R.J. Rushdoony was a strong voice in the 20th century for Christian education. He made himself available as an expert witness in court cases to Christian schools and homeschooling families alike when attempts were made to usurp the primary role of parents in the education of their children. That is why Rushdoony is often referred to as the father of the Christian school and homeschooling movements.
Note that he receives credit for fathering both movements. Good fathers delight when their children cooperate and act supportively of one another. Likewise, the Chalcedon Foundation, with its faith for all of life message, is eager for these two orientations to Christian education to promote and encourage each other, as its founder envisioned.
An important aspect of this cooperation does not involve one trying to remake the other in its own image. In so many ways, the Christian day school and the homeschool need to operate differently. However, rather than viewing each other as competing entities, deliberate teamwork can provide a much more productive and Scriptural means by which to support and further their mutually shared goals.
Two years ago, I was asked by a newly formed Christian junior and senior high school (Veritas Christian Academy) to sit on their board of directors. At first, even I was surprised -- a homeschooling mother sitting on the board of a day school? Very quickly I could see the Lord's hand in this offer and, with my husband's approval, accepted it. Since my passion has been and continues to be the Christian education of Christian youth, lending my talents and efforts to Veritas was consistent with this calling. A great benefit along the way has been my daughter's participation in some joint ventures between Veritas and the greater homeschool community in our area.
So, here's my challenge. If you are a homeschooling family, find ways that you can participate and support Christian schools in your locale that are faithful to the Word of God and self-consciously teach their students to do the same. If you are part of a Christian school, encourage the participation in athletics, the arts, and even some elective classes for homeschooling families -- offered at times they will be likely to attend, and at a cost they are likely to be able to afford. And, on a bigger scale, what if someone with an abundance of God-given resources were to set up regional centers where joint activities in athletics, drama, and music were accessible to both small Christian schools and homeschoolers alike? Maybe that would act as an effective magnet drawing those interested in providing a Christian education for their children to "check out" what Christian education is all about. To quote a line from a well-known baseball movie, "If we build it, they will come!"
I'm thinking that maybe they will! What do you think?
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].