For purposes of this article, I will be referring to traditional, full time Christian education at private schools. I will discuss homeschooling in a future blog.
When considering whether or not Christian education is for you, the first order of business is to determine if it is important to you that your child grows up with a Christian versus a secular worldview. It is inevitable that he or she will become an adult who holds to one or the other. What is a worldview? It is the belief system in which your child will reason, make choices and determine his or her life goals. We all function within one of these belief systems.
What exactly does this mean in the school setting? Well, a school that is educating students towards a Christian worldview will be teaching that God is the beginning, middle and end of all knowledge. Whether it be science, language, history or even math, he is the creative genius behind it all. As a matter of fact, he is the one who made the mathematical formulas to work so beautifully. And he is the one who set history in motion at the time of creation. A Christian worldview is based on Biblical truth.
In a Christian school all the academic disciplines will be united and under girded by a common thread...the Word of God. The Bible will be considered the ultimate "curriculum guide". In addition, a Christian school will encourage students to look to God for direction for their lives such as, where to go to college, or what field to go into. They will teach students that God loves them and has a plan and purpose for them. They will uphold the values that you, as a Christian family, insist upon.
Once you have established that you want your child to develop a Christian worldview...to see life through the filter of God's Word, then you are on your way. Some other things that you may want to consider regarding Christian schools are: the cultural environment, the teaching staff, the academics and the potential for spiritual growth.
It is obvious that not all students at a Christian school come from Christian homes nor do Christian students always act like Christians so, it is not all harps and roses on the school campus. However, in general, Christian schools have a much more positive, encouraging and non-threatening environment among their students than public schools.
If it is a good Christian school, then it will be a nurturing place where the teachers care about the students and want the best for them. They will go the extra mile. You see, as teachers in a Christian school, most of them see their occupation as a calling rather than just a job.
At a Christian school, the Bible is openly taught and discussed, scripture is memorized and prayer is an integral part of the day. The spiritual growth of the students is of the utmost importance. Christian schools want to educate students both academically and spiritually to go forward and make an impact for Christ in the world.
As far as academics go, Christian schools can be as strong or stronger than other schools. Our son has been a student in Christian schools for 6 years now and we have found the academic program to be challenging and comprehensive. He has had plenty of opportunity to take higher level courses, both honors and AP, that will ensure that he is prepared for a four year college.
Many people feel that the cost of Christian school is prohibitive. Well, it is really a matter of priorities. Most people will have to make sacrifices to send their children to a Christian school. You may need to downsize your home, drive that old car another few years or curb your clothes shopping habit. However, if God is leading you to do so and you are obedient to Him, then he will provide the resources to make it happen. Most Christian schools offer some type of financial help or scholarship for those who need it. Another thing to consider is that the nearest Christian school may be a bit further from your home than the local public school. But, again, if it is important to you that your child develop a Christian worldview and grow in spiritual knowledge, you may have to make that sacrifice.
The decision to send your child to a Christian school is more than just a matter of freedom to pray in school or...creation vs evolution, although those are extremely important considerations. What's really at stake here is your child's underlying belief system in which their entire life will play out. Take the time to pray and hear from the Lord on what he would have you do. God's Word does task us as parents to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It is our responsibility to make sure that happens and partnering with a Christian school is one good way to do that.
As we all know, when it comes to the spiritual training of your child, 2 hours of Sunday school on Sunday is not sufficient. We must continue that training at home during the week. Another wonderful and effective way to fulfill our God-given responsibility to raise our children in the Lord is homeschooling. Stay tuned for more on that in an upcoming post.
I have many Christian friends who are currently teaching in public schools and this article is in no way meant to take away from the wonderful job that they do. They are certainly a light in the darkness.
Do you agree or disagree that Christian education is a viable and effective way for us to fulfill our responsibility to raise our children in the Lord? Let's hear from you.