This is my oldest daughter. I love her. When it became time for us to start thinking about education, we knew that we could not send our kids to be publicly educated. I had been a public school teacher for years and knew that there were loads of really great, kind, wonderful teachers and families in the public school system. I also knew that public schools would seek to develop a lot of good habits and skills in my kids, like learning to read, and sharing.
So why not send my kids to public school? It’s free, tested, normal, easy. It began with a shift in my view of what education is fundamentally. A Voddie Baucham sermon on education helped me to see that education and discipleship are basically synonyms. When we go to church on a Sunday morning and God’s word is taught we are being educated, but that education is meant to shape us. It is meant to turn us into a kind of person. School instruction is not so different, it is teaching, it is education, but that education is meant to, and always will, shape a person’s soul and mind. If this is true, then I want my kids to be shaped, discipled, educated, whatever you want to call it, by God’s word. Even if the public schools teach my kids to read and be nice, they are not shaping my children with God’s word at the center. In fact God’s word is totally absent from the 8,000 hours of formation that she would receive in a public school. I couldn’t with a. good conscience send my kid to be discipled in an environment void of god’s word, even if a could ensure all Christian teachers and traditional values.
Because of this, I knew that we needed another option and we had always planned on homeschooling being that option. My wife was homeschooled, and she turned out great. Many of my friends homeschool and I praise God for them making that decision! I think that it will go well for them. But after I visited a classical school in Wichita I couldn’t unsee the things I saw. Teachers that know and love the kids AND really know and love their subjects, able to inspire a love for science, math, history and literature into students in a way that a textbook simply cannot do. A group of students struggling over how a Christian should relate to the world after reading Dostoyevsky and understanding God’s common grace. Laughter and joy in the hallways. structured learning environments that allow for a high level of rigor. I knew that this is what I wanted for my kids.
The only problem was that there were no classical schools in my area! So, I reached out to see if there were other families that were starting a school, maybe I could join them. And while there are some exciting educational opportunities happening in the area, there were no full day K-12 schools starting. I started to imagine what it would look like to start a school, just something small, mostly to serve my own children’s needs and step by step God started opening doors. From providing awesome friends that wanted to jump in and work hard with me. To partner schools and organizations that have been incredibly generous with their time and advice. To donors that have more generous than I could have hoped for! God has truly opened one door after another, it has been amazing to see Him bring this about.
We will just keep going one step at a time, and maybe, by God’s grace, we will be able to please our Lord by training our kids to love and obey Him at Ambrose Academy.