Bloomfield Blog

Why Christian Education?

Posted by Mrs. Sarah Collister on Jun 29, 2018 2:07:34 PM

explore and growLast year, my husband and I were invited by a Michigan State Representative to
participate in a discussion on education in 2018. The room was filled with people who represented almost every form of education one could imagine: public superintendents and teachers, homeschool parents, online school facilitators, parochial school principals, and us, classical Christian school teachers. The goal of the evening was actually quite simple. As a member of the Michigan Commission on Education, the State Representative wanted each person to answer 2 questions: 1. What is the purpose of Education? and 2.
Does the state of Michigan have a responsibility to monitor school districts? While the 2nd question is certainly an important matter to consider, the group did not even have a chance to broach that particular topic because we spent over 3 hours debating the true purpose of education.

It is no surprise that a topic that took a room full of professionals a whole evening to discuss also perplexes parents! What is the value of education and, more specifically, a Christian Education? Proverbs 22:6 directly addresses this question: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Education is not merely schooling or job training, but a way of life. This mentality shaped the first universities and cathedral schools of the world, and it is still true today. Education that is concerned with the whole person sharpens the mind, forms the heart, and prepares the soul for future trials. This form of education will never go out of vogue.

Christian Education Sharpens the Mind

1st grade classroom Many people do not realize that Christian Education is one of the oldest kinds of formal education in the world! Therefore, students in a Christian school benefit not only from the lessons of great Christian literature such as The Divine Comedy or Tale of Two Cities, but also from the classical texts, like Plato’s Dialogues, Euclid’s Elements, and The Histories of Herodotus, that shaped the best thinkers that have roamed the earth. At the end of the year, each student in the 4th grade class dresses up as a figure from Medieval History and hosts a “wax museum” where they present quotes and stories from the figure’s life. It is a delight for the staff and students to see 10 year olds emulating great defenders of the faith like Benedict of Nursia and Martin Luther! Students in a classical Christian school have the unique advantage of learning not only from Scripture but from the whole scope of human experience and they can apply what they have learned to the unique problems presented in 2018.

Christian Education Forms the Heart

students with heart craftsChristian education teaches a child to love what is wholly and truly good. Augustine of Hippo, perhaps best known for penning his passionate conversion story, The Confessions, posed that virtue was not just about “acting good,” but about ordering one’s loves by him who is truly good: Christ. This re-orienting of the heart is only possible because of the Gospel. At Bloomfield Christian, all K-12 students memorize the same verses and study the same 2 chapters of the Bible each week. As whole families recite the verse together on the way to so and from school, this continuity shapes the heart of each student and reminds him he is also a part of a greater family of God.

Christian Education Prepares the Soul

FriendshipBecause students in a Christian school are taught what is true, they are properly prepared to respond to the trials they encounter in life. They are strengthened by the fact that their lives are not only to be lived for themselves, but are instead a participation in the greatest story ever told that has the most joyous ending. J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, best captured the need for children to grow up hearing stories of Christian hope in his character of Samwise Gamgee, who responds to his friend Frodo in a moment of deep despair:

“I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

God commands us to raise our children up in the way they should go. Christian education teaches children to love what is good with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. If children are taught to love other things first, and are told other stories or taught other truths, they will follow other gods.

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