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Integrating Faith Outside of the Classroom: Part 1

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 15, 2014 @ 7:56 PM

Below is a fantastic article by Paul Neal (Charter Oak Research) about the nature of Christian education and the intentionality required of its leaders. 

A lot has been written about biblical integration in the classroom. Many valuable conversations with excellent educators in biblical worldview teaching and new texts on Christian worldview instruction are getting new coverage and encouragement that has schools more attentive to this than ever before. And, as CARDUS research shows, biblical integration has a real impact on the worldview and life choices of our graduates.

Primarily, these resources are designed to equip and train professionals who are already capable teachers.  Todd Williams says, “if you want integrated teaching hire integrated people.” I’d add, “or people capable of integration.” How can we expect people to integrate unless we equip them? Once equipped and supported, though, it is the least we can expect.

Thinking about biblical integration in the Christian school, led me to think more generally about school leadership. This includes administrative leaders (team or function leaders, department chairs, division heads and heads of school) and board governance. My own experience on a school board informs my only personal experience in leading a school. But my opportunities to observe many other school leaders also contributes to my thinking. So how well do we integrate faith in these settings outside of the classroom? How do we live a biblical worldview in the way we do Christian school?

One way is how we work with one another in front of students, their families and other coworkers.Do we hold one another accountable to biblical virtues like hard work, preparation, cooperation and support? Do we do accountability with biblical motives or selfish ones? Do we demonstrate, through our own willingness to help colleagues, a right view of servant hood, Christian community, even generosity?As we strengthen our schools through giving teachers greater training in worldview integration in their curriculum, we also make that instruction more believable as biblical integration is demonstrated by the way they do their jobs.

Or consider the arts. A Christian school with an integrated biblical view of the aesthetic demonstrates that it values beauty and creativity. It shows that the arts can teach some of the great themes of creation, the fall, redemption and consummation. We can also touch on many other ideas (suffering and eternity as two examples) in a biblical framework that our students can learn from.  Read more on a Christian model of aesthetics.

These are just a few of the areas worth thinking about when we consider how our world view informs our operations. How are your schools doing this well?How well are our leaders equipped to think biblically in some of these areas? I’ll share some more thoughts on this same topic next and hope that you feel free to share your thoughts.

This post origially appeard on CACE.org - http://cace.org/integrating-faith-outside-of-the-classroom-part-1/ 

Is there such a thing as neutral education?

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 14, 2014 @ 7:44 PM

Most educators, and far too many parents, have bought into the myth that education can be “religion-neutral.” They are convinced that teachers can train the mind without shaping attitudes, behavior or spiritual beliefs, and leave that for the parents to do at home.

However, neutral education is simply impossible.

In Romans 12:2, Paul observes the vital link between what we learn and what we become. As Gordon Clark puts it, “The school system that ignores God teaches its pupils to ignore God. That is not neutrality. It is the worst form of antagonism, for it judges God to be unimportant and irrelevant in human affairs. This is atheism.”

 

DiscoverChristianSchools.com - We can help you find a Christian school and fulfill the directive we have been assigned as Christian parents.

What happens at a Christ-centered school?

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 11, 2014 @ 6:27 PM

Blog post written by Michael Essenburg, Christian Academy in Japan

Originally posted on the Nurturing Faith blog.

Short answer: At a Christ-centered school, students learn “different content” for a “different purpose” from “different people” in a “different environment.”

Longer answer: 

  1. At a Christ-centered school, students learn “different content, skills, and values.” They learn to… Understand Bible stories, the plan of salvation, and a biblical perspective of what they study. Apply a biblical perspective to what they study. Respect themselves and others as image bearers of God. Use their learning to serve God and others, and to take care of God’s creation. Value and maintain spiritual, moral, physical, social, and emotional health.
  2. At a Christ-centered school, students learn for a “different purpose.” They learn in order to impact the world for Christ. They learn in order to be Christ-like. The primary purpose of a Christ-centered school is not to help students get into college or get a job.
  3. At a Christ-centered school, students learn from “different people.” They learn from God’s people. People with new hearts who live for God. People who bear the fruit of the Spirit. People who are passionate about helping all students increase their understanding and application of a biblical perspective.
  4. At a Christ-centered school, students learn in a “different environment.” A Christ-centered environment. An environment that is safe, healthy, and nurturing. An environment that is characterized by love, gratitude, trust, respect for differences, and high expectations.

Enroll your child in a Christian school! To find a Christian school in your area, visit www.DiscoverChristianSchools.com and use the School Finder feature!

Why should I consider Christian education?

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 10, 2014 @ 7:08 PM

Ten Reasons Why You Need To Pray About It Today:

Finances. Location. Perceived academic deficiencies. These are just some of the reasons parents spurn Christian education in favor of its public school counterpart. The DiscoverChristianSchools.com website addresses these and other concerns on the “FAQs” page. (Click here to read about some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Christian education) But here we’d like to offer you ten solid arguments in favor of Christian education. There are plenty of others, both biblical and practical. But we feel these are the most compelling:

  1. God’s Word is taught
  2. God commands us to teach kids through the Word
  3. The school shares your values
  4. Safety
  5. Academic Achievement
  6. Teachers love and fear the Lord
  7. Individual Attention
  8. Success after graduation
  9. Peer Pressure
  10. The State of Public Education

"A truly Christian education is possible only when Christian education underlies not a part, but all, of the curriculum of the school. True learning and true piety go hand in hand, and Christianity embraces the whole of life - those are great central convictions that underlie the Christian school." J. Gresham Machen

Click Here for a more detailed look at our “Ten Reasons” for Christian education!

The Four Questions of Christian Education

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 09, 2014 @ 7:49 PM

Anthony Bradley, of the Acton Institute, has written a fantastic article on The Four Questions of Christian Education.  Bradley offers four questions to stand as a guidepost and a test to Christian schools as he suggests that a child or person who is unable to answer these questions has not received a quality Christian education.

Here is an excerpt from his article--it is absolutely worth reading in its entirety.

One of the advantages of living in a free society is that parents have multiple options for how they can educate their children, including enrolling them in religious education. Christian education is unique in that teachers can integrate faith and learning in the classroom to unlock academic disciplines from mere materialistic or rational concerns to direct interdependence and collaboration with the providential work of the Triune God in his plan to redeem the entire cosmos. In light this fact, if any student graduates from a Christian school, at either the secondary or the university level, and cannot answer the following questions I argue that the school is failing. These four questions wed the goal of the Christian life — namely, to glorify God — with our day-to-day lives in a way that expands the scope of how we think about vocation.

I've included the four questions, which Bradley expounds upon and shows the importance of each question and answer, while showing the need for our children to know them at heart.  Please consider you and your child's response to these vital questions:

  1. What is God’s story?
  2. Why are God’s people important to that story?
  3. Who are you in God’s eyes?
  4. What’s your role in God’s story?

Read Anthony Bradley's full article and responses here (Click Here for Full Article)

Affording a Christian Education: Financial Assistance Is It Available – Who/How Do I Ask?

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 08, 2014 @ 7:38 PM

By John Fedele

One of the more frequent questions I receive from parents is “how can we receive financial assistance or aid to send our children to a Christian school.” This is an important consideration for many families as they look at the expense of a Christian school education in light of current economic conditions, rising prices, and especially if they want to enroll more than one child.

Let me first say that most Christian schools today offer some kind of financial assistance or financial aid program. Schools also may have multiple child discounts for families with more than one child. Each school is different, so a parent needs to inquire about financial assistance with each Christian school. Check with the admissions officer and if necessary speak to the administrator. I want to emphasize “needs to ask.”

In my experience as an Administrator and Development Director I have come across numerous parents who were either hesitant or did not ask because of not wanting to be viewed as needing financial assistance, or were simply “embarrassed” at the thought of asking. The purpose of a financial aid program is to assist parents, so why not inquire to see if you are eligible or even qualify?
Secondly, I have found that family members, (grandparents, in-laws, etc.) are many times looking for opportunities to bless someone in their immediate family. What can be more wonderful than helping a grandchild, nephew, niece or loved one receive a Christian education? It provides an opportunity to invest in the life of someone they truly love and care about. Your family members could be a great resource.

Thirdly, your church may have a scholarship fund or a program to assist parents who desire to educate their children in a Christian school. Don’t overlook your local church as a potential avenue of financial assistance.

In conclusion, I encourage parents to take these steps:

  1. Inquire at the Christian school about their financial assistance or scholarship programs. Ask the person in charge of admissions or the school administrator.
  2. Don’t rule out family members who may be able and wanting to assist you.
  3. Inquire at your local church about existing financial assistance programs or ministries.
  4. Get over any hesitancy or embarrassment on your part in asking, if you don’t ask, you may never be the recipient of a blessing!

Finally, make known your need to the Lord. Pray that He will supply the needed funding through his miracle power or through someone, He will!!

Affording a Christian School Education: Financial Assistance – Is It Available and Who/How Do I Ask?

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 08, 2014 @ 7:38 PM

By John Fedele

One of the more frequent questions I receive from parents is “how can we receive financial assistance or aid to send our children to a Christian school.” This is an important consideration for many families as they look at the expense of a Christian school education in light of current economic conditions, rising prices, and especially if they want to enroll more than one child.

Let me first say that most Christian schools today offer some kind of financial assistance or financial aid program. Schools also may have multiple child discounts for families with more than one child. Each school is different, so a parent needs to inquire about financial assistance with each Christian school. Check with the admissions officer and if necessary speak to the administrator. I want to emphasize “needs to ask.”

In my experience as an Administrator and Development Director I have come across numerous parents who were either hesitant or did not ask because of not wanting to be viewed as needing financial assistance, or were simply “embarrassed” at the thought of asking. The purpose of a financial aid program is to assist parents, so why not inquire to see if you are eligible or even qualify?
Secondly, I have found that family members, (grandparents, in-laws, etc.) are many times looking for opportunities to bless someone in their immediate family. What can be more wonderful than helping a grandchild, nephew, niece or loved one receive a Christian education? It provides an opportunity to invest in the life of someone they truly love and care about. Your family members could be a great resource.

Thirdly, your church may have a scholarship fund or a program to assist parents who desire to educate their children in a Christian school. Don’t overlook your local church as a potential avenue of financial assistance.

In conclusion, I encourage parents to take these steps:

  1. Inquire at the Christian school about their financial assistance or scholarship programs. Ask the person in charge of admissions or the school administrator.
  2. Don’t rule out family members who may be able and wanting to assist you.
  3. Inquire at your local church about existing financial assistance programs or ministries.
  4. Get over any hesitancy or embarrassment on your part in asking, if you don’t ask, you may never be the recipient of a blessing!

Finally, make known your need to the Lord. Pray that He will supply the needed funding through his miracle power or through someone, He will!!

The Big Idea

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 07, 2014 @ 8:08 PM

How does the idea of a Christian education sound to you?


To many of us, the idea of a Christian education for our kids sounds nice, wholesome, and yes, even spiritual. But in reality, few of us are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to send our children to a Christian school. After all, there is no guarantee for our kids attached! Some went to a school and turned out OK, and others who attended a Christian school or college may not be the picture of Christianity!

But none of that means you shouldn’t be thinking seriously about choosing a Christian school for your child. For more information about why you should at least think about a Christian education, and some big ideas for you to consider, visit our website at http://www.discoverchristianschools.com/.

We can help you find a Christian school and fulfill the directive we have been assigned as Christian parents.  DiscoverChristianSchools.com - Where Christian education is priceless!

A Parent's Perspective - The Right Priorities

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 04, 2014 @ 7:16 PM

Elizabeth W.

Wilmington, DE

We are recent converts to Christian schooling who began as proponents of public schooling, mainly in order to be salt and light. While kindergarten was fine, first grade started off with a lack of peace, which never abated. As the year progressed, God gradually opened our eyes, changing our hearts and minds in the process.

No matter what administrators might tell you, children are NOT their priority. The public schools have all the problems inherent in a government bureaucracy: lack of accountability, political motivations, inefficiencies, unresponsiveness, etc. Moreover, the environment is often not nurturing, not to mention disorderly, which is clearly not conducive to learning. I imagine there are some exceptions somewhere, but why gamble?

Both the reading and math curricula were not rigorous, entailing a lot of busy work, little actual teaching and a lot of extraneous material and projects, versus a focus on critical fundamentals. There are a lot of new, experimental teaching methods being used for the sake of novelty. Who wants their child to be used as a guinea pig and be academically handicapped as a result?

Let me emphasize that I spent extraordinary amounts of time in the classroom and talking with parents, administrators and teachers. If you have not done this, trust me, you do not have an accurate idea of your child’s experience. Even at the first grade level, I was alarmed by the negative peer influences, which included age-inappropriate boy/girl interactions.

I should note that our child was in the only gifted program offered in the entire state. This is a highly regarded program by many, even some Christian parents, but as I spent more time in the classroom, I concluded that the “best” in public education is decidedly inadequate. The visit to WCS shed light on the deficiencies in public school; I should note that this was based solely on my observations, as school personnel did not even discuss public schools. Even if you feel public school is fine, I urge you to visit your local Christian school. God wants the best for our children, and so do parents. Wisdom demands we make decisions based on knowledge. Consequently, don’t we have an obligation to investigate all options, especially regarding the training of our children?

Good Children's Literature is Essentials

Posted by Bela Franklin on April 03, 2014 @ 7:24 PM

"In a day and age when reading good books has never been of greater need for our children, parents and teachers owe Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott a deep debt of gratitude for the wonderful service they have provided by compiling this updated second edition of their book. It is a mandatory companion for any home or school."— Patch Blakey, Executive Director, The Association of Classical & Christian Schools


Good Children’s Literature Is Essential
A Word from the Authors
We wrote our book because a book of this sort is greatly needed.
The Book Tree is a recommended reading list for all ages, from
preschool through high school,
 and it includes several unique
features. It contains a selective array of excellent books for
each age group. We believe with Walter de la Mare that “only
the rarest kind of best of anything can be good enough for the
young,” so we have spent many years researching and reading
old books and new, classics as well as recent releases. In this
book, we provide a recommended list of classic books, as well
as books by Christian authors, some little-known books by
great writers and poets, and a sizable collection of inspiring
biographies. Of course, we do not think that these are the only
books worth reading. In fact, we are discovering new favorites
all the time. We are simply sharing with you some of the books
that we have especially enjoyed.

Table of Contents:
1. Preschool Literature
2. Elementary School Fiction
3. Middle School Fiction
4. Elementary & Middle School Biography
5. High School Fiction
6. High School Biography


Also Includes:
Title Index
Author Index
Illustrator Index
Subject Index

Publishers Description:

Once upon a time, a carpenter entered a forest and happened upon a wolf wearing a feathered cap. Quick, whose side are you on? If you don't know, then keep reading. Stories provide a roadmap for life. This is because stories are life. But oftentimes it's easiest to understand where we are when we can look through other eyes—from the perspective of someone else, living somewhere else, somewhen else.

If you thought you knew The Book Tree, think again. Jane and Elizabeth have updated this charming book with over 100 new book reviews, and whimsical illustrations from recommended titles are scattered throughout. New formatting and four indexes (title, author, illustrator, and subject) make it easier than ever to browse for that next well-worn favorite.For those beginning to read for the first time or those beginning to read again, The Book Tree will drop golden apples in your lap, until you can climb high enough to pick for yourself.

About the Authors:

Elizabeth McCallum (M.A. English, University of Houston) has taught high school and college English for thirty years. She currently teaches English at Covenant Christian Academy (Cumming, GA) and conducts seminars on literature and English for both parents and teachers.

Jane Scott (B.A. English, Covenant College) spends much of her time managing her home and teaching. Her husband, Martin, serves in the Georgia legislature, and they live in northwest Georgia with their four girls.

Click here to see a sample of the book and to watch The Book Tree advertising trailer.

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Big Ideas to Consider:

1. There are basically two kingdoms: a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It seems strange to have those who walk in darkness educate children of light. It doesn't fit.

2. If Jesus Christ is Lord, then He is Lord of all. We cannot divide things into secular and sacred.

3. All truth is God's truth, and God's Word sheds light on our path. Only in His light can we see light. Education is not focused on possibilities but on certainties found in God's Word.

4. Deuteronomy 6 tells parents that, in all they do, they should provide a godly education 24/7.

5. Three key institutions that shape a child are the home, the church and the school. Children are served best when all three institutions point them in the same direction.

6. Only an education that has the liberty to address the whole child -- social, intellectual, emotional, physical AND spiritual -- reaches the possibility of excellence.

7. The best preparation for effective service is to be well grounded in one's mind before direct engagement of the culture.