Christian Education

Wonder in the Science Classroom

To study science increases our wonder at the majesty and mystery of God.

Susan Koppendrayer

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11

Have you ever wondered what exactly was the Star of Bethlehem? We can use scientific tools to explore what it might have been, but, as is common with many wondrous acts of God, sometimes we find that there may not even be a scientific explanation. The best and truest scientists (and science teachers!) embrace wonder!

Here are two articles, one secular and one Christian, that look at the Star of Bethlehem in a way that allows for the possibility of a miracle.   

This article from secular Space.com quotes professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame, Grant Mathews: “Nothing in science is ever case closed, nor is it in history,” Mathews said. “We may never know if the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction, astrological event or a fable to advance Christianity. Maybe it was simply a miracle.”

The article from the Christian publication, Answers in Genesis, discusses the science and ultimately concludes “that the Star of Bethlehem cannot be explained by science! It was a temporary and supernatural light. After all, was not the first Christmas a time of miracles?”

While the tools of science may someday be able to explain the light that led the three wise men to that baby born in Bethlehem, even scientists agree that there may be no scientific explanation at all! Like our science teachers within the Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network, it takes a wonder-filled scientist and science teacher to be able to embrace mystery.

Choosing Who Influences Our Children

What a blessing it is that in the United States, parents still choose where we send our children to school!

When we choose a school for our children, whether we choose homeschool, our neighborhood public school, or a Christian school, we are choosing who teaches our children.

We are choosing which worldview lenses our children will be shown the world through; whose tradition gets passed down; which books are celebrated; which ideas cultivate their minds; and finally, we are choosing which adults are entrusted with shaping our children’s hearts.

What a blessing we have to be the ones who choose these important influences over our own children!

Christian Community and Where to Find It

The local Christian school isn’t the same thing as the local church, but the believers there are a part of the Church Universal.

As believers, we are best suited to living life in community with other believers. For this reason, many of us look for ways to be together more than just on Sunday mornings. We have fellowship dinners, youth groups, Bible studies, ladies’ brunches, men’s lunches, Christmas parties, and Easter teas. We invite one another into our homes and our hearts. We walk and talk and sing and pray together. We serve each other and we love one another.

For those of us with school-aged children, one more way we invite our children into a life of community is through their daily education. We might homeschool and find Christian friends to meet with throughout the month. We might public school and send our children to a before-school Bible study. And finally, we might send our children to Christian schools where their teachers, classmates, coaches, and more are united in love for Jesus.

The necessary thing is to live in community with other believers, the Church. Thankfully, there are many ways to find fellowship for ourselves and for our children. Any one of these ideas (or others I haven’t mentioned) might be the best fit for our children. I personally have experience as a homeschooling mom–filling our weeks with activities with Christian friends–and as a Christian-school mom, where the fellowship opportunities come a bit easier. And even in my public high school as a Christian high schooler myself, I remember finding before-school Bible studies to attend.

While fellowship may not be all of our main concerns when considering school choices, it is a valid concern. If you have been looking for daily Christian fellowship like what is found in our schools, please reach out to us.

Truth

I live in a good school district. Shouldn’t I take advantage of all the good the world has to offer?

Western Pennsylvania is blessed to have many school districts who emphasize academic excellence. And in every school, there are good teachers. There are probably even teachers who love the Lord at every school.

What they do not have is the freedom to tell the complete truth.

All truth is God’s truth. If something is true, it is true–regardless of who is telling it! But sometimes, and we all know this, truth is incomplete. If your chemistry teacher knows the periodic table of elements like the back of her hand, but doesn’t know who created those elements, she will understand the world differently than the teacher who knows both the elements and their creator.

While your child will study the elements in any chemistry classroom, in a Christian school, your child will see that these elements display God’s goodness and glory in creating such an amazing world full of such treasures as gold (79Au), platinum (78Pt), and silver (47Ag).

We do know that there are reasons that for some, their public school really is the best fit for their child. But if this is not true of you, check out one of our schools. You can use our map to find a school whose teachers want to help your child understand the creation and love the Creator. If you think a Christian school might be a good fit but are afraid you cannot afford it, there are scholarships and/or financial aid opportunities at our schools.

More, Not Less

Scholarships and school buses (provided to private schools within 10 miles of your public school district) are just two blessings that make school choice a little bit easier in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

The blessings of choosing a GPCSN school add up even more!

The wholesome environment with loving teachers and educational excellence is reason enough to choose our schools! But you’ll also find blessings like these:

•Sports
•Theater
•Choir
•Band
•Art
•Speech and debate
•National Honor Society
•Bible classes
•Lego robotics clubs
•Field trips
•Mathlete competitions
•Quiz bowl teams

And more!

Choosing a Christian School is choosing more, not less!

Can My Child Ride the Bus to School?

Q. When does a public school district have to provide transportation to a
nonpublic school?

A. When a school district provides transportation for its public pupils, it must
provide transportation services to nonpublic pupils of the same grade level
that it is providing for its own pupils. The nonpublic school must be nonprofit
and located within ten miles of the district’s boundary, measured by the
nearest public road. If the school building in which the pupil is enrolled
is not located within the ten-mile distance, the nonpublic pupil is not eligible
for transportation, nor are his parents eligible for payment towards
transportation costs.

Q. Is the local school district that transports my child to a nonpublic
school required to transport her on days when the nonpublic school
is in session and the public school is closed?

A. Yes, unless the closure is due to weather conditions.

Engaging the Head, the Heart, and the Hands

In his doctoral dissertation entitled Emerging Young Adult Spiritual Formation: A Developmental Approach for an Intergenerational Church, Frederick R. Fay argues that “Creating an environment that supports and involves generations together will help shape [young adults’] faith.” Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network agrees! Our teachers join with parents and the Church at large to help shape the faith of the next generation. Fay also writes, “In order for Christian leaders to facilitate spiritual formation, three things need to occur. A leader has to engage the head, the heart, and the hands.”

This brings to mind the Two Greatest Commandments of our Lord, from Matthew 22:

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

It makes sense why engaging the head, the heart, and the hands leads to Christian spiritual formation, for those are the ways of the Christian. And these are the tenets of Christian education.

In The News

A new report finds that adults who attended private schools as children are more likely to have successful families than those who attended public schools. While we know we aren’t raising our children to be good husbands or wives, but instead to be faithful disciples of the Lord, it is nice to hear some good news from adults who have gone before our kids! This study did not seek to measure good or bad husbanding or wifing, but successful families suggests the presence of some faithful spouses to me! Check out the report for yourself!