04 February 2013

Another little-known fact about yours truly.

My education was almost entirely at Christian institutions.

That is to say, I went to a public school for first grade only. The rest of my education was spent at two Christian academies, a Christian university and some home schooling. 

The Western Slope isn't huge. And apparently the (not dirt poor) Christian population is quite small. From second grade to sixth grade I attended a very small Christian academy that my parents had helped create. By very small, I mean that there were three second graders. I had exactly one other person in my grade after that first year. But that's okay, because we usually just combined grades under one teacher (of which there were also very few). Thus, I had about 12 classmates throughout elementary school. It made for a very close-knit community. I don't think it was bad, and I certainly didn't think it odd at the time. I just enjoyed playing capture the flag every single recess. And building snow forts, and yes, even learning.

School was in a small church- also the one my family attended on Sundays. So I in reality, I only spent one day a week outside of 'school', and church, too. We had chapel every day, the benefit of having not one but two pastors as teachers. Each morning the entire school met in the sanctuary for prayer and a small bible lesson.  The entire school was fewer than 20 students, and we about half-filled the sanctuary. Wednesdays were apparently special because we had an extended chapel that actually replaced a class or two. The speakers were generally guest pastors from other churches. Also, on Wednesdays, boys had to wear a collared shirt and tie, and girls had to wear skirts. Imagine my joy.

About halfway through my time at this school, the administrators switched to a video curriculum because it was hard for the few teachers to teach so many grades at once. This curriculum was basically us watching a classroom at a Christian school years ago and far away. It worked well enough, but of course we didn't have quite the interaction one hopes for in school.

This was my life for several years until it was realized that the school was simply too small and under funded to continue, and so it sort of shut down, forcing me to be home shooled for the remainder of 6th grade and all of 7th. This was just a continuation of the video classes. My mom did make me get up and start classes at 8 am though.

I insisted that I wanted to go to a real school again, so my parents, reluctant to send me to the public school system that had so obviously corrupted my brother, sent me to another Christian academy approximately 44 miles from home. Again, it was small, but not so small as the previous one.

So for 8th grade I had 18 classmates, an hour commute in the 'bus'- a fifteen passenger van with only 11 of the seats filled- and six different teachers. It was all very new and exciting for me. Except that I was an outcast due to my distance from school, short hair and social awkwardness.

After 8th grade most of that got better. I greatly enjoyed the majority of my teachers. They may not have been experts in their subjects (as they were not required to have teaching licenses) but they instilled that essential love of learning into me.

Senior year saw the return of some video classes as we didn't have a Spanish teacher proficient enough for Spanish 4, or a teacher who knew enough to teach calculus. I mostly spent those classes practicing exiting and entering a moving vehicle. Needless to say, I still don't know Spanish or higher math.
This school also had a dress code and also required girls to wear skirts for Wednesday chapel. I endured somehow.

And I graduated third (or fourth perhaps) in my class of ten.

I had always resisted the idea of going to college. I have no idea what I thought I'd do, but I knew I didn't want to go to school anymore. My parents pretty much insisted. And they also insisted I go to a Christian university. I immediately began researching Christian schools in New Zealand and Alaska. Then I was guilt-tripped into looking within the state. Well, guess what- there is only one Christian University in Colorado. So I went there.
I am glad I went. Jobs are hard enough to find with a degree, I cannot imagine the search without one. I also met many very good friends who have remained my friends. And I was inspired by a handful of amazing professors. And I learned many things that I cherish. And I was saddled with rather more debt than I expected. After all, I expected none.

Ah well.

I do not regret my education even though I may be hesitant to divulge it. Going to Christian schools did not hinder my learning in any way. It stunted some of it at times, but I still feel I was well rounded. And most of all I learned how to think for myself. Nothing is more important.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Very interesting! Maybe not so much the christian-ness, but the smallness. Or the combination of the two? I like how you stressed the importance of a love of learning and the ability to think for yourself.