn become masters of whatever they put their minds to.
- Foster a supportive environment. When students feel loved, they feel safe. When they feel safe, they are motivated to put forth more effort and therefore achieve more.
- Hire the most qualified teachers (credentialed and highly educated), who also possess the gift of teaching. The only thing that can guarantee a student’s success is the effectiveness of the teacher. You can have the best curriculum, technology and resources, but if you do not have the best teacher implementing them, the student will not benefit.
- Teach to the highest child – raise the bar – for every student. Students rise to the level that is set before them, behaviorally and academically.
- Implement current best instructional practices based on research and Biblical principles.
- Provide an orderly and disciplined atmosphere conducive to attaining these goals.