Why A Christian School?
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1:1
The idea of education is rooted in Biblical principles. Many schools throughout history were started with the purpose of teaching children to read so that in turn, they could read the Word of God. The “primers” were portions of Scripture used to teach reading. From age 4 to 18 years much of a child’s time is spent being taught in a classroom. This time is an investment and not a waste. Since so much time is invested in education, it is a good idea to have a plan, and use Bible principles to guide us.
During the Dark Ages, many people could not read and the world was steeped in a dark period of time because of a lack of knowledge. Bible reading gives more than just knowledge; when believed and acted upon the Bible is the very wisdom of God for living. The Bible is intended to help us walk, stand, and sit throughout the course of life.
As a Pastor and local church, we value students and families no matter what educational venue they choose. At the same time, it is important to consider why we would participate in a local church day school. FYI: I attended government school for 12 years and later a Christian College. Christian education in a church-school setting is more than just an alternative to a homeschool, private academy, or large government classroom. It is more.
Why a Christian school? Because education is more than merely learning – it is who you are learning from and what you are learning that makes the difference.
Here are several thoughts to consider:
The Curriculum Connection.
If the primary goal of education is to be able to read the Bible, then a curriculum founded upon Bible truth should be utilized in the education of a child. The paradigm with which a textbook delivers lessons is very critical to the academic, philosophical, and spiritual development of the mind of each student. If a parent or instructor constantly needs to “correct” the lessons of a curriculum, it causes a distrust or uncertainty in the mind of the student.
With a Christian school, curriculum is chosen that is written from a Bible perspective. The Lord is God, He created this world, He loves us and He has given us a Book, the Bible that has the answers we need for life. While church and Sunday School are good places to learn doctrine, it can only aid a child that the lessons at school are informed by faith as well. In many cases, secular curriculum discounts truth. For example, several civics classes are teaching moral and social revolution. In many texts history is re-written to conform to what is politically correct rather than what is true history.
At Wilton Baptist Academy, are pleased to use the ABeka curriculum consistently through the entire school. This is a grade “A” curriculum rooted in God’s Word. The world-view is Christian, the doctrine is baptistic, and the level of academic expectation is excellence.
The Excellence of Expectations.
- Academic Expectations. Some institutions are slacking in effort. I was speaking to a student from another school recently who said the teacher divides up the class between those who “want to try” today and those who “do not want to try.” In other cases, students report that they “study when they want to” or “attend class when they feel like it.”
When we aim for nothing we are bound to hit it every time. Even with rigorous expectations, not every student will make straight A’s. Good grades are not expected as much as the “best effort possible.” Much of the effort and attitude to try is developed by the parent.
- Attitude Expectations. A bad attitude hurts in many ways. “You cannot teach a rebel.” The reason is; his heart is not willing to learn. As a school, if the attitude is constantly against school, curriculum, assignments, or the teacher, that student may be dismissed. Education in general is not a right – it is a privilege. No person deserves to “be in the know” or to learn. Contrary to popular culture, in societies of old, the student had to want to learn in order to improve his life. Classes in old days were sought out, funded, and paid for by people who wanted to learn. This attitude and desire totally changes the classroom setting. Coming to class expecting to learn is a refreshing way to start the day at school.
- Appreciation Expectations. Not everyone is taught truth. Millions of people are taught evolution which is a lie. This theory has been believed by many with “religious conviction.” However, the Bible, written by God, Who was there at Creation, tells us how this world began. God and faith are being removed from the history told concerning the motivation for events in history. Even in math, some schools are teaching there is no absolute answer to 2+2= 4. Appreciation for an environment of learning centered on truth should never be taken for granted or minimized. This could also be considered a “Spiritual Expectation,” because spiritual people and people that are right with God are thankful people.
The Parental Priority.
If a student is allowed to maintain a bad attitude in the home, he will not be a “learning machine” at school. Proverbs 6:20-21 says, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” School is to assist the parent in their parental obligation to guide the thinking of the adolescent child.
No matter what educational venue is chosen, schools do not “produce” successful students that are able to go into the world – parents do. Schools may prepare for college academics; but they cannot prepare for daily life living in a college dorm setting. The parents have the primary responsibility to prepare their children for daily life. A school assists in the academic development of the child. The school offers a good place for the child to practice spiritual and social disciplines learned from dad and mom; interacting with others and finding ways to serve and encourage others. For example, we have “student service days” in which students are given opportunities to help the elderly, minster in the church, or write cards to hurting people. The school can provide outlets for social, emotional, and spiritual growth. However, the parent is called to nurture, expect, and facilitate true growth and life preparation. The school is a partner in academics and gives a place to practice what is taught at home; spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.
Ultimately, the student who goes on to serve the Lord, hold down a job, and fulfill a lifetime marriage commitment is no credit to the school but to the parents. (Also note that many kids overcome terrible home environments to become faithful to the Lord in spite of their upbringing.) Any student, who fails in their next step, can’t hold a job, or even rejects serving the Lord, is a reflection of their personal rejection of the moral and religious training in the home. Perhaps the student was taught right but the parent lost the heart of the child. Proverbs 23:26 instructs, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” If a student is a rebel at heart, he will not embrace what he is being taught. The priority then of parenting is to “obtain the heart of the child.” Without the child’s love, admiration, and respect, the parent loses long-term influence. “To whom much is given much is required.” In this case the student is given much in opportunity, but refuses to accept what he is given. While the school cannot take credit; it also cannot take the blame for the perceived “failures” either. Before one would criticize that statement wait until you read this: “The story of your child’s life is not fully written.” Children who rebel can come back to serve God. Students who graduate and start out serving the Lord could turn away from Him later in life. It happens. At some point, the parenting stops and the responsibility solely falls on the adult child. Paul said: “By the grace of God I am what I am.” That is true for any faithful adult as well.
The parent is tasked with training their child to the best of their ability to be able to leave the home, stand on their own two feet financially, stop borrowing the faith of others (have faith on their own), care for others in service, and have the character to live righteously while in community with God’s people. Parents are to “shoot their arrow” out from the quiver of the home and that “arrow” will be planted in the place he lands.
That is what Psalm 1:2-3, the next two verses, teach: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
The student is to grow to such a level that what he does following his formative education years is prospered by the Lord. He is firmly planted by his home upbringing, prepared academically for the next level of learning, and he does not fade away from the responsibilities that accompany adulthood. The response of the child to the parental guidance and education in the classroom is solely that of the child. He will answer for his willingness or refusal to learn and grow. The priority of the parent is to have the “heart” of their child. Part of the Christian school mission then is to direct the heart of the child back to the parent.
A Christian school can potentially help you and your student. Why A Christian School? Because education is more than merely learning – it is who you are learning from and what you are learning that makes the difference.