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Posted: Saturday, February 12, 2011 12:00 pm

By Andy Ross

Killeen Daily Herald

Close to two dozen local residents appeared at the Grace Bible Church in Killeen Thursday night to hear about a new venture looking to blend homeschooling, regular classroom instruction and the Christian faith all into one.

The Providence Preparatory School is a new K-12 Christian-based private school gearing up to open this fall at the First Baptist Church in Belton.

With the idea of students spending half the week educated at home and half the week in the classroom, Providence is looking to achieve what one of its guiding leaders, Dave McMurry, calls "a best of combination in education."

During the Thursday informational session, McMurry and others working to spread the word about Providence explained to interested parents the details of the educational model they are proposing.

McMurry, who besides serving as board vice president for Providence is pastor of Grace Bible Church, told the crowd why he believes the school can fill a niche in the community. But he also stressed he wants parents to follow the path they feel they are called toward.

"We are not selling this as a silver bullet," McMurry said. "We hope you can determine if this is what God would have you do in your own lives."

Providence is being billed as following a "university model schedule with a classical Christian curriculum." Using a method called the Trivium, teachers instruct students in broad stages focusing on grammar, rhetoric and logic. The subject matter is wide-ranging across literature, art, math and science. One of the end goals is reportedly teaching students to love the process of learning, or "lighting a spark" as McMurry and another Providence founder, Shannon Morrison, put it.

Morrison went on to explain how her own experiences in school growing up were less than ideal.

"I was very good at cramming, but I got through my whole education without really learning how to learn," she said.

Through Providence, said Morrison, parents can hopefully play a more meaningful role helping guide their children's educational path, while at the same time ensuring they receive the classroom experience. And overriding it all is the ultimate goal of teaching students to use their knowledge to the glory of God, she said.

"We want to teach kids to be in awe and amazed at who God is," Morrison said.

More than 30 students have already enrolled in Providence since applications began being accepted late last year.

Classes are scheduled to begin this fall at First Baptist Church in Belton and plans are also being considered to establish other elementary campuses if enrollment climbs.

For more information on Providence Preparatory School, go to www.prov.prep.org or call (254) 307-1165.

Contact Andy Ross at aross@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHeducation.

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