About Wittenberg Academy
Wittenberg Academy is a fully accredited institution that serves families or schools on a part time or full time basis. Our faculty teach courses for sixth through twelfth grade and our grammar school curriculum serves families or schools with scholars in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Liberal Arts + Catechesis = Classical Lutheran Education
Classical Lutheran education is directed toward citizenship in two kingdoms. As such, there are two key elements to this education: catechesis—to stay alive in the battle against the devil, the world, and our sinful nature—and the liberal arts—to be of some earthly good to our neighbor. A classical Lutheran education preaches truth to souls and cultivates minds. It is truly an education from conception to grave and is an education for all people.
In catechesis, scholars are properly equipped to live the life of faith as citizens of the heavenly kingdom. This side of heaven, we are members of the church militant. We have been given weapons in this grave and vital battle: the Bible, the hymnal, the Catechisms, and the Confessions. We fight the good fight of faith knowing the ultimate battle of life has already been won for us, for in these weapons we hear the saving gospel of Christ crucified, risen, and ascended.
THE SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS
The Liberal Arts cultivate a love of truth by educating scholars to think well. In other words, the Liberal Arts help scholars to distinguish God’s voice from the devil’s. The classical Liberal Arts are conceptualized as the Trivium (the three arts of language) and the Quadrivium (the four arts of number). Together, the Trivium and the Quadrivium shape scholars to be free-thinking, to be good stewards of God’s creation, and to help their earthly neighbors. The seven Liberal Arts also serve to prepare scholars for the study of natural and moral philosophy as well as theology.
THE TRIVIUM: THE THREE ARTS OF LANGUAGE
The aim of the three arts of language is to clearly articulate and communicate truth. Scholars of the trivium learn to write well and speak effectively.
Grammar: Grammar is the foundation of language. It is not only the study of correct language basics, but also the “what” upon which everything else is built. We learn the language of the Church through our liturgy and hymnody. Memorizing facts testifies that there is Truth.
Logic: Logic teaches the appropriate analysis of language. It is the “why” used in analytical thinking, discernment, and argumentation. With Logic, the case is made for sense as opposed to nonsense.
Rhetoric: Rhetoric fosters the correct use of language. God has chosen language to accomplish His saving work in us. It only stands to reason, then, that proper use of language is a vital skill. Rhetoric is the “how” of the Trivium, as it teaches proper use of language that correctly signifies, identifies, and conceptualizes that which has come before, but in a new way.
THE QUADRIVIUM: THE FOUR ARTS OF MATHEMATICS
Built on the Trivium, the aim of the Quadrivium is to discern the order found in God’s created world. Scholars of the four arts of mathematics learn to observe harmonies, ratios, and patterns in nature. Such observations instill a sense of wonder and appropriately shape the imagination.
Arithmetic: Arithmetic is the study of number. Scholars develop an appreciation for numbers, assimilate mathematics as a language, and learn to think abstractly. Arithmetic is a necessary foundation for further study of the mathematical arts.
Geometry: Geometry teaches about number in space. Scholars apply the language of mathematics in two and three dimensions to form a right view of physical creation. Geometry promotes a healthy and active imagination that can visualize physical ratios, orders, and patterns.
Music: Music is the mathematical art of number in time. Music attunes the ear to hear organization, order, and harmony rooted in the language of mathematics. A well-tuned ear leads the mind to recognize euphony and resolve dissonance, cultivating an objective appreciation of beauty, goodness, and truth. As Martin Luther puts it, “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music.”
Astronomy: Astronomy trains scholars to apply number in both time and space. Astronomy applies the language of mathematics on a celestial scale, revealing God’s order in and care for things beyond human control such as planetary orbits, lunar phases, and the cyclical seasons. Such lofty study certainly sparks reverent wonder, as the Psalmist remarks, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:3–5).
While an education is valuable in and of itself, there are certain benefits to online learning that are worth noting.
The goal of a classical Lutheran education is, in so few words, to educate children for life in this world and the next: catechesis to stay alive, liberal arts to be of some earthly good: the Liberal Arts plus catechesis for the benefit of Church and Society.
In Luther’s day, the printing press aided the Reformers in disseminating Truth to the masses. Yet, the printing press was not the only tool. The context of the Reformation also included a majority of people who were illiterate or semi-literate. The printing press was still of benefit, however, as it provided written materials to readers and preachers.
In our day, the Internet serves as a tool to disseminate Truth to the masses. Just as the printing press only indirectly benefitted everyone due to illiteracy, so also, does the Internet benefit everyone, even if indirectly. Thanks to the Digital Age, we have direct access to resources never before accessible to the layman outside of brick and mortar archives. These resources allow teachers and scholars of all ages alike to read, mark, and inwardly digest original sources, rich literature, and the languages of the Church. Regardless of geography, scholars have access to unabashedly Lutheran education at all ages. A teacher in one location can teach a class made up of scholars from various locales around the world.
At Wittenberg Academy, we pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful because we value those things which endure. In keeping with this philosophy, we highly recommend that scholars use printed books and readings as much as possible. Our instructors supply information so that families may purchase necessary books or print off copies of readings. At the same time, we recognize the financial sacrifices that many families already make to provide an excellent education for their children. For this reason, we also offer options for using web or other electronic copies of readings, most of which are available free of charge. Since the choice to use print, electronic, or combined means for readings will not limit a scholar’s participation in classes, each family may utilize the option deemed best-suited for them.
A teacher in one location teaching scholars around the world also affords economic benefits that can be enjoyed by families. Likewise, not having a brick and mortar location yields fiscal advantages. An online education is abstemious. Yet, the resources available at little or no cost are, in most cases, priceless. Technology also allows scholars that would otherwise have no access to certain resources due to geography or financial limitations to partake in their benefit.
Not all economic benefits are fiscal, however. We hear the phrase “time is money” and such is the case with online education. Online education is expedient. Scholars can work on assignments when they desire, yet they have the accountability of due-dates.
But where the Holy Scriptures are not the rule, I advise no one to send his child. Everything must perish where God’s Word is not studied unceasingly…”
Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520
Why Wittenberg Academy?
The way we teach and what we teach are influenced by three things:
Each teacher and scholar is a sinner in need of salvation. We receive salvation through faith, which comes by the Holy Spirit in the waters of Holy Baptism.
Teachers and scholars are called by God to love and serve their neighbor. Through vocation we understand the purpose of man and thus our purpose for educating- to prepare scholars to love and serve their neighbor.
Through catechesis, teachers and scholars learn who they are—forgiven sinners—and how to live in the faith of their baptism as they love and serve their neighbor.