God’s Word tells us that each child is created in His image. To that end, the New Hope and TBS faculty desire to use instructional methodology that honors each child as an individual while being part of a larger learning community.
Speaking pictorially, we believe that as students accomplish the learning goals for each grade, they retain these and pack these away in an “education suitcase” in which experiences, concepts, values, skills, attitudes and all learning reside. More is added to this education suitcase each year until students leave 12th grade prepared to be successful in the university, work place and life.
In grades pre-school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, teachers recognize the importance of hands-on experiences and cooperative learning. As they learn academic concepts, early learners also become aware of the importance of being in a group, taking turns and obeying teacher instructions. Students are often invited to group activities, which teach them how to share, how to interact with others and how to take turns. Students are taught simple Bible stories, science and history facts, and learn about letters and numbers. Kindergartners learn to read, to use cursive handwriting and to accomplish simple math. Students are beginning to put facts and experiences in their “education suitcase”.
Teachers use “differentiated instruction,” making sure that oral, visual and kinesthetic learners have equal opportunity for learning.
Along with the core academic subjects, students also enjoy physical education, library, music and art, which allows students to begin to experience areas of potential gifting.
In elementary school, students continue to put facts and experiences in their “education suitcase,” adding more complicated concepts and skills to their suitcase each year. Group activities and cooperative learning tasks allow students to continue to learn, to grow in their communication skills and to take responsibility for their learning. Rote learning and quick recall of facts allows students to focus on acquisition of more difficult concepts by 5th and 6th grade.
By the end of their elementary years, students have a good understanding of the Genesis through Revelation story of God’s work through and for His people. They know all their basic math concepts and are skilled at basic computation. They have learned the basic story of history and enjoy exploring God’s creation through science. The “education suitcase” is getting near full!
The junior high years are challenging! Not only are the hormones in full swing, but the academic work becomes more challenging. TBS teachers are aware of the challenges students face and adjust their instruction to encourage students to explore new ideas and to invest in their learning.
Students are given more freedoms and are held accountable for their learning. Teachers encourage parents to begin to allow students to track their own academic progress. While most core classes are taught in a traditional teacher led style, students are given opportunity to work cooperatively in group settings. Group projects allow students to continue practicing good communication skills, working as part of a team and sharing the results of a project completed. Teachers continue to differentiate instruction where needed so that each student is successful in their academic pursuits. A variety of electives classes allow students to explore fine arts, technology, career education and other aspects of learning to see where their interests and natural gifts shine. As students leave junior high, the “education suitcase” is full concepts and skills from each subject area.
Most students look forward to high school as perhaps the most rewarding time of learning in their P-12 experience. At TBS, students are encouraged to be responsible for their learning. Access to online grades makes tracking their academic progress easy. Teachers are available for individual help and encouragement and often meet with students at lunch and after school for additional practice and instruction.
The TBS requirements for graduation exceed the state requirements. As a result, students find the classes challenging and homework essential. The classes are traditional in approach, but teachers also expect discovery, inquiry and critical thinking to be part of the learning environment. Science classes are lab oriented; English classes require significant writing practice. Regular, honors, AP and concurrent credit classes allow for all students to be challenged at their academic level.
Each student is given opportunity to learn leadership skills. Through participation in student council, National Honor Society, class activities and community service, students learn what it means to be a servant leader.
Most important, the “education suitcase” is unpacked and repacked during the junior and senior years. All that students have been taught is re-examined in the light of God’s Word. Popular culture is put through the grid of God’s truth and students are challenged to keep only what is honorable. (Philippians 4:8). The suitcase is repacked with a faith, with knowledge, and with skills that can be defended by the student through a Biblical worldview.