Training Students Together in University-Model® Schooling

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

As the Family Ministry Director at Veritas Academy, I was intrigued with how the partnership between home and school actually functioned, so when my first grandkids were admitted back in 2014, I decided to participate as a co-teacher, not only to experience this model with them, but also to gain hands-on insights for parents. I planned to teach my grandkids each Tuesday for one – maybe two – years. Now seven years later, I am still at it and have in fact added another day in order to participate with all eleven grandchildren. 

The first year, with three students, was harder than I had expected.  I would grow impatient when the day did not progress as envisioned. Unforeseen issues – like running out of printer ink or stubbornness on the part of a reluctant learner – could suddenly derail me. This role as a co-teacher was not as neat and tidy as I had assumed.  I honestly did not expect it to stretch me as it did! It was only once I experienced both sides that I grew to deeply understand this model, which is as much about the parent as it is the student.  

A University-Model® school is a one-of-a-kind mode of education in which parents are key and the character of Christ is the goal. University-Model® schools lead with academics providing students with an excellent education grounded in a biblical worldview, while parents serve as the primary disciple-makers for their children. School and home form a synergistic relationship that brings the best of classroom learning together with the best of one-to-one mentoring, which takes place between parent and child.

In a 5-day model, parents can essentially be hands-off.

 In a true homeschool model parents are fully hands-on.

 In the University-Model®, the hands of the school interlock with the hands of the parent.  The two learn to work together in rhythm, which takes time, openness and trust.

However, there is a third hand that holds both together.

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me,” writes King David in Psalm 63:8.

University-Model® schools flourish in the Lord’s hands where school and parents unite in a jointly held mission. Parents are primary – but not solitary – as partners in a school community that comes alongside them in a supportive manner. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly altered the rhythm within University-Model® schools, the hands between school, home and the Lord remained intertwined.  Across this nation, University-Model® schools and families adjusted to an altered rhythm, and yet students continued to flourish because home had already been established as central for educating and training children.  Regardless of circumstances, University-Model® school communities link arms and embrace the mission of raising up disciples of Jesus for the next generation. They walk together in confidence, knowing the Lord will strengthen, help and uphold them in His righteous right hand.

About the author: Ellen Schuknecht is an experienced mentor for parents, especially parents whose children attend University-Model® schools. She currently serves as the Family Ministries Director at Veritas Academy in Austin, Texas, a University-Model school she has been a part of since its inception in 2005. In addition, she is the Family Ministry Coordinator for the UMSI association.

Ellen has been married to her husband Glen for 45 years and together they enjoy living out life nearby their adult children and 11 grandchildren who all attend Veritas Academy. She is closely involved, each week, in her grandkid’s school days at home. Together Ellen and Glen serve at the Springs Church as mentors, meeting with engaged couples and offering support to young married couples and parents.

Ellen and her oldest daughter, Erin MacPherson, co-authored Put the Disciple into Discipline, and Free to Parent. She and her husband co-authored A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids & Grandkids to God & Family. She has been a guest on the Focus on the Family Podcast and is published in their online newsletter.

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