Academics and School Culture

CGCS is here to serve Christian families who value an excellent education and who want their children’s school to reinforce the Christian values that they practice in their own homes. To achieve this dual goal, some degree of academic rigor and discipline must exist. Parents who did not have this same kind of education may wonder whether this challenge will prove too much for their children. But young children are by nature mentally malleable and can readily absorb much more information than most adults. A young boy or girl of six, with well-behaved and hard-working older students as models, can easily be trained to develop good work and study habits that they will carry forth into higher grades and then on into adult life.

Furthermore, as a rule we do not accept new students older than third grade, and we much prefer that they start with us in kindergarten. Also, considering our extremely low tuition, we only accept students who we believe, based on our experience, will be with us through graduation. These criteria produce a very stable and tight-knit student body, and graduates who possess the tools to learn and to unlock life’s doors.

The Cottage Grove Christian School is first and foremost an academic institution, and we do not compromise on our goal of giving every single one of our students a sound and rigorous classical education. As a Christian and classical school, we approach this goal from a Christian worldview, and we strive to be a torchbearer for the educational tradition of Western Christendom.

With this said, our students have a lot of fun, which is not surprising in an environment where there is no bullying, Christian goodwill is the norm, and all things are done in good order.

We establish high expectations and good habits early on, both in academics and behavior, and we find that good children from good families rise to those expectations and thrive. CGCS students respect the staff and one another, maturing over time into proper Christian ladies and gentlemen. With God’s blessing, the mutual support of good parents and good teachers toward this common goal practically ensures success. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

If you want to give your child an excellent education, and in an environment that supports and defends your Christian values, CGCS may be for you.

Why Classical Education?

Because it works, and has a record of success that spans centuries, if not millennia. It is being resurrected because the modern educational theories that were meant to supplant it beginning in the 19th century have not worked and the proof is in the pudding today. What follows are readings that will give interested parents a fair understanding of what is meant by Classical Education. Whatever it is, it is vitally important and at the heart of CGCS.

“What is Classical Education” by Susan Wise Bauer (pdf)
Susan Wise Bauer is a long time leader in the resurgence of classical education in America.

Dorothy Sayers’s 1947 “The Lost Tools of Learning” (pdf)
The Lost Tools of Learning may be considered the genesis of the rebirth of the classical education movement. If you want to understand what is meant by “classical education,” this is the place to begin.

“Classical Education” by E. Christian Kopff (pdf)
Dr. Kopff is an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado in Boulder and author of The Devil Knows Latin, Why America Needs the Classical Tradition. He is also an old college chum of Dr. Thomas Fleming, founding board member of the College Grove School.

Why Classical ? from the website of Augustine School.
The Augustine School was founded in Jackson, Tennessee in 2000 by Dr. Brad Green.

What follows is an excerpt from Jay Nock’s 1932 Theory of Education in the United States

The literatures of Greece and Rome comprise the longest and fullest continuous record available to us, of what the human mind has been busy about in practically every department of spiritual and social activity; every department, I think, except one—music. This record covers twenty-five hundred consecutive years of the human mind’s operations in poetry, drama, law, agriculture, philosophy, architecture, natural history, philology, rhetoric, astronomy, politics, medicine, theology, geography, everything. Hence the mind that has attentively canvassed this record is not only a disciplined mind but an experienced mind; a mind that instinctively views any contemporary phenomenon from the vantage point of an immensely long perspective attained through this profound and weighty experience of the human’s spirit’s operations. If I may paraphrase the words of Emerson, this discipline brings us into the feeling of an immense longevity, and maintains us in it. You may perceive at once, I think, how different would be the view of contemporary men and things, how different the appraisal of them, the scale of values employed in their measurement, on the part of one who has undergone this discipline and on the part of one who had not. These studies, then, in a word, were regarded as formative because they are maturing, because they powerfully inculcate the views of life and the demands on life that are appropriate to maturity and are indeed the specific marks, the outward and visible signs, of the inward and spiritual grace of maturity.


What is Classical Education? By Dr. T. O. Moore (pdf)
Dr. Moore is the First Principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools, a free, public K-12 charter school located in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a long but good summary of classical education.

Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam, rectique cultus pectora roborant
Yet learning increases inborn worth, and righteous ways make strong the heart

Why Latin?

Why Latin is Important by Mark Atkins (pdf)
Latin will be at the heart of any classical curriculum and the advantages of its study are varied, objective, and profound. CGGS students generally begin their Latin in first grade in the form of simple and fun choral chanting of Latin forms and other memory work for which they are wonderfully suited at that age. They may begin their Latin grammar as early as 3rd grade and will continue the study through 12th grade.

Why Latin Matters by Dr. Thomas Flemming (pdf)
Dr. Thomas Fleming is a founding board member of the Cottage Grove Christian School, the long-time editor of Chronicles Magazine, and the current editor of The Fleming Foundation.  He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Here is a “little talk” he gave to a group of homeschoolers some years ago.

“You don’t speak Latin?” by Michael Ortner (pdf)
Michael Ortner is the CEO and co-founder of Capterra, a website dedicated to helping people find the right software for their business. He has written a good apologetic on the importance of the study of Latin.

“I’d much rather hire a great thinker who has never studied business than a business major who never learned to think well.”