The Fourth ‘R’“His parents know that the first step in intimacy is recognition; and they will measure his education, not solely by his progress in the ‘three R’s,’ but by the number of living and growing things he knows by look, name, and habitat.” (Charlotte Mason)
The traditional model of schooling celebrates the three “Rs”: reading, writing, and ‘rithemetic. All three are real skills, but all three are also fundamental tools for learning everything else. They are more than the grammar of letter and number, of reading and math; they are the grammar of our world. But perhaps we should add a fourth R, following the educational innovator Charlotte Mason: recognition. Recognition can be cultivated by education, and it is in some ways proof that education is happening at all.
It’s also a key element of classical education. As our world increasingly embraces the immediate, we stand up and shout with the angels: “Behold!” It’s a call to recognize, to take notice, to pay attention. And that’s what our teachers do in Oak Hill’s classrooms. They introduce students to letters and sounds and words and numbers, yes. But they also present them with questions and metaphors and idioms that will be crucial tools for recognizing God’s story and His hand, enabling them to make sense of their world and their place in it. All these things together help to make them better worshipers of God, so that when they see Him, they will not gasp but laugh in recognition of all He is and has done.