The Christian Classical Difference
Two key questions often emerge when considering Christian classical education. First- what is the difference between Christian classical and traditional education? Second- what are the tangible benefits of a Christian classical education?
What is the difference between Christian classical and Christian education?
Although both models seek to provide a Christian perspective, Christian classical does have some unique advantages. First Christian classical education sees the world as connected and part of God's whole creation thus it attempts to educate along the same pattern. Second Christian classical education focuses on partnering with parents to help them teach their children to not be taken "captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ" (Col. 2:8, NIV). This is why Christian classical education ensures the students are exposed to both important Christian and secular ideas so they can be properly prepared to recognize fallacy, secure their beliefs, and proclaim God's truth.
What are the tangible benefits of Christian classical education?
Classical christian education, first and foremost, ensures in every realm and domain of study students see God as creator and redeemer. This is not something taught from the side but upfront and center. Second, students are taught via a holistic model for life that allows them to learn in the same way life is lived- all together. Third, Christian classical education emphasizes the partnership with parents as they are the primary educators.
More practically speaking Christian classical education has two documented advantages- less apostasy after high school and increased SAT scores. Some current researchers suggest that up to 70% of young Christians leave the faith after high school (Read Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity). Many of these students claim they cannot reconcile the religion of their youth with the data encountered in college. Some early follow up data from Christian classical schools and home group programs suggests students are educated in a Christian classical model believe they are better prepared to encounter contrary views, engage them intellectually, and not only sustain their Christian worldview but actually lead others towards one.
Another important benefit of the Christian classical education model is higher average SAT scores (Read Ideal Education, Practical Results). In results based on the 2015 SAT students from Christian classical schools out performed students from Independent/Private, Christian and Public schools. The average scores for each where Christian classical (1787), Independent/Private (1649), Christian (1596), and Public (1462). The correlating ACT scores would be Christian classical (26), Independent/Private (24), Christian (23), and Public (21). This is an average difference of 5 points increase on the ACT for Christian classical vs. traditional students. Five points can make a significant difference in college options, opportunities, and scholarships.
Finally a unique benefit of Christian classical education is the flexibility in instructional delivery. Our schools operate on the family school model rather than the traditional day school associated with public and private schools. The key difference is instructional delivery in the family school model is based on a hybrid or college type approach which increases the meaningfulness of student-interaction and engagement. Instruction is "grouped" in to specific days and times rather than subdivided small parts. The real benefit is that parents and students can be creative in ensuring each students has the best possible personal academic experience.