Christian parents and education
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What do you think are the most important factors that parents should take into consideration when deciding how and where and by whom their child should be educated?


It's delightful to discover that v lee knutsen is female; a Lee Remick to my Lee Marvin.

And Catherine, I'm impressed but also mildly amused that you're thinking so far ahead. If I recall correctly, your wee bairn is still in nappies. (Been listening to podcasts from Scotland; sorry.)

In addition to the excellent advice so far, I'd add that it's worth considering if you can work with the other parents and the school administrators (or homeschool association). We found that we had to be quite involved in our children's schooling, and this was made difficult at times by other adults who only paid lip service to what we thought were shared values.

Finally, knowing your child is indeed crucial. Certainly producing a well-educated and well-rounded citizen is important, but if their absolute passion is to tune automobiles, then college prep courses are a waste of time and vocational school would be better. And swallow any disappointment, because who knows what God may have in store; for many years we went to a mechanic who blessed everyone by his encyclopedic knowledge of cars and his deep concern for his customers. (He frequently did work for no charge.) And this, as a Hindu; imagine what a Christian could do.
United World View vs Lost Soul view of world
My husband and I have 2 kids. One commutes to a local public college; the other is attending a 1-8 grade Christian school that our daughter graduated from!

We are able to afford Christian school; otherwise I would probably have homeschooled least for the first few years of grade school.

(We do live in the Chicago metro area -with various educational and cultural resources. There are also local homeschool support groups.)

WHY did I feel the need to provide a Christian education for them?

I was distressed at parts of my public school grade school education:
1. My parochial school best friend was getting a better quality (i.e. more scholarly) education than I was.
2. I feared the growing propaganda that was entering the textbooks. Am not afraid of my kids being exposed to differing viewpoints; but too many dubious things were being taught as "gospel truth" soto speak. And how can a young child defend against such teachings???

It turned out that - generally - our local public schools are roughly comparable in decent academic quality to our Christian school.

However, my daughter has a united view of knowledge...(God over all...integrated into all her subjects). And with her time in public high school (as well as in a youth group which did outreach to many nonChristian kids) she is not "sheltered".

My son - still a work in progress. But as he enters 6th grade, I think Christian school will provide the firm structure he he tends to push the edge..before he too enters the public high school and is exposed to more choices. Hopefully he will have a moral core developed. Based on his Christian faith.
I think parents should ALWAYS be involved in their children's education, even if they decide to send them to a public or private school. Even the best school can't replace parents' role in teaching children about ethics and how to live their lives.

I think in terms of choosing a school (or whether to homeschool), the child's personality is key. Another important factor is the teachers at the available schools, both in their ability to get the information across and in their attitude toward faith and the parents' moral values. The teacher doesn't have to agree with the parents, necessarily, but they should be respectful enough not to undermine what the parents are teaching the child outside of school.
Sort of order of importance
0. Safety. The best school is not worthwhile if the child gets harmed, or worse. This is so obvious it comes before #1.

Harmful can include if it tries to undermine a belief in Christianity. I personally "survived" (a rather conservative) public school that didn't endorse Christianity, so I don't believe the system has to be explicitly Christian. However, if it is purposely trying to undermine a child's faith, and parents' efforts to teach that faith, then rule it out. The cost is too high.

1. The child. What are his/her interests, abilities and passions? What is his personality type? Is he an extrovert or introvert? Extremely shy? What is the child's learning style? You can't judge an educational approach until you know the child who will be in it.

2. The approach. What is the philosophy of education supporting a school or your choice to homeschool? ALL programs are "outcome based," by definition. So if that phrase has a specific meaning, it needs to be defined, however the aversion to it is foolishness.

Once you know the approach, decide if it works, especially for your child. Honestly, the classical approach is really the only one that makes sense to me. It has empirical support both historically, and in what educators offer as research studies. It is also very flexible to accomodate children.

Additionally, what subjects are available? Sending a kid who wants to be an auto mechanic to a school that doesn't have shop class, is not of that much value.

3. What is the teaching approach of the educational system? It should be able to accomodate the child's top learnng style. Otherwise the child will be at a disadvantage.

However, Expect some variations here, among teachers, among subjects, among grades. In fact, Demand some variation here. While a child may have a strong learning style, it is worthwhile to stretch them to use other styles. We all use visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning as adults, so those need to be exercised as children.

4. The cost to the parents/family. This can be a family issue. Home/public/private all have their associated costs. Those should be considered.

Having two parents work, or a parent working using two jobs, so that an average student can attend an expensive prep, or even Christian, school, is probably not a good investment. It might not even be a good investment for a top student, since he/she needs a parent more than formal education. There's always time, and stipends, for grad school at MIT, if a kid is that talented.
Looking back, I know I had been conditoned to believe that at a certain age I just sent my kids off to the closest public school. They turned out fine but this conditioning now kind of horrifies me. Parents should be very involved with the education of their children. They should make sure that whatever school they send their child to is academically sound, and they also need to make sure that it doesn't undermine the values they are teaching their kids. This, of course, requires a lot more work but it is so important!
There are a number of various factors - including the child themselves. Some children need to be in the protective bubble, while others do not.

However, it is important that as a parent you break the bubble. Too many young folk grow up within the Christian Bubble, then get off to college and rebel b/c it's their first time out of it, or do so after college.

You also have to take into account the quality of the education as a whole. Do the public or private schools available have the education that is necessary? Can they meet the child's needs for what they want to do? Can they get them into college?

There's no single solution. Though having been in both public and private schools I think it's important that such transitions be made at good points. Public schools tend to consolidate schools as grades go higher; and transitioning from a private school to a public school outside of one of those transitions (especially the further along in the school the child is) can make it harder to find friends - not impossible, just harder as they now have to figure out more-or-less on their own the entire social structure of all their peers, compared to doing so with everyone else.

Ultimately there's no single factor, but a lot of small decisions that change from location to location and child to child.

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