Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leigh's Thesis: Introduction (2)

Introduction (part 2)

Many parents have responded to the current malaise in public education by successfully home schooling their children. In the early 1980s, state legislatures began to confirm a family’s right to comply with compulsory education laws and college entrance requirements by educating their own children.

The families who pioneered home-centered learning were very committed to academic excellence and had much early success winning scholarships to selective universities. Now, less committed families have joined the movement, causing concern that they will dilute the previous achievements.

Christian leaders are sometimes at a loss to help these intentional parents. They see two areas of need: 1) Integrating these families into the “family of families,” the church, so all of the congregation can benefit from their commitment to strong family life; and 2) Promoting well-structured, rigorously academic learning for families who are doing the best they know how.

Many Christian leaders believe parents will not be involved in their child’s Christian education and would prefer to have someone else be in charge. They are right, and that is why we also need full-time Christian schools. But the main project of this thesis is to give pastors and church leaders educational tools that they can implement through their local church to address these concerns. The core materials are submitted as additional resources.

Currently, thousands of Christians, who intentionally work hard to model habitus, have helped to develop this model of classical, Christian education.

In our model, families meet once a week in churches to practice implementing the basic classical, Christian educational tools of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. The model described is not a drop-off program. Parents attend these classes with their children so they can be trained in effective teaching techniques. The model does not require hiring master teachers for academic subjects. The parents learn from a trained tutor to lead and teach the skills of learning at home.

This model requires minimal facilities since the local community is purposely kept small and meets only one day a week. A few classically trained tutors are paid by the attending families through a small tuition. The tutors receive free training through Classical Conversations, an educational services organization that provides training and academic support. Costs are purposely kept low for maximum accessibility. The educational material is grounded in biblical theology, and the training system for tutors and parents is free and already developed.

Pastors and church leaders interested in this model should understand the goals and basic procedures. If it meets the vision of their church, they can implement their own version of this model, or they can partner with Classical Conversations, where the logistics are already laid out.

The details of the academic program’s content and administration are the final project for this doctorate. Currently, thousands of families use this model successfully at their churches. The model develops community and support for the participating members, quality academics for the students, teacher training for home schooling parents, and an inexpensive way to bring academics back into the realm of the church.

Copyright © 2009 by Leigh A. Bortins. All Rights Reserved.

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