Is Christian School Right For My Middle School-age Child?
If you have a child between the ages of 11 and 14, you may have noticed a few things. You may have noticed that your child is asserting their opinion and disagreeing with you more. They may be moody or emotional, isolating themselves more, or becoming increasingly introspective. You might feel that your child has reverted back to the toddler stage, with outbursts and irrational behavior or thought processes. Perhaps you are wondering where your sweet little child has gone.
You are not alone.
With hormones raging and a burgeoning awareness of the bigger world before them, young teenagers spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out where they fit into their world. This is a pivotal time in their life. And yours.
The question of the appropriateness of Christian school for your middle school child should not be separate from the question of whether or not Christian school is right for any child. If you are a Christian, then the answer is clear. If we are to train our children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), then it behooves us to place our children in an environment that will carry out that command.
Martin Luther asserted,
I am much afraid that schools will prove to be great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.
A century later, on September 26, 1642, the founders of Harvard College in the Rules and Precepts at Harvard stated,
Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2, 3).
God admonishes us to train our children according to his ways (Proverbs 22:6), and Christ strongly reproves his hearers not to cause children to stumble (Matthew 18:6).
When you consider the influx of competing messages that our children encounter every day, shouldn’t we endeavor to surround them with biblical influences wherever and whenever we can?
Some would argue that children should not be educated in a “bubble.” The contention is sort of akin to baptism by fire. Expose your child to the world so they can learn to cope in it. Or, place your child in the world so that they can be a light. But adolescence is such a critical juncture in the formation of worldview. Children at this age are fragile emotionally, and extremely pliable to outside influence. And our world is just so dark.
Worldview Matters.Discover Why.
The Christian school is, of course, not a panacea. Like a church or a Christian family, it is inhabited by redeemed sinners. Not all classmates are believers, and, like anywhere else, negative influences are ever present. However, when negative influences are discovered, solutions are sought that are biblical, loving, and grace-filled. The goal of every adult in a Christian school is to come alongside the Christian parent to train a child in the ways of the Lord. The Truth is taught in every classroom and every subject and opposing views are explored and held up against the light of God’s infallible Word.
We must not settle for the world’s view of “typical” teenage behavior. 1 Timothy 4:12 is as relevant today as when it was written: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” We don’t have to wait until our children are older to expect godly behavior from them. Sending your middle school child to a Christian school can only aid in the ongoing effort to bring godly influence that will lead to godly character and a life that will glorify Christ.
Christian school is a commitment that requires sacrifice. But God’s admonition to consider where your treasure lies applies here. The benefit of temporal riches is remarkably dim compared to the return on the eternal investment in the godly upbringing or our children. A home, church, and school trifecta can greatly contribute to that investment, to the glory of God. (And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. Ecc. 4:12)
The mission of Dayspring Christian Academy, through the Principle Approach, is to partner with families and churches in equipping students to:
- Acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life
- Demonstrate a biblical worldview
- Become citizens of excellence in Christian character and scholarship
- Restore America’s biblical foundation
Choosing how to educate your children is an important decision, and middle school is often a time when families may be considering Christian education. If you have questions about the Principle Approach and how Dayspring may partner with your family in educating your children, please contact us, schedule a tour of the school, or join us for an open house.