By Kimberly Rae
My world is filled with teachers. My mother has taught in a Christian school and my younger sister has taught special education in a public school. My older sister has taught in a Christian college and her husband has served as a college dean. My husband has served in a public school, a college, and an international college. My background is in international school and homeschool.
I don’t take the process of education lightly, particularly when it comes to my children. Through the years my husband and I prayed and talked and searched God’s will regarding where we should send our children to school. Our kids have experienced public school, homeschool, and Christian school. Each one was at that point the right place for our children and we have learned and benefited from each; but at this point our family has chosen Christian school.
I will not say this should be the choice for every parent, but for those who are searching, I will share what we have learned so other parents can make an informed decision as they pray and seek God’s will for their children’s education.
Our main reason for choosing a Christian school is because God is at the core in all its curriculum. Children not only take Bible classes, but all subjects are presented from a biblical worldview. God is the author of mathematics. He designed science. He works through history.
Beyond curriculum, here are several reasons we value our Christian school experience.
Teaching as Ministry
Sara, a teacher, says, “I want my students to trust [Christ], to truly experience his power in their lives. I want them to trust him with their dreams, their failures, their faults—their entire lives. I want them to be so consumed with him and his Word that the things of God permeate their every action, their every decision.”
Biblical Instruction for Life
Our Christian school places a priority on character development and respect for authority. One recent study notes, “Students at religious schools were less likely, for instance, to get suspended, get into fights, do drugs, and get involved in bullying. These students also showed more respect for teachers.”
Emphasis on Modesty
Karina, a fifth grader, says, “I like going to Christian school because the people there are really nice and we get to wear uniforms so people don’t make fun of your clothes and you don’t have to worry about smoking and drugs there, and bad words. You can make a lot of friends there and people don’t judge you by your looks.”
Susan, a Christian school parent, observes, “Our children are adults now and we are reaping the results of the character and Bible memorization their Christian school education instilled in them.”
Friends Who Share Values
“I like going to Christian school because you can learn more about God and you don’t have to be bullied about loving God,” says Kayla.
High Academic Standards
A 2013 study conducted at Princeton and California State University showed that “religious, mostly Christian, school students were a full year ahead of students who attend public and charter schools.”
Less Sexual Peer Pressure
Friends of ours recently discovered their elementary-age daughter had been sneaking searches on Google about sexual terms and topics. When they questioned her, they found out she was looking not out of personal curiosity, but because the kids at school were making fun of her because she didn’t know the meanings of certain sexual terms. She is 10 years old.
A smaller number of students per class creates opportunities for increased involvement between teachers and students. A sixth grader named Daniel observes, “Everybody has a chance for anything, whether it’s the music department, or acting in a play, or fine arts.”
Freedom to Speak about God and Faith
My husband is not permitted to contribute to or participate in a school Bible study as he teaches in the public school. He’s discouraged from bowing his head when students pray. We lived for a time in a Muslim country and he had more freedom to share his faith in an almost entirely Muslim university than legally he does here in America.
Some would argue that spiritual instruction should be given at home, which is true. God clearly commands parents to pass on their faith to their children. As Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 states, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Sadly though, spiritual instruction is lacking in many homes. A Barna Group survey of parents revealed that “close to nine out of ten parents of children under age 13 believe they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters.” However, “a majority of parents do not spend any time during a typical week discussing religious materials with their children.” Instead, they “generally rely on their church to do all of the religious training their children will receive.”
Our children receive more than 30 hours of instruction per week at school, but only four to five hours a week at church, if attended regularly. Quality Christian schools provide biblically-based, God-focused instruction during those 30-plus hours in the classroom.
We’re making a financial sacrifice to enroll our children in a Christian school, but we believe it is worth it to give our children a foundation of faith and character they will carry into the future, to be fully equipped for all God has planned for them.
As one mom of adult children said, “Giving your child a Christian education is one of the best gifts you could ever give them.” We agree.
Kimberly Rea, after living in several countries overseas, now writes and trains on fighting human trafficking from her home at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children.