Frequently Asked Questions About Christian Education

The pursuit of a Christian education for children typically involves a number of questions and concerns. At the forefront, you may want to ascertain that your children will receive a well-rounded and high-quality learning experience while they also receive ongoing exposure to spiritual ideals and a Biblical view of the world.

Definition of Christian Education

Students enrolled in a Christian school receive academic and extracurricular instruction from a religious perspective and with a faith-based foundation. While some private schools focus on other areas such as a specific vocation or fine arts, this type of instruction focuses on instilling Christian values and developing a spiritual perspective in students. The environment of the institution is different from public schools because the focus is centered on God. Teachers working at a faith-based institution typically share the same faith, enabling them to work with students from the same perspective.

The Pursuit of Quality

The combination of a Christian education and rigorous academic instruction should be a priority. An ideal institution will offer both faith-based guidance for students and academic instruction that meets or surpasses state requirements. Small class sizes, a supportive academic environment, and certified teachers with experience will ensure a quality experience for students.

Concerns about Sheltering

Pursuing a Christian education for children is not a matter of sheltering them from the harsh realities of the world. Students experience many of the same peer issues when attending a religious academy that they would face in a public school, including teasing and selfishness from other students on occasion. Unfortunately, unsavory influences from the media will follow children everywhere as well, including private faith-based institutions. However, schools instilling a Biblical perspective in students will continually work to supplant negative influences with positive, spiritual influences.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Faith-based institutions can offer extracurricular opportunities for students, not unlike public schools. Art, drama, and sports are three of the main extracurricular options that children may wish to pursue in conjunction with a well-rounded spiritual education.

Timing of Enrollment

Shaping students’ perspectives about the world and the issues that arise begins at the beginning of life. As children grow and begin learning, instruction should include a religious perspective to ensure that they incorporate this mindset into their overall attitude. Optimally, Christian education should begin when a child enters school. However, it’s never too late to make a positive change and teach a Biblical viewpoint to students.

Differing Perspectives

The viewpoint imparted to students attending a faith-based institution will be significantly different from the perspective taught to students in public school. Students will focus on service, helping others, outgoing concern for others, pleasing God, pursuing truth and Godly wisdom, and using the Word of God to decode issues and challenges in life. In a secular education, instruction typically focuses on independence, personal rights, competition, personal gain, comparison to others, random chance, and identity based on performance.

Finding a faith-based institution that will partner with you in teaching your children a Biblical worldview will enable to you to ensure that your kids receive the instruction you want them to have to prepare them for a full and rewarding life.

Help! My Child Was Screened For Special Education and Found Not Eligible? Now What Do I Do!

Has your child been screened by special education personnel and told that they are not eligible for services? Did their doctor state that your child has autism, but the school stated that they did a screening and found that your child did not have autism, thus was not eligible? This article will discuss screening and how it is related to eligibility for special education services.

School districts in the US must perform something that is called: Child Find. What this means is that school districts are required to locate, identify and evaluate those that may have a disability. This requirement is included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) under 300.111 (a) (i). Many school districts use screening tools as a basis to fulfill their Child Find obligations.

But screening is not the same as testing for special education eligibility. Once the school district finds someone that may have a disability, through the screening process, they must be evaluated, to determine if they are eligible, according to IDEA and the Child Find requirements.

The evaluation should be comprehensive and include all areas of suspected disability, which is required by IDEA. Some of these areas could be speech/language needs, occupational therapy needs, fine motor difficulty, learning disability central auditory processing disorder, social/emotional and behavioral needs, functional needs, sensory processing disorder and not just academic difficulties.

So if your child is screened and thought to have a disability, a complete evaluation must be completed on your child to determine if they are eligible for special education and related services. Do not accept screening as an eligibility tool!

IDEA states that two things must occur to be eligible:

1. They must have a disability

2. They must have educational needs.

Many school districts may state that the child’s disability must negatively affect there education; but that was taken out when IDEA was reauthorized in 2004! They must have a disability, and must have educational needs (not just academic needs, as discussed above).

According to Caselaw: Seattle School District No1 vs. BS (9th circuit 1996) : The term unique educational needs shall be broadly construed to include. . . academic, social, health, emotional, communicative, physical and vocational needs

Once the testing is complete, an eligibility conference will be held between you and special education personnel in your district. Do not go alone, try and find another parent or an advocate who is familiar with special education. The eligibility conference is one of the most important conferences in special education.

At the eligibility conference if your child is found eligible for special education an Individual Education Plan will be developed. If they are not found eligible ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation at Public Expense, because you disagree with the school districts evaluation (and/or interpretation).

Many school districts find children ineligible for special education services even though they do have a disability, and have educational needs. The difficulty begins with their interpretation of the testing. The test scores may be extremely low, but they interpret them to be fine, and then find the child ineligible.

You must advocate, because you are their parent and they are depending on you! Good luck in this difficult process, but it will be worth it!