A lot of times I see that look on parents’ faces (usually dads’). It is the look of calculation. Veritas Academy (and other classical schools) are asking parents to pay hard earned money for a service that they are already taxed for and could receive for "free" if they just sent their children to the public schools. Thankfully, there are great reasons that are very easy to calculate. Students at Veritas Academy receive a rigorous, joyfully, fabulous education that prepares them for college and for life. You can look at SAT scores, scholarship awarded, or just sit in a room with some of our alumni and you will know this. Still, I often see the calculating look. Dads calculate because there are other benefits of sending children to Veritas Academy on which it is harder put a price tag. This post is about the value of a Christian education and why that value is greater today than ever and how that value is growing geometrically as our culture heads out to sea spiritually, philosophically, and intellectually. I want to look at three particular areas where Christian education is important—the grammar years, middle school, and high school.
First, Christian education is crucially important in the grammar school years because young children need to be protected. Young children believe what their teachers tell them. They often trust it lock, stock, and barrel. Most parents know this, but too often they fail to recognize that the content that our culture is pushing into the public schools is just plain wrong. “I went to public school, and I made it through alright!” they say. They fail to realize that the cultural pluralism of 20 years ago has been replaced by a more militant from of political correction that is planting seeds in the minds of the young. These seeds will bear fruit! Too often our history texts are teaching against the founding principles of our country. Health classes are teaching things that Christian parents should not allow their children to be taught and in the name of tolerance little children’s worldviews are being reworked. Christ recommends millstones for those causing little children to stumble. Little ones need to be an environment that encourages faith.
Middle school might be an even more important time for Christian education. Middle schoolers are some of my favorite people. They are so raw. They are “becoming people” and they are starting to think for themselves. In this critical time they need learn what is worth fighting for and what is worth arguing for. Honestly, this might be the most important time for them to be in an environment that encourages faith while allowing debate. So many students imbibe a culture that harms them for the rest of their lives in middle school. It is a culture that makes Christianity implausible and makes our present horrible cultural norms seem normal. Middle schoolers need an environment that encourages faith and that loves them when they are figuring out who they are.
High school students also need a Christian education. High school students are really being trained to be leaders. What kind of leaders will they be? While middle school might be the most important time for the student to have a Christian education, high school is the time when a classical Christian education is most important for the future of our country and culture. At Veritas and at other classical Christian schools, we train students in how to lead people toward truth. I do not believe that every student will be a leader of the same magnitude—every student will not be President. Students at classical Christian schools will be in an environment that encourages faith and that trains them to lead people toward Christ and toward truth.
Students (and adults) need Christ. Deuteronomy 6 makes it clear that our learning needs to be bathed in God’s Word. Ephesians 6 tells us that as parents we are responsible to give children an education, a paideia, that enculturates them in the faith. This is critical for our children and for our culture.
Next: How the classical Christian education trains the tastes of our children.