I have often said that I miss teaching in a Christian school. Even while homeschooling my children, I often miss the group setting and activities that can be done with a large group of children. I live in a rural setting where the nearest Christian school is 40 minutes away and many people haven’t been inside except for the occasional sporting event.
Many people assume that they know what a Christian school does and doesn’t do. They get to talk about Jesus. That’s the difference between that and other schools…right? But lots of people in rural settings across America get to do that. Children can pray before sporting events and even encourage each other with Scripture passages taped to their lockers. So if that is the only difference, than a Christian school isn’t really a need in rural areas.
These are wonderful things and I give thanks to the Lord that these are able to be done in other schools. I also give thanks that the governing authorities haven’t put a complete end to it…yet. BUT BEING ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS IS NOT THE SAME AS HAVING A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL.
Please allow me to expand on what I mean when I say a Christian School and why I so desperately want one for my children and the children that I care so deeply about!
But before I do, please allow me to say that I love my teacher friends who are at public schools. They are some of the most devoted, caring people I have ever met and in no way is this an attempt to undermine or say anything negative. I hope that readers are able to see that I am advocating for Christian schools without standing in condemnation of other forms of schooling. There is not a Biblical command for Christian teachers to only teach at Christian schools, nor is there a command that all Christian families send their children to a Christian school. God DOES tell us that we should bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord, but there are lots of different ways for us to do that.
So what might you find in a Christian school that you don’t find in another school? Let’s start with the obvious things: Teacher filing systems and learning aids will include ones for various Bible Stories, church holidays, and doctrinal ideas such as Trinity and the Resurrection. Bulletin boards will have scripture verses on them. Children will memorize scripture and hymns along with their spelling words for the week. School rules revolve around the 10 Commandments, which are referred to throughout the day. Discipline involves confession and forgiveness with reminders from scripture about appropriate ethical behavior for God’s children. Prayers are said in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day giving thanks to the Lord who has blessed everyone. Bible stories are taught as part of the day. Church holidays are celebrated (Holy Week is a HUGE event in a Christian school and doesn’t mention anything at all…or very little….of the Easter Bunny.)
These are the obvious things and hopefully you are already starting to see that there is, indeed, a BIG difference! But those are just things on the surface. What about the core beliefs and values? Our public school states that their goal for the students in their care is to become valuable members of democratic society and to go on to further education. What is a Christian school’s goal? They realize that the society changes and that even those who can’t contribute to society are valuable. They believe that going to college and getting a good paying job is one way for children to serve others, but not the only way! A Christian school most importantly desires that their students know the Lord of the Universe, who created the world and sent His son to redeem it, including their bodies and souls, which will live forever. They want students who are educated in the way the world works and can communicate effectively so that they may serve others in whatever field of study or skill set they find their God-given passions and strengths to lead them to.
But here’s more:
Because Christians believe children are created beings, Christian schools realize students are unique. They strive to treat each one as such avoiding any curriculum that seems to fit them in a one size fits all approach.
Because Christians believe children are created and have value as such, they are treated with high regard and as a person capable of making observations and inquiry, not as an empty vessel to be filled with facts.
Because Christians believe that children have been given to parents to raise and nurture, Christian schools desire to communicate with parents, honoring their role, and working with parents (not usurping their roles) in the education of their children.
Because Christians believe that children are sinners, they acknowledge their need to hear that Christ died for them and receive salvation. They are in need of curbing misbehavior, rebuke when they go astray, and guidance in their Christian walk.
Because Christians believe that children are saints, they are given opportunities to grow in service toward God and toward others. They are seen as equals within whom the Holy Spirit is working the fruits of the Spirit.
Because Christians believe that children have vocations, they are strengthened to serve those around them and because Christians believe that children are also preparing for future vocations that Lord may call them to in the future, they are equipped with knowledge and skills they can serve their future families, employees, etc…
Because Christians believe that children are inheritors of the Kingdom of God, they are treated as beings that will live forever. They are reminded of their eternal promises of life and prepared to live with their Heavenly Father, whom they can trust in every care- both temporally and eternally.
Because Christians believe that children will live forever, their classroom management is authentic and done for the ultimate goal that children would know their God. Entertainment, gimics, and crowd control as forms of classroom management are dismissed as options because they do not serve the larger purpose of forming disciples of Christ.
INDEED—THE DIFFERENCE IS HUGE! But the above paragraphs only demonstrate what it is that Christians believe about children! What about how they view education?
Because Christians believe that God created all, Christian schools include studies of ALL subjects (not just reading and math.) They realize that God’s attributes are seen in all aspects of creation!
Because All the Earth is the Lord’s, all things are worthy of being learned about.
Because God made people of body and soul, education in dry facts is not enough. Real education involves appealing to children’s emotions and imaginations.
Because Christians see all vocations as pleasing to God, practical skills and academic skills are valued. Graduates attending technical school and graduate school are both given accolades for their preparation for service to others.
Because Christians rightly live in awe of God’s work, curiosity and wonder are maintained and encouraged in students.
Because Christians view learning as a receptive attitude toward an awe-inspiring God, learning is taught as a life long practice. Not just something useful until a job is acquired.
Because Christians recognize that there are faithful people who have lived before us, they uphold the value of history and maintain its teaching. They believe it is unwise to do away with the characters of history as “primitive” or “uneducated.”
I’m sure if I actually think more about this topic, there would be even more differences! But alas, I believe that I have made my point enough!
It is great that Jesus’ name is still allowed in other schools, but to think that it is then an adequate replacement for the services that a Christian School can offer shows that people do not know what the difference really is!