Textbooks can change your child's thinking for better or for worse.
The term curriculum is often used interchangeably with the term textbooks. When asked what curriculum is used, the reply will often include the name of a textbook publisher. However, curriculum is so much more. The curriculum of a school includes the educational objectives or “standards” of that school and all of the means used to meet those objectives, of which textbooks are only one part. The curriculum includes field trips, special projects, guest speakers, assessment tools and methods, and teacher-specific management activities such as reading groups, learning centers, journaling, peer-tutoring, mentoring, and so much more. All of these methods are purposefully planned to achieve the goals set forth by the school board and administration. In most cases, the textbooks chosen are just the backbone. Teachers create the nerve system that carries the message to the individual parts (students) and causes them to work.
This is not to say that textbooks aren’t important. They are very important, and are an accurate expression of the educational ideologies of the school. Textbooks guide teachers in their understanding of what is expected and keeps consistency in grade-level expectations, preparing students for the next grade. Textbooks contain most of the written material that comprises the overall curriculum, so it is important that they are biblically-integrated, giving Christian teachers the greatest opportunity to teach a biblical worldview thoroughly and consistently.
Deciding Curriculum Since curriculum is so much more than choosing the best publisher for specific subject areas, the freedom that Christian schools enjoy in choosing their curriculum is one of the most important things to consider when deciding between Christian schools and public schools.
Who is deciding the curriculum in public schools? More and more, in recent years, it is policymakers and wealthy foundations whose humanistic ideals compel them to seek to reform a broken system. The only problem is, they are “looking at schools from an altitude of 20,000 feet and seeing them as objects to be moved around by big ideas and great plans.” This quote comes from a book by Diane Ravitch, educational historian and former assistant secretary of education, titled The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2010). Although Ravitch is advocating for the rescue of the public school system (not advocating for private schools), she provides great insights into the inner-workings of educational policy and reform. She gives this enlightening description,
A policymaker . . . is required to plan for the future and make bets about a course of action that is likely to bring about improvements. Policymakers have a theory of action, even if they can’t articulate it, and they implement plans based on their theory of action, their guess about how the world works. . . . Instead of dealing with rancorous problems like how to teach reading or how to improve testing, one can redesign the management and structure of the school system and concentrate on incentives and sanctions. One need not know anything about children or education (p. 11).
More recently, Ravitch wrote a blog post, voicing her concerns over the Common Core State Standards, the latest “theory of action” brought about by policymakers and wealthy foundations:
The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time (Read more ).
Thankfully, most Christian schools are not in a position to be dictated to because of the fear of loss of funding. Most Christian schools have proven that tried-and-true, traditional methods of teaching still work. A good Christian school will stay abreast of current research and continually seek to improve their methodologies, but will stay above the fray. They have the freedom to make choices that are best for their students, teachers, and community.
Curriculum as a Means to an End
Most Christian parents would agree that the purpose of raising children is to reach their hearts with the message of salvation and to train them to serve God with their whole hearts and lives. The best way to prepare them for a life of service is to fill their toolbox with every tool at your disposal so that when God calls them to do something, the basic tools are there. The Christian parent whose main concern is that their child love God with their whole heart may not care if that child grows up to be a janitor or a homemaker—noble professions which don’t require a high level of education—as long as they love and serve God; but what if God has gifted that child and wants to use him or her as a physicist or state senator—no more noble than the previous professions, but requiring a higher level of education—for His glory? It’s not up to you to decide what God will call them to do one day. It is up to you to give them the best education possible so that when He does call them, they can take the next step.
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Will your child grow up loving God and loving people? How will they view culture, politics, hardships and material wealth? How will the interpret all they face in life? It all depends on worldview. For the Christian family, teaching a Christian worldview is paramount in the educational process. It undergirds everything else that is taught. It is one of the main reasons Christian education is so vitally important.
What is a worldview?
A worldview is the composite of all the beliefs and assumptions that direct how a person views life and, therefore, how a person chooses to live. Our most important beliefs relate to God. If people believe that God is merciful and gracious, that leads them to seek a relationship with God. If they believe that their god or “god-like important idea,” like evolution, is indifferent or cruel, they do not seek a relationship, but seek to appease that god or to find relief or happiness in something else.
A worldview has innumerable other components:
“Worldview” is not just an abstract philosophical topic. It is practical. It makes a difference every day. A worldview does not just affect your child; in a very real sense it is your child. That last statement seems a little extreme, but I am not the first to say it. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Our “heart” is the seat of the thoughts (Genesis 6:5), the emotions (Genesis 6:6), and the will (Daniel 1:8). The heart is the place of belief and unbelief (Romans 10:9; Psalm 14:1). The biblical word heart is very much related to the word worldview. Thoughts, beliefs, and emotions shape the will, and the will is manifested in how we choose to live. God commands, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Certainly, parents are charged to protect the hearts of their children. This is the essence of shaping their developing worldview.
What does an individual’s worldview affect?
OK, not quite everything, but most of the important things in life. Here are a few important areas that will be affected by your child’s worldview:
Jerry Wass, biblical counselor and Christian school administrator, says that you know that you have succeeded as a parent when you see your children raising their children for the Lord. Raising them “for the Lord” means helping them to develop a biblical worldview.
How is a worldview developed?
A worldview is not something that a child receives on his or her eighteenth birthday. It is forged one interaction at a time, starting before the child even understands words. By the age of five, the basic ideas are set, but they are continually being developed in further detail and revised by new input. There is a major time of reevaluation beginning in the teen years and continuing through the early 20’s. This is the time when the capacity for higher-level reasoning is coming to maturity. The individual reevaluates many of his or her assumptions about life and either solidifies them as his or her own or rejects them. This is a crucial time in each person’s life.
How does Eagle Heights Christian School help you shape your child’s worldview?
First, we are third.
The home is the primary institution for building Christian worldview. Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3 discuss the nurturing of children in the context of family. God works through His established lines of authority.
The church is also established directly by God “for the perfecting of the saints . . . unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 6: 12-13). These “saints” include the children of the congregation.
But parents are allowed to call in helpers to the task. The main point of Galatians 4 is that the Old Testament law was designed to teach us our need for God’s grace. However, it makes that point by an analogy which assumes that the role of the “school teacher” is right and proper:
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Eagle Heights Christian school will help you develop in your child a Christian worldview that will stand in this age which attacks those principles from every side. Here’s how:
Eagle Heights Christian School exists for no other reason than to help parents train up their children in God’s way. That is, we are here to help you develop a Christian worldview in your child.
We would enjoy being a partner with you in developing a Christian worldview for your children. Contact us for a visit. You can also download our Christian School Selection Guide below which will help you ask the right questions as you visit various school options.
Often when my five-year-old goes to bed, I tell him a made up story that includes some sort of lesson that a five-year-old needs to hear. In that same sense, I often think of the story of the butter knife and the screwdriver in relation to finding your calling in life. I guess this is a story for people a little older than five, but bear with me.
I may be a bit of a storyteller, but I am not a handyman. On more than one occasion when trying to turn a small screw in, I'll reach for a butter knife instead of going downstairs to get the straight blade screwdriver. Sure, it sometimes works, although not very well, but if like in my childhood stories, the butter knife and screwdriver could talk I think they'd say something like this:
Butter Knife - " This is painful work. I sure don't enjoy this. Sure, I can do it, but it is not what I was made for. I want to spread butter or cut bread because that is what I love to do and what I'm best at doing."
Screwdriver - "I am bored to death watching the butter knife get all the fun. I was made to turn that screw in and I would love to be doing it. Come on storyteller, use me, use me."
Ok, so what's this silly story all about? It is about our children who need to understand how they were made before they jump in and pursue a field of study or career that might lead them to sound like our two story characters. God made each of our children for specific purposes. He crafted them with certain gifts, personality mixes, life experiences and desires to do things unique to their individuality. He has a plan and purpose for each person that is indicated partially through the way He designed them. So often our children can feel forced by outward pressures like needing to "make money" or "impress others" to pursue a direction in life that will set them up to be an unfulfilled butter knife or screw driver because they aren't pursuing what God has made them for and called them to. A great tool to assess some of how God designed your teen can be found at th e link below. There are other assessments online as well. It doesn't take much time to take a career interest test which will ask a series of questions and then, based on your answers, suggest career paths that may be right for your teen. These assessments are a great way to at least start a great discussion with your student about their future.
At Eagle Heights Christian school, we are very concerned with helping our high school students find their unique God-design and partnering with parents to point their children in the right career path direction.
At Eagle Heights Christian School, we understand the importance of finding the right education for your children. We know that this is a decision that is not taken lightly by godly parents. We want to help. We have worked to compile the right questions to ask when choosing a Christian school. We've included the type of answers you should hear at a high quality institution.
Regarding Spiritual values
What observable outcomes of faith and practice do you want to see in your students? How do you observe them? Are certain denominations or practices promoted or restricted?
The best practice answer you should hear:
The idea of “observable outcomes” is important. Of course a Christian school wants “godly, Christ-honoring” graduates. But how do they measure their success? Do they know what percentage of their graduates go on to Christian colleges? (Granted, that is not God’s will for every student.) How many are involved in churches of like faith five years after graduation?
Regarding Peer climate
Are students respectful toward each other and toward the adult staff?
Are they kind?
The best practice answer you should hear:
If you are enrolling a student in kindergarten . . . you need to attend a high school athletic event. At least visit the cafeteria during high school lunch time. In these less structured moments, the behavior and attitudes of students indicate something about what the school really produces. Caution: you may be seeing the exception or the newcomer, but observe.
Regarding Personal outcomes
What kind of character does the administration hope to develop?
The best practice answer you should hear:
The term servant leadership is a very good answer, but it has become trite. Consider the following analytical questions.
What kind of character awards are important here? (These may be awards like “servant leader,” or “student of the year” (or week, etc.), or “most valuable player” in sports.) What is required to earn that recognition?
The follow-up is what you are working toward: Tell me about some students who have earned that award recently.
Click below to download our free guide with these questions and 11 more essential questions to ask as you consider Christian school options for your children.
We will also give you the best practice answers that you should hear. In addition, you'll benefit from 10 suggestions to consider when selecting a Christian school. This helpful guide has been used by many families in their decision-making process. We hope you'll find it beneficial too.
Is it God's will for every student to go to a Christian college? No.
Do we believe that all Christian students should consider one? Yes.
Here is why.
5 Reasons to Consider a Christian College
1. Holistic integration of a Biblical Worldview into collegiate life & learning
2. Spiritual Strengthening during a critical and vulnerable stage of life
3. Excellent Academics and preparation
4. Financially Affordable
5. Long track record of being a Successful Life-Work Launching Pad
1. Holistic integration of a Biblical Worldview into collegiate life & learning.
From the classroom to dorm life to sports to the fine arts and everything in between, the biblical Christian college is endeavoring to disciple their students in a biblical worldview. This provides a holistic approach to integrating biblical life principles into everyday life. In addition, the Bible classes should help solidify a student’s doctrine and help them learn to study and interpret the Bible for themselves in the future. This is all extremely important for helping to develop a foundation for students to stand on throughout their life.
In contrast, a study of secular higher education institutions, their faculty and their impact may help in your decision-making.
Consider: Reports and Studies on Secular College Faculty:
“Study Finds College Faculties a Most Liberal Lot” from The Washington Post
A study of 1,643 faculty members at 183 four-year colleges:
And He spoke a parable to them, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” NKJV
Luke 6:39-40 from The Matthew Henry Commentary:
“Those who put themselves under the guidance of the ignorant and erroneous are more likely to perish with them….Those that are led by the common opinion, course, and custom, of this world, are themselves blind, and are led by the blind, and will perish with the world that sits in darkness.”
Consider: Reports and Studies on Secular College Faculty-
From the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (HERI)
Preliminary note on the facts and research cited in this presentation:
The HERI is widely recognized as one of the premiere research and policy organizations on post-secondary education in the country. It is the home of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA.
We’re not just giving info from a Christian organization in this presentation.
Here is information from the HERI to consider:
The UCLA HERI study found that 69% of students came to college with a “high spiritual quest.” Meaning they had a “high desire for spiritual knowledge and life purpose.” HOWEVER, the study found…
Remember – This is UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, not your local pastor! :-)
Is this statement from the HERI discouraging or encouraging? Some may feel that with these findings, higher education will change. Perhaps one would think this until they understand the UCLA HERI definition of spirituality.
Again, listen to the UCLA on what is spiritually healthy in higher education.
"Assisting students’ spiritual growth will help create a new generation who are more caring, more globally aware, and more committed to social justice than previous generations, while also enabling students to respond to the many stresses and tensions of our rapidly changing technological society with a greater sense of equanimity…. “
Discouraging! This is not Biblical Spirituality and a Biblical Worldview. Learn More from the study www.spirituality.ucla.edu/findings
2. Spiritual Strengthening during a Critical and Vulnerable Stage of Life
College years are the years when students form their identity for life and either embrace or renounce the values they have been taught. It is very normal for young people this age to really begin to question.
Consider Again the UCLA study. For this part of their study,
The percentage was even higher (63%) at private secular colleges.
In a Quality Christian College You’ll Find the following to help strengthen students:
You should Investigate each Christian college’s programs for your particular degree path but in general, Christian colleges provide:
4. Financially affordable
5. Long track record of being a successful life-work launching pad
Other resources and information you may be interested in from Eagle Heights Christian School.
If you are looking for a Christian high school or elementary school for your children, we've put together a guide on the right questions to ask as you visit various options. We hope you'll contact us and visit us too. Click here to contact us. We'd love to meet you.
Click below to download the guide.