Preparing for School: Homeschool or Christian Academy

By Andrea G. Schwartz
July 01, 2006

Worldviews are like belly buttons—everybody has one. However, if one is truly viewing the world from a Christian perspective (a Christian/Biblical worldview), then every area of life and thought needs to be filtered through the lens of God’s Word. This is not a weekend undertaking capable of being crammed into someone’s spare time. Nor will you likely find reading A Biblical Worldview for Dummies particularly gratifying. No, short gimmicks or patches won’t do the trick.

The answer is immersion. Saturate your children, in all subjects and activities, with Scripture as the foundation and faith in Jesus Christ as the impetus and object of the undertaking. That’s how parents can hope to inculcate a Christian world and life view to their children.

So, the question becomes, where is the best place to achieve this goal? Certainly not in the state education system or secular private schools. However academically elite these may seem, they are specifically geared NOT to impart a practical Christianity, proclaiming the faith for all of life. The Christian academy is a good choice for parents whose background, circumstance, or inclination makes homeschooling unrealistic or unworkable. However, this option involves more, not less, work on the part of the parents. They need to oversee the educational process, filling in any gaps or discrepancies with a full-orbed Biblical faith. The following is a list of good questions to answer before taking this step:

  • What is the school’s definition of education, educator, educated?
  • What place does the school give to parents and their preferences?
  • What are the priorities: Academic? Social? Character building?
  • What role do the teachers assume in the character building of students?
  • What is the school’s mission statement?
  • What is the dress code, code of behavior?
  • How are infractions of rules and policies dealt with?
  • Is observation of classroom activities by outsiders welcome?
  • Is the school for Christian students or to create Christian students?
  • What is the view of the authority of family, church, school, state?
  • Is the curriculum deliberately and self-consciously Christian?
  • Is this school only for the college bound student? Vocational student? To prepare for the workforce? To be ready to start a family?
  • Do students, parents, and teachers all give similar answers to these questions?
  • What is the school’s philosophy of education? Is it compatible with yours?

These questions presuppose that the parents have a framework to judge the answers given. Also, careful consideration needs to be made in taking this step as you will be submitting to the authority of the school and will be directing your children (and yourselves) to respect, honor, and obey those you place in authority over them. When organized and run properly, the Christian academy is a tremendous support to the family.

Homeschooling is an option that I have exercised for the past twenty-five years and with which I have the most familiarity and practice. However, like enrolling in a day school, this option needs to be carefully planned out. Rushdoony says it well in his book The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum:

The teacher who does not grow in his knowledge of his subject, in methodology and content, is a very limited teacher, and his pupils are “under-privileged” learners. (133)
The teacher as student is, above all else, a student of God’s word. To be a student means to advance and grow. (134)
Our growth in teaching requires our growth through and under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. We must become good learners as a step towards becoming good teachers. Our profession is a very great one in Scripture: our Lord was a Teacher, and the Holy Spirit is our continuing Teacher. We cannot treat our calling lightly, nor grieve the Spirit by abusing our calling. (135)

The homeschooling parent needs to be prepared to be the source and conduit of what students need to learn and to create a syllabus that includes subjects that demonstrate the truth of God’s Word in all subject areas. Even though I used much curricula that wasn’t 100 percent to my satisfaction at all times, I was able to supplement and round out important areas as a result of my own study and application of the Word of God to my life. The resources available from Chalcedon helped me tremendously and made it so that our homeschool life was consistent with our church life, our sports life, and our professional life.

In the end, it’s not only about cost or logistics when choosing between homeschool and a Christian academy. It’s about what is the best way to train your children to be ambassadors for the Christian world and life view. There is no more important responsibility than this one that the Lord has entrusted to us.

Topics: Biblical Law, Christian Reconstruction, Dominion, Education, Family & Marriage

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]

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