Florilegium Reading Program

The word “Florilegium” is a composite word from the Latin “flos” meaning “flower” and “legere” meaning “to gather.” In the medieval period, the word florilegium was used primarily in two ways. The Florilegium was a book of botanical illustrations or a literary anthology.

In the medieval period, books were expensive and difficult to come by. A reader who had limited access to a text he did not own might copy fine extracts from the work to preserve them for himself after the book departed for another reader. In both cases, botanical and literary, the florilegium was a carefully curated collection of beautiful things.

At St. Francis Classical, we make use of the term for our reading program. Our students will collect, not illustrations of flowers or literary excerpts, but beautiful books and summaries of those books. This program is designed to draw students into the Great Conversation by encouraging them to develop the habit of perpetually reading beautiful books and communicating with others about them.

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

A Common reaction to Wendell Berry:
What then are we to do? We cannot go back to small town America in the mid 20th century.

Can’t we?
I should like every term in that proposition defined. Does “Go back” mean a retrogression in time, or the revision of an error? The first is clearly impossible per se; the second is a thing which wise men do every day. “Cannot” –does this mean that our behavior is determined by some irreversible cosmic mechanism, or merely that such an action would be very difficult in view of the opposition it would provoke? The 21st century obviously is not and cannot be the 20th or the 14th, but if “small town America in the mid 20th century” is, in this context, a picturesque phrase denoting particular communal and agricultural theories, there seems to be no a priori reason why we should not “go back” to it – with modifications.

(Modified from a section of Sayers’ “Lost Tools”)

Inaugural Cross Country Season!

Inaugural Cross Country Season!

Come run cross country with St. Francis Classical Academy this Fall!

Our team will be training to compete in the Panhandle Christian Conference at the end of October. Runners (St. Francis and local homeschoolers) from grades 6-12 are welcome. All runners must commit to running at least 2 team runs per week. Our racing season begins in August and runs through October. We are hosting summer training runs in Pensacola beginning July 13th (Tuesday) in East Hill. Expect 7-13 miles/week in the summer and 15-30 miles/week in-season.

If you would like more information, email us at stfrancisclassical@gmail.com.

The Theorist

The Theorist

“Idealism is only considering everything in its practical essence. Idealism only means that we should […] ask if an egg is good enough for practical poultry-rearing before we decide that the egg is bad enough for practical politics. But I know that this primary pursuit of the theory (which is but pursuit of the aim) exposes one to the cheap charge of fiddling while Rome is burning. A school, of which Lord Rosebery is representative, has endeavored to substitute for the moral or social ideals which have hitherto been the motive of politics a general coherency or completeness in the social system which has gained the nick-name of “efficiency.” I am not very certain of the secret doctrine of this sect in the matter. But, as far as I can make out, “efficiency” means that we ought to discover everything about a machine except what it is for. There has arisen in our time a most singular fancy: the fancy that when things go very wrong we need a practical man. It would be far truer to say, that when things go very wrong we need an unpractical man. Certainly, at least, we need a theorist. A practical man means a man accustomed to mere daily practice, to the way things commonly work. When things will not work, you must have the thinker, the man who has some doctrine about why they work at all. It is wrong to fiddle while Rome is burning; but it is quite right to study the theory of hydraulics while Rome is burning.

It is then necessary to drop one’s daily agnosticism and attempt rerum cognoscere causas. If your aeroplane has a slight indisposition, a handy man may mend it. But, if it is seriously ill, it is all the more likely that some absent-minded old professor with wild white hair will have to be dragged out of a college or laboratory to analyze the evil. The more complicated the smash, the whiter-haired and more absent-minded will be the theorist who is needed to deal with it; and in some extreme cases, no one but the man (probably insane) who invented your flying-ship could possibly say what was the matter with it.”

-G.K. Chesterton

Informational Open House

Informational Open House

We’re hosting another informational open house on Friday, July 2nd at 7pm at our home.
We’ll provide hors d’oeuvres and wine and answer your questions about St. Francis Classical Academy!
Childcare will be provided.

Feel free to contact us for directions or more information.

– Bobby McGee

What is classical education?

What is Classical Education?

St. Francis Classical Academy is an ecumenical Christian school, meaning that we enroll families from many denominations to participate in the work of classically educating their children. Our school is safe, our students laugh and are happy, we memorize the scriptures, and we sing and pray together. But, because we are a classical school, we are philosophically and ideologically different from any other Christian, public, or preparatory school in the Southeast. We’re different because classical education isn’t pragmatic. It’s not primarily about useful things. It’s about beautiful things. 

Our students read the classics and memorize scripture and poetry. They recite, sing, write, debate, and act. 3rd graders study ancient Greek and Roman art and literature, 6th graders read Shakespeare and Sophocles, 12th graders read Virgil in Latin, upper school students delve into theology, political philosophy, and economics and read Augustine, Smith, Plato, and Burke. 

Classical students graduate with the ability to answer questions like: What opera is best? Do you prefer the paintings of the renaissance or baroque period? Who is your favorite historian? They are taught to interpret all of their experiences and loves in light of their loves of the greatest things. 

Our final aim is not good test scores, though many students certainly achieve those. Our aim is to graduate able Christian citizens, linguists, philosophers, historians, political theorists, and theologians — free men and women who will go out to wage cosmic war on rulers, principalities, and the powers of darkness. 

If this kind of education appeals to you, we’d love for you to join us at St. Francis Classical. You can find an application on our website. We’re currently enrolling for face to face instruction for the 2021 school year. 

What kind of people will your children become?

What kind of people will your children become?

The father of a family who recently applied wrote the following in answer to an application question:

I desire to raise children who love their souls more than their bodies, who love others’s souls more than their own, who love and fear God and His divinely-appointed authorities, including and especially the generations of wise fathers in the City of God and City of Man who council them from the past. St. Francis will help me toward this end by feeding my children dead languages; feeding them dead men’s stories, philosophy, music, poetry, art, and more; for out of these dead things God brings new life to each generation.

Why Start a School?

Why Start a School?

The good school does not just offer what the student or the parent or the state desires, but it says something about what these three ought to desire. A school is fundamentally a normative, not a utilitarian, institution, governed by the wise, not by the many. It judges man as an end, not as a means; it cultivates the human spirit by presenting a complete vision of man as he lives and as he ought to live in all his domains – the individual, the social, and the religious. It teaches the student how to fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow man, and to God and His creation. Its understanding of man, therefore, is prescriptive – and its curriculum and organization allegorize the scope, the sequence, and the vision that all men must recognize and accept as fundamental if they hope to grow to their full human stature.

The need for a prescriptive understanding of man suggests that we make a retrospective beginning. The rebirth of the old is not incommensurate with the new. “For century after century, almost without interruption,” wrote Ortega y Gasset (1975), “whenever European culture needed an ideal, it always found it in the culture of Greece. Remember that what is innermost in a culture, most productive, the force that fashions it and drives everything else is a repertoire of longing, norms, of desiderata – in short, its ideal.”

During the Italian Renaissance, the rediscovery of Greece’s longings and norms, of its Ideal Type, was accompanied by vast social changes and brilliant new discoveries, as well as by a renewed sense of human worth and potential. Classical education refreshes itself at cisterns of learning dug long ago, drawing from springs too deep for taint the strength to turn our cultural retreat into advance.

– David Hicks, Norms and Nobility