Parenting is hard – but you aren’t alone.

“MHA is a family of families. It was founded to be more than a school,” said Mr. Tom Thistleton, MHA founder and board chairman. “It was founded to be a community of likeminded parents who love the same things and want their children to love them, too.”

Several years ago MHA decided to help support parents – God’s primary instruments in shaping the lives of human souls – by offering "Getting to the Heart of Parenting," a two-day workshop by pastor and author Paul David Tripp. Families learn age-specific principles of heart-changing grace for children ages 0-5, 6-12, and 13-18.

“The Tripp series focuses on the family as God’s first theological, sociological, and redemptive community,” explained Academic Dean Mr. Matt Beatty, who leads the workshop. “The heart is the target of all parenting. The goal of parenting young children is the establishing of authority; the goal of parenting school-aged children (ages 6-12) is character formation; and the goal of parenting young adults is the internalization of God’s standard and pattern for living. Each stage builds upon each other and are interdependent.”

“I finished the Tripp series year ago, so now what?”

Parenting is a lifelong endeavor, and for 13 of those years, MHA is an important component in the lives of its students. For this reason, the school is launching two new courses to create a robust three-part community formation program.

“Our goal is to strengthen the MHA family by genuinely supporting what parents are called to do and providing a place where questions about the whys, whats, and hows of MHA can be asked and answered,” Mr. Thistleton said. “We are striving to create a culture of learning for the whole family, because we believe this is what God has called us to be.”

Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, MHA will offer “Middle School, Modernity, and Mars Hill Academy: How to Thrive with Older Children” and “Preparing Our Students for Life and Learning.”

“The middle school years class explores the identity of our children,” Mr. Beatty said. “Our students are – among other things – image-bearers, sinners, saints, disciples, and young men and women. Are they physically ready? Intellectually ready? Spiritually ready? These young men and women are being prepared in wonderful ways, but they also fall prey to certain temptations due to inexperience.”

The final class focuses on the high school years and beyond, on the Creation Mandate and Great Commission as fulfillment in the Kingdom of God. “This should be a time of unprecedented joy, although it most certainly will not be easy,” Mr. Beatty said. “You’re watching your son or daughter grow into an adult; there’s bound to be learning all around.”

Mr. Thistleton believes these courses will offer support to parents while building community.

 “They will help in parenting and provide a common language and purpose for parents and teachers alike as we partner to raise children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord,” he said. “We’ve been very deliberate to carve out a counter-cultural niche. Our school culture, especially the Rhetoric School, should feel very different. Classical education isn’t perfect – only God’s Word is, but we believe it is a powerful tool in the hands of parents and teachers to shape students into wise and virtuous disciples of the Lord.”