Why Latin? | Special Academy Highlight With Pastor Bree
Generally, my Latin classes are pretty fun for all. We learn grammar, speak Latin, and discuss interesting ideas and sayings from people thousands of years ago that are still relevant today. Latin is difficult, but it is rewarding.
Yet, every so often, a practical minded student will ask me, “Mr. Bree, why do we need to learn a dead language?” My usual answer is something to the effect of “a language is only dead when the ideas, values, and culture conveyed in that language are no longer relevant. So in this respect, Latin is far from dead, has a bright future, and will likely outlive us”. Or sometimes I say, “Latin is not dead, it morphed into French, Italian, Spanish, and many other languages.”
When I consider why Latin is useful for education, I consider the impact of the historical and cultural works that are written in Latin. Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire lasted for over 1000 years, and even up until the 18th century, Latin was the spoken and written language of academia in Europe. Latin literature includes not only the likes of Cicero, Vergil, Augustine, Aquinas, but even works like the Magna Carta and those of Issac Newton. Latin contributions to law, science, philosophy, history, and religion are pillars of Western Civilization. Therefore, it is worthwhile to devote time, energy, and precious years of education, to learn Latin and to reap from this historically rich field.
Also, as a side note, for those more practically minded, it will make learning other languages easier, improve your grammar and vocabulary, teach you to think critically and logically, and raise your SAT scores.
Grammar School Highlight | 1st/2nd Grade With Mrs. Mora
In 1st/2nd grade science, we continued our unit on anatomy by learning all about the skeletal system. We had the chance to touch some real bones and we are carrying out a week-long experiment on bone hardness and what might affect it. So far, we have a bone submerged in vinegar and we'll see what happens. Students suggested to also submerge some in Coca Cola, oil, and bleach, so we will be trying that out next week, too.
Studying anatomy is leading us to admire God's perfect and very complex creation. Some students even pointed out how those who don't believe in God often think everything just happens by chance. Seeing how perfectly our body is made makes it almost impossible to consider things just happen coincidentally.
Upper School Highlight | Biology With Pastor Chung
In Logic I’s biology class, the concluding chapter to the textbook is: Frauds, Hoaxes, and Wishful Thinking. When I first saw the title, I was slightly taken aback at the topic, as this is a biology textbook. And yet, it is very important for students to grasp that even in the realm of science, ethics is necessary in the search for evidence and truth. The students were definitely contemplating the fact that some are so devious as to merge two fossils of different animals in order to falsely claim a new species and a missing link between dinosaurs and birds. In reality, it was a fraud to collect more money off of the sale of a fossil. Even though this event happened in the late 90s, it was still an event found in a textbook.
To bring the idea a little closer to home I showed the students a video of how orange juice is deceptively marketed in the real world. Then, to sharpen their scientific observation skills, I gave the students a lab assignment in which they compared different samples of orange juice. The samples included 3 brands of store bought (factory processed) orange juice and a sample of Pastor Chung’s Freshly Squeezed. Even before the students had a chance to smell and taste the different samples, there was a visibly night and day difference between the fresh squeezed and store bought. I could see their eyes continue to open as they distinguished what was pleasing to the senses in real fruit juice.
I am grateful at how Donum Dei has selected textbooks that are written by Christian authors. It is a blessing to also see the many scientists who sought to benefit humanity and understand God’s creation, as their reason for studying and researching the unknown. It is my prayer that these junior scientists will continue to take this faith-based approach of using their senses to discern what is good/bad, what is real/fake, and making the concealed of God’s creation, beautifully known.