The Christian Education Alternative
Simply put, a Christian education is provided at a school that is run by a church or other religious organization that teaches Christian principles. However, just as there are many denominations of Christianity, there are also many types of Christian education. Of course each denomination of Christianity has its own schools. Beyond that, however, parents need to decide whether they want their children to have a full time K-8 Christian education and whether they want their children to go on to attend a Christian high school or a Christian college. If they choice to send their child to public school or to a non religious private school they must then decide whether they want to enroll the child in Sunday school or supplemental religious education classes.
Parochial schools are the form of private Christian education day schools that are run by the Catholic Church. Parochial schools are one of the most popular types of private education in the United States. Typically, they provide a K-8 Christian education at the church or on parish grounds. Students who are interested in a Christian high school often go on to a school that is associated with the diocese rather than a specific parish. Some Christian colleges also offer high school programs.
Parochial schools became popular in the United States during the first half of the 1800s. Typically, a private Christian education allows students to learn in smaller classes than the public school. The teachers and the students are usually connected to the parish or church where the school is housed and that creates a strong sense of community.
Different protestant denominations also run private Christian schools. Protestant schools typically run K-6, K-8, K-12 or 9-12 grade level programs. As with parochial schools they may be affiliated with a particular church. However, some are simply based on a specific denomination and enroll students from several different churches.
K-8 Christian Education Curriculum
Many Christian schools closely follow the local public school district’s curriculum with a few notable exceptions. First, some schools do not teach evolution and instead solely teach creationism. Second, some novels and other works of fiction may be taken out of the curriculum and placed with those that are viewed as more suitable. Finally, and most fundamentally, religious education is added to the curriculum. Public schools are not permitted to teach religion.
Whether or not a child attends a Christian school during his K-12 education, some people choose to complete their college level work at a Christian college. There are many Christian colleges in the United States. Some are more religious than others. The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities limit membership in their organization to schools that are intentionally Christ centered and who only employ Christians as full time professors and administrators. Other schools, including the prominent Jesuit schools of Georgetown University and Boston College, do not have these types of requirements for their educational philosophy, faculty or administrators. What do you need to know about the college admissions process?
Many Christian parents who decide against sending their child to a full day Christian school still want their child to receive a Christian education. These parents typically enroll their children in weekly religious education classes run by their Church or parish. Many Protestants refer to this type of education as Sunday School because the classes tend to meet on Sundays before, during or after regular worship services. Many Catholics refer to this type of education as Catechism which means a summary of doctrine.
Some parents struggle with the decision about whether to send their child to a private Christian school. They worry that they are sheltering their child or depriving the child of some of the benefits of state run schools. They worry that their child will not be exposed to diverse groups of children and some worry about the cost of tuition. Yet, for many families Christian education is an important and valued alternative to a public school system which is seen as increasingly hostile to religion. Many Christian families are concerned about sending their children away every day to study in place that makes no mention of God and for the most part pretends that religion does not exist. For these families, a Christian education is a valuable alternative.
How to Legally Provide Your Child with a Home Education
Home education is not a new concept. Some parents have always chosen to educate their children at home. However, in the last few decades there has been an increase in the number of students who are being home schooled. The reasons for this are varied but include a dissatisfaction with the quality of education provided in the public school system, a fundamental or religious opposition to some of the public school curriculum such as the teaching of evolution or sex education and, the relative ease with which a parent can now find home schooling resources or home education curriculum.
What to Know Before You Start Home Schooling
Different states have different requirements about how to legally home school your child. Some states do not require that parents do anything. They can simply keep their child at home and begin the home education process. Other states require that parents notify their local school district of their intent to home school and then they may go ahead and begin home schooling. These states do not require that the school district approve their home schooling plan.
However, approximately one half of the states do require that the local school district approve the parent’s request to home school their children. These states have different standards when it comes to home schooling.
Some states require parental notification and that parents send the school district the child’s test or assessment scores at least annually. Other states require parents to file a curriculum plan and detailed information about why the parent is qualified to teach the child at home. It is important that each parent accurately understands the state requirements before beginning to home school a child so that no problems arise and the child’s home education continues uninterrupted. Considerations for art education in a Homeschool environment
Time to Get Started
Once you have satisfied your state legal requirements and you are ready to begin home schooling, it is important that you do the following things:
• Choose a Curriculum: some home school parents choose to follow a formal home school curriculum. Other home school parents decide to design their own curriculum. Either way, it is useful to have a copy of the curriculum and to make sure that you cover everything that you want to cover during a set period of time.
• Assess Your child (informally or formally): it is also important to periodically assess your child to see how he or she is doing in the curriculum. For some families, that means standardized tests. For other families, it means more informal projects or papers whereby the child can demonstrate his or her understanding of the material presented.
• Join a Home School Group or Enroll Your Child in Group Activities: critics of home schooling are quick to argue that home schooling is detrimental to children because they do not learn how to interact with other children. However, many home school children participate in little league or other community extracurricular activities. Further, many home school families form home school groups so that the parents and children can do fun learning activities together and socialize.
• Keep Records: whether or not your state requires it, it is important that you keep records of your curriculum and your child’s progress in that curriculum. That way if anyone ever accuses you of educational neglect you will have the documentation necessary to show child protection services and the local school district that your child is receiving an appropriate home education.
Home Education for a Student with Disabilities
Parents have the right to home school their child with disabilities just as they would a child without disabilities. However, it is very important that the parent ensures that the child’s special education evaluations are up to date and that the parent also ensures that the child is not losing any skills or suffering as a result of home schooling. The parent should seek the assistance of a special educator or related service provider if it is necessary to provide the child with an appropriate education. Special education and your child.
Many people believe home schooling to be a fundamental parental right. There are undoubtedly benefits to this kind of education and if you are interested in home education it is worth taking the time to comply with the legal requirements and to keep the documentation necessary to show your child’s success.