By Holly Coombs
Cedar Academy, located at 401 S. Main St. Suite B, has opened with the options for children ages six to 18 to have a classic education.
A classic education, defined as a method that builds the experience of learning around the natural developmental stages of children.
“The methodology of teaching that students find at Cedar Academy is modeled after Dorothy Sayers ‘Lost Tools of Learning,’” Cedar City Academy Founder Michael Martin said.
Martin, who moved his family from Texas to Cedar City, has had the Academy in operation for three months now.
The school provides a year-round school schedule for its students.
Martin said the desire to become a part of education came after a few experiences he had with his own children.
He said his son wasn’t being challenged in school because he was getting straight A’s and his teacher was getting in trouble by his teacher for reading literature during math class.
Martin said that his daughter, Sarah, was also struggling.
“(The school faculty) told me she was reading too slow,” he said. “Then they told me she wasn’t comprehending anything when she was reading too fast.”
Martin decided to start teaching at home and make a different approach from the Public Education System. He saw the change in his children and decided to continue it.
In reference to a classical education and within this context, education happens with the flow of childhood development, in three distinct phases known as The Trivium — which means “The Three-Way Path.”
“When children are young, they love to memorize,” according to Cedar Academy’s website. “It’s life-giving to them. When they grow to their middle school years, they argue and debate. They thrive within the process of discovery. As they mature into young adults, they want to determine their course and plan their movements. The Trivium becomes the framework for learning within classical education.”
During the Academy’s open house last Wednesday, Martin described the many things he thought were important within education that he has present at the school.
God, Family, Country —Cedar Academy teaches the principles that made America the greatest nation of Earth, that the family is the core of society and God is always welcome. We encourage parents to take their God given responsibility for the education of their children to never interfere, but assist.
Student Centered —Focus is on the student, not on subject or grade level. While learning important techniques, students are encouraged to use those techniques on material that is of most interest to them.
Flex Schedule —A schedule that works for your student and family and provides many benefits such as accommodates family vacations, work schedules and doesn’t allow for “burn out.”
Quality, not Quantity — With integrated subjects, students are encouraged to dig deep into the material and take the time required for understanding and see how everything is interrelated.
Assess, don’t test —We assess each student’s individual performance rather than testing. Assessments are more accurate, personal and students learn from education’s sake; not for just taking a test.
Skill Level, Not Grade Level —Students are placed according to skill, not age. They advance at their own pace and interact with those of different ages but similar skill levels. This appropriately reflects society and requires less adjustment once they progress in life. It also avoids student frustration by being held back or pushed too hard to keep up. The goal is mastery. When they master something, they move on.
Home study, not Homework — Students will want to continue learning at home, but when the family comes together students are encouraged to spend time with family.
Truth, Goodness and Beauty—To find our purpose and to seek truth, in order to discover and to act on what is good and beautiful in this life.
Classical Liberal Arts —Classical liberal arts have withstood the test of time. It naturally progresses with the cognitive abilities of the student and prepares students with skills on how to think and how to learn. They learn critical thinking, reasoning, communication and other skills that they can apply in any career.
Original Works, not Textbooks — Our primary study materials are original works so students can go in depth, understand humanities of great men and women, learn from them and form their own opinions.
Small Class Sizes — Student-to-coach ratio will never be greater than 9:1 ensuring individual attention required for in-depth learning.
The 6 R’s — Cedar Academy not only emphasizes the three R’s of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but also the three R’s of Responsibility, Rigor and Rewards that come from them.
Fine Arts — The arts help you think, gain perspective and be creative. Music and art lessons are included.
Latin —Latin is roughly half of the English language, the root language of many languages plus law and science, the most efficient way to learn English grammar, trains the mind, etc. See more on the benefits of Latin at the Cedar Academy website www.cedaracademy.us/whylatin.
Martin emphasized that the school also provides the students learning to be the teachers, work together and the teachers, also known as a coach, to not lecture, but assist students in learning.
As for public education, Martin said his approach on education is not to mark other educational systems as bad, but that Cedar Academy is an alternative way.
“Public education has a lot of good,” he said. “I want to show that there are other ways to educate.”