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Looking for a Classical Christian One-Year College?

Are you looking for a classical Christian one-year college? An excellent one that includes community and is not too expensive?

Let me tell you about Augustine College, a top-notch, intentionally-tiny college in the heart of Ottawa, Canada.  With its close-knit community and commitment to rigorous, Christ-centered study, Augustine College has been a formative influence in the lives of many young people from around the world.

Its goal is for students and faculty, in community, “to grow in wisdom and in virtue by exploring the riches of Western culture….We study the wisdom of the past so that, having been built up as bearers of the Divine Image, we may truly glorify God and further his Kingdom in all that we say, think, and do.”

Thus Augustine College also equips its students to impact our culture from a foundation of historical understanding, excellence, and Truth, no matter how they end up serving God in this life.

If this sounds interesting, you might want to attend the upcoming Student for a Day open house, March 24, 2018.  Augustine students range from homeschoolers in their mid-teens to university graduates looking for a year of Christian education in preparation for med school; anyone who is willing to work hard can find a place here.

Several years ago I wrote about attending Student for a Day with one of my teens.  While none of my children so far have ended up attending Augustine College, I have fallen in love with it and its mission, and that’s why I am sharing those memories with you today.

Yesterday Miss 15 and I were students for a day at Augustine College in Ottawa, Canada, a Christian college that reminds me of both classical and Charlotte Mason education.

Our visit was inspiring as well as mind-expanding.  In fact, I’d love to take a year ‘off’ to study at Augustine if yesterday’s lectures were representative.

First we, students and visitors, had three hours (!!) of Art in Western Culture taught by Dr. Tingley.  He spoke about Romanticism in Art, tying in history, theology, philosophy, literature, and music.  He showed slides and discussed their meaning.  He didn’t spare the students; the content was heavy, and though the artwork contained violence and eroticism he used them to show God’s truth and expose man’s lies. Rather than merely describing the Romantic movement, he carefully analyzed it, its sources, its results, and its representatives.

At end of this intense talk, Dr. Tingley discussed ‘On the Sailing Boat’ by Caspar David Friedrich. Do you see the man and woman, holding hands, gazing at the horizon?  They are together but focusing on something beyond themselves, the hazy spires on the distant shore. To his audience of young adults, Tingley explained, step by step, how Friedrich painted an image of marriage itself instead of merely a married couple.  There is something to learn here, he pointed out:  Marriage is being bound to someone by a shared, independently accepted destiny, so that the two of you eagerly focus on the future, symbolized by the church spires, rather than merely on each other.

Recently I reviewed Schaeffer’s Art and the Bible, but it wasn’t until this lecture that I really understood how Schaeffer’s ideas can be applied to movements and to individual works of art.  That is probably why those three hours whizzed by so quickly!

Later, students told me that the concepts they learned in Dr. Tingley’s class echoed what they were learning in other classes, and that there were so many overlapping ideas across their various subjects.  The students’ comments reminded me of our time with Ambleside Online, when we learned from authors passionate about their subjects and when connections among the various books and topics developed naturally.

In the afternoon we had two hours with Dr. John Patrick, physician, apologist, lecturer, lover of Truth, and teacher of the Science, Medicine, and Faith class.  This lecture, like the morning’s, began with prayer. Then Dr. Patrick, seated comfortably on a table, began to discuss…The Sermon on the Mount!  He explained to the visitors that past students had told him this was the most important part of his course, so now he goes through the Sermon on the Mount each year.

Then he continued with the history of science where, rather than emphasizing memorization, he focusses on the key ideas that did and didn’t work and the major players.  Yesterday’s topic was the history of chemistry, so he told stories about early chemists, their activities, and the theories of the day. He read aloud excerpts from Mendeleyev’s Dream by Strathern (this may be our next lunch time read aloud).  There was a wonderful excursion into Polanyi’s idea that we know more than we can verbalize and how that relates to conversion. Somehow that morphed into a discussion of how to become a good teacher: by loving the subject and the students rather than by learning rules.

The final few minutes of his lecture were as unexpected as the first ones:  Dr. Patrick taught the students to defend Judeo-Christian ideas, and to recognize and deconstruct foolish arguments.  There is a list of topics he cycles through, repeating them until the students thoroughly understand them. This time it was tolerance, but at other times he discusses ideas such as the myth of neutrality or the sanctity of life.

I rather suspect that Dr. Patrick’s course should really be called critical thinking, for that seems to be his passion:  to teach the students how to think critically, to prepare them for attacks on Christianity and Christian values, and to show them key ideas and players in the history of science from a Christian point of view.

In both lectures the students were given a huge amount of subject material but they were also taught about life.  While both professors were passionate about their subject, they seemed equally passionate about preparing the students to live as Christians in their future education, in their interaction with others, and in their future marriages.

This is the kind of education I try to provide, in a small way, for my teens at home. However, at a post-secondary level, nothing can compare with the expertise of gifted teachers passionate about their subject and their faith.

Is this the kind of education your family is interested in?  Then you should check out Augustine College.  You can visit in person during Student for a Day or make arrangements that suit your family better.

Why Augustine College? Explore seven reasons that form a profound manifesto for Christian education. Remember also that this small interdenominational liberal arts college has provided an affordable, Christian classical education for many years.  Furthermore, credits are transferable and the one year at Augustine often translates to more than a year at larger institutions.

You will also want to explore the Augustine College website, check out “What We Study” and look at the Augustine College Youtube channel.

Whether or not Student for a Day or Augustine College will work for you, for now just keep teaching your kids at home, doing your best to pass on wisdom as well as knowledge.

May God bless all Christian education, whether at home, at day-schools, or at post-secondary institutions.

Rereading this article, I realize it sounds like an advertisement.  Hence the disclosure:  I am in no way compensated for writing this post.

(Image from Augustine College Student for a Day poster.)

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