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Michigan Schools Closed Through End of Year

April 2nd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

By executive order, all Michigan K-12 schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 year. While this news had been expected for days, the governor’s announcement yesterday was still hard to hear. All previously scheduled events have been removed from our school calendars, though planned holiday breaks will still be observed.

While we rightfully grieve the loss of the many good things we hoped to see and do this spring at school, we look forward to continuing our online classes and finding creative ways to learn together and even play together. Keep watching for newsletters and updates.


April Virtue Focus – PERSEVERANCE

April 2nd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

While we do not leave the virtue of compassion behind, our virtue focus for the month of April is PERSEVERANCE. We could not have anticipated how much we would need this virtue right now. Click here for the home poster with suggested readings and “Try This” ideas. We hope you’ll talk and pray together as a family about how to persevere with God’s help during these challenging times.

Recommended readings* to read and discuss together:

Grades K-4:
The Little Steam Engine (530)
The Tortoise and the Hare (529)
The Crow and the Pitcher (532)
You Mustn’t Quit (536)

Grades 5-8:
Intro to Perseverance (527)
Carry On! (541)
We Shall Fight in the Fields…(569)
I Have a Dream (572)

*Readings can be found in The Book of Virtues, ed. William J. Bennett. Copies can be found on Amazon Smile.

“Try This” ideas for families:

One: God’s word helps us to persevere. As a family, memorize the verses on the front of this sheet or other Scripture throughout the month.

Two: Set some goals to begin working on this month. Write out the steps needed to meet them and hang them somewhere where you will see them regularly.

Three: Talk together as a family. Was there a time when you wanted to quit something but didn’t give up. What was the result? Has someone taught you how to persevere? What things do you find especially hard to persevere in? What advice would you give someone who is struggling to persevere?

Four: Explore the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition of 1914-1916 in the ship Endurance. Shackleton was said to have placed this ad in a London Newspaper: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.” There are many kid-friendly websites and videos families can access together to learn about this amazing journey of perseverance.


Michigan Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

With the governor’s executive order to stay at home taking effect at midnight, we are cancelling the materials pick-up that had been planned for Tuesday and Wednesday. Instead, materials were mailed home today (Monday, March 23). Please be looking for those packets this week.

The school office is now closed until the restrictions are lifted and we may safely return to daily operations. Classroom questions may be directed to teachers. You may continue to email the office with administrative concerns or technical support issues. We will be checking email and voicemail from 8:00 to noon, Monday through Friday. Please note that we might not be able to respond immediately to your call or email.


Virtual Classrooms Are Up and Running

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

It has been remarkable to see how we’ve moved to online classrooms in just a matter of days! We are all still learning, so please check in with the your classroom teacher(s) if you have questions. Thank you for your continued partnership – and your patience – during this challenging time.

We are grateful for the technology that allows us to continue our Christian classical education, and it has been encouraging to see the students’ excitement (even amidst occasional frustration) at the opportunity to chat and video conference with their friends and teachers.


Spring Break – April 6-10 (with Half Day on April 3)

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

All Michigan K-12 schools are closed until April 5. Regardless of what officials decide about closures after that time, we will still be observing Spring Break the week of April 6-10 and the afternoon of Friday, April 3.


Separated but Still Praying Together

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

The Morning Prayer readings (Psalms and New Testament/Epistles) are now available. We encourage you to follow along and build a time of prayer into your daily routine at home.


March Virtue Focus – COMPASSION

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

As we continue to focus on COMPASSION this month, let’s look for ways to show care for others in our own home and for those at a distance. Make a prayer list, send a toy or book to a young child, or send a letter to an elderly member of your congregation. Consider calling a nursing home or retirement village to see if they would like pen-pals (email-pals?) for their residents who are unable to receive visitors now.

Our God is a God of compassion. May we faithfully follow Him!


CCE Corner – “Learning in Wartime” by C.S. Lewis

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

Our previous CCEC was about managing fear, frustration, and failure in school. In the short time since then, the Coronavirus has us all facing new frustrations and fears. But, as we see in C.S. Lewis’s sermon, “Learning in Wartime,” these are not really new. You can read his sermon here. If you prefer a shorter commentary of the sermon’s main points, read this. Lewis’s words, rooted in Scripture, encourage us to live our daily lives as best we can. In our next CCE Corner, we’ll return to our scheduled lesson and talk about the importance of friendship in this time of separation.


Protect Young Eyes (PYE) Resources

March 23rd, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

We would like to provide some follow-up to our Protect Young Eyes event with founder Chris McKenna last semester. We were encouraged by the turnout! We hope this event was not just a one-time presentation but part of a transformation and ongoing discussion. Next week we will send links to refresher videos and reminders for how to stay connected to PYE. With more school children online right now because of the school closures, digital awareness and security are all the more important.


Words of Encouragement

March 17th, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

As we navigate these strange times together, we want to assure you of our prayers and encourage you in your efforts to adjust to a new normal. While there is some irony in our intentionally low-tech school going online, our teachers are working hard to continue to partner with you to care for your children’s minds, bodies, and spirits. We are praying for patience, peace, and wisdom, and for all to be able to establish good routines including time for schoolwork, reading, chores, indoor and outdoor play, and individual and family devotions.

We are praying especially for those on whom the COVID-19 crisis has placed heavier burdens. If you would like to be part of our Prayer Team or have any requests or praises you would like the team to bring to our Lord, please contact Mrs. Poortenga. It has been our practice since the founding of the school to meet in daily Morning Prayer, including a Psalm and other Scripture. We hope that you will continue in this practice together in your homes. While our minds are so easily filled with concerns, let us take comfort together in God’s Word.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging….”Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27

May the peace of the Lord be with you.