The parable of the sower teaches a key principle for understanding the role of “school” in a Christian community. From this parable, we see the hand-in-glove work of the cultivator, the sower, and the seed in Christ’s Kingdom. When the Spirit sows the “Word of God” into soil that is cultivated to receive it, it returns a hundred fold (Luke 8:5-15).
Jesus’ kingdom, like every kingdom or nation, has a culture. The primary function of paideia in the ancient world was the cultivation of culture in children. Paideia is often translated “education,” but the concept is much bigger, encompassing the steady cultivation of deep, rich lives where the gospel can take root and flourish. Ephesians 6 uses this Greek word paideia when it commands fathers to raise their children in the paideia of the Lord.
During the 1990s, families in about 100 communities across the United States started classical Christian schools with the hope of offering an education that would assist parents in raising their children in the paideia of the Lord. The question almost thirty years later is: “To what extent have the goals of classical Christian education been realized?” To that end, the ACCS commissioned a study by the University of Notre Dame’s Sociology Department.
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Understandably, some will view the results of this survey skeptically because of the significant differences between classical Christian schools and the others surveyed. These results can be understood more fully by visiting the ACCS schools themselves. Arguably, the greatest distinctive is integration—the intentional way that the subjects and Christian truth are interwoven. Every class and every school activity has one purpose: to see God’s world rightly and to glorify Him. These communities are tight-knit, serious but joyful, and eminently curious. And, there is room for improvement. We invite Christians to join a local ACCS school on this journey.
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2018-19 comparative study of 24-42 year old alumni from public, secular private, Catholic, evangelical Christian, religious homeschool, and ACCS (classical Christian) schools, on topics of life-choices, preparation, attitudes, values, opinions, and practices.
This research seems to confirm what history has repeatedly demonstrated—classical Christian education can influence the course of a home, a community, or a nation. Understandably, some will view the results of this survey skeptically because of the significant differences between classical Christian schools and the others surveyed. These results can be understood more fully by visiting the ACCS schools themselves.
Research & Analysis: Dr. David Sikkink, University of Notre Dame, Sociology Department (non-ACCS comparative data)
Association of Classical Christian Schools (Sponsorship)