With creative new forms of Christian education appearing all over the country, most notably the University Model® School, Christian parents are discovering the need to change their thinking in several areas in order to be effective co-teachers to their students. Taking on a new mindset involves confronting some of the more erroneous educational myths we have unconsciously accepted about home and school.
Myth #1: The School is the Authority. In fact, the parents are the authority, the ones ultimately responsible for the total education of their children. They may choose to partner with the school to fulfill that responsibility but in doing so they do not surrender their authority. The school does not usurp it, but comes alongside to support parents in their God-given, Biblically mandated roles.
Several other truths flow from this. Parents do not simply drop off their children at school each day and then remain uninvolved in their child’s education during the week. That is because home and school are in partnership. They are tag-teaming, on the same side pursuing the same goals; they are different but equal co-partners. Parents, we hope, are still teaching and training their children academically, morally and of course spiritually, even as their children attend school.
In order to remain effective co-partners, parents and school must grow together and continue to learn from one another. That is precisely why it is necessary for parents and school to meet periodically to strengthen parenting and co-teaching skills, to receive encouragement and help when social, academic, moral or spiritual problems arise, as they most surely will.
Almost all professionals have to re-certify to maintain their credentials in their respective fields and parents and teachers are no exception. There is so much to learn, especially in our day as information is exploding, as we meet challenges from social media, as our communities are disintegrating, and as we confront a culture that for a long time now has not only not supported our values but is in fact actually undermining them. That is why parents and schools, more than ever, need to sharpen one another and learn from one another and the best way to do that is to meet regularly during the school year.
It is not that we have to meet together but that we get to meet together. God has given us a great opportunity: we get to share the responsibility of influencing a new generation of believers. We are truly partnering and pooling our intellectual, professional, Biblical, and financial resources for the sole purpose of helping our children succeed. It is indeed a privilege, not an extra thing on our “to do” list and definitely NOT a distraction or a low priority. It is the main thing. It is a duty and an obligation but also a tremendous gift and privilege. It is a blessing we graciously receive because it is for the benefit of our children.
So we parents (teachers too!) have to make adjustments to our thinking in order to be successful in this new model of education. We have to re-learn some things. We have to make different priorities, adopt different values, and as always continue to die to self, to sacrifice, so that our children receive the very best that we can give them in the very short time we have left.