Thursday, April 15, 2004

Where did you go to school?

A thread on the Baptist Board asks the question: "What kind of education did you receive?--Home School, Public School, Private School, Christian school, Baptist school?" It goes on to ask what kind of education your children are getting.

This was my reply:

"I went to public school for the bulk of my education, except for two phases: during the latter part of the third grade, then the fourth and fifth grade while my parents were missionaries to Lebanon, I attended private schools...first a British one and then an American one. Then, back in the states, I attended ninth grade at a Christian school.

Look up 'awful Christian school' in the dictionary and you'll probably see a picture of the Christian school I attended in the ninth grade. Academics were mediocre at best; the teachers looked the other way when students came to class high on pot, groped each other in class and were generally disrespectful and disruptive. I couldn't leave my lunch in my locker without it getting stolen. Obviously, the school was a dumping ground for public school rejects.

I made a couple of nice friends there who made it bearable. Then, about three weeks before the end of school, all the teachers walked out because they weren't getting paid. Parents planned to continue holding classes at a local bowling alley without the teachers, but my parents were disgusted and pulled me out of the school. The school offices were such a mess, they had lost my transcript. When I enrolled at the public high school the next fall, they admitted me on a temporary probationary status because of my lack of a transcript. (I must have done OK, because when I graduated, I was chosen as one of three class speakers for my class of some 450 students! :) )

That experience with a really lousey Christian school fortunately didn't sour me on Christian education. I now realize that Christian schools can be horrible, excellent, or in-between...just like pretty much everything else.

My husband has taught at a Christian school for the past 25 years, and all three of my children attended there. Both my sons have already graduated and gone on to Cedarville University(my older son graduated in 2002), and they both feel the excellent academics at their school helped prepare them for Cedarville's tough academic standards. They both also scored very well on their ACT's. My daughter graduates next year."

While I'm very thankful that my children were blessed with a quality Christian education, I believe it's every parent's responsiblity to prayerfully consider the education their children will receive. It's a hot topic among Christians, but I believe Christian children can do well in the public schools in many circumstances. I've seen wonderful products of Christian schooling, and some that sadden me. And I've seen home schooling work beautifully and successfully. It's a personal decision, and one that needs to be made and executed prayerfully.

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