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Studying the Essentials with PHC Prep

April 1–5, 2013   |   Vol. 115, Programs 31–35

Host Mike Smith and PHC Prep master teachers discuss why studying AP courses in literature, physics, history, calculus, and U.S. government can be valuable for any homeschooler, this week on Home School Heartbeat.

“When we study literature, we are learning more about what it means to be a human being.” —Dr. Steve Hake

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Why should Christians study literature? Join us today on Home School Heartbeat, as Dr. Steven Hake shares the significance of literature in our lives with host Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: Today I’m joined by Dr. Steve Hake, who is a professor at Patrick Henry College and the master teacher of Patrick Henry College Prep AP English Literature course (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?). Welcome to our program, Steve!

Dr. Hake: Glad to be here, Mike.

Mike: You tell your students that studying literature has helped enrich their study of the Bible. Now, can you give us an example of why this is the case?

Dr. Hake: Yes, we often say here “the Bible first but not the Bible only.” The Bible is the only guide for faith and life; it’s the Word of God. As such it trumps everything. But God also reveals himself to us in many other ways. He reveals himself to us in what He has created, both in the heavens—“the Heavens declare the glory of God”—but also in our human personalities. We’re created in God’s image. And so when we study literature, we are learning more about what it means to be a human being, and we’re not getting answers in literature, but we’re getting good questions; we’re being stirred up and invited to think deeply about life, in ways that we had never had before. And that’s what our imagination is given to us for; it’s a good gift from God to get us to think about things and ask questions that we might not otherwise ask, and so we can find out how blessed we are in Christ, how rich the gospel is, how many questions it answers, because we’re bringing more questions to it.

Mike: Dr. Hake, this is very valuable information, and thank you for sharing it with us and with our listeners. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: This week we’re interviewing some of the master teachers from the PHC Prep Academy. And today I’m joined by Patrick Henry College professor Dr. Michael Kucks. Welcome, Dr. Kucks!

Dr. Kucks: Nice to be with you, Michael.

Mike: I’m sure you know that studying physics—especially at the AP level—is not always easy. Now, why should a high schooler consider studying this subject?

Dr. Kucks: Students who are looking to go into an engineering program or pre-med program are going to have to take physics at the college level; it’s just required. And an AP course can really make that college level physics much easier, and if you do well on the AP test, you can certainly opt out of your first semester of college-level physics. That can be a real benefit to easing up your busy schedule of first semester. But students who are going into other fields also have the benefit of understanding something about our technological society by studying physics. Instead of just being consumers of technology they can understand a little better, and Christian students can get a view into the mind of God. His creation, His general revelation help us understand things about Him.

Mike: Well, Dr. Kucks, thank you very much for sharing this with us today, and I hope it will encourage students and their parents to actually study physics. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: It’s my pleasure to introduce Dr. Douglas Favelo, Patrick Henry College professor and master teacher of AP World History at PHC Prep Academy. Welcome to the show, Doc!

Dr. Favelo: Thank you for having me on.

Mike: It seems to me that world history is an awfully large topic to cover in just one course. How do you help students see the big picture in all the details as they’re learning?

Dr. Favelo: You’re absolutely right; a class that has to cover every single event of every person from Creation to today is awfully large, and across all continents. And, of course, we have to teach our students to be able to be successful on the AP test, which is difficult. But I think the glue that binds it all together is—our PHC Preparatory Academy World History course—is focused on the Lord. And to see God’s hand in history, God is sovereign; and even in what we might call disparate regions or disparate peoples, all these events are somehow part of his plan and that is what keeps our AP World History course together.

Mike: Well, Dr. Favelo, your method seems like it would help all of us understand our place in history. So thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today and with our listeners. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: Today I’m joined by Becky Darby, who teaches AP Calculus at PHC Prep. It’s good to have you with us, Becky!

Becky Darby: Thank you, Mike. I’m happy to be a part.

Mike: Now, you often describe calculus as fun and exciting—even an “adventure.” What is it about this challenging subject that inspires and motivates you as well as your students?

Becky: Well, an adventure is an exciting experience, perhaps a venture into unknown territory, and I feel that this description suits calculus perfectly. It is the mathematics of change, occurring in infinitely small and large increments. As we focus on the infinite, we are able to clearly see the handprint, even the mindprint of God. And gazing into the beauty and majesty of this mathematics is similar to what we feel when gazing at a majestic mountain range. And I always enjoy taking students on this adventure.

Mike: Well, Becky, it sounds like your students are experiencing more fun than they may have bargained for when they signed up to take calculus. And thank you for sharing that with us today, and until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: Dr. Frank Guliuzza, Patrick Henry College professor and master teacher of AP U.S. Government at PHC Prep Academy, joins us today. Welcome, Dr. Guliuzza!

Dr. Guliuzza: Thank you, Mike, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Mike: Why do you think it’s really important for high school students to learn about the history, the principles, and structure of American government?

Dr. Guliuzza: Well, Mike, today it’s trendy to talk about America becoming smarter in things like math and science, and that’s certainly true, but it’s absolutely imperative that we continue to learn about and from our history. It’s essential that Americans know what’s in the Constitution and how our government can and should operate. Otherwise, citizens will not be able to play their part in holding leaders accountable. For instance, in the past 15 years we’ve had an impeachment; a presidential election where the popular winner lost the electoral college; the Supreme Court declared gun ownership to be an individual liberty, while some elected officials are in a rush to take that right away. Hooray for math and science, but I don’t know that there’s been a more critical time for future leaders to develop expertise in the workings of our constitutional government.

Mike: Dr. Guliuzza, I agree with you. This subject is very important for every informed citizen, and thank you for sharing that with us today. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

Dr. Steven Hake

Steven Hake is the only Patrick Henry College faculty member (with the exception of Michael Farris) to have taught at the college since its very beginning in 2000. He was the director of Rivendell Study Center in northern Pennsylvania for four years just prior to coming to PHC. He was a tent-making missionary to Taiwan for almost 20 years prior to that (1977–1996), teaching English literature in a large Chinese university for most of that time.

Dr. Hake has nine children, four of whom are married. They span 26 years. He has seven grandchildren.

Dr. Hake designed and launched the literature major at Patrick Henry. He directs that major and serves as chairman of the Department of Classical Liberal Arts. He is an avid reader and enjoys learning languages as a hobby. He regularly reads (with widely varying degrees of fluency!) the Bible in 10 languages.

He is very interested in the culture-shaping mission of Patrick Henry College, and believes that we need to read the great books in order that some of us may one day write them.

Dr. Michael Kucks

Dr. Michael Kucks received his BS degree in physics from Bucknell University in 1980 and began working at Litton Electron Tube Division in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, immediately thereafter. That position was in the radar tube (magnetron) R & D department designing military and commercial magnetrons and analyzing older models for failure modes. He then moved to Wavetek Rockland in northern New Jersey in their commercial frequency synthesizer design department. His work involved the development of a low noise voltage-controlled oscillator for a broad-band microwave synthesizer. That experience led him to KDI Electronics in Whippany, New Jersey, where he continued to work developing military communications systems at microwave frequencies. In 1988, as the Cold War ended, he returned to graduate school to study physics and begin a career in education. In 1994 he received his PhD in physics from Lehigh University with a specialization in polymer physics.

Since then, he has taught physics, chemistry, and math in a variety of venues, including a private school in Annapolis, Maryland; Franklin & Marshall College; and Lehigh University. He has also developed an industrial electronics course and presented it to industry professionals around the country. Since arriving at Patrick Henry College in 2006, he has taught the core physics course (including laboratory), Euclidean geometry, and statistics. Dr. Kucks finds that his industrial experience has been extremely beneficial in developing his teaching style and he enjoys looking for innovative ways to present challenging technical and scientific principles to students.

Dr. Douglas Favelo

Dr. Douglas Favelo teaches Patrick Henry College’s core history of western civilization courses as well as upper division courses in history. Prior to coming to PHC in 2010, he served as a lecturer for ten years in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature at California State University, Fresno, teaching history, literature, and Latin. In July 2010, he helped lead and teach a UCLA study-abroad program in Rome. During his doctoral studies at UCLA, the largest history graduate program in the nation, he was ranked number one all four years. He specializes in Greek and Roman history and literature; his research interests include Italian resistance to the expansion of Rome and the lives of the Christian desert monks of late Roman Egypt.

Dr. Favelo has been heavily involved in the classical education scene for many years, and also in the homeschool community. He has taught hundreds of homeschooled students Latin, Greek, history, and literature, and has spoken at conferences on homeschooling.

Dr. Favelo lives with his wife and three children in Loudoun County, Virginia. His passion is to facilitate students’ intellectual and spiritual development, primarily through the medium of a rigorous, biblically-centered classical education, to the greater glory of God.

Rebecca Darby

Rebecca graduated with honors from Florida Atlantic University in 1991, acquiring a BA in mathematics along the way. Since then, she has spent the past 19 years passionately and persistently teaching secondary mathematics. Throughout her years of teaching, she has had the opportunity to teach math at all levels from grades 6 through 12, and has tutored extensively in both regular courses and SAT prep. Currently, Rebecca teaches secondary mathematics and serves as mathematics department head at Calvary Christian Academy.

Rebecca and her husband, John, currently reside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When she is not actively involved in stomping out mathematical ignorance, she enjoys reading, singing, and good conversation.

Dr. Frank Guliuzza

Dr. Guliuzza is the dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College and a professor of government. He is a well-known scholar in the field of government. An expert in constitutional law, he has published widely on the First Amendment (including his book Over the Wall: Protecting Religious Expression in the Public Square), the separation of church and state, and the role of Christians in political activism.

Dr. Guliuzza received the John S. Hinckley Award as the outstanding faculty member at Weber State University (2003). He was named Utah Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation (2003). He has been recognized four times by the American Political Science Association for “Outstanding Teaching in Political Science” (2000, 2003, 2004, and 2008).

Dr. Guliuzza previously served as president of the Pre-Law Advisors’ National Council and is on the executive boards of the American Mock Trial Association and the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (currently serving as ACMA President). A successful moot court and mock trial coach at Weber State and PHC, he is the co-coach of the four-time defending moot court champions and has led his teams into the top ten at the national mock trial tournaments, coaching scores of students who were either all-American or all-regional competitors. He has also taught at Wheaton College, the University of Minnesota, and Vassar College.

Beyond his academic accomplishments, Dr. Guliuzza has extensive practical political experience. He was vice-chairman of the Utah Republican Party and ran for election to the United States Senate, though he was defeated by Orrin Hatch. At PHC, he advises students who plan to attend law school. In addition to coaching moot court and mock trial, he teaches classes at all levels for the government major.



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