Bridge Builder Series
An overarching goal for Excelsior Classes instructors is to prepare students for the 21st-century world. It is an exciting time as well as a stressful time to raise children. We live in an increasingly divisive society, but the Lord calls us to minister and to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20). How can we do this when we are surrounded by walls put up by others and by ourselves?
If we desire to be faithful in ministry, we have to think deeply, be reflective, and communicate with others both as writers and speakers. As instructors, we want to not only model skills for productive dialog in classes but also teach those skills. Often discussions in classes become stymied due to shyness, fear, or inability to articulate ideas or even to welcome difficult discussions. Sometimes students provide compositions or responses characterized by a surface-level treatment without any deep thought provided for opinions or assertions. Unless we can overcome these tendencies, we will continue to struggle as a society and find ourselves increasingly isolated and without avenues for meaningful relationships with others to share the love of God.
To that end, we are launching a series of classes in a new product offering that we’re calling the Bridge Builder Series. Our goal for this series is simple. We desire to help students cultivate the capacity to:
- show compassion
- grow in empathy,
- share love with all people, and ultimately
- collaborate with others to provide solutions to problems in an increasingly complex world.
Like iron sharpening iron, students will be challenged but enjoy the growth (Proverbs 27:17)!
BRIDGE BUILDER DISTINCTIVES
Dialog & Deep Thinking Foundations
Fresh & Current Content
Any books or materials with mature content will be noted on the course description. We encourage parents to read either before enrolling or along with the student!
Ecumenical & Welcoming Approach
Like all of our courses, teachers do not make any assumptions of students’ faith backgrounds or Biblical knowledge. While teachers are encouraged to let students know what they think (as instructors), we hope that the courses are a springboard for dialog at home and in the student’s circle of influence. We know parents are the ultimate teachers!
Instruction changes as the culture changes and bodies of knowledge shift. To be considered college-preparatory, an understanding of additional authors, themes, works, and histories is also necessary. Expanding beyond the traditional textbook approaches and scope and sequence while still holding reverence for the knowledge contained therein is important for students both graduating and entering college or entering the workforce. It is our hope that the content and experience of these courses reap a harvest for students.
Expand the Canon: Women Who Wrote the World
History Detectives: Using Critical Thinking to Answer Questions from America’s Past
Intellectually Curious: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
Intellectually Curious: Native American Exploration (Literature and Culture)
Intellectually Curious: Sweet Home Alabama…and Mississippi…and Even Georgia! (A Literary Study of the South)
Judge for Yourself: Constitutional Law
The Bible & Current Events
The Bible & Science
Using Media Without Being Used: Taking Control of Your Digital Life and Future
Because our goals are for a great degree of student dialog, live attendance is mandatory for these courses. While emergency absences (with parent verification) are allowed, live participation using audio and video in our class sessions is required to meet our learning outcomes.
We live in a world of -isms: feminism (which wave?), capitalism, socialism, progressivism, deconstructionsim, nihilism, and on and on ad nauseum. Regardless of which -ism you may or may not like, the topics and content of the course will be such that bashing or treating others with hostility will not be tolerated. Tearing others down does not lift others up. For example, one can celebrate women and the accomplishments of women without hating men. All class participants will treat others respectfully (in a learning environment) while still learning and exploring. This is great preparation for the student’s future, whether it be at school or at work.