Restoring Wonder to Education: Why My Kids Love BCA

Feb 28, 2024

by Noelle Nugent

I was walking through the Bonner County Fair in 2022 with my family when I spotted the sign emblazoned with a gryphon, and it stopped me in my tracks. Just reading the words “Bonner Classical Academy” filled me with excitement—and relief. My husband and I had been puzzling over the big question of how best to educate our kids, and BCA’s launch felt like providence: the school speaks to each of our highest priorities for our children’s education.

Most important to us is the way BCA intertwines faith and learning. Our daughters had already begun to question the separation between school and church. It seemed strange to them that no one at their school ever talked about God, and the more they come to know Jesus the more they want to share that with their peers. I could see that it would be unworkable for their school to focus solely on skills and academics, while leaving to the side questions about virtue, goodness, and the spiritual life.

Second, I had been following the classical education movement now gaining steam nationwide, and its mission resonates. My own schooling prioritized all things contemporary and looked skeptically at tradition, especially Western tradition. Now BCA is reclaiming some of the enduring wisdom that was discarded with educational reforms of recent decades. All the history, literature, and art of pre-modern times has so much power to inspire our children.

Finally, we appreciate BCA’s efforts to shape students who stay here and serve Bonner county in the future. We want our children to be formed by the unique culture of north Idaho. We want them to have a rough and tumble childhood, to value the land and enjoy working with their hands. So we love the way BCA prioritizes mechanical arts, from gardening to carpentry and outdoors skills. The flexible enrollment options also allow us to set aside a day for homesteading projects with the kids.

As we near the end of our first year, my girls are thriving, and I am full of gratitude for the dedicated staff and generous donors who made BCA possible.

The school expects great things of our children, and they take such pride in meeting those high expectations. The curriculum is challenging, appealing to childrens’ natural desire to get to the heart of things and their voracious appetite for new information. I’ve been amazed to see my children memorize poetry and psalms, the biographies of America’s founding fathers, and the intricate grammar and phonics rules that govern the English language. Even the uniforms convey a seriousness of purpose.

And beside that rigor, there is joy: on our car rides to and from school, my daughters sing hymns or describe with awe the minute structure of a cell or the towering fortresses of an ancient kingdom. They playfully compete over who has better lived out the “virtue of the week”—fortitude in the face of an injury or disappointment; charity in making a special gift to comfort someone; obedience in doing a loathsome chore with good cheer.

The school’s future is still in the making, and it depends on additional partners joining this extraordinary project. When I see the children bounding out of the school at pick up time—laughing, singing, invigorated by another day’s learning—I’m hopeful that BCA will attract the support it needs to grow and serve many more students.

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