I know what you are thinking before you even read this. “Great. A Christian school parent is blogging about why you should choose a Christian school.”
Let me acknowledge a few things. I went to public school and a state-run University, and look on my schooling with fondness and pride. My wife had similar schooling and taught in a public school. My son even attended a public school for pre-k and had great teachers who helped him succeed. So please understand, this is not meant to dump on public schools – these are just a few items to consider when contemplating your child’s education.
I can already sense eyes rolling and mice scrolling. Worldview begins with how we view everything, and asks big philosophical questions such as, “Why are we here?” and “What’s my purpose?” These questions are vital to how we understand our world today. For more information on determining your worldview, read this.
Arguably, much of the tension we feel in our country comes from differing worldviews. Worldview affects education because the people writing curriculum, hiring teachers, and even directly teaching your children all have a worldview. A question to ask yourself is, “Do my child’s teachers have a similar worldview to me?” If not, it may be a sign to reconsider your educational choices.
You may think, “This isn’t church. I am not hiring a pastor. What does God have to do with this?”
Theology is defined as the study of God – what we understand God to be. For example, how do you view Jesus? Is He a member of the Trinity from eternity past? Or was he a good guy who was misunderstood? This question reveals your theology.
But God isn’t involved in reading, writing, and STEM, right? Without going into too much theological gobbledygook, the answer is: YES, He is. Here’s why: As the Creator of the Universe, He made us in His image to create and be intrigued by the creative use of language. He is the one behind the principles gained and applied in STEM.
Does He need to be involved? What happens if He is not? Theology not only reveals what we know about God, but it also reveals who we worship as God.
What about those who don’t believe in God? Perhaps they may not admit to it, but question science and you will see who (or what) is their god. Question their right to choose, and you will see who is their god. Lower their salary, and see who is their god. We are beings created to worship, and we all worship something or someone.
Ask yourself, “What (or who) do my child’s teachers/administration worship?”
While it’s true that private schools aren’t held to the same national standards as public schools, they do vary from one school to another in measurement of academic rigor. I always sort of chuckle when I hear people who normally mumble and grumble about standards and handcuffs that have been placed on public schools be concerned that private schools aren’t held to those same (unwanted) standards.
That being said, you can consider the average SAT scores of a school’s graduates (Veritas Academy was 1821) compared to that of all of Pennsylvania (1480). Consider whether students can take advanced placement and college classes. Consider the class offerings of the school. In my opinion, a school that teaches Latin and the classics is going beyond teaching to the test, and is helping their students understand their world in light of the past. Consider each school’s Philosophy of Education.
Public schools may have more resources for children with special needs, but this does not imply that all private schools lack such resources. I challenge you to speak directly, and frankly, with administration and teachers at both public and private schools to understand your options. Don’t limit yourself to your only perceived choice.
And the faculty at private schools - are they all just bible school graduates who have limited knowledge of their field, or do they have pedigrees, publications, and life experience?
If academic rigor is something that concerns you, a question to ask would be, “Does the school equip my child academically for a thoughtful and prosperous future?”
The last item I would encourage you to consider is this, “Is the school fun?” Do the children gain a valuable depth of knowledge from a biblical worldview and solid theological base, and do they have fun while doing it?
This is of vital importance because we all need levity and joy in our lives. For example, but how exciting is it to have your mile test be hidden in an event where the entire elementary school chases the principal dressed as a pumpkin? How cool is it that at recess my son gets to hone his light saber skills? A school that has traditions and a culture steeped in great fun provides a truly enriching learning experience for students of all ages.
These elements (worldview, theology, academics, and fun) work together to help form an idea of what you should reflect on for your child. As you consider these, fervently pray above all for your child’s well-being, no matter what your schooling decision. We serve a loving God who is sovereign over all. As Christians, we can ultimately rest in His peace that passes all understanding - even when it comes to our choices for our child’s education.