Is a Christian Academy Education Right for Your Child?

Your children are your greatest blessing, and greatest responsibility.  If you feel this way, especially as a mother, you are probably agonizing over the choice of education for them.  This is most probably true if your children as still in the Kindergarten through sixth grade range.  A recent poll conducted by the Pew Education Institute indicated that out of a thousand mothers of small children quizzed, 72% are seriously considering pulling their young children out of public education and putting them in private schools, but are prevented from doing so by the high cost of private education.  (Pew/Grant Survey, 2011.)

The media is full of doleful stories and statistics about the state of American education; how public school test scores have been falling, and are now far behind those of certain Asian countries; how school boards have had to let go some of the best teachers they have, simply because their budgets could not support their advanced salaries; the terrible stories of school bullying; how parochial schools have sometimes been the scene of regrettable, long-standing physical abuse.

There is a third alternative to educating your children that does not involve public, parochial, or home-schooling.  It is the burgeoning field of small Christian academies.  These academies are not directly connected with any organized religion, yet include the basic Christian doctrines in their standard curriculum, which is approved by the state in which they operate.  They are fully accredited, and, most important to you as a parent, they are small, offering a superb teacher-to-student ratio, often no more than three students to one teacher.  They accept students of all races, creeds, and beliefs.

christian academy

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If you Google ‘Christian Academy’, followed by your city or county, you will find a local list of them, and can go to their websites for more information on their curriculum, tuition, and how to contact them.

The fly in the ointment for many parents is the tuition that these small Christian academies must charge to educate your children “. . .in the fear and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  In these times of economic challenge, this can be a real strain on an already overburdened budget.

But don’t give up just because of the expense.  There are ways around that.  First, check with your own pastor, minister, or priest to see if your church has any educational funding available for church members.  It is often the case that a wealthy parishioner has left a legacy to your church for the express purpose of helping to educate children; your religious leader may be willing to use some of those funds to help your children receive a godly education.

You should always check with the small Christian academy itself to see if they offer any scholarships.  Many of these small establishments are struggling to increase their pupil base, and are often willing to cut a deal with you just to get your child into their academy.  They know that you will spread the word to other parents about their academy, and that word-of-mouth is the very best publicity an educational institution can garner!  Plus, if you have more than one child, the academy is going to be thinking of your other children attending in the future, and they will be doubly-determined to make it possible for you to enroll that first child as easily as possible.  They may be good Christians, but they are also good business people!

You may also want to consider volunteering at the school itself as a part-time teacher or teacher’s assistant, not for any kind of salary, but for a break on your child’s tuition!  Many of these smaller Christian academies have trouble finding enough teaching staff.   The school may be delighted to halve your tuition in return for a few hours a week teaching geography or singing songs with the Kindergartners!

If you are truly dedicated to giving your children the best Christian education possible, you must seriously consider sending them to a Christian academy in your locale.  As Charles Wesley put it:  “To educate is nothing, if it be not entwined with Christian ideals.”

Tim Torkildson is a former communications officer with TEFL International Schools and is currently teaching History, Math, and Literature at http://libertybridgeacademy.org/

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