By Ron Gordon – COO of Renewanation
With a look of deep concern, the young father began the meeting with a direct and pointed question, “How am I going to be able to afford a Christian education for my kids?” This question is one of the most common concerns prospective families have when evaluating the choice of a biblical worldview education. While a very real consideration, many other factors must also be considered when determining an educational path for your children.
As I listened to this young father struggle with the cost associated with a biblical worldview education, I began to ask him additional questions.
What are your educational goals for your children?
Given that your children will spend a factor of 10 times more of their childhood in school than they will in church over the next 13-15 years, how comfortable are you with the educational leaders and teachers who will be shepherding your children?
If you decide to choose public education, what is your strategy to combat the secular humanist worldview your children will be receiving on a daily basis?
These questions are but a few of the many additional concerns we must address when contemplating the choice of education for our children. Unfortunately, the financial concern is typically the only question many parents ask, and most quickly dismiss the notion of a biblical worldview education without further exploring the available options for funding.
As you consider educational choices and contemplate financial plans, several potential options are available:
Contact your local Christian schools
Be transparent about your situation with the Christian schools you connect with but not overbearing or demanding. Many Christian schools have donors who fund general scholarships for students that qualify financially. Similarly, many Christian schools offer discounts for families of full-time ministers and families with multiple children.
Leverage tax credit scholarships
Over 15 states have adopted legislation that provides tuition scholarships to families who wish to have their children in a private school. These programs are quickly growing and strengthening across the United States as they provide a significant source of cost reduction to state budgets. Eligibility varies between states; however, this option is an incredible opportunity to significantly reduce the cost of private education. Other programs, such as educational savings accounts and vouchers, may also be an option in your state to explore. Additional details on these programs are available at edchoice.org.
Evaluate priorities through budgeting
Choosing an educational path for your children should be incorporated into your family budgeting process. For those that may not qualify for financial aid or scholarships, parents must evaluate their current spending against their priorities. The difference between parents that are committed to versus interested in a biblical worldview education is how they choose to allocate their funds.
For young couples with infants or with plans to have children, ensure a biblical worldview education is included in your long range planning, so that mortgage and automobile payments do not overburden your budget. In fact, budgeting to pull these amounts out of your income prior to the need and establishing an educational savings account will help provide future funds when the expense is incurred.
The option to homeschool may be a more financially viable path for your family, especially for parents with a strong passion for education. While this decision still has a financial commitment for curriculum and homeschool group fees, these costs are typically less than full tuition at most Christian schools. However, this option often requires one parent serving as the primary educator, reducing the overall income potential to the family. An overall cost and benefit assessment is appropriate when considering homeschooling.
In many cases, grandparents with an affinity for Judeo-Christian values will be open to supporting the biblical worldview education of their grandchildren. They have witnessed the drastic changes in the culture of the United States over their lifetime and are concerned about the future of this nation and their grandchildren. For additional information on the powerful spiritual impact grandparents can have on the lives of their grandchildren, see Dr. Josh Mulvihill’s article, Giving Grandchildren the Gift of a Christian Education, at renewanation.org/giving-grandchildren-the-gift-of-a-christian-education.
Communicate with your church
Pastors are rapidly gaining a greater appreciation of the worldview deterioration in our society and its impact on their ministries. As a result, many churches are providing financial support to families investing in biblical worldview education, while others are connecting with Christian schools to offer discounts to their congregations. Communicate your educational plans for your children with your pastor and explore whether these options are available.
Offer to teach or serve at the Christian school
Many Christian schools offer significant tuition reduction or even tuition-free offers for their faculty and staff as a benefit for teaching at their Christian school. Christian schools are often in need of support services such as bookkeeping, IT support, cafeteria workers, and janitorial services. Meeting these needs can provide the opportunity to offset a portion of tuition expenses.
These various financial options should be considered as you explore covering the costs of a biblical worldview education for your child. While affordability may seem the most critical issue facing you today, the longer term implications of educational choice are far greater to your child both on earth and for eternity. As parents, we need to focus on answering the most important question, “How can I afford not to provide my child a biblical worldview education?”
Volume 9 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review