As we announced a few months ago, we will be welcoming a new Grammar School Dean to Covenant for the 2020-2021 school year. We are pleased to introduce Mrs. Ashley Cossin and hope this short interview helps our community get to know her a little better. We can’t wait for you to meet her in person!
Tell us about your family. How old are your children? What are their interests?
My husband Jim and I have been married for 21 years. We met while we were students at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Our oldest child, Cana, is 18. She is a freshman at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. At PHC, she plays on the women’s soccer team and she is a captain of the freshman Mock Trial team. James is fifteen and is currently a sophomore. This year he is involved with speech and debate. He also has experience with robotics and would like to join the robotics team at Covenant. John is 12 and in 7th grade. He plays club soccer, and he looks forward to playing on the Covenant soccer team.
What are some things you enjoy doing outside of work?
Of course I love to spend time with my children and my husband. Activities we enjoy outdoors include camping, hiking, and going to the beach. When relaxing indoors, I love reading, solving crosswords, Sudoku, and putting together a challenging puzzle. Meeting friends for a cup of coffee or a meal is also one of my favorite ways to spend free time.
What is one of the best books you’ve read in the last year?
One book that I found especially encouraging was Treasures of Encouragement by Susan Betters. This book prompts Christians to earnestly ponder how they can encourage others. Susan Betters recounts many personal anecdotes in the book including losing her sixteen year old son. She tells of the important role the members of her church played in supporting her through this difficult time. The book reminds believers of the importance of assisting one another during times of hardship.
Who are one or two people who have really influenced your thinking about education?
Doug Wilson’s book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning provided my first glimpse into classical Christian education. It is remarkable that Wilson remembered reading an essay by Dorothy Sayers while he attended seminary as he contemplated creating an academically challenging Christian education for his oldest child, Rebekah.
While I was working at Veritas Classical Academy, I had the privilege of hearing his daughter, Rebekah Merkle, speak to our staff. Her insightful answers to both education and social issues revealed the excellent education that she received at the Logos School in Idaho.
What advice would you give to a family just beginning their journey in classical Christian education?
I would encourage them not to worry about their children’s grades for the first few months. The education that Covenant offers may differ greatly from the curriculum that they have used previously. Also, a significant amount of the curriculum used in the grammar school is cumulative. Students entering in the later years of grammar school often require several months to adjust. Lower grades on schoolwork or tests may not reflect the substantial amount of new information that your child has acquired.
For parents of logic and rhetoric students, I would encourage them to talk with their children about their classes. Most parents did not receive a classical education, and we can all glean from the wisdom and insight that our children are receiving in their classes.
What do you think you will miss most about being a classroom teacher?
I will definitely miss the daily interaction with my students. During the school year, teachers get to know the children in their classroom and their families on an extremely personal level. These close relationships with fellow believers was an aspect of teaching that I greatly enjoyed. Although I loved being a classroom teacher, I also look forward to the new challenge of being a full time administrator and the opportunity to work with a larger number of families and students.
What were some of the things you appreciated most about Covenant during your visit in January?
I absolutely loved the two days that I spent at the school in January! I have worked at two smaller classical Christian schools in southern California. While at Covenant, I enjoyed observing an established K-12 classical Christian school with veteran teachers and clearly established policies and procedures. In addition, I loved witnessing the focus upon God and His word. From the scripture verses in the lunch room, singing hymns with the entire student body on Thursday, and singing with the staff on Friday before students arrive, it was apparent that Covenant was a school striving to glorify God during the entire school day. I recognized that Covenant would be an excellent fit for me and for our children.
What excites you most about working at Covenant?
I look forward to having the opportunity to use my classroom and administrative experience to help parents further their children’s education. Classical Christian education offers today’s students an outstanding academic and solidly biblical education, and this makes me excited for the next generation of Christian children. I am thankful to have an opportunity to continue serving the Lord at Covenant Christian Academy.
Our Upper School Dean, John Hayward, shares some insight and resources on how to speak with your children about some of the dangers of the internet. This is especially important during this time of isolation and the likelihood of increased screen time.
I imagine many of us are spending more time on screens than we usually do. There are many dangers and opportunities this presents and many people have good thoughts on that including Andy Crouch that Dr. Sonju has referenced. I want to suggest one discussion that could be strategic at this time. Discuss internet pornography with your child. I offer three reasons and even better resources.
- The internet is not a safe place. There are predatory people and advertisements, not to mention the devil prowling around seeking to attack God’s people.
- Pornography is reaching children at younger and younger years, and it is not just a boy thing. Whether it is in lewd conversations or references that young ladies feel awkward or naive about, or if it is their own personal struggle, it is something to discuss with both young men and women even if it looks different.
- Wouldn’t it be great if a loving, godly voice was the first voice from whom they heard about the topic? You are better than a friend or the internet to answer such questions (even if you feel awkward about it).
I have included links to excellent resources on this topic that are better than I can come up with. One final note: these discussions can be great for the car because you are trapped talking to each other but it’s natural to not look at each other. If you try this though… drive safe.
Check out this book for a natural and comfortable way to talk to your kids this ever-increasing issue.
HarvestUSA.org is also an excellent resource for biblical guidance on issues surrounding sex. Here are some of the best and most relevant: