Parent Updates

June 17, 2015

 

The Salt and Light Argument

 

Why do Christian parents send their children to public schools? The reasons range from having total confidence in the public schools to viewing them as places that need to be evangelized. For Christian parents who view public schools as mission fields, they feel their children can be spiritual salt and light despite the undesirable influences their children will face. Some Christian parent’s Christian schools overprotect their children from the real world. To these parents, the real world is life beyond the control and influences of Christian homes, Bible-believing churches, Christian schools, and the Bible.

 

Other Christian parents want their children to attend the same public schools they attended when they were students, thinking the schools today are the same as they were in years past. Some parents think the cost of Christian education is beyond their financial means. Regardless of the argument used in favor of public schools, Christian parents need to think through the biblical, social, and cultural ramifications of the schools their children attend.

The Bible encourages Christian parents (Proverbs 3:5-6) to trust the Lord and His Word when making decisions that affect their children instead of leaning unto their own understanding and human reasoning. In other words, Christian parents need to acknowledge the Lord in everything they do, which includes where they send their children to school. God’s Written Word—the Bible—is the parenting guide God gives families so that they can know His mind regarding training and educating children. God wants children to be taught, nurtured, and trained in the ways of the Lord, not in the ways of the world.

A Publication of the American Association of Christian Schools

 

 

 

What Parents Need to Know About Standardized Achievement Tests

 

Your child will most likely take a standardized achievement test this school year, as well as every following school year until graduation from high school. Standardized achievement tests are a part of school life. As a parent, you need to know what they are, why they are given, and how to interpret standardized test scores.

 

Standardized test questions are written by professional educators trained in constructing valid, reliable test questions. Your child’s achievement test scores are calculated by comparing his or her answers to the answers given by thousands of students taking the same test your child took. This large group of students is called the “norm group”.  The Stanford Achievement Test, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and TerraNova 3 are popular achievement tests. These tests measure your child’s knowledge and reasoning skills in reading, mathematics, language, science, and social studies.

 

While reading your child’s achievement test results, keep in mind that test scores do not paint a complete picture of your child’s knowledge and reasoning skills. Instead, they give reliable snapshots of your child’s academic achievements. These snapshots assist teachers in knowing the individual and class performance levels, which in turn help the teacher to know the content areas where your child is doing well and, if applicable, areas where reinforced teaching is needed.

 

Knowing the answers to the questions listed below will broaden your understanding of standardized achievement tests. If you need help in answering any of these questions, ask your child’s teacher or principal for assistance.

A Publication of the American Association of Christian Schools

 

 

 

Christian Schools: Different on Purpose

 

What makes Christian schools distinctively different from public schools? Is it Bible classes and chapel? Is it teachers who embrace and model Christianity? Is it praying in the name of Jesus Christ? Is it showing students the relationship of Bible truths to language arts, mathematics, science, reading, history, and other subjects? Or is it all of these differences and more?

 

Christian schools and public schools support two vastly different views of the origin of man, the origin of the earth, and the origin of the universe. The differences are characterized by two familiar schools of thought- creation, as described in the Bible, and evolution, as contrived and promoted by Charles Darwin. Philosophically and theologically speaking, these schools of thought are light years apart.

Christian parents are beginning to understand the religious and philosophical impact that education can have on their children’s thinking. Christians are warned in Colossians 2:8 to beware of the captivating and controlling dangers of philosophy, the traditions of man (humanism), and other similar teachings. In contrast, the Bible tells Christians to follow Christ and be complete in Him, not man’s philosophies that offer nothing but vain deceit (Colossians 2:8-10). For philosophical and anti-Christian bias reasons, more and more Christian parents are turning to Christians schools. They want their children to be taught about God, creationism, Jesus Christ, and essence, these parents are saying yes to Christian schools and no to public schools because they want their children to be more heavenly minded and less earthly minded.

 

In Colossians 1:15-23, the Apostle Paul emphasizes the teachings and preeminence for Jesus Christ. This passage describes why Christian parents should send their children to a school that honors God and gives His son preeminence. This cannot happen unless teachers and textbooks line up with the biblical beliefs and values taught in the Christian home. Making sure Jesus Christ and the Bible are taught in their children’s classrooms is enough for many parents to make financial sacrifices. These sacrifices may include working second job or driving a long distance so that their children can attend a school with a Christian environment, Christian teachers, a Christian curriculum, and a Christian worldview.

A Publication of the American Association of Christian Schools

 

 

 

October 28, 2014

 

Examining Education from a Christian Perspective

 

Why Pay Tuition When Public Education Is Free? by Dr. Charles Walker, Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools.

 

Parents should never lose sight of the philosophical differences between Christian school education and public education. Do the blessings parents and their children receive from a Christian education outweigh the cost of tuition?

 

Why would parents pay tuition for their children to attend a Christian school when they can attend a public school free? For some parents, it’s caring, loving teachers, protection from undesirable influences, or small class sizes. For others, it’s strictly academics, a safe environment, or discipline. Yet for other parents, it’s Christian school teachers, Bible study, prayer, Christian values, and Christian character.

 

Do you want God’s blessings on your children’s lives? Of course you do! Does God place conditions on His blessings? God’s blessings come from valuing the things that God values, obeying with the things that please God. The Bible teaches that parents should have a genuine love for His commandments and obey the teachings of Scripture, which include His child-rearing instructions (John 15:7-17).

 

The Old and New Testaments talk much about parents’ duty to teach God’s truths to their children, to talk about these truths in the home, to talk about the truths when traveling to and from the home, and to bind the truths in their children’s hearts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). If parents want God’s blessing on their children, they must teach God’s truths in their homes, and instill truth in their children’s minds and hearts, especially during their formative years. This would include reading the Bible regularly in the home and talking about the things God loves. If God wants preeminence (first place) in the home, don’t you think that He wants preeminence in your children’s lives as well?

 

With these thoughts in mind, let’s examine six reasons why Christian school education is worth the financial investment.

 

1. Truth. School is a place where learning occurs; and learning, if it honors God, is based on truth – Bible truths. This means the truths of Scripture and academic knowledge are presented from God’s viewpoint. Truth is always in harmony with the Creator of the universe, for it is “by Him” and “for Him” that all things were created (Colossians 1:16-17). Truth, then, is an integral part of education.

 

2. Bible and Prayer. God bestowed upon man a means to communicate directly with Him—prayer. God also provided a way that He can express His thoughts to man – the Bible. The Bible states that parents are to rear their children to love and obey God (Proverbs 22:6). This can only be accomplished when parents genuinely want their children to know the mind of Christ, which means to give Jesus Christ preeminence in every area of life – home, church, school, and society (Colossians 1:16-18).

 

3. Academics. Truth in academics harmonizes with Bible truths. And truth, if it’s preserved at school, is never mixed with error or contaminated by human thoughts. In the Christian school, all subjects are taught from a theistic worldview perspective. In other words, God is exalted in every school subject—mathematics, English, science, history, music, computers, etc.

 

4. Protection. The four most damaging influences children face today are negative peer pressure (including wrong friends), instruction from teachers at school who reject Christian beliefs and values (humanism), electronic media, and lack of discipline. Any one of these influences can destroy your child’s confidence in God, in you (dad/mom), in school rules, in authority, and in Christian values and beliefs.

 

5. Training. The Christian school complements the home and church by training children to love and obey God and the teachings of Scripture (Matthew 22:37), to love and honor their parents, and to honor government and God-ordained authority. Education is more than book learning; it’s also about knowing God and His universe. What is taught by word and example is a major influence in training children.

 

6. Philosophy. How parents view God is relation to education is an expression of their worldview (philosophy) of education. Knowledge is influenced by one of two worldviews—theism or humanism. Theism is rooted in creation and the Bible; humanism is founded upon evolution and the belief that man is a god. The Bible warns against viewing life through the wrong philosophical lens, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). When the biblical worldview of education is excluded from school, human reasoning displaces biblical truth (Mark 7:1-13).

 

Whereas more reasons could be given to explain why parents should send their children to a Christian school, those listed are sufficient to validate Christian school education as a wise, biblical choice for parents. For education outside the home, there is not a schooling alternative that matches with Scripture except the Christian school. In the final analysis, the blessings parents and their children receive from a Christ-centered education far outweigh the cost of tuition.

 

Dr. Charles Walker is executive director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools. He has served in education for 51 years:  39 years in Christian school education and 12 years in public education.

 

A publication of the American Association of Christian Schools.

 

September 22, 2014

 

Examining Education from a Christian Perspective

 

A Great School Year Begins at Home by Dr. Charles Walker, Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools.

 

Summer is over. And another school year has begun. With heightened anticipation, you want your child to enjoy the new school year, to grow academically, and to develop spiritually in the Lord. You also want your child to make friends at school who share your family’s Christian values and beliefs and to pursue extracurricular activities of personal interest. The extent to which these worthy goals are achieved depends on getting the school year off to an outstanding start.

 

A good school year does not just happen. It is a joint effort between the home and the school. If adjustments are needed at home, you can make the necessary changes. If adjustments are needed at school, you can work with the teacher to make whatever adjustments are needed. This mutual support arrangement works for the betterment of your child. It also keeps you and the teacher in contact with each other by knowing the other is available when needed. The right attitude at home and school helps to get the new school year off to a wonderful start.

 

Now that the school year is off and running, it’s time to begin taking a more involved role in your child’s school life. A good first step would be to get personally acquainted with your child’s teacher(s). There is no better time to do this than now. Let the teacher(s) know that you will be a supportive parent and that you will help in any way possible. Begin immediately by staying current with your child’s class activities, home studies, and classroom learning expectations. This may not sound like much, but if you do this with a thoughtful attitude, you will notice the positive effects of your involvement.

 

Teachers want parents to take an interest in their children’s academic studies and school activities. They especially enjoy hearing that your child has assigned household chores (which teaches personal responsibility); works on school studies at home; and participates in family discussions, devotions, and prayer times. In addition, teachers want your child to develop good relationships at school and to display Christian character. They also enjoy hearing that reading is emphasized in your home and that the television, Internet use, electronic games, and phone calls/text messages are monitored. For these reasons alone, you play an essential role in getting the school year off to a great start for your child.

 

The following parent-involvement ideas will help make this one of the most memorable school years ever for your child.

 

1. Support Your Child’s Teacher.
The Old Testament prophet Amos states, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). As a parent, make it a practice to always hear the teacher’s side before jumping to conclusions. If you disagree with the teacher, do so in a Christian manner. Never speak critically of the teacher in the presence of your child or other parents. If you want to show your child that you support the teacher, model Christian character at home by not speaking negatively of anyone.

 

2. Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher.

Two-way communication is essential to supportive parent-teacher relationships. You can do this with a telephone call, an e-mail or text message, a brief conversation at school, or a parent-teacher conference. Try to avoid calling the teacher at home unless arrangements have been made.

 

3. Volunteer to Help Your Child’s Teacher.

Teachers appreciate volunteer help. Think about volunteering to assist with classroom and extracurricular activities. For example, you could serve as a room parent, assuming the teacher asks for “room parent” volunteers. You could also help with general classroom tasks, such as grading papers, supervising recess, or working “one on one” with a student who needs remedial help.

 

4. Attend Your Child’s School Functions.

There is no substitute for interested, supportive parents who attend their child’s school activities. If your child is involved in a school program, drama, music, sport, or any other type of school activity, make every effort to attend, even if it means being inconvenienced. Taking time for the “little things” goes a long way in helping your child feel loved, supported, and secure.

 

5. Designate for Your Child a Home Study Time and Place.

Make sure your child has an assigned time and a designated place to complete homework, study for tests, read, and work on project assignments. The study area should be comfortable, well lit, and supplied with necessary supplies, such as pencils, pens, notebook paper, and dictionary. Older students will need access to a computer and Internet for research purposes. Stay on top of your child’s academic assignments and expectations.

 

6. Teach Your Child to Take Personal Responsibility for Learning.

Help your child set academic goals and develop good study skill habits. In doing this, monitor homework and test preparation times; discuss papers, tests, and projects; and provide personal or tutorial help as needed. Taking personal responsibility for learning includes setting self-imposed mini-completion dates for long-term projects (for example, insect collection, poster project, research paper) and organizing daily school-related activities. Personal responsibility is a part of God’s plan for your child.

 

7. Pray for Your Child.

Pray regularly for your child, asking God for daily protection and guidance. In addition, pray aloud with your child. Excellent times for prayer are before meals and at family devotions. As a family, read the Bible and pray together. This will help build a strong spiritual bond between you and your child.

 

It is important to your child, to the teacher, and to you that the school year starts off right and stays on track all year. A great school year makes for a happy child, happy teachers, a happy principal, and happy parents. Determine now to make this year a great school year for your child. Make every effort to do your part in helping make this happen, keeping in mind that a good start is important to a great finish in May.

 

Dr. Charles Walker is executive director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools. He has served in education for 51 years:  39 years in Christian school education and 12 years in public education.

 

A publication of the American Association of Christian Schools.

 

 

 

November 21, 2014

 

Examining Education from a Christian Perspective

 

The Parent-Teacher Conference: A Positive Approach to Parental Involvement by Dr. Charles Walker, Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools.

 

What is the purpose of a parent-teacher conference? When should you request a conference? Why do requested conferences have a negative ring to some parents and teachers? What courtesy rules and agenda procedures should govern the conference?

 

How do you typically respond when a teacher requests a parent-teacher conference with you? Do you tend to feel that something unpleasant has happened at school? Do you get upset for having to take time off work to meet with a teacher? Or do you view the request as a responsible way to develop a positive relationship with the teacher?

 

For some parents, a teacher-requested parent-teacher conference means something is wrong at school. Such feelings could have come from past parent-teacher conferences, little or no communication with the teacher, or simply a fear of the unknown. But for other parents, the parent-teacher conference is a wonderful opportunity to develop a positive relationship with the teacher. No matter the reason, the parent and teacher can work together as a team in resolving whatever issue exists.

 

Parent-teacher conferences—whether teacher-requested or parent-requested—give you an ideal opportunity to discuss important information with a teacher. This effort will benefit your child’s classroom performances and/or resolve behavioral issues. Research shows that parental involvement increases academic achievement and fosters a better attitude towards school, parents, and people in general. Although parental anxiety may accompany a parent-teacher conference, advanced planning can minimize apprehension and the fear of the unknown. A strong bond between a parent and teacher is built on a respectful partnership. Amos the prophet said, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

 

The following suggestions work together to make the parent-teacher conference a positive experience, one that benefits you, your child, and the teacher.

           

Before the Conference

 

            1. Determine the purpose. If you initiate the conference, explain to the school office or teacher why you are requesting a parent-teacher conference. This will give the teacher time to make necessary preparations. If a teacher requests a meeting with you and forgets to state the nature of the conference, politely ask the teacher the purpose of the meeting so that you can prepare for the conference.

 

            2. Schedule a conference when a problem first emerges. If you feel a situation warrants a conference, don’t wait for the teacher to ask you for a conference—you ask the teacher.

 

            3. Know the proper protocol. You may need to ask the school office (or teacher) how to go about scheduling a conference, including the best time to meet with the teacher and where to meet.

 

            4. Prepare talking points and questions. Jot down your talking points. This will help you keep calm, focused, and on trak when the conference begins. Your questions may include: “What happened?” “How can I help?” “Is there anything that I need to ask that I haven’t asked?”

 

During the Conference

 

            1. Establish rapport with the teacher. Refrain from beginning the conference with negative comments. Instead, say something positive and keep eye contact with the teacher. For example, thank the teacher for taking time to meet with you after school hours, for helping your child with his or her schoolwork, for writing an encouraging note on a recent test paper, or for talking one on one with your child during lunch.

 

            2. Demonstrate a positive attitude. Express your concerns in the right spirit and allow the teacher to respond without interruptions. Although you may be frustrated with the situation, focus on developing a positive working relationship with the teacher. Your goal is to resolve a concern by working cooperatively with the teacher. You want the teacher to be an ally. So work together and stay encouraged in the Lord.

 

            3. Participate in the problem-solving process. This involves exchanging information, ideas, and potential solutions. Work with the teacher in developing a plan to help your child, and make sure that you understand each other’s responsibilities in implementing the plan. This is very important. You and the teacher are on the same team, so work together positively and expect good things to happen during the problem-solving process.

 

            4. Discuss ways to stay in touch. Monitoring your child’s progress will help you stay informed on how well everything is going at school. You can do this with phone calls, e-mails, letters, notes, text messages, or follow-up conferences.

 

After the Conference

 

            1. Take time for reflective thinking. Reflect on the conference. Think through and reanalyze what was said. In particular, review the things that you and the teacher agreed to pursue. Reflective thinking is a great way to hold yourself accountable to the action points you agreed to pursue at home.

 

            2. Discuss the conference with your child. Be direct and honest with your child as you discuss your meeting with the teacher. Talk about the decisions that were agreed upon by you and teacher, for example, attending help class, receiving tutorial assistance at home, or sitting in the front of the class. Make sure your child understand that you are in support of the teacher.

 

            3. Implement and monitor the plan. Once the plan is implemented, continue to evaluate its effectiveness. Check periodically with the teacher, especially if you have questions. Success indicators may include, but are not limited to, higher test grades, better classroom behavior, renewed enthusiasm for learning, improved peer relationships, and spiritual growth.

 

Efective parent-teacher conferences are planned; they don’t just happen. As a parent, you want your child’s teacher to exercise widom and offer good advice to you and to your child. When concerned adults work together, positive results will happen. This let’s-work-together relationship can begin with a single parent-teacher conference and continue for years to come.

 

Dr. Charles Walker is executive director of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools. He has served in education for 51 years:  39 years in Christian school education and 12 years in public education.

 

A publication of the American Association of Christian Schools.

 

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Springfield, MO 65803

 

Phone: (417) 831-1500

Fax: (417) 831-6231

 

Email: secretary@csos.org

 

 

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