“He said: ‘We wanted everything to be moving in the same direction’. “ Wendy Hofman, Head of School at Lansing Christian School.
Swimming upstream. Sometimes parenting feels like you’re fighting the current every step of the way. Raising young men and women to be responsible adults and productive members of society is one thing; raising them to have an authentic faith in and relationship with their Creator is an entirely different challenge.Christian education was never meant to replace spiritual parenting. It is a supplement, not a substitute. Click To Tweet
Last month I sat down with Wendy Hofman. She is not only the Head of School for Lansing Christian School (LCS) but she is also a former teacher, and an alumni. Her own children also attended LCS. [Our Eva is a second grader at LCS and has been there since preschool.]
Wendy had attended public schools before transferring to Lansing Christian School in the 8th grade. Years later she asked her dad why they moved her to the Christian school and he said: ‘We wanted everything to be moving in the same direction.’
Wise words and a sentiment I can relate to.
The fact is, I told the Weatherman before we were even married that I wanted any children I had to attend LCS. I was a public servant with a mountain of law school debt and wasn’t sure how we’d make it happen. However, when the time came, somehow we did. And although I swore I’d not go through another pregnancy, I did five years after the first and once again am contemplating how we make Christian education a reality for our sweet Sofia.
You might ask: “Why a Christian education?”
Both the Weatherman and I work full time outside of the home. We are committed to raising our girls to be the next generation of Kingdom builders; ‘Girls with Swords’ in the words of author Lisa Bevere. Our home is Christ-centered and we are doing our best to raise our girls to understand how to have their own relationship with God the Father and Jesus their Savior. We are mindful of what we expose them to, of teaching them what it means to have a spirit of obedience and to seek first His Kingdom and will for their lives. We are active in our Church and community. But we cannot be everywhere and our jobs make us less able to be as present in the classroom as I’d like.
In choosing LCS, we were choosing to ensure that what was happening at home was supported and carried over into the classroom. At LCS we know that the leadership and teachers are like minded. We know that they recognize (just as we do as parents) that God created each of our kids for a unique purpose and are committed to helping them discover that purpose. A Christian education at LCS also means a Biblical approach to problem solving that is shared with the children at an earlier age; it means that prayer and worship is a central part of their daily activities and that our children have the opportunity to think about God and His design in every aspect of their curriculum.
Choosing to send our children to a Christian school also means in my mind that we are ‘winning’ when it comes to numbers. In our four years at LCS our daughter’s classroom size has not exceeded 14 students. A smaller classroom size means more one-on-one attention and in my mind a better and more manageable environment for learning.
We continue to send our Eva to LCS because she loves it and is flourishing there. My girl is leading prayer huddles before math tests and has served as a class ambassador the last couple of years. She loves attending Chapel and literally asks us to drive by her school over summer and Christmas break because she misses it so much. The teachers have been a great source of encouragement to my girl; they have prayed with her and for her and that won’t happen as easily or freely in public schools.
Choosing Christian education provided our family an additional opportunity to make sure everything is ‘moving in the same direction’.
The truth is though, you can’t talk about Christian education and not talk about accessibility. Although certain I knew the answer, I asked Wendy what the number one reason given by prospective parents was for not choosing to send their child(ren) to LCS.
Her answer was what I expected. Accessibility. Christian education requires a financial investment above and beyond what parents will have to contribute for a public school education. We are into our fourth year at LCS and I will say that it requires a financial investment – one that we have made a priority.
Does it mean that I will be paying down those law loans a little longer than I’d like?
Does it mean that things are a little tighter than we’d like?
We all make choices about what we do with the resources God has given us; investing in Christian education is one of ours. And, in the last four years, the school has made tremendous efforts to increase their accessibility to a more diverse (economically, socially, racially) group of students. The leadership at LCS recognize the role they play in stewarding the school and ensuring that it is reflective of the entire kingdom of Heaven and not one small segment. Currently, tuition is set at 85% of the actually cost per student with scholarships and variable tuition also being offered to further defray the costs. With variable tuition families pay 50 – 85% of the full cost of education depending on each family’s financial situation.
At the end of the day we chose LCS because of the emphasis on faith, their commitment to seeing our children as uniquely and purposely gifted by God, and excellence in their delivery of academics.