Sacred Journey Academy is more than biblically based curriculum. It is more than classics of literature, or long-time proven teaching strategies, or cutting edge pedagogy flowing from modern research. We embrace all of these, but these alone do not capture the core of Sacred Journey Academy.
At its core, Sacred Journey is a culture. It is a set of core values and principles that teachers and staff collectively and firmly believe – and students come to believe. Our foundation is that students are image-bearers of God, and therefore have great potential (Psalms 8:4-8).
In contrast to notions of “moralistic therapeutic deism” vaguely held by many, we firmly believe that God is actively working in the world today (John 5:17). Partnering with God and properly prepared, we believe Sacred Journey students can and will do much to serve and lead in our increasingly uncertain world (Matthew 9:37).
To understand our culture, start with our values which are based on the Word of God. Society norms may change but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
As educators, we know that no external strategy, methodology or curriculum can motivate young people more than they can motivate themselves – when the right kind of nurturing educational environment is in place.
Educational research shows that fear, shame, anger, and anxiety all repress student learning (and overall human functioning). And God knows this. From antiquity, the Bible addresses fear and anxiety over 500 times! And hundreds of times God’s Living Word invites all Christ-followers to live in PEACE. Note, Jesus admonitions to PEACE even in the most unimaginable circumstances, such as his own crucifixion and resurrection (John 20:19).
For over a thousand years, the Christian church primarily believed that Jesus’ death and resurrection liberated all mankind from bondage to sin, death, and the devil. (Colossian 2:15, John 12:31-32). This, in addition to God’s atoning work through the cross (1 John 2:2), lays the foundation for living, learning, and loving in a community of FREEDOM:
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (2 Peter 2:16)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
What does this freedom look like? It is freedom to learn unencumbered by the sins and cares of this world that so easily entangle and immobilize us (Hebrews 12:1). It is freedom to learn with higher purpose – as God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9) empowered by His Grace (Ephesians 2:10).
Christian education based on this freedom does not imply a lack of structure, rather it is a different kind of structure.
All academic areas are taught, using biblically-integrated and proven curriculum from Sonlight (English, Social Science), Apologia (Science), and Math U See (Math). We recognize the need for phonics-based reading instruction, and the overall program will be reading-intensive.
However, Sacred Journey’s educational culture breaks with more traditional approaches in at least eight key ways:
We begin each day with a full 30 minutes of worship, or longer as the Holy Spirit leads. Each day, “soaking” worship is a powerful way to bring alive God’s Word (Colossians 3:16) and God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, John 4:34), and helps students be in a place of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and praise (Hebrews 13:15) throughout their day. During this time, students and teachers pray for each other, and Biblical truths are shared. Students learn how to minister with their unique spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12).
Sacred Journey Academy will be a house of worship, reflecting the beautiful legacy of the Judeo-Christian faith for over 3,000 years (e.g. Psalm 150, 66:4, 34:3, 33:8, 104:33)
The usual academic program is taught Monday through Thursday, with Fridays reserved for project-based learning, field trips, service opportunities or mission projects. The goal is to activate and put into practice what is learned throughout the week.
We want our students engaged with their families, not distanced from them due to homework requirements. If students are doing something related to Sacred Journey Academy outside of school hours, it is because they want to go deeper into an interest or passion. We are currently assessing what sports and extracurriculars Sacred Journey will offer. We see value in teamwork, personal growth, leadership skill development. On the other hand, many thoughtful critiques review the reality that sports are becoming idols and take away from the family unit and church family.
Occasionally students who are not managing their time well at school will be forced to bring work home (just like the “real world” of work.)
As much as possible, grading decisions will be based on a student’s ability to apply lessons to new situations, which is the real life test. Project-based learning does this best; other grading possibilities are written materials and focused conversations with students. Traditional testing is limited to subjects where it can be best applied – Math and English.
In fact, traditional testing does not add to the learning process very much at all, it simply assesses learning at a point in time. For retention of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, deeper learning is far superior to broad “inch deep” learning.
Sonlight curriculum is widely renown for its “classic literature” approach to children and young adult literature. Leaders are readers, and the key goal of our program is that students learn to love to read. In reading, phonics-based and word attack skills are clearly necessary – and will be taught. But more importantly, we want great ideas to come alive in the minds and hearts of our students. Great books and stories are powerful learning tools for children (and adults) of any age. Our prayer is that the love of reading will naturally flow into a love and hunger for the word of God as well.
While more than fulfilling the requirements for United States and Minnesota history and civics requirements, Sonlight is notable for its world-centered themes and focuses. Our students have a much broader understanding of God’s entire creation, and the many ethne (people groups) that live in it. We are raising up World Christians.
All of our instruction and curriculum is biblically integrated. For God’s word is to be alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), it is wise to follow where the Holy Spirit is leading. All teachers will have daily lesson plans in all curricular areas. Yet these can and will change from time to time, as the Holy Spirit moves among us. Worship could go long, important dialogues continuing, or times of ministry extended as God leads.
Consistent with the worldview of our Savior, and the entire Hebrew Old Testament, learning and doing naturally go together. If you know something, of course you do it! Throughout our school days, with particular emphasis on Fridays, the focus is on practical skills and spiritual nourishment.
As modern educators, we are preparing many if not most of our students for jobs that currently do not even exist. Bedrock Christian character (e.g. Conscientious, hard work, integrity) will always be in style. (In fact, Tim Elmore argues that character is replacing “thought leadership” as the #1 factor that attracts top talent.)
For the same reason, we prioritize so called “21st Century skills” such as written and oral communication, working in or leading teams, creativity, love of learning, time management – any skill that will always be needed on the job, whatever job that may be. We firmly believe that: CHARACTER + SKILLS = SUCCESS
We are looking for parents, teachers, donors, and volunteers to make Sacred Journey Academy a reality. Fill out this form and we will call you with next steps.