4 Benefits to Religious Educational Programs (Gradeschool to College)
Have you been wondering about religious educational programs for your children?
Are you tired of underperforming schools and rampant violence and wonder if a faith-based education is the way to go?
Our schools nationwide are in shambles.
Girls are no longer safe in women-only spaces, and our youth as a whole is buckling under the weight of a mental health crisis.
Our children deserve better.
Luckily, religious education programs provide shelter from the madness and tangible benefits that last a lifetime.
Let’s look at religion’s mental and academic effects on education and four benefits you should consider before making the switch.
Religion and Mental Health
Mental health has become an area of increased concern for many parents, and with good reason.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, our kids are facing a mental health crisis, with 12% of children ages 3 to 17 experiencing anxiety and depression and suicide rates increasing 62% from 2007 through 2021.
While devastating in its extreme, this crisis directly affects their ability to concentrate and perform well in school.
A 2020 study found that religious education can be instrumental in promoting mental health. By internalizing their faith’s moral codes, students can develop healthier reactions and coping mechanisms that help them deal with daily stressors. And an increased awareness of their beliefs promotes a lifestyle that is risk averse and leans more towards community rather than self.
In short, religious education provides tools a secular education often lacks, a way to cope with life in a healthy way by feeding the spirit and the mind.
Religious Programs and Academic Achievement
The relationship between religion and academic achievement has long been established; many of America’s and England’s more prestigious universities began as religious institutions.
It is no wonder that students who attend faith-based schools had higher reading and math scores, higher graduation rates, and college attendance than those who remained in their public schools.
Religion, for its part, has an impact on the student as well. Studies have found that more religious students earn better grades, are less truant in high school, and complete more years of higher education.
While schools are not the birthplace of the student’s religion, they reinforce positive values that improve academic performance at all grade levels. There are, however, other benefits to a religious educational program. Let’s look at those next.
4 Benefits to Religious Educational Programs
After reviewing many online resources on the benefits of faith-based programs from grade school to college, here are the four that stand out.
- Spiritual Growth- Belonging to a faith-based school system means faith and learning are intertwined and serve each other. While the students meet their academic goals, their Bible-based knowledge is also honed. This means that students learn the arts and sciences through a spiritual lens and build an identity of who they are in Christ. Worship and prayer times, often built into the curriculum, also help cement this strong foundation.
- Sense of Community- Students in religious educational programs find themselves among like-minded peers and adults. By having values that align, there is less friction within the school itself, which lessens overall stress, increases the feeling of community, and lends itself to becoming a more conducive learning environment. Religious colleges often have mentoring programs that allow seasoned professionals to speak to the younger generation, extending the community from the college grounds to the outside world.
- Purpose Driven Education. Being a Christ-follower means living a life of purpose. In faith-based programs purpose is woven into the fabric of the school. By empowering teachers to motivate and inspire their pupils, they fulfill their purpose and guide students to do the same. By giving students room to explore their Christian values while receiving a higher education, these institutions facilitate a way for students to walk in professions and passions while keeping their commitment to God intact.
- Culture of Kindness. Loving our neighbor is our second biggest commandment and one that is exemplified by the culture of service to others. Through community projects, students learn the value of compassion, responsibility, and selflessness. By engaging with their surrounding neighborhoods, students expand their worldviews and become more compassionate members of society.
Paying for Religious Educational Programs
Although the benefit of a faith-based education is clear, the issue often comes down to affordability. With parents barely able to afford groceries, it’s hard to think of paying tuition on top of that. But if you are one of millions of parents who feel like they have no choice but to leave the public school system, here are a few options available to you:
- School Vouchers- some states, like North Carolina, have begun offering school vouchers that transfer tuition funds straight to the private school. These are meant to give parents more education choices for their children. Other states with similar programs include Arizona, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont.
- Education Savings- Mostly for funding college, educational savings plans like 529s and Coverdell saving accounts are a great way to set money aside for your children. Each has its pros and cons and limitations based on income. If this is an option for you, talk to a trusted financial advisor to learn more.
- Scholarship and Lotteries- While financial aid is usually not given at many faith-based institutions at grade school through high school, some scholarships can cover those expenses. Certain schools also use a lottery system to allow students to enter the school at a reduced tuition rate. You’ll have to dig into your state’s restrictions before going this route.
While each state has different laws and regulations regarding what state funding can be used for private schools, more and more are adopting flexible laws to make school choice possible.
Invest In Your Children
Investing in your children is a no-brainer. Choosing whether to go to faith-based institutions is often something few families consider, but one worth noting.
Whether you are thinking about grade school or college, the benefits are the same for all levels.
Not only will they get a valuable education, but the core values of their faith will be enforced in a safe community environment.
They will learn who they are in Christ with like-minded peers and mentors who will lead them into becoming compassionate members of society- ones that can be bright image bearers for the whole world to see.