A Family’s Love for Learning
A Conversation with
BRAD & MICHELLE SCHALL
Upon meeting Brad and Michelle Schall, two things stand out almost instantly: their godly character and their love for Coram Deo. Serving as a Coram Deo board member and academic assistant respectively, Brad and Michelle have impacted the school in countless ways. In this interview, they share how the classical Christian education model has shaped their family.
Tell us about yourselves. How did you and your wife meet?
Michelle [my wife] and I [Brad] first met when she was in ninth grade and I was in eighth grade. During the next several years, we dated off and on. However, towards the end of Michelle’s senior year at Taylor University, we reconnected for the last time. We dated for two years, were engaged for nine months, and finally got married in May of 2003 in Michelle’s parents’ backyard.
How did you find yourself starting a family and living in Indiana?
After Michelle graduated from Taylor University, she moved to Fishers to begin her career as a social worker. After my graduation from Huntington College, I accepted a position as a High School Business Teacher at Heritage Christian School in the same city. Both Michelle and I grew up in Indiana, so when we picked a location to start a family, central Indiana was a natural choice.
I now serve as the President/ Co-Owner of Servant HR in Fishers, Indiana. Michelle is a stay-at-home mother and part-time Academic Assistant at Coram Deo Academy.
What do you and your wife feel was beneficial about your own education? What was lacking? How did both your experiences influence your decisions regarding your children’s education?
Michelle and I consider the fact that we developed a love for lifelong learning to be the most beneficial thing about our own educational experiences.
However, our education lacked the integration of our faith that we sought. In many ways, we felt our educational experiences (public and private) both embodied a similar flavor: a largely secular curriculum supplemented by Bible classes and chapel experiences. As such, we strongly desired for our children’s education to be Christ-centered, but in a way where faith and learning were integrated. After much research, we felt Classical Christian Education would ac- complish this connection most effectively.
Had you known of classical education before joining the Academy?
Yes. We had uncovered the Classical method of education when first considering the option of homeschooling our children. We felt it would most effectively accomplish our educational goals for our children in that their faith and learning would not be segregated.
What drew your family to Coram Deo Academy specifically?
At the time, and still to our knowledge, Coram Deo was the only full-time Classical Christian educational experience in Hamilton County. Once we began to interact with families and staff, we found the warmth of the school community very attractive.
How would you describe “community?” What is important to your family about a church, a school, etc.?
We would describe community as “that which feels like home.” Michelle and I have always desired that our church and school communities reinforce the Gospel-centered and grace-based environment we promote in our home. Coram Deo Academy has provided this reinforcement through the daily classroom synthesis of faith and learning.
In addition, the care that has been shown for the whole person through Coram Deo Academy’s administration, faculty, and staff is exceptional.
What stories would you be willing to share with us about your family’s time at CDA?
The story we believe best illustrates our family’s feelings towards Coram Deo Academy occurred this past year. Our precious first-grade teacher was lost in a single-car accident. Her passing was overwhelmingly felt throughout the community.
However, as the Lord has many times throughout the school’s history, He demonstrated his faithfulness to Coram Deo Academy. Families banded together, comforted each other, and supported the staff like never before. We were reminded once again that Coram Deo is a very special place.
What do you see as the critical component of a good education?
As Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” We believe that to educate the heart, we must begin and end with the ability to see Jesus Christ in all things.
How does education impact you and your children’s faith? How does the culture, community, and curriculum of a school influence an individual’s godliness?
While at Coram Deo Academy, we have witnessed significant spiritual and emotional growth in the lives of our children through the love of godly teachers. By being a part of a Christian community that celebrates victories and shares burdens together, our faith has been deepened.
In terms of how the culture, community, and curriculum of a school impact an individual’s godliness, we think Coram Deo Academy’s portrait of a graduate from the Parent Handbook sums it up best:
A school should seek “to graduate young men and women who, as servants of Christ, are equipped spiritually, intellectually, and artistically to engage and shape the culture with the claims of the gospel to the glory of God.”
Tell us about your children. What kind of learners are they? What are their interests? What do they love most about school?
We have a fifth-grade daughter, Towne, and a third-grade son, Hudson. They are both very diligent learners who love school. Both children have also developed strong memorization skills that have benefited them greatly within the Classical Christian model.
Towne’s primary interests are read- ing a good book, watching a Hallmark movie with her Dad, and creating. Hudson’s primary interests include anything related to sports, writing, and playing with our dog.
Describe what you’d love to see your children become.
We love seeing our children grow in intellect through their education. However, more than that, we love seeing them grow in godliness through the mentoring they receive at our school.
When our children look back on their childhood, our desire would be that they understand we intentionally chose Coram Deo Academy and thereby Classical Christian Education so they would move into adulthood well-prepared to declare and display the Gospel in a winsome way. We hope they will see that by being trained to understand what is true and good, it would lead to an appreciation for the genuinely beautiful.