How We Differ from Other Private Schools
We are a part-time private school, and believe the parents remain the primary educators of their children. We don’t want to dominate the landscape of your family’s life. Yes, there is at-home work, and increasing amounts as the student moves up levels. But we aren’t trying to impress anybody with an unnecessarily heavy workload. We assign what we think is important.
We do not conduct intake testing to require your child to meet nationally-normed academic standards. If what we offer is a good fit for your family, then we assume you and your children will receive from MGA what you desire your children to receive. The truth is, in ANY educational environment, a learner will receive from it what s/he invests in it. We partner with you to offer you and your children good learning experiences and trust that God is using us in your life.
We do not collect SAT or other national achievement test results for our students and do not have plans to market MGA for its ‘excellent’ or ‘above the national average’ test scores. This has the unintended effect of excluding non-traditional learners, and poor test-takers, from the private school population because their enrollment would lower the aggregate scores so necessary to such marketing. We will not make test scores more important than the quality of our classroom time.
We do not require parents to stay. We are a drop-off school, and will take good care of your children. It is our highest responsibility to monitor all the children, all the time. You as a parent are free to bring an oldest child, and go home to teach your youngest children, or vice versa. We know you will enjoy learning with all your children during the other five days of the week that MGA is not in session, so we don’t find it necessary to have you present.
However, we ARE an open-door school. ANY time you want to participate or observe, you are welcome. No asking permission or getting a hall pass. These are your children.
We are a classical school, in a ‘modern’ sense. This means: we teach world history, not just U.S. history, and thus avoid the ethnocentrism that pervades many U.S. schools. We teach U.S. history as part of world history and teach all of it chronologically. We integrate History, Geography, and Literature. Good literature is used as the tool to explore History. These subjects are not only naturally integrated, but it is more efficient – if it is important to expose students to good literature (it is) then it may as well be literature that illuminates the time period. We also believe grammar, writing and math should be learned systematically and as skill areas should be worked on regularly by the student.
We DO have a rigorous curriculum for the Upper School students, to keep them on par with the public and private school peers, and to maintain a college-prep environment. Whether or not a student is college-bound, a ‘college prep’ course of school work is truly LIFE prep: it prepares students to think and read critically, to defend their beliefs with sound arguments, and to compare the deluge of information they will process in their lifetimes to eternal truths and God-given wisdom.
We are not classical in the sense of requiring a lot of memorization for OUR sake. Memorize all the Latin roots and history dates you wish, at home, as you know is appropriate for your child. That is ‘skill’ work that is easily done at home.
Our focus is on group activities – what can we offer that is difficult to achieve at home:
Presentations to peers
Group projects and labs
Dramatic performances – writing and performing skits and plays about the material learned in class
Teachers with special subject matter background
Learning games, activities, art projects, etc., to reinforce the at-home reading and learning
We assign grades only for Upper School, to provide necessary feedback for parents who will be preparing a high school transcript. Again, we recognize that parents have the final say and will ultimately award grades for their student based on MGA classwork and any other learning experiences or extenuating circumstances they need to consider.