Sundial Classical Farmstead (SCF) is a Michigan Nonprofit Corporation organized in 2022 with a directorship governance model according to Michigan's Nonprofit Corporation Act 162 of 1982. It was organized to provide community education programs in Common Arts and Trades and supplemental instruction for homeschooling families through a Classical Liberal Arts Program.
To form virtuous people: savoring beauty, cultivating gifts, pursuing knowledge, loving wisdom, practicing hospitality, and seeking Truth.
SCF aims to form people, both children and adults, who grow to appreciate and savor beautiful things everywhere but especially in nature and the fine arts. People whose natural gifts are cultivated into life-giving skills through the common and performing arts. People who have acquired the lasting knowledge of human civilization as it has been passed down by our ancestors across cultures becoming participants in the Great Conversation. People who grow to understand and love the wisdom necessary for a virtuous life as found in the Christian Scriptures and Great Books. People who practice hospitality in community with their neighbors. People who will always seek after Truth in all things.
Why a Sundial?
First, our program values creating a place where students live with nature. Second, we value teaching that observation, reasoning, and creativity are key components of learning. Third, we wanted to design an accessible program for everyone. When considering these values the image of a sundial came to mind–designed by thinkers who observed events in nature and created a way to display time for everyone to access.
The purpose of Sundial Classical Farmstead is to operate Classical Education Programs in the Liberal Arts, Fine & Performing Arts, Practical Arts, and the Sciences.
CLASSICAL EDUCATION is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts and the four sciences. Historically, classical education has followed two streams that frequently flow together:
- The Rhetorical, in which teachers guide their students to contemplate great texts and works of art, believing that such contemplation will enable them to grow in wisdom and virtue
- The Philosophical, in which teachers guide their students through analysis of ideas via Socratic dialogue, believing that insight into the heart of things will enable students to grow in wisdom and virtue.
These two emphases, which have often been in conflict historically but are not mutually exclusive, gave rise to two modes of instruction: the Mimetic and the Socratic.
(source: Circe Institute)
Sundial Classical Farmstead (SCF) is a religious program. The Latin word legare means “to bind”. It is where the word ‘ligament’ comes from; the connotation is to connect or join. The prefix re- means to do again; adding it to legare creates the word religare, which now can be understood to mean “to bind fast” or “to bind together again” and will eventually become the word ‘religion’ in modern English. Interestingly, adding the prefix neg- to legare creates the Latin word neglegere which means “to make light of, disregard, be indifferent to, not heed”. It is where we get the term ‘negligent’. In this sense, religion means the opposite of neglect. In the context of our farmstead, it means we are a community that is bound together in its commitment to caring for and educating children in virtue with a holistic approach to form the character of the whole person: body, mind and soul.
Like culture, religion is a complex and nuanced phenomenon deeply integrated with human life and we believe that the Christian religion can help heal both the modern disconnect between soul and body and the division of the soul itself, wherein modern schooling focuses solely on the education of the mind while neglecting the cultivation of the heart and the will. And for this reason, we consider Christianity a vital element to the teaching of virtue that we thoughtfully weave, both in quality and measure, into the fabric of daily academic and spiritual life. We do this in a manner that is sensitive to both our Christian and non-Christian/non-religious families. For more information, refer to FAQ Questions 6-8.
For Christian families who want to supplement the instruction and formation their children receive at home or church, SCF will offer optional Christian Studies classes where students will go deeper into the riches of the Christian Scriptures, Theology, Spirituality, and Tradition. For more information, refer to FAQ Questions 9 and 10.
Statement of Faith & Ethics
Sundial Classical Farmstead (SCF) is rooted in the Western Tradition, arising out of Greco-Roman culture and the "Abrahamic" religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) of the Ancient Near East. And it is founded on the historic and universal Christian faith as described in the Nicene Creed which serves as a faithful summary of Christianity accepted by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians and of the necessity of Christian unity and love in the bond of peace as expressed in the letter to the Ephesians chapter 4 verses 1-6. Additionally, SCF fully affirms the ACCS Statement on Ethnic Harmony regarding the proper Christian view on contemporary political and social issues.
Confession of religious belief and complete agreement with SCF's ethical principles are not necessarily required for enrollment or employment at Sundial Classical Farmstead. However, it is expected of all students and staff that an education through SCF’s programs will involve: (1) exposure to historical and classical Christian and non-Christian content and (2) conduct consistent with historic Christian ethics.
Philosophy of Neutrality
Sundial Classical Farmstead intentionally maintains a philosophy of neutrality on all religious, social, and political issues beyond the founding principles as articulated in the Mission, Purpose, Vision, and Statement of Faith & Ethics. It will not engage in activism even on issues it agrees with. As an institution it does not endorse or condemn any religious actions, social movements, or political candidates. This philosophy is codified in a Neutrality Policy which all parents and staff must sign.
Nondiscrimination Policy: Sundial Classical Farmstead does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, or sex in the administration of its admissions, scholarships, hiring or other organization-directed policies.