Excelsior Classes is a consortium of like-minded, Christian teachers committed to excellence in instruction.


 

 

Our Mission: To educate homeschool students and train them to think deeply.

 

Our Process: We believe this is best accomplished in a dynamic online setting which uses lecture and dialogue, is couched in a Christian worldview, and is taught excellently by teachers with content mastery.

 

Our Distinctives:

  • Engaging and stimulating live instruction
  • Interactive dialogue with instructors and other students in small classes
  • Expert instruction by teachers who both care about students and are extremely knowledgeable in their subject area
  • Challenging assignments with outside accountability
  • Christian worldview undergirds content and interaction

Our Reasoning:

 

We live in challenging times characterized by increasing contempt for traditional Christian and western ethics and mores. We believe that only an education which is rigorous and relevant can produce young adults able to wrestle with and work on the problems of contemporary society, to hold on to their Christian faith in a material way, and to exercise both wisdom and compassion in their fields of endeavor. The word excelsior is a Latin word which means “always upward” and indicates a desire to continually improve. We have chosen it to indicate a commitment to continually propel students higher as they glorify God in their studies. We know it will reap a harvest of righteousness in due time.

 

As teachers, we believe that we need deep thinking more than ever before:

 

We need deep thinkers because we need wisdom.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

There is no substitute for knowledge. This applies not only to biblical knowledge, but also knowledge and mastery in many areas. Wisdom often requires the ability to analyze and synthesize information, data, and situations. Studying history, philosophy, literature, and political theory as well as a host of other subjects (including the sciences and mathematics) provides knowledge.

 

We need deep thinkers because we cannot solve today’s or tomorrow’s problems through superficial solutions.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)

In a world in which a biased media does all of the reporting and only things which are viral make the headlines, the ability to sit and think deeply is lost. People want instant pudding and immediate gratification. Cliches and sound-bytes are offered as solutions, but such quips do not begin to scratch the surface of the complexities of the issues our society faces. Solutions for today require not only a fundamental understanding of various fields, but also the skills to identify causes and effects separated across time and space. Even more importantly, the ability to communicate persuasively and compassionately is also required.

 

We need deep thinkers because both biblical knowledge and secular knowledge are required.

…to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians…the king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. (Daniel 1:3-4, 19-20)

 

It requires deep thinking to identify an author’s worldview and then to wrestle with material. Often parents want to shelter their students from many aspects of secular culture, but only by understanding the culture can we produce students who are resilient to it and who are able to witness to others in it. With a firm biblical foundation, Daniel and his colleagues were subsequently steeped in the literature and knowledge of the Babylonians, and they were used by God mightily. Not that students need to be exposed to salacious or lewd material; emphatically, no! Nevertheless, students who are able to read and grasp secular or contrary works and then garner a working understanding will be better able to articulate their own faith and have a deeper appreciation for those who are lost. We cannot expect to be fishers of men if we cannot get close to the water.