As a classical school, Sundial believes modern education puts too narrow of an emphasis on only one area of development: the intellect. We believe that, to paraphrase Charlotte Mason, children are whole persons who should be educated in a rich environment that gives equal importance to the development of the arts and practical skills alongside academic instruction.
Friday Agriculture and Tradeskills Program
The Friday Agriculture and Tradeskills program is completely unlike anything else in the Lansing area. It teaches children as young as five years old via the apprenticeship model. Children are not just pretending to garden, they are genuinely working alongside an expert to learn practical skills as children once learned them - at an adult’s side from the time they could walk and talk.
Many different terms are used to describe this type of content: Life Skills, Practical Skills, Common Arts, Servile Arts, Tradecraft, Craftsmanship, etc. Sundial Classical Farmstead prefers the term, ‘Common Arts’ as we see them as equal in importance to the Liberal Arts and Fine & Performing Arts. Furthermore, we see ‘skills’ and ‘arts’ as interchangeable terms because, as CiRCE states: “When a person learns an art, he directs his attention to learning a skill.” We also like the term ‘common’ with the connotation that these skills meet needs that are common to all people, that is, the need for food, clothing, shelter, and community.
Whether a student is headed to the Ivy League or a trade school we believe all well-rounded adults should have real knowledge of the labor and materials that go into meeting basic human needs. If, for example, one day they need the foundation on their house repaired, having a basic understanding of how stone masonry is constructed will allow them to evaluate quotes from repairmen knowledgeably.