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Rigorous Academics

In talk­ing with par­ents about the aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram at Agape Christi, two sim­i­lar ques­tions that keep pop­ping up are, “How hard is it?” and “How much home­work is there?” We have addressed this top­ic here on our web­site, but would like to fur­ther dis­cuss the issue of rig­or­ous aca­d­e­mics in hope that your fam­i­ly will be edi­fied.

Let’s begin with a ques­tion. Why do we send our kids to school? The pop­u­lar answers of to get a good job or to be an exem­plary cit­i­zen fall short of the bib­li­cal pur­pose for edu­ca­tion.  To phrase the ques­tion a dif­fer­ent way, why do we edu­cate our chil­dren? We edu­cate our chil­dren because God says, numer­ous times, to do so. We know from expe­ri­ence that when God says to do some­thing it is for our good and His glo­ry. Fur­ther­more, we under­stand from the scrip­tures that our chil­dren are real­ly God’s chil­dren on loan to us, the par­ents. To whom much is giv­en, much is required.

What kind of edu­ca­tion does God, the ruler of all, require for his chil­dren? Well, if you were a king what kind of edu­ca­tion would you want for your young prince? A roy­al edu­ca­tion. As Jesus has “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father,” (Rev­e­la­tion 1:6) our chil­dren in Christ are roy­al­ty, and so their train­ing should reflect that. They should have the best edu­ca­tion pos­si­ble. It should be inten­tion­al and rig­or­ous. Most impor­tant­ly, it should be life-giv­ing. The young prince, after all, will lead a king­dom. The qual­i­ty of his edu­ca­tion will great­ly impact not only his own life, but the mass­es as well. His edu­ca­tion must be rig­or­ous because lives are at stake. At the same time, at any giv­en point of his devel­op­ment, the edu­ca­tion can­not be so rig­or­ous that it kills the prince in the process. That would be a rather iron­ic tragedy.

God tells us that He remem­bers our frame, that we are but dust (Psalm 103:14). So as par­ents and teach­ers, we must imi­tate our gra­cious Father and not the Pharaoh who demand­ed the impos­si­ble. We firm­ly believe that chil­dren should have ade­quate rest and fam­i­ly time.  A young lady holed up in her room doing home­work all evening will actu­al­ly do more harm than good to her holis­tic edu­ca­tion. A Chris­t­ian edu­ca­tion is not just about hav­ing a love for books, but learn­ing how to love flesh and blood peo­ple.

Prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, we feel a good guide­line of home­work times for fam­i­lies and teach­ers in our 5-day pro­gram looks like this each night:

1st Grade

15 min­utes

2nd Grade

20 min­utes

3rd Grade

20 min­utes

4th Grade

30 min­utes

5th Grade

45 min­utes

6th Grade

60 min­utes

Addi­tion­al­ly, home­work is gen­er­al­ly not giv­en over the week­end or on hol­i­days.

Return­ing to our roy­al edu­ca­tion anal­o­gy, what if the prince doesn’t want to be a king? What if the prince is actu­al­ly more of a pup­pet named Pinoc­chio who doesn’t want to go to school or work hard?  What if he has no desire to be a ser­vant of God? Sad­ly, the sin­ful con­di­tion of man affects even chil­dren. Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desire of the slug­gard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” Lazi­ness is fol­ly and fol­ly is bound up in the heart of the child. The bib­li­cal solu­tion giv­en is, “the rod of dis­ci­pline” (Proverbs 22:15). There are times when chil­dren sim­ply do not want to work. Par­ents must dis­cern if this is the case and apply dis­ci­pline accord­ing­ly in order to save their souls from death.

The last state­ment to make on the top­ic of rig­or­ous aca­d­e­mics is aimed towards the adults in charge of over­see­ing the edu­ca­tion of chil­dren: par­ents, teach­ers, school admin­is­tra­tors, and pas­tors. We must set the exam­ple of joy­ful hard work for our chil­dren. It is hyp­o­crit­i­cal to demand from our chil­dren what we are not will­ing to do our­selves. If we aren’t liv­ing a life of learn­ing for the glo­ry of God, why should they?

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