At Lampstand Press, we are committed to classical Christian education, based on our commitment to God’s glory, our understanding of child development, and a deep appreciation for our cultural heritage.
God’s Glory in The Purpose of History
We believe that God created time and space for His own glory, and that He is unfolding history to accomplish His perfect purposes for His people. Our passion for learning is a direct expression of our passion for God, as we seek to love Him with all our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength.
We believe that it honors God for us to learn the truths that He has revealed in Scripture, in nature, and in history, whether such revealed truths fit into our preconceived notions or not. Our reason for studying history is to learn from the experiences of others more about God’s character and more about our own frailties and calling. We want God to receive the glory He deserves for all His mighty acts in history.
Our intention in presenting Tapestry of Grace® and other educational products is to remain accurate and biblically oriented.Tapestry‘s Teacher’s Notes and Student Activity Page questions emphasize God’s sovereignty in history, frequently noting specific evidences of His work as we understand it. It is our belief that children need to be led in “connecting the dots” of the events of history with both Scripture and a sense of the loving, active presence of God in world events. It is our aim to strengthen in them a sense of both humility and destiny as they view the sweeping majesty of God acting in HIS story.
All men and women sin; no expression of the body of Christ or worldly community has been without sin. God has called us to love sinners and tell them His good news, not judge them for their lost condition. Our position is that if children are taught to view the sins or errors of others with compassion and a biblical interpretation, they will both be warned of their own human tendency to sin, and become compassionate, but accurate, historians. They will be better prepared to glorify God by serving His purposes in their own generation.
God’s Glory in Church History
We believe Scripture and church history each help us to understand God’s purposes and priorities, so we seek to study the full scope of church history at age-appropriate levels.
We do not know how to be truly unbiased about something as important as our faith, but we think we have been commanded to be honest about our own beliefs, humble about our own wisdom, confident in God’s care, and respectful of our brothers and sisters from different persuasions.
We are Protestant, and are therefore most aware of Protestant resources for Church History. Church History readings are broken out in the Reading Assignment Charts as separate entities, so that those who choose to study Church History from a different theological position can easily substitute resources written from their perspective.
Child Development through Classical Education
“Classical education” has two different meanings for Christian home educators. It can mean a “Great Books” curriculum, which hands on the heritage of Western civilization, but it can also refer to a “grammar, dialectic, rhetoric” model of child development and training. We believe in “classical education” in both meanings of the term.
Medieval educators taught students to speak Latin, debate in Latin, and persuade in Latin before they considered them ready for more advanced learning. The three disciplines of “grammar,” “dialectic,” and “rhetoric” composed the Trivium, which prepared scholars for the rest of the seven “liberal arts.” Modern scientists have discovered that these three modes of learning correspond to specific stages of child development. Young children are remarkably good at memorizing facts and learning stories, children near the age of puberty excel at making connections; while youths and adults are best at analyzing and synthesizing.
Age-segregated classrooms have trouble taking full advantage of modern science and of the medieval model because they must serve all the children in the room, whether they are best at memorizing, organizing, or synthesizing information. We believe this is why educational experts keep promoting “higher order thinking skills” at ever-earlier grades. We would rather take advantage of “lower-order” thinking skills while the child still has them. Young children excel at absorbing stories, songs, sounds, vocabulary words and other material at the “grammar level.” When the child matures enough to develop “higher order thinking skills,” we want him to first organize a rich storehouse of previously-acquired information, and then synthesize in useful and meaningful ways.
The “grammar,” “dialectic,” and “rhetoric” learning levels are objectively real but have no clear boundary lines, any more than “infancy” or “adulthood” do. We therefore make it easy to select assignments from more than one level at any time. A child may try some “hard” material for a while and then decide to drop back for a bit. We are not afraid that this will result in a lot of malingering. When children play games, they don’t “coast” at the easy level. Just as with this type of entertainment, with the right mix of encouragement and opportunity, we expect children to be eager to advance into more challenging work.
The term “classical education” does not just mean an emphasis on the learning levels of the Trivium. It is also routinely used to mean an education in the Great Books of Western civilization, sometimes known as the “Western Canon.” Until recently, a “liberal arts education” necessarily included broad and deep exposure to works by Plato, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and others. In the latter half of the twentieth century, this approach has often been derided as “works by dead white males.” Since the 1970s, most secular universities have abandoned the goal of passing on any specific cultural content.
While we appreciate the insights of non-Western thinkers and want our students to be able to communicate effectively with people from any culture, we do not believe a “critical” or “multi-cultural” education is the best way to achieve that goal. A child who has no culture of his own is poorly prepared to truly understand a person who is willing to die to preserve his faith or heritage. We believe it is better to be a humble but patriotic citizen of some country than a proud but cynical “citizen of the world.”
Because of this, we utilize and recommend many of the Great Books of the Western Canon at the high school level. We try to serve English-speaking students in general and Americans in particular by helping them study the threads of their own history.
Our goal is not to raise students who are puffed up with knowledge, but to help students understand themselves and the world around them clearly enough to realize their individual and our collective need for a Savior. Our sincere hope is that through these pages, we can all grow in our understanding of Jesus Christ, the Lord of history.
So, come, and magnify the Lord with us, and let us exalt His name together!