Thanksgiving at PCA

November 22 marked a special day for PCA – the school’s Thanksgiving feast!  Families were invited to gather together over food, while the students enjoyed a half day to start off their Thanksgiving holiday break.  Our school’s small size allows for a gathering such as this to be done while remaining cozy enough to have the feel of a large family.  A special thanks to all of the families who helped make our feast happen.  From organizing, setting up, cooking food, and cleaning afterward, it could not have been done without you.Alaina Bailey

After the tables were set and the food was eaten, Mr. Bailey gave a short speech about the importance of food seen in the Scriptures.  From Adam and Eve in the garden with the fruit of a tree, to the Israelites in Egypt receiving the Passover meal, to the manna in the wilderness, to Jesus’s coming and feeding thousands, and his Last Supper with his disciples, we see the Lord using food as a means for fellowship and teaching.  Even now, after Thanksgiving has come and Group picgone, we reflect on and give thanks for food, not only because it nourishes the body and tastes good, but also because it provides a means to meet together and points us to the Giver of our daily bread.  We hope that your Thanksgiving holiday was enjoyable and restful as we prepare to step back into school for the next three weeks before the end of the year.

 

Remembering to Give Thanks

Before Thanksgiving break, Mr. Bailey spoke to the students about remembering, an apt topic for the holiday and something we all could remember to do more often- remember to remember.

While that may sound ironic, it is true that humans are forgetful. We are prone to forgetting, whether it is where we left our car keys, what we had for dinner last night, the name that goes with that face… But the most crucial thing that we ought not forget is the Lord and what He has done for us. This is reiterated in the Old Testament over and over, where God tells the Israelites to remember. Why is this so important? Remembering serves us in several ways: it causes us to worship when we remember who God is and what He has done; it can lift us from times of deep despair when we remember our hope in Christ; it can draw out joy in times of darkness when we remember that we are not alone. Remembering the Gospel is key to our walking with the Lord.

And so, as Mr. Bailey briefly spoke to the children a lesson on remembering, he asked them to remember two things on this Thanksgiving. First, to remember to be thankful for what we have, and also remember to whom we should be thankful. Scripture says, “every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above.” Each and every one- the family and friends we may enjoy time with over the holidays, the flavors of the delicious food we will most likely consume, the nutrients from that food which will nourish our bodies- all of these were created by God. How awesome to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast to the glory of God by remembering that God thought up the flavor of turkey, of pumpkin, of potatoes, of stuffing, of casseroles! For His glory, for us to remember and praise Him for it all.

I hope sincerely that you enjoy this special holiday in which the majority of people are pausing to remember and give thanks for many things. I also hope that we would all remember to remember past this week, into the coming months, the God of our salvation and all He does and has done.

A Mighty Fortress

Each morning, PCA students gather for assembly. Walk into the school building around 8:15 a.m., turn in to the youth room where the assembly meets, and you will hear a chorus of children’s voices singing out a joyful noise to the Lord (Psalm 100). During this time, the entire school comes together to wake up, enter the day, and set their hearts right before the Lord for the day of work and learning ahead. After the headmaster, Mr. Bailey, welcomes the group, they stand for worship. Herein lies one of the unique advantages of Pinnacle Classical – the students aren’t only learning material in the classroom, but are exposed to and learning new songs and hymns in order to glorify God. We hope these songs sung together serve two purposes. One, that they might unite those within the school, setting everyone’s hearts and minds on God. Two, that the words sung would stay with the children as they grow. The ease of learning concepts that are put to music allows for the words to take root and develop meaning to the individual who knows the words and meditates on them- even as Psalm 1 speaks to this discipline: “…his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Recently, the song ringing out at PCA has been Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is Our God. And what an excellent hymn to usher us into awe before the Lord! Taking time to understand the meaning of what is being sung, we can see the richness of these words and help the children apply them. What does it mean for God to be a mighty fortress? Perhaps point to Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” God is the Christian’s defense against all ailments in this life, and what an excellent thing for the children to know in times of trouble. Not only does this song offer the Christian comfort in the character of God, but also hope in the Gospel; if we confide in our own strength, all striving would amount to nothing. But praise God the Right Man is on our side for our salvation, for the victory, for the gifts of grace!

With Thanksgiving swiftly approaching, many are making an inventory of items for thankfulness. Dwelling on the lyrics to this hymn for a moment, I’m thankful for a few more things: the gift of penmanship given to Luther for writing such stirring, true words; the sound of children’s voices worshiping; music for glorifying God; a God who is a mighty fortress, a helper, and victorious Lord; and a school where there is freedom for children and adults to sing to the King.

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever

The Bee

In books, or work, or healthful play,

Let my first years be past;

That I may give for every day;

Some good account at last.

Isaac Watts penned this stanza in his poem “The Bee.”   Interestingly enough, it relates to Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, which the lower elementary literature class recently read.  Carroll adopted the poem in a playful manner and mixed it up to fit his story – as he did with many other poems during Alice’s adventures.  In Carroll’s version, “The Bee” became “The Crocodile,” and the purpose of the poetry changed from admonishment to amusement.  Yet, it is Watts’ poem that is remarkably applicable to the philosophy of education that we are operating from at Pinnacle Classical Academy: seeking to bring every subject and activity under the authority of Jesus Christ.  In that respect, we see the students gleaning from books, work, and healthful play, to the end that each would be able to stand before the Lord and give “some good account” of his or her time here on earth.

NathanReadingIn books: Literature allows students to dig deeply into class work, establishing their minds in the soil of exciting new stories.  Currently, the second and third graders are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy.  While the students have already read the book once,  they are further engaging the material to learn the structure of all stories.  Setting, characters, and plot are the typical elements of literature that are applicable also in studying God’s Word.  A firm knowledge of these elements will benefit the students in understanding the gospel – its setting, main Character, and the plot, which is God’s redemption for his people.

In play: If you were to become a spectator during the students’ recess on most class days, you might be amazed at the intricacy of thought that their games engage.  While running around trying to catch each other does not seem complicated, the rules that govern their play continue to be altered throughout the game, requiring every participant’s attention to detail.  Games at recess might seem innocuous, but they are arguably God’s grace to use healthful play to further grow students in their skills of analysis and application, as well as teamwork and creativity.

LogicSchoolHardAtWorkIn work: It should be noted that a grounded work ethic is being graciously cultivated in PCA students.  As stated above, in the classical Christian education of students, books, work, and healthful play all cooperate towards the purpose of forming each student into a “well-rounded” individual whose education has been molded by a biblical worldview.  Thus, as we walk through each day, we see students reading for the glory of God, working to the glory of God, and playing to the glory of God.  And this is one of the great privileges of being a Classical Christian Educator: namely, seeing the Lord build up students in the grace and the knowledge of Him in order that they would be ready to engage a lost and dying world with the glorious all-encompassing Gospel of His Grace.

Fall Field Trip 2013

On October 25th, the students at PCA had the opportunity to do some hands-on (and ears-on) learning.

WooPigSooie? Kindergarten, first, and second grade students bundled up and ventured to Pinnacle Mountain State Park where they examined different aspects of the world around us: from birds and trees, to the skull of a razorback. As a park ranger guided them through a wildlife tour at Pinnacle Mountain, the children had the chance to experience nature first-hand. What an excellent occasion for PCA students to engage God’s creation and learn about the life cycle of creatures through a biblical lens! At PCA, we value those moments where classroom learning can be joined to real-life application. Students, teachers, and parents alike thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be so close to the world that God created. It is needless to say that a great time was had by all.

 

Kindergarten-Second Grade Field Trip

 

SymphonyWarmingUpWhile the younger students were delighting in God’s creation at Pinnacle Mountain, the third through eighth grades visited the Robinson Center – they were immersed in the world of music: courtesy of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.OutsidetheRobinsonCenter
During their trip they heard pieces from several different time periods and composers, for example: Vivaldi, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, John Williams, and Danny Elfman. The pieces that were performed were specially selected to highlight “the musical superheroes of the orchestra,” with specific pieces for the tuba and the piccolo. This highlighting allowed the students to take particular note of some of the less heralded instruments as well, such as the oboe, bassoon, viola, and xylophone. Students also gained a further appreciation for the work that the conductor performs in leading the symphony. Geoffrey Robson both led and introduced the orchestra, and his enthusiasm as he worked was thoroughly enjoyed. After the symphony concluded, the group spent a short time at War Memorial Park for a picnic lunch on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Whether outside in nature or indoors listening to a symphony, the brilliance of God can be seen, heard, and marveled at by us.  As we realize that every tree, leaf, animal and stone, each music note, harmony and melody comes from the Lord, it brings us to worship and share with one another how to glory in all that God does and has done.

LunchAtWarMemorialPark

PCA Family Night

What’s the best part of Family Night? The dessert table, of course! Well, perhaps the children would say that, but Mr. Bailey’s overview of what has been accomplished so far this year left the dessert table as merely icing on the cake. He delivered a presentation that was insightful, engaging, and fun. Paralleling the evening with the start of a school day, we sang “Psalm 1,” which the children sang in assembly at the beginning of the year. Parents were updated on the school’s financial status, the goals of education, and growing the children in grace and truth. For parents who were interested in learning more about Pinnacle Classical Academy, there was a brief overview of classical education, followed by a synopsis of how that particularly plays out at Pinnacle.

Emmie&Grace-FamilyNight

 

And naturally, there were coloring pages to keep the children occupied. Taking every opportunity to reinforce what they are learning, Mr. Bailey put out coloring pages of the literature they have been studying: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland; The Adventures of Robin Hood; and The Hobbit.

 

 

At the close of the presentation, there was some time for students to show their parents around each of their rooms, and for parents to visit with teachers. The children love their new school facility, and especially enjoy all of the room for running about and playing!  We hope that each of the parents are equally as impressed as the staff is with the space Covenant has generously shared with PCA.

AlainaJacksonNathan&Jasmine-FamilyNight

By the end of the evening’s festivities, it was clear that Family Night at PCA is more than another school function, and that Pinnacle Classical is more than simply a school – it is a family.  The candidness and camaraderie amongst parents, teachers, and children makes PCA a special and unique place where the children love to learn and learn to love.