For all the ways a robust and Christ-centered education can prove beneficial, potential drawbacks exist. The partnership between school and family is maximized when both the school and family operate in their proper spheres. A school that tries to replace the family fails in its function to assist and rightly come alongside the family in its delegated authority.
Below are four encouragements to parents to help fuel a thriving partnership with the school.
1. Embrace your role of primary educator
The idea of in loco parentis means that the school acts in place of the parent, not that the school replaces the parent. Our mission is intentionally specific: “To partner with Christian parents in educating their children…” The school has students; children belong to parents. God has specifically called parents – and even more specifically fathers – to train up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). From its inception, Providence has sought to assist parents in their unique, God-given responsibility of acting as their child’s primary educator.
2. Actively communicate with the school
As a school we approach communication seriously and endeavor to do well. The adage, “No news is good news,” isn’t a mantra that works well for either the school or the parent. Communication is a two-way street, and parents must stay in touch with the school by actively engaging in the communication process. Examples:
- Read correspondence from the school
- Respond to emails from your child’s teacher
- Prioritize in your family scheduling key evening events like Curriculum Night, parent-teacher conferences, and the annual State of the School meeting.
3. Take ownership of spiritual formation
Because Providence is a Christian school, we parents may be tempted to assume that our children’s spiritual training is primarily the school’s duty. Do we as a school take discipleship and spiritual formation seriously? Yes! We work hard to provide an environment where students are enculturated in thinking and acting in a way that conforms to Christ. At the same time, the school does not exist as a Christian reformatory; we are partners (see #1 above) and rely on parents to lay the foundation for a distinctly Christian world and life view. Habits such as Bible reading, biblical discipline, Sunday worship, and prayer are essential in forming the hearts and minds of our children.
4. Convey that learning takes place in and out of school
We all love summer. We also love weekends and evenings, and extended breaks throughout the year. Lots of learning occurs throughout our school day, with little time wasted between 8:00 and 2:45. There is a lot to learn in school, but also lots to learn outside of school hours. We need to avoid thinking that most of our children’s learning occurs at school. Myriad opportunities outside of school hours offer abundant learning opportunities: conversations in the car, summer reading, road trips, family devotions, dinner conversations; the list is endless. Learning is a life-long activity, and while “school” is vital, it’s only one element in the learning process.
A shared understanding of the role of the school and the role of parents assures the best outcomes for our children, allowing them to grow in wisdom and flourish socially, academically, and spiritually.