Choosing which type of formal education for our children hasn’t been easy. As a teacher, the cons of the different systems have typically spoken the loudest to me.
However, now that we have three school-aged children, I feel like we’ve stepped into a good rhythm with solid expectations for our daughters’ education and futures.
One disclaimer—we are not avoiding homeschooling because “I could never be that mom,” and likewise we are not avoiding public school because “we have to keep them away from bad things.” We fully believe that the evil comes from our own desires and that God calls us to different vocations and places. For now, we are called to private Christian education.
Prayers to start the day, before snacks and lunch, when a class member is sick, before daily Bible reading, during weekly chapel times, and while preparing for service projects—our daughters get to see what a day of talking to God looks like.
Teachers most certainly model these prayers and highlight what the different focuses are. But they also give students the time and opportunity to create their own prayers through both speaking and writing.
This concept is also true of character traits.
Teachers can highlight different fruits of the spirit, leadership, acts of service and responsibility with students. Many teachers even write down these character traits they see their students practicing so that they can help students recognize their strengths and spiritual gifts.
We can and should certainly affirm these things in our own children’s lives when we see an older one lead a younger one in obedience. Or when we see them cleaning up after a mess they made. But it’s funny how our children crave our acknowledgement but have greater appreciation for the accolade from someone else!
Even if someone doesn’t have that natural “leader quality,” it is still imperative to nurture some type of leadership in each of our children. We all have to lead at some point in some way—it may not be grand and highly recognized, but it is still significant.
From line leader to group work leader to sports captain, private Christian education has the opportunity to point to the ultimate model of leadership: Jesus Christ.
He served, listened, showed kindness, and stuck to the Truth all the time. He was also bold, decisive, confrontational, and exclusive. Christian school teachers and coaches have daily access to this type of direction.
Information can be such a daunting thing. It seems we all have an inclination towards numbers or names or definitions or facts. One thing we appreciate about private Christian education is the responsibility teachers carry to present everything from a biblical worldview.
There are some shameful, heartbreaking, confusing aspects to history that teachers can point back to a sovereign God who does see his people. Our children can see that he has compassion on the lowly and is storing up wrath for the haughty.
Teachers can walk students through a secular poem about being the captain of your own soul (Walt Whitman, anyone?)—and then look at that concept from the Bible and those who fell because they were attempting to command their own souls because Jesus calls us to union with him rather than glorying in the self. There are obvious observable parts of science as well as inexplicable mysteries.
Our children are taught that God owns science, and he can fashion it however he pleases for his glory. In fact, that is what every lesson can come back to—God created poetry, grammar, calculus, cursive handwriting, geography, chemistry, Spanish, and recess for his glory. These are truths we teach in our home, but we wanted this reinforced in the classroom, also.
My husband and I truly believe the home is the first place of learning—everything else is supplemental. Their “formal education” does come from a private Christian school, but we are the primary shepherds of their lives.
Yes, there have been theological aspects taught in their school that we have had to correct according to our beliefs. And yes, there have been sacrifices made to afford their education. And yes, we sometimes have to battle with our worship to God becoming routine rather than authentic because of the repetition.
However, we are grateful for the space our daughters have to grow in their faith and knowledge of who Jesus is while also learning cursive, long division, photosynthesis and music theory.
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