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Should I consider a Christian Education for My Children - YES!
...a discussion with Jerry Roukema - London District Christian Secondary School

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The topic of Christian Education is an important one for the Christian community, the church and particularly for Christian parents, for whom child rearing includes the education of their children. For believers in Jesus Christ, the question of whether or not a Christian education is important seems obvious. The answer would be a resounding "Yes!" OK, but it still is a fair question: "Why would we send our children to a Christian school? After all, there is a school in the neighbourhood, and my kids play with friends here. Furthermore, a Christian education is expensive while public schools are 'free'".

Perhaps the best way to begin the answer is this: Christian Education is an extension of the cross. The cross stands planted deeply into the earth. Vertically it extends toward heaven. It presents the idea that everything in all creation has a vertical relationship with the Creator. All things on earth are connected to God and have been given a purpose by Him. When Jesus died on the cross, He claimed the world and everything in it as His own, "For God so loved the world…."

The horizontal arm of the cross symbolizes the encompassing Lordship of Jesus Christ. When Jesus hung on the cross, he stretched his arms across the world; His loving embrace claimed the whole of creation. So we are connected to each other and to all things through Jesus. We belong.

Therefore, when we teach, we profess that we can only do so in the presence and grace of the Creator. To teach about the creation and the creatures in the creation in the absence of the Creator would be incomplete. Then learning takes on a whole different meaning. Education becomes sacred, a holy enterprise dedicated to the idea that the next generation ought to be equipped with a vision that will enable them to serve their Lord in whatever field or endeavour he leads them to.

It is our task to unravel the mystery of creation; its creatures and the story of the people God made in His image. We study the grandeur of God in nature; from Photosynthesis to the Water Cycle, from single celled organisms to Quantum Physics, the Lord made it all and for a reason. We marvel at the order and number of all things, at the seemingly perfect symmetry of mathematics. We enjoy and refine our sense of beauty in art and music, we relish the joy of play in Physical Education and sport, and we recognize the varied nature of God-given talent. We find our place and gain an understanding of our time in history and geography, in law and economics. We are a people blessed with an understanding of who we are by our story, and our story is always framed by Easter Sunday morning.

One of the frequently asked questions about why Christian Education is: "Who is responsible for my child's education?" or, to put it another way, "should my child's education be done in a public, private or home-based system?" The answer should be based on the principle of ultimate responsibility. Ultimately, the God given responsibility to raise children "in the knowledge of God" rests with their parents.

Let's review the most common questions asked when considering a Christian Education:

Wouldn't a child educated in the public system coupled with strong education and guidance at home be best?

The public school system cannot describe a religious, faith based direction, other than the idea that a good education leads to good job which results in one's ability to take care of themselves. Christian education recognizes the hand of God in creation, ethics, morality, a sense of purpose and a cohesive unity between the church, home and school are the hallmarks of the Christian schooling enterprise.

Are Christian Schools accredited through the Ministry of Education of Ontario?

Yes. All Christian High Schools in Ontario must follow the Ministry of Education prescribed curriculum. Every Christian High School is inspected by the Ministry of Education every two years. All elementary Christian schools follow the prescribed curriculum for public elementary schools.

If the public and Christian schools have the same curriculum then what is the difference?

The difference is found in the underlying principles on which that education is built. We believe in a Creator God. We believe that is still our Father's world, that God ordered his creation, gave us laws to live by and created political and economic principles that are based on the idea of fairness and generosity. We believe that Jesus is the central figure in history and that the resurrection is the pivotal moment of history. Therefore the end goal of Christian education is to equip students for a lifetime of service to their Creator.

How do the teachers and administration educate the student so that the practice of Christian virtues becomes the rule and not the exception?

We do that carefully and care-filled. No student, (nor teacher, for that matter) is perfect. We deal with sin as it presents itself in our lives daily. The advantage we have is a common moral compass. Our students come from Christian homes and families, they usually know where the boundaries lie. We don't lie to them either, in other words, we let them know that the practice of Christian virtues is a lifelong exercise that only ends when we hear the words, "well done, good and faithful servant."

What Church doctrine is taught at Christian schools in London?

Church doctrine should be done in church school. The Christian school is about teaching the student about the whole of life, and while we acknowledge the role of the church in history (not always great) the specifics of Christian doctrine should be left to the church. This also allows the Christian school to minister to a variety of churches and denominations.

On average, what percentage of in school time is used for bible studies?

Most Christian schools have a period for Bible. The Christian High School Curriculum offers a grade 10 Bible course, which is a survey of the whole Bible. Having said that, Biblical principles are woven through every course.

Are non-Christians allowed to enroll in Christian schools?

Absolutely! It is the call of every Christian to introduce Jesus to those who don't know him. If the Christian school can lead a person to a lifelong, (read eternal) relationship with Jesus, then that would be icing on the cake in a real way. However, it is not the function of a Christian School to convert people. The function of the Christian School is to educate young people with a Christian perspective for all of living.

What percentage of London District Christian secondary school graduates go on to attend college?

That varies from year to year. On average, at least half of our graduates go on to university, another 30-35% go to community colleges and the rest enter the work force.

What guidance is provided at Christian schools in London to help students prepare for college?

London Christian High has a guidance department. All students receive educational guidance from grade 9 to graduation. The plan is worked on in conjunction with the parents, there is always lots of communication.

What Athletic teams available? Do they compete with the public, Catholic and other private schools in London?

London District Christian Secondary School is a member of the Thames Valley Region Athletics. (TVRA) We compete with every Public , Catholic and French First Language High Schools in a variety of sports; basketball, badminton, volleyball, soccer, cross country, golf and track and field. We are a small school, so come play-off time we compete at the "A" level, schools under 500 students. We are very competitive most of the time. This year, our senior boys basketball team, and our two soccer teams qualified for OFSAA, the provincial championships. Our senior teams also compete in an annual tournament with all the other Christian High Schools in the province.

More questions? Send your questions by email to us at editor@clil.ca and we will do our best to get you the answers.