Lifelong Learners

One of the primary goals of classical education is to equip our students to become lifelong learners. This is achieved as we teach them tools for learning and as we develop in them a love of learning.

If you walk down the halls of ACA on any given day, you will hear the sounds of students practicing tools for learning. Just outside the door of the first grade classroom you might hear young voices chanting the doubles addition facts.

0 + 0 = 0 (OH!)

1 + 1 = 2 (True!)

2 + 2 = 4 (More!) …

Next you might hear a portion of the Scripture memory verse we are currently memorizing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted . . . .”

These are the sounds of children in the grammar stage learning basic building blocks and tools for future learning. Our recent recitation was a wonderful opportunity to see students at all grade levels sharing what they have been learning through chants, recitations, and songs.

Sometimes, though, in the midst of the everyday memorizing and drilling and practicing of these tools for learning, I wonder if my students are developing a love of learning. Am I instilling in them a desire to continue to learn? Am I modeling for them a sense of joy as we study all that God has created?

Every Monday afternoon the kindergarten, first, and second graders go on a nature walk to the park. We spend time studying God’s creation and drawing pictures of the beauty around us in our journals. As we walk together on these days, I hear snippets of conversation as these little ones talk about the many things they are interested in; from the bug they just saw crawling along to their favorite new toy or a fun weekend activity.

This past Monday I observed something different. These children were unable to contain their excitement about the songs and chants they had recently been learning. As we walked along, I heard the sounds of sweet voices singing “Sweet Betsy from Pike.”

“. . . .Poor Ike got discouraged and Betsy got mad, The dog wagged his tail and looked awfully sad. O yo-delee, yo-delee, yo-delai-ay!”

Next, I heard the newest grammar jingle we have been memorizing as we are learning about article adjectives.

“We are the article adjectives, Teeny, tiny adjectives: A, AN, THE - A, AN, THE . . . ."

The students skipped along happily with smiles on their faces as they enjoyed these songs and chants. My heart skipped along with them as I saw that they have not only been learning information; they have truly been learning to love learning.