In my years associated with classical Christian education—as a parent, donor, school board member, teacher, and headmaster—I have had my share of conversations with folks who want to know why the standards for Christian character and academic diligence are so high, why our students read theology and philosophy and history and literature authored by people who have been dead for 1,000 years or more, and why we focus so intently on writing and speaking and debating. One good answer to such questions is that we do these things in classical Christian education in order to prepare students for just such a time as this.
I have often joked that when my family and I began the adventure of Christian classical education nearly two decades ago, I thought we Americans had invented Christianity in the 17th century. And while that is a bit of an exaggeration, it is no stretch at all to say that I was largely ignorant of my true Christian heritage. I was ignorant of the history of the Church and of exactly what my baptism made me a member.
Like good Christians everywhere, I had read and was reading the Bible. I knew that Christ was the Cornerstone of the Church, that the Apostles were the first elders and missionaries and Church Council. I knew of the Holy Spirit falling in tongues of fire on those gathered on the day of Pentecost, about the appointing of deacons, about breaking bread from house to house, sharing goods among the brethren as each had need, and of Paul’s many journeys to establish and strengthen churches and his subsequent letter-writing to them. What happened between then and the Pilgrims coming to Plymouth, however, was a bit foggy.
The Apostle Peter probably shocked his contemporary audience when he declared them “a royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2:9. Can you imagine his converted Gentile audience, who had known only the rule of kings for their entire lives, now hearing themselves described as royalty for the first time? They must have thought, Huh? You talking to me? But then, maybe we react the same way to Peter’s message today. Just like those Gentile converts, we too are royalty. We are kings and queens in the kingdom of God, serving under the True King, Jesus.
As Christian parents, our most important aim is to see our children walking with the Lord all the days of their lives. When they live under our roof, we can see to it that they are reading the Word, praying, and going to church because those are things we do together as families. We can demand from them, and then hold them accountable to, living like a Christian should live, practicing Christianity. At some point, however, a child has to take ownership of his own faith. At some point it is not only the God of his fathers, but it has to be his God too, his Lord and Savior. Have you ever considered what role the school plays in that?
Throughout the ages Christian monks have cloistered to free themselves from the ungodly influence of the outside world. The seclusion and the freedom from the day-to-day rat race provided them increased opportunity for study and prayer that was not otherwise available. That tradition gave us some fine scholarly work in areas as diverse as Christian doctrine and agriculture. Indeed, Western Christian thought and heritage was preserved by such cloistering. In our age of mega schools and assembly line secular education, I want to suggest that Christian children can benefit from the cloister-like atmosphere at a small classical Christian school.
One question parents should ask themselves is, “What do I really want from my child’s education?” This question is the first one parents should ask when enrolling their children in school for the first time, but it is also a good question to come back to each year. It is easy to think that we have to follow the same educational pattern that we grew up in or that everyone around us accepts as normal, but the truth is, we have options. In fact, never before have we had so many options in education, so parents are in the driver’s seat like never before. With so many options available, a few clarifying questions are in order:
If you have stumbled upon this blog, there is a good chance you are trying to make a decision about your child’s education. Should you send her to a public school like most everyone else you know, or should you spring for a Christian school? Make no mistake, this is one of the two or three most important decisions you will ever make. No pressure, right? If you are a Christian, there are a lot of reasons you should consider a Christian education over a secular one. Here are three that top my list.
School choice is a hot issue for the Trump administration, and it continues to be for the states as well. In Florida, for example, a bill is being debated in the closing days of the state legislative session that would create tens or maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of state scholarships for low to middle income Florida families to use at private schools.