Sep 1, 2014

American Heritage Academy’s Mission to Restore American Christian Education

by: Mrs. Beckstead

He was uncommonly tall. His exterior suggested to every beholder the idea of strength, united with manly gracefulness. His form was noble and his port majestic. No man could approach him but with respect. His frame was robust, his constitution vigorous, and he was capable of enduring great fatigue. His passions were naturally strong; with them was his first contest and over them his first victory. Before he undertook to command others, he had thoroughly learned to command himself. The powers of his own mind were more solid than brilliant. Judgment was his forte. Truth and utility were his objects; he steadily pursued and generally attained them.

As a military man, he possessed personal courage and a firmness which neither danger or difficulties could shake. His genius supplied every resource. He knew how to conquer by delay and his prudent firmness proved the salvation of his country.

His integrity was incorruptible. His principles were free from the contamination of selfish and unworthy passions and his motives were the same. His results were always upright and his means pure. No circumstance ever induced him to duplicity.

His learning was peculiar. He was a great, practical, self taught genius.  By careful study of the English language, by reading good models of fine writing and with the aid of his vigorous mind, he mastered a classical education.

Unlike most that are great, whose virtues are eclipsed by corresponding vices, he had:

  • Dignity without pride
  • Courage without rashness
  • Religion without austerity

He was punctual, honest in his dealings, temperate in this enjoyments, a lover of order and most respectful in his mention of divine providence.

In the most trying situations, he never despaired nor was he ever depressed.  He was the same when he retreated in Jersey as he was marching triumphant into Yorktown.  Honor and applause that would have made any other man giddy had no effect on him.  When these attentions, honors, and applause were forced upon him, he received them with politeness.

His patriotism was the most ardent kind.  He was different from the noisy patriots with the love of country on their mouths and rebellion against tyranny in their hearts.  He was one of those who love their country with all sincerity and consecrate all their talents to its service. Numerous were the difficulties with which he had to bear.  Great were the dangers he had to conquer.  Various were the toils he had to share.  But to all the difficulties and dangers, he rose superior and cheerfully submitted for his country’s good.

He held liberty and law and the rights of men equally dear to the control of government.

He was not moved from the true interests of his country and his interest was to remain in peace. He met the injustice of Britain and France by negotiation rather than by war.  He commanded their respect and preserved the tranquility of his country.

His life affords one of the brightest models for imitation. Without any extraordinary advantages from birth, fortune or education, he attained the greatest talents and virtues to adorn his life.

The life of George Washington teaches perhaps that there is no greater measure of a man’s worth then the enduring marks of his Character. “Character” is rooted in the Latin  word “char” which means to scrape, engrave, to cut into the stone, to make lasting. So it is with desired traits, that they are etched into our hearts. These traits are formed by the infinite number of influences throughout our life. Traits, both great and small, are most abundantly formed in our youth. Much later they will bloom to become the definition of who we are. This understanding of a child’s development is the spark that inspired the signature scholar program.

We are on a journey to help our scholars learn character. Through reinforcement and continued practice, we will help your child find their true character. We believe this program will be a blessing throughout their lives. They will model their life after key individuals who have exceptional qualities.

At America Heritage Academy, our heritage is to restore American Christian education.  Our greatest need in America is to equip our scholars with the scholarship and character so they can effectively articulate and implement their knowledge in the family, workplace and government.

Abraham Lincoln said,

“the philosophy of the classroom becomes the government of the next generation.”

The greatest work we can do if we want to improve our country or we want to make change in our government is to take an active role in the education of our children.

In a letter from Abigail Adams to her son

and future 6th president of the United States,

John Quincy Adams, she writes,

“Improve your understanding by acquiring useful knowledge and virtue, such as will render you an ornament to society, an honor to your country, and a blessing to your parents.  Great learning and superior abilities, should you ever possess them, will be of little value and small estimation, unless virtue, honor, truth and integrity are added to them.  Adhere to those religious sentiments and principles which were early instilled into your mind, and remember, that you are accountable to your Maker to all your words and actions.”

Our foundation at American Heritage Academy is different from all other educational foundations because we can start from a foundation of truth by using the principle approach to education. This is key to understand because other schools who are not given the liberty to pray and allow the Spirit in the classrooms can never duplicate the learning that takes place at our academy.  Many schools who try to teach character development or strong academics can never achieve the same success because they can never start on the same foundation. Public education starts at a point of reason.  The reasoning will be flawed because it cannot start from a point of truth.  Because they start on a different foundation, they can never achieve the same result no matter how much they build upon and improve because their foundation is incorrect.

Our goal at American Heritage Academy is to restore education to what it was intended.

We must again as in the founding period of our nation, reunite our knowledge of America and the principles of her Constitution with holy writ.  And our battle today is not ultimately for our scholar’s minds. The battle today is for their hearts because the mind will only believe what the heart, character and conscience of the child indicates. They must be equipped with the scholarship AND character to effectively articulate and implement their knowledge in the family, workplace and government.

In September, we celebrate Constitution Night to honor our Constitution that is the longest standing Constitution in the history of the world and this divinely inspired document preserves our God given liberties.  Thomas Jefferson understood this when he wrote the words, “we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable right.”  What he and the Founders knew is that we came from God with gifts he gave us and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Our scholars understand that because they are God given, no man can take away and that they place a crucial role in preserving our precious heritage.

Our scholars also know that our Constitution was divinely inspired by imperfect men and that their imperfection does not put doubt on their work. No, their imperfection inspires our scholars knowing that they too will do great works even with their imperfections and weaknesses.

I believe we have these same leaders in these scholars. I feel the importance of raising up a generation of leaders in this the most critical period of history.  Freedom is not free.  We must educate our children on what is required to remain free.  While some may be apologetic about America, our scholars must know that our standard of liberty is intended to be beacon or light to the world.

Never before have in history has a group of youth had a wealth of information at their fingertips.  Our scholars must be able to recognize truth and extract it in order to be effective leaders. In this Information Era, scholars must be able to seek for the truth and extract pertinent information from a myriad of information.  They must reason with the information and come to understanding and then apply the learning to themselves. The scholars are then able to remember because they make a record for themselves and others to benefit.

At American Heritage Academy, we use the 4 R’ing process to teach the scholars to think in every subject they are learning.

  • RESEARCH – to search with continued care, to seek diligently for truth
  • REASON – to deduce inferences justly from premises
  • RELATE  – to apply to oneself, to tell, to restore, to recite
  • RECORD – to enter in a book for the purpose of preserving, to imprint deeply on the mind or memory, to cause to be remembered

I also want to show how our principle approach to education at AHA is superior to not only the secular educational philosophies but to most religious educational institutions.  In the subjects of the American Revolution, I am going to show you excerpts from various textbooks and our teaching.

American Revolution

Secular

“Although the immediate accomplishments of the Revolution was simply to preserve the power of white men of the “gentle” class, its long-term significance lay in changing people’s thinking about the world”  Prentice Hall

 Reformation

“A new nation, dedicated to the principles of freedom and justice had been born.  In time, American was to become the envy of all peoples who cherish freedom”  A/Beka

 AHA

Divine providence was significant in the American victory of the Revolutionary War.  Inspired and sacrificing leaders, sustained by a power beyond themselves, would establish a remarkable new form of government.

Declaration of Independence

 Secular

The Founding Fathers, the men who approved the Declaration and those who later created the federal government were just that:  Patriarchs, heads of households, with many dependents.

When they talked about equality and popular sovereignty, they meant equality and sovereignty for gentlemen of property and high standing in society.  But once these ideas were let loose, neither the Founders nor later generations of white men could control them.”  Prentice Hall

Reformation

The opening paragraph, or preamble, of the Declaration of Independence expressed the desire of the American people to explain their decision to the world.  It openly recognized that God created all men, and all men have a right to be treated with dignity due God’s special creation.  A/Beka

 AHA

The signers of the Declaration and the framers of the Constitution were the best spirits on the face of the earth and were inspired from on high to do that work.

I have much hope that what our scholars are learning within those walls is not only educating their minds with knowledge but arming them with power and purpose. We must do our best for these scholars.  There has never been a more pivotal time in history.  Our Founding Fathers who sacrificed for their posterity are pleading.  We must by all mean preserve what they established. At AHA we are doing our best to do this by educating with a foundation of correct principles. Is providing for your child an excellent education, hard work.  Yes, there are many sacrifices.

The classics our scholars read will change their lives. Read the classics along with them. Take the time to read and discuss the classics along with your child. Some of the greatest moments I have had with my scholars was from discussing the classics.  If you personally want to increase your scholarship in a particular area and don’t know what direction to take, come talk to me.  The single most effective action we can do to inspire our children to read the classics is to become a reader of the classics ourselves.  Remember that reading a good classic is like peeling a fruit with a tough outer center.  It is hard to peel but one you get through the tough part the center is delectable.  Reading classics is also like a puppy chewing on a bone.  A puppy cannot eat the entire bone yet because he has not yet matured but chewing on the bone is a great exercise.  We feel the same way about the scholars and reading the classics.  They may not be able to digest the whole book while they are young but it is a good exercise.  A classic can be reread at a later time and new insight and depth of understanding is gained.  Expose your child to the best thoughts in the world by exposing them to the best minds and written expression.  Every once in awhile I say a popular “brain candy” book is ok but if we only ate those kind of books, we would get a brain cavity.

Our scholars not only read great literature, but keep a record by writing, and most importantly be able to articulate truth.  They read and write great truths which enables them to stand and speak the truth.  No other education program can do likewise.

  • Reading – They read great literature to gain understanding.
  • Writing – They write to develop their thoughts.
  • Speaking – They speak to inspire others.

At AHA, they are given plenty of opportunities to speak in front of others.  They do this through recitation, speeches, and are many productions.  For some it is easier, for others it is a struggle but as they recited lines from a play.  Those lines, those expressions become etched in their heart.  As they play a character in a production, they practice emulating the characteristics of those persons they are portraying. Once again, you see the importance of character and the reasons behind our efforts in our many productions: Plymouth Plantation, our patriot play, Christmas plays, and Shakespeare.

We must never lose sight of the vision of AHA. What happens within the walls of the classroom is priceless.

During the Revolutionary War, we know the situation for General Washington was bleak. The day before Washington crossed the Delaware with his troops and onto the victory in Trenton, Thomas Paine who is more commonly known for writing the pamphlet “Common Sense” came to camp and on the inside of a drum penned the words to his stirring speech, “The American Crisis”  The beginning words of his speech echo a memory in our minds, “These are the times that try men’s souls.  The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.”  But tonight I would like to draw our attention to the the ending paragraph of his speech because just as it were the final words to describe the crucible of the revolution, it has application today to express current sentiments of our present day

“American Crisis”

“I thank God, that I fear not.  I see no real cause for fear. 

I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.”

I too see no real fear.  I know our scholars and know they will lead us out of our current crisis.  These are bright children who will articulate truth and we are educating them to have the fortitude to stand by it by equipping them with knowledge and character.  I have great hope.  I see it in their eyes.  I feel it when I am with them.

Perhaps Psalm 71 says it best:

O God, you have taught me since I was young.

And to this day, I tell of your wonderful works.

And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me,

Til I make known your strength to this generation

And your power to all who are to come.

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