May Newsletter

A letter from Mr. Ririe:

Spring is always a particularly rushed affair. It’s the semester that has always, in my memories at least, flown by the fastest. For the students, it’s the semester with big projects and deadlines: thesis papers, aesthetics projects, dissections, and history debates. For parents, it’s the semester to plan for next year while still trying to survive the current one. For the teachers, it’s as busy for us as the students.

Two things come to mind when thinking of spring and BCA. The first is the importance of friendship. We have hosted several potential future students in the last weeks and one thing has stood out to these guests. They have noticed the bonds between BCA kids. When seeing the eagerness with which students greet one another in the morning, or hearing giggles and guffaws as they entertain one another in between classes with magic tricks and hijinks, or witnessing their lunchtime pass times such as Zac, Josh, Noah W., and Jason walking around outside pretending to be …. well, zombies or something (I never quite understand what they’re up to), it’s easy to see why outsiders would be interested in being a part of our unique community.

Friendship is a cornerstone to any good community, and friendship is built on mutual admiration and respect. However, friendship must be built on good and stable foundations. It cannot be simply for utility or pleasure, but genuine care. As Aristotle notes in his Nicomachean Ethics:

Perfect friendship is the friendship of persons who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other [insofar as they are] good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing… Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such persons. 

Aristotle considers friendship at its highest when both parties desire what is truly good. It is partly for this reason that we are called upon to contemplate upon the True, Good, and Beautiful in community and fellowship with one another. In pursuing these with one another it is possible to become great friends with one another.

Now I will come to the second thing that has come to mind this busy spring. That is the need for nature and solitary contemplation.

Luke 5:15-16 states, “But now even more the report about [Jesus] went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (ESV)

Even Jesus had need to withdraw to solitary places and pray to God. With a spring as beautiful as the one in Boise, it is good to find time to be out in nature in divine contemplation and prayer. According to Emerson in his treatise On Nature:

To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

For myself I know that a long walk, hike or bike ride outdoors without distractions can do nearly as much as a good nights’ sleep for my soul. So, as this bustling spring-semester draws to a close and summer begins, students, parents, and teachers alike can count our blessings. We can do this by rejoicing both in the company of our friends and perhaps in the solitary refuge of an afternoon outdoors, lost in thought, enjoying the beauty of creation.

The Spring Classroom:

Latin

Latin I students are tackling person agreement on verbs at the moment — a tricky concept for an English speaker to master.  To aid them we played a ball game which involved throwing a ball back and forth with person endings taped to their chests. Each student had to say the person endings of whichever person they threw it to plus translate it into English. Both classes watched a Doctor Who episode called “The Fires of Pompeii.” They discovered the true fates of Caccillius and his family, and witnessed the epic destruction of Pompeii.

Spanish

Students took oral exams, which showed how well their conversational Spanish has come along.  They are preparing for their final skits of the year as well as “playing teacher” to show what they remember from each chapter.

Math

Algebra 2 students have been covering graphing, circles, ellipses, and hyperbolas, and discovering the potential for some cool physics applications.

In Geometry, students have been making compass art, a few of which turned out especially awesome.  They have also been covering sequences and series.

Biology

Students have been giving presentations on adaption.  They have vastly improved since the last round of presentations, particularly in their clarity and in the quality of the questions they ask.  A highlight presentation taught the class about predatory animals.

Economics

The class has moved out of the mechanics of economics and are now studying the likes of Bastiat, Rousseau, and other to understand the effects of political thought on the economy. 

Literature

The 9th graders discussed the role of duty and fate in our lives, made their own shields, and finished with a skit telling the story of Aeneas and his men — as the Chicago mafia.

The 10th graders have been working on a mural to portray part of the Aeneid.  It’s been…. interesting. 

In addition to finishing up the Aeneid, the upper classmen have been completing their thesis papers, focusing especially on learning how to develop counterarguments.

Rhetoric

The students are finishing their thesis papers and are getting ready for their defenses.  This is coinciding well with a unit on debate, which has included lessons on signposting and framing, class debates on topics such as “Does technology make us more alone?” and a new game called, The Contender.

Foundations

Students just finished the 7 Great Men and Women series, learning about some of the greatest Christian men and women who lived their lives in service of God.  They completed a timeline of the people they studied, along with their own personal heroes. 

History

Nearing the end of an epic unit on the Roman Empire, students are giving presentations on topics ranging from gladiators to Hadrian’s Wall.  The sanctuary is always quiet with attentive listening as the students hold each other captive with their dynamic presentations — until the quiet is inevitably broken by a shout of laughter.  The kids love laughing together!

Physics

Two experiments have been performed with great success recently.  The students made pocket rockets, vying for strategic prowess in constructing miniature matchbox rockets with a partner and pitting them against each other.  They also put chilled water on display and demonstrated the cohesive nature of water, and how it relates to the nature of electricity and currents. 

Aesthetics

Students have been going through mini-unit overviews of various art forms, learning the theory, history, and practicing application.   Recent forms include painting (crash course in watercoloring still-life apples), music (complete with a jam session) and architecture (ending with a field trip downtown to practice sketching from 2 point perspective).  This week is dance, and next is food! 

Ask Abby...

*Dear Abby, What does the fox say? Also, what causes plot holes to form?

I have already answered the first questions. Plot holes form when the creators don't care about the details anymore and refuse to hire a decent editor. This often happens once this thing has begun to grow in popularity and profit becomes the highest priority. It also occurs when new people take over and don't understand the original creators' plan or dream. #thebookwasbetter #sequalssuck #qualityvsquantity

Dear Abby, What sound does the Jabberwock make?

Jabberwocks howl and growl.

Dear Abby, How old is the Russian Empire? Also, how many rubles are in a dollar?

The Russian Empire was founded in 1721 and was dissolved by a revolution in 1917. 1 Russian Ruble has the same value as 0.018 US Dollars. Another way of putting it is, 1 US Dollar has the same value as 56.18 Russian Rubles.

*Dear Abby, How do you pet a bunny?

I have an easy 5-step program for this. Step 1: Bring yourself down to the bunny's level. Step 2: Hold out your clean hands for the bunny to sniff. Do this until you and the bunny are acquainted. Step 3: Start by stroking the bunny's back, moving from the neck to the tail. Repeat until the bunny is comfortable. Step 4: Extend your strokes from between the ears to the tail, giving a gentle rub/scratch behind the ears when in that region. Step 5: End with a couple pats on the rump/tail-
region.

*Dear Abby, How can I actually fall asleep at night?

You've come to the right person. I did a study on this, so I'll go ahead and list things that might help you. 1) Give up soda and/or coffee. 2) Exercise during the day. 3) Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. 4) Clean your room. 5) Try sleeping on the floor. 6) Turn off every light. 7) Write and/or read before bed. 8) Give up bedtime snacks and/or drinks. 9) Leave your window open or turn on a fan. 10) Don't get on your laptop, phone, etc. before bed. If none of these help, talk to your doctor about your insomnia and consider taking sleeping pills or therapy. Hope this helps!