Updated: Jul 15, 2020
If public school is not "bad" why choose Christian education?
I am often asked why Christians should consider Christian education when Public education has many advantages (like funding, resources, clubs, etc...) That's a fair question. There are a lot of good things about the public education system (like the big yellow buses for example. Little kids especially, get excited about those!).
Public and Christian Education are very different things.
On the surface of it, Christian education doesn't look much different than a Public education in terms of the things we actually do. Yet, except that both a Christian education and a Public education have classes, teach children, and use books, I can’t think of much that would be the same between the two things. We see the nature of the child, the nature of knowledge, the nature of the universe, and the purpose of education completely differently. Christian education and Public education are fundamentally different animals, not two species of the same genus at all. That main difference is ideological. Here is what I mean:
Public education is education in material facts. It does not believe that there is only one central Truth (or that if there is one, that it can be discovered). It sees disciplines (subjects) as a means to personal and economic independence, which it identifies as the highest good for the student. But, Christian education is education in the Truth. It believes that the Truth is a person, and that He wants to be known. It sees disciplines (subjects) as a means to know the Truth better and to appropriately glorify Him, which it identifies as the highest good for the student.
Christian education is education in the Truth (with a capital T).
Public education does not teach the Truth (with a capitol T) because it does not intend to. It's goals are not bad goals. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child personal and economic independence. But it doesn't teach what it doesn't intend to teach - that there is one Truth and that the Child is responsible to it. Conversely, Christian education perpetually builds the connection between the Child and the Truth in all disciplines so that they can walk in trust and have rest in faith. It doesn't discount the need for a child's personal and economic independence. It attends to the economic realities in which the child lives. But a Christian education doesn't ask a parent to choose between teaching the child to know the Truth and teaching a child to survive in the "real world". Christian education can attend to both things.
It is argued that you can do both through keeping religious education the domain of the church and academic education the domain of the public schools, as if there is no relationship between the content of the two places. I mean, why is math a "Christian" thing? Or why should a Christian care what their child is taught about history? I'm not going to answer those questions right now, but there is an answer to both of those things that I would encourage you to seek out. There are very good worldview reasons why a Christian would teach subjects differently, even if they taught the same things. That conversation won't fit in a blog post, so go do your own research.
Biblically, you become what you behold.
Here is an easier question to explore: If a child perpetually swims in the water that tells him or her that there is no truth every day, 200 days per year, 7 hours per day, for 13-17 years (18,200 to 23,800 hours of their formative years) but only spends 4 - 8 hours *per week* in church and youth group over the course of the same period of time, even if you allow for this to continue in the summer, (that is 2704 to 7072 hours of their formative years) spent focusing on teaching the Truth in a formalized way, which do you think will have the most influence? The statistics are not good. Students are not choosing the faith when they leave home. We all know that. (More about that can be found in this article.) https://lifewayresearch.com/2019/01/15/most-teenagers-drop-out-of-church-as-young-adults/
Why would the amount of hours spent doing a thing matter (if it does)? Well, it's a Biblical fact that we become what we behold: Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18: "We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." How we spend our time, and what we think about (or don't think about) matters to who or what we become. We are all beholding something, and very likely becoming (being transformed into) what we spend the most time "looking at". Public education, for all of its very good points does not help students to spend their time "looking at" the Lord to become like Him. That's not one of its goals. It may also be true that particularly in the very busy academic years of high school, because kids are busy attending to (looking at) other things, there isn't much time left to look at the glory of the Lord. Their lives can become structured like their environments and they can lose the time to value what the school doesn't value, which is faith.
There are lots of things in the world to "be". Which one should a student choose?
This can be problematic when we consider this: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Or this: "Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2). Can an environment that doesn't believe in Truth set our minds upon it? Can an environment that is by nature a compilation of all that "this world" cares about (and thinks kids ought to be) help us to renew our minds or to *not* be conformed to this world? Does it have something else in mind (that constitutes success in its own way of thinking) that it wants us to behold and to become? Of course it does! If the goal is economics and independence, then their are lots of paths to choose and things to be. How does a student know what is right to choose? Again those public school goals might not be bad goals for our kids, but are they the highest goals for our kids? Is it true that there are "lots of paths" to choose from?
I'm not the Holy Spirit. You'll have to decide the answers to those questions for yourselves as you pray. As you answer, consider this: By its nature, and by its ideological purpose, Christian education helps your child to behold the right things, so that they can renew their minds and become the right things. They also get a job, personal, and economic independence too. You don't have to choose between academic, social, and economic "success" (as schools define it) and helping your child to grow in faith, beholding and becoming what they ought to be when you choose Christian education.
Christian Homeschooling is a great option for parents who want to raise their kids to behold and become the right things.
For many of us who have chosen Christian education, home education has been a good fit too. Then, we not only get to help our kids to behold the right things and become the right things, but we also get to really focus on their unique God given strengths to give them the best possible futures because they are set free to be who they are. But that is a post for another day. If you want to know more about Christian Homeschooling, especially Christian Classical Homeschooling, check out the rest of the website here: https://www.ccofwestcobbga.com/ The site talks about homeschooling in Georgia, particularly local homeschool groups in Cobb County, but the program, Classical Conversations, is international, and I am sure that you can avail yourself of it wherever you are. (That information is also on the website).
I hope though, that this answers the question as to why we choose to educate Christianly, even though the public schools do some very good things and can be decent places. For ourselves, we are choosing an environment where what our children behold most is what we want them to become, and that means educating them in an environment that focuses on the Truth.
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