Over the next several months I will be sharing about different educational models and how they can help encourage you in growing your kids for God’s kingdom. To learn more about homeschooling, check out my interview with an experienced homeschool mom, How to Grow Your Kids for God’s Kingdom While Homeschooling. Also check out Growing Kids for God’s Kingdom While Homeschooling with Co-ops and Growing Kids for God’s Kingdom While Homeschooling with an Eclectic Approach for more specifics on these great homeschool models!
Another great educational model, a model that we love and currently use with our family, is the University Model®. My husband and I feel that it brings the best of homeschooling and Christian private school together, and it has been a great fit for our family.
I asked my friend Kristie, whose kids attend the same University Model® school, Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy, if she would be willing to answer some questions about the University Model® because she has a lot of experience and knowledge about this model of schooling. She has been a teacher, elementary principal, dean of family ministries, and mom with this approach, so she knows the model from many perspectives. She has a sixth month old, seven year old, eleven year old, and thirteen year old. Kristie loves crafting, her Erin Condren Planner, her husband, prayer journaling, and Jesus very much.
Thank you for joining us, Kristie! What is a University Model® school?
A University Model® school combines the best attributes of a traditional five-day campus school model with rigor, flexibility, and private schooling that gifts families with more time together to impart their faith beliefs.
How long has your family been a part of Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy?
We are concluding our ninth year at Legacy. It’s all any of our children have ever known!
How did you discover Legacy, and how has the school supported you in your desire for your children’s education?
As I sat in the lobby on a Tuesday morning with my youngest daughter while my eldest (a toddler at the time) was taking a ballet class, I noticed a sweet family of three children schooling off to the side. Each was working quietly. Week after week, I saw them. Together. On a Tuesday. I just had to ask the mother what was going on, and she told me about Legacy. Our eldest, three years old at the time, had already begun asking if I would home-school her. Being a teacher by trade, I knew I could, but, did I want to? I take the value of education very seriously. Would I really be able to provide all she needed at home? Where would I begin to gather the appropriate curriculum, manipulatives, supplies, etc.?!
But, oh how I love the classroom; it has SO much to offer! Not only are they brightly colored joy-filled rooms…but there are other children, another authority and voice and teaching style you learn to listen to and respect (hello, reality for the rest of your life). You learn to be part of a group, offer what you have, but also to listen to others. The list goes on and on and on. I was so torn.
Ironically, after years and years of loving every minute of pouring into “my babies,” as I called all of my students, I found myself not wanting to part with my birthed children for 40 hours a week. Teachers would spend more time with her than me, and at the end of the day, I was not okay with that.
So, the University Model® sounded like the perfect blend for us, and we started to learn more by attending an information night. Here we are, and she is now a teenager! It’s been such a gift to us, and she doesn’t even want to try anything else; I’ve offered!
What do you feel are the advantages of University Model® schools?
There are many advantages of the University Model®. One is obvious to most, and that is the increase of time you have together as a family. With elementary-aged students only on campus two days a week, you are gifted the other five days a week to help mold your child’s character and faith during the most formidable years. You can build a firm foundation on Christ, God’s Word, and begin to help them schedule personal quiet time with God into their average day!
With middle school, your child attends three days a week. As the curriculum grows in difficulty, so does the time they study. So, this is a reasonable and timely change, I’ve noticed. They need that additional day on campus with teachers, as teachers provide all of the new material introduction. Yay for me NOT having to do that when she gets to calculus. Can I get an amen on that?! Haha!
Another advantage would be the flexibility of the UMS model. For one, you have the time to work in the evening when they get home from campus…or not. They can complete all of the work in the morning or evening the next day, and you can go outside on the trampoline for math, take a walk during science, have a study in your pjs reward day (see below!), take a field trip to see that history monument nearby, or simply visit grandparents in the middle of the day when they need a spirit-lift. You cook together; you journey more of this life together.
You teach how to craft independent study habits. The college students who come back for alumni visits are always a hit in my book! They share how they, hands down, are ahead of their peers when it comes to study habits, for they were doing this (campus, then home to study, campus, then home to study) for years before university years hit. Their friends are struggling to learn to manage their time at college, and our alumni are excelling!
You gain an entire community of like-minded families and friends for your children. For us, that has really fleshed out the idea of The Church. We see other families living out their faith on a daily basis, real faith. Deuteronomy life – Bible studies together, Biblical perspective in each subject, and discussions at home with God in the center of friendship discussions, math, science, and even history.
Another benefit we see is that our family is bonded together in ways I don’t see everyday. Today’s culture thrives on busyness and little time around the table. In our home, we value one another, we work hard on loving like God says in I Corinthians 13, we have built rock-solid relationships with one another. We use one another’s strengths to learn from each other, the older helps the younger, the younger help the older.
While it gained me some funny looks in years past, I have always cried at our Legacy High School Graduations. None of my children have crossed that stage yet, but to see the MILLIONS of dollars in scholarships these kiddos have earned – from academic earnings to sports scholarships to military gains, it blows me away.
Young people are capable of so much good, and God’s going to use them to further His Kingdom all across His earth. I love that so many various talents and accomplishments have already come out of Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy! It proves to my educator-minded, I-take-this-seriously-heart that this. model. works.
I mean, I was the mom asking about SAT scores at that information meeting for my Pre-K student ten years ago, haha. To our family, it wasn’t just okay to receive a godly education. It’s a reality that, for our students to have the best opportunities for success in their futures, they’re going to need a competitive, quality education. Legacy offers both! The millions of scholarship dollars for our graduating classes EACH YEAR prove that – earned for academics, armed forces service, sports, and other merits. Talk about well-rounded! I needed to know that she could excel and that the University Model® truly works. It does.
What drawbacks do you see with University Model® schools?
If organization, staying on task, and multitasking (especially if you have more than one child) are not your strong suits, I would highly suggest grabbing a cup of coffee with an experienced University Model® momma and picking her brain. Ask the hard questions, and then pray.
Ask God if this is for you, and if it is, He will make a way! You should never journey this road alone, and Legacy has many experienced co-teachers (parents) who are willing to hand-hold whenever needed!
While flexibility is another draw to this model, you must also keep up. Scheduling family vacations during what should be home working days is ill-advised and can even count off on your child’s grades. With a college preparatory school, the pace is quick.
If your child needs more one-on-one time, lots of repetition with teacher, or has special needs that are met with a support team in the public model, these might also be things to consider. We do not have the resources that public funded schools do, so often if there are needs outside of the average family, you’ll have to ask the administration about your family’s needs before anyone invests much time.
Also, this model just isn’t for everyone. Some parents and children find out that they truly cannot school together. They butt heads or perhaps the student needs that five-day-a-week model and routine. That’s okay!
How has the University Model® helped you to raise kids to know, love, and follow the Lord?
For almost a decade now, I have thanked God that Legacy teachers, staff, administration team, and board have really partnered with me to raise my children in following the Lord! I mean that, and I do not take it lightly!
From pre-k through middle school now, each of our three children have learned everything from math, science, creation, history of our world, and the language arts through a Biblical worldview. That’s priceless. It’s second nature as we read our US history for my first grader and I to discuss how God created and structured government to support His people, how everything from our coins and dollar bills to public buildings and monuments in Washington D.C. are engraved with Scriptures and “In God We Trust.” In constantly-shifting society, our children truly know that our country was founded on the Word of God! They know that the majority of the founding fathers who wrote and signed the Constitution of the United States of America were pastors themselves in working ministry! There’s never a science lesson where we don’t discuss “that’s how God made it, planned it, or created it to work.” Math shows us how infinitely small and detailed God can be (I mean He created decimals that never stop?!) or how giant and vast He is in inconceivably large and infinite numbers, parabolas, and algebra. He is a God of order, and math shows us this!
Discipleship and Bible classes, monthly chapels, worship teams, the arts, and music classes, everything Legacy does and is, truly stand for and on the Word of our God. What traditional model can you say that about?
What resources would you suggest for moms wanting to know more about University Model® schools and if there are any located near them?
You can easily search online to find a University Model® nearest you. The first step to registering for a UMS is to attend an information meeting. The schools that are listed will have websites, of course. On their website, you should be able to find the next upcoming information meeting. If not, there will be a contact page where you can reach them by phone. (See links at end of this blog post.)
To a parent considering a University Model® school, what would be your biggest piece of advice?
There are great days, and there are challenging days as a mother. What keeps my eyes ahead and not down on the most difficult days are these two things:
1. These precious gifts from God are not yet who they will become. It’s my calling to raise them up in the admonition of the Lord. They will do great things; “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
2. I will never look back and regret that I sacrificed to be able to spend this time with my children. I will know that I did everything I physically could to support them physically, spiritually, emotionally, and academically.
Thank you, Kristie, for sharing about your experience with University Model® schools!
Your passion to raise your children both academically and spiritually is very inspiring! I believe God will use this information to help many parents know about this wonderful educational model, and He will continue to use this model to strengthen more families for His Kingdom.
For more information on University Model® schools visit https://umsi.org/.
For information on University Model®schools nearest you, click here.