I see that the class you offer to public school students is Thought Captive. What kind of class is Thoughts Captive?
Thoughts Captive is a class about worldviews. It prepares young students for the challenges of college and university life by examining non-Christian worldviews and carefully developing in the student a worldview that is Christ centered. Through our examination of literature, film, music, drama and art the student acquires the strong apologetic skills necessary for making an impact on the world in which we live. Careful consideration of works by C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and others prepare the student for a lifetime of practical and constructive involvement in a world that desperately needs the Gospel.
How are Thoughts Captive classes conducted?
Even though the atmosphere of the class is relaxed, Thoughts Captive classes are intense and interactive. Students are required to do directed study outside of class preparing them for interaction with the instructor and other students. Additionally, in class they will often hear music, see a play, view a film or read a short work of literature that requires their immediate discussion. Cambridge instructors begin with the concrete before seeking an understanding of the abstract. Practice comes before theory. Cambridge instructors call this approach Parabolic Method. It is the method Jesus used when teaching the disciples (Mark 4:34). We believe it is the best method for teaching our students.
Is there some advantage to be gained by teaching a variety of subjects in one class?
Yes, good critical thinking includes the ability to cross reference other disciplines as well as the ability to apply scriptural absolutes to all disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach of Thoughts Captive provides ample opportunity for the student to develop these cross referencing skills.
Is there much reading required for Thoughts Captive?
Students who wish to do college preparatory work by taking Thoughts Captive must be ready to do a significant amount of reading. The amount of time this takes depends on the ability of the student to read quickly and think critically about the material. The student’s ability to do this will improve with time.
Who supplies the reading materials for this class?
The student is responsible to purchase the books. To ensure that student books have the same pagination, book purchases for Thoughts Captive should be made through the Cambridge bookstore. Handouts will be supplied by the instructor.
Will every item in the Thoughts Captive curriculum outline be covered in class?
Our goal is to cover everything in the curriculum outline, however some classes move slower than others and some items in the curriculum may be passed over to keep the class on schedule.
Is Thoughts Captive practical?
It is practical and, we believe, the best preparation for life. Thoughts Captive goes beyond rote memorization, teaching critical thinking skills useful in any school or vocation. It prepares students for non-Christian worldviews they will encounter at college, on the job or in their neighborhood. And it equips them with a Christian worldview to help them live and speak Christ to an unbelieving world.
I am a parent. Will Thoughts Captive prepare my student for college?
For a number of reasons we believe it is their best preparation for college. Cambridge method differ from rote memorization, teaching critical thinking skills useful in any class or vocation. And it prepares them for the non-Christian worldviews they will encounter at the college and university level.
Will this class help my student on the SAT?
As we track our students, we find that the critical thinking skills taught in our classes help students score well above average on the SAT. Cambridge students have been accepted into many fine colleges and universities.
Will the instructor monitor my student’s reading to insure that the assignments are done?
Because of the interactive nature of the class the instructor will know eventually if a student is doing the reading. However, this is a college preparatory class and students are expected to stay current on their reading without the involvement of the instructor. Parents should check often with their student to insure that they are on schedule.
How will my student be evaluated for grades?
The student’s grade will be based on class participation. However, we do not give grades unless parents request them. It also is important to understand that Cambridge Study Center is not formally a school, so we do not issue official transcripts. Most private schools give credit for Cambridge classes. Check with your guidance department and/or principal. You may have them call us if there are questions.
Is it worldly to expose our students to non-Christian worldviews?
Not only is it not “worldly,” the scriptures commend it. In I Chronicles 12:32 it is mentioned that the men of Issachar knew what Israel should do because they “understood the times.” Daniel 1:17 & 20 states that God gave Daniel and his friends knowledge of “all kinds of literature and learning” which contributed to make them the wisest of the king’s wise men. And in Acts 17 we see Paul using his carefully studied knowledge of a pagan culture to share the Gospel. We must not go into the world unprepared. If we are to be truly evangelical we must “understand the times.” This means we must know the scriptures, but we also must know the enemy who seeks to devour us (I Peter 5:8). Thoughts Captive is “boot camp” for college students and adults.
I have noticed that films are part of the curriculum. Aren’t movies part of what is wrong with our culture?
Yes, movies are a problem in our culture. They discourage us from reading, and they often teach worldviews that are non-Christian or anti-Christian. This is precisely the reason we study films. Whether we like it or not movies are a part of the world we live in, and our families, friends, and neighbors are influenced by them. If we do not understand movies, we do not understand our culture. Thoughts Captive instructors endeavor to equip each student with the critical skills necessary to understand film. One should also remember that film is a legitimate art form that deserves a place in any curriculum that studies the world in which we live.
Will my student find objectionable material in Thoughts Captive?
From time to time there will be crude language, violence and reference to sexual situations in the material covered. The instructor will edit a film that contains gratuitous, sexually explicit scenes. All other materials will be handled in a way which encourages the development of the maturity necessary for the informed and meaningful engagement of our fallen world. For more information, please reference the Cambridge Literature and Arts Policy.
May my student opt out of classes covering this material?
Unless the teacher is convinced there are legitimate reasons that justify a student’s opting out, the student will be required to participate. Parents should contact the instructor if they think they have a legitimate reason for their student’s opting out of a class.
What is the theological position of your instructors?
The instructors of Thoughts Captive are conservative, evangelical, and Reformed in their theology.
What does Reformed mean?
Reformed means that the priorities of the Reformation are emphasized, among them: 1) re-forming the church to be like the first century church; 2) the authority of scripture; 3) God’s sovereignty; 4) salvation by grace alone; 5) the sufficiency of Christ; and 6) an understanding that man is created in God’s image: rational, creative, with a conscience and free.
Must a student agree with the instructor’s theology to pass Thoughts Captive?
No, we understand that there is diversity of belief within the body of Christ. Instructors will teach what they believe the scriptures teach and students who express differing views will be referred to their parents and pastors for further discussion. Please refer to the Cambridge Study Center statement of faith.
What other opportunities does Cambridge offer public school students?
Cambridge offers film nights, reading groups, seminars, workshops, community seminars and year-long classes in the arts, worldview studies, languages and leadership skills. The study center also offers field trips twice a year for students who wish to participate.