Interview With a Private-Schooled Christian: Emma

This is part of a three-part interview series: an interview with a private-schooled Christian, a public-schooled Christian, and a home-schooled Christian.


Hey Emma! Thanks for being here and doing this interview with me! 

Of course! Thank you for inviting me, I’m honored.

Why are you private-schooled?

In my case, my parents were actually involved in the founding of my school. I go to a pretty small classical Christian school in my town and my dad was on the board back when it was first started. My brother was in the first kindergarten class ever when it first started and I have been there since kindergarten. 

I think they chose to put me in a classical school partly because it was connected to my church and partially because they thought it would benefit me academically and spiritually—having an education that connected with the faith would be very good for me. Something I think about education is that education is about truth, so having a truth-based education could be a better education in some ways. I am not saying that public schools cannot give you a good education but that was why they chose to put me in a private school. 

Yeah. So you have gone to a private school your whole life?

Yes, I have attended the same school since kindergarten and now I’m a senior. 

Ok. Do you recommend private school or do you wish you were public schooled or homeschooled?

For myself, I would definitely recommend private school. And I think, on the whole, I would recommend it, but I also think it doesn’t work for everybody. Like I have friends who have gone to my school and then did homeschooling or went to community college and that worked better for them. So I think it all depends on the way you learn and your family circumstances, but on the whole I think private schools are great, especially classical schools. 

What is the hardest part of denying yourself and living out the daily truth of the gospel as a private-schooled Christian? And after that, if you could talk about the easiest part, too. 

For me personally, one thing I have struggled with is reaching out to people because I’m more introverted and I’m not naturally outgoing, so if there is someone who is on the edge I find it a lot easier to just stay in my friend group and not reach out to them. That’s been something I’ve intentionally tried to grow in—but also, in a private school setting where all the classes are smaller and the class kind of divides itself into friend groups and they don’t always mix, it can be easier to stay with your friends and only hang out with them. 

I think it is beneficial to break out of that, especially because you are having the same classes with the same people, it’s not like there are thousands of students in the school and you have history with one class and literature with a different group. You’re with the same people all the time and it’s easy just to get trapped in a bubble. It’s hard to deny yourself the comfort and the easiness of just staying in your comfort zone, and you’re not pushed out of your comfort zone as much by your circumstances, 

But on the other hand, the easier part is that you do see the same people so much you can really build those relationships with them. Like my class has 9 people in it, we’re graduating this year, and I know all of them really well. And I love that.

I know what they struggle with, I know how I can pray for them, and I know how to talk with them because I’m familiar with them. Many of them I’ve known since kindergarten or since early grades, so I think it can be easier to form close relationships with the people you’re around but that can also be a danger to just slip into comfortable habits. 

So the easiest and hardest part is the same thing in a way. How can you see being private schooled equipping you to serve God’s people?

I think one way that private school is equipping me in my own life circumstances is giving me a solid foundation of truth. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the classical model but I’ll just give you an overview of it. The classical model is basically looking back at historical methods of education and learning from them and basing a lot of the education we get on history. So we’ll study grammar during elementary school, which is basically facts and memorization.

Then we’ll study logic, which is putting those facts together to form arguments and think clearly, and then we study rhetoric in high school which is like everything is coming together and we are applying the knowledge. We are going to make speeches using the knowledge and the arguments we’ve gained in the earlier stages. 

It’s also a very biblical model. Not all classical schools are Christian, but most of them are. So we’re reading old books and we’re reading theology books and we’re just getting a very rigorous education. It’s difficult and it’s not for everybody, like I said. That foundation is going to be pretty useful for me in the future, I’m sure.

I know it’s going to be very useful for me in college. I’m not worried about defending my faith intellectually. And I also have heard alumni from my school come back and tell my headmaster, “You were so right about everything! Thank you for preparing us this way.” I think having that foundation of truth has been very beneficial. 

Yeah. It sounds really helpful. Especially because you get direction on how to learn about your faith while public schoolers often have to figure it out on our own or with the help of the church. 

Yeah. And the local church is supposed to be preparing you and us for that too. And I think on the flip side, public schooled Christians have the opportunity to practice every single day whereas pretty much everyone around me professes faith. 

That kind of leads into the next question. This is something I see a lot at my school, and I was wondering if casual or lukewarm Christianity is a problem at your school? And if it is, do you have any thoughts on it?

I think there is definitely that danger because nearly everyone goes to church or has parents who are Christian. That is why they are choosing to send their children to a Christian school. And if you’re in that Christian context and you’re hearing the same things preached to you on Sunday and told to you when we gather at a school or a class it could just wash over your head like “Of course I’m a Christian! Everyone’s a Christian.” And that’s not necessarily true because your faith is your own faith.

I have seen in my own school a good amount of casual Christianity but as I’ve grown older that has decreased. I’m not going to say everyone in my class is Christian, I don’t believe everyone is, but I have seen my classmates and myself grow in the teaching we’ve gotten and we’ve been encouraged by our teachers. We’ve been challenged by our teachers not to be casual Christians, not to be lukewarm, and to take initiative and to talk to younger students and be a godly example for them. So I think there is casual Christianity but there’s also a lot of non-casual Christianity and that has been a huge blessing. 

I think a lot of that comes from the teachers, too, because teachers didn’t all go to a classical school, of course not, but they are challenging us and they are trying to make us really care to be servants of Christ. So yes and no. 

That’s so good. Also I think if you’re surrounded by people who take their faith seriously, it also leads you to take your faith more seriously, especially if you’re the kind of person who is very impacted by the people around them. Do you have any other thoughts on what we talked about today?

Yeah. I think I’d like to bounce off what you just said about being surrounded by people who take their faith seriously. There’s another danger I’ve seen in that and it’s also a danger that happens in the youth of the church: peer pressure to be a good Chrisitan.

There’s a temptation to act very spiritual if you’re in a Christian context all the time. Because then, you’re going to get your teachers to like you, you’re going to get your fellow classmates to look up to you, and that can be a real danger.

I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve seen it in myself, so I think that is a temptation. However, again, it’s nice to be surrounded by Christians who are doing everyday life, everyday school life, and that will kind of keep us humble. We’ll keep each other humble. But overall I have really enjoyed my school and I’m grateful for it. 

Thanks so much for talking with me today, Emma!

7 responses to “Interview With a Private-Schooled Christian: Emma”

  1. Amazing article! It gave what it was supposed to give, all the information is exactly what I wanted to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Isabella!,
    I came here through Mayim’s blog, and, let me say, this is such a creative idea -discussing about different school systems! I had actually never given thought about private schools and this post helped me get a wider view.
    Amazing work, both of you! Looking forward to see more.
    -Niv (

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so enlightening!! I’ve always wanted to try a private school but never had the funds to do so. Thanks for the glimpse into a private schooler’s life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it!


  4. Hey, now we know why you’re so great at writing about theology Emma! 😉 In all seriousness, a classical education is great preparation for certain fields (like law). Sometimes I wish I had kept doing the classical model through high school, but I think a more modern education will be a benefit as I go into the sciences. All told, this was a very informative and Christ-centered article!

    Liked by 1 person

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