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Parents make Christian education a top priority

Written on July 23rd, 2008

Somehow they manage the costs

The Hendriks family in Fenelon Falls has made Christian education a top priority and one way or another, they are finding a way to manage the tuition costs.

“The thing that’s worked for us is to say, ‘We’re going to do it’ and then trust that we will be able to,” says Eleanor Hendriks, a parent of three who attend Heritage Christian School in Lindsay. “It’s worked out so far.” Both Eleanor and her husband Steve come from a Christian education background, which has been a key factor in their decision to send their children to a Christian school.

Eleanor adds that they are also motivated by the attitudes and actions of their young children who are already reflecting the effects of a Christian education.

“The blessings that come from seeing our kids singing songs of faith and praying in school and having Christian friends and talking about faith and Jesus with their friends and with their teachers is very precious and it’s never been hard to choose Christian education first.”

The Hendriks family routinely makes choices to ensure they’re able to continue with Christian schooling; they drive older vehicles, never eat out, carefully budget for groceries, avoid elaborate entertainment and live with more debt than they’d like.

“Every time we make a (tuition) payment we think, ‘OK, we’ll trust for the next one. See if we can hang on for another month,’” says Eleanor, admitting it does get stressful at times.

Still, she doesn’t consider what they’re doing sacrificial, in the sense that they’re giving up a lifestyle they’d really enjoy for Christian education. Christian education is what they want, she says, and choices must just be made to make room for that decision.

Somehow they manage the costs

At the same time, the Hendriks hope for a slight reprieve from the ongoing financial pressure. Steve, a social worker, is considering a move to a job that would ease the financial squeeze, even if it isn’t exactly his line of work. Eleanor is trusting her pottery business will expand to help cover costs as well.

The Hendriks family is not unlike many other families across the province who value Christian education so deeply that they will do what it takes to provide it to their children. They make the decision first for Christian schooling and then somehow find a way to make it happen.

Anita Doppenberg, whose five children have attended Community Christian School in Drayton, also admits tuition has been a struggle, especially as they have strongly felt that she should remain at home. But they’ve been able to manage on one income, partly through her husband working long hours, partly, she says, because “God’s providence has been very good to us.”

Michele Kapteyn also says God’s blessing in their lives have enabled her three children to attend Timothy Christian School in Barrie and now Unity Christian High School.

Her husband is a dairy farm owner and operator but despite the financial ups and downs that tend to come with owning a business the family has always managed to cover tuition.

“As much as we thought, ‘How are we going to do this?’ the money was always there and that was a real blessing,” says Kapteyn.

In recent years, she has taken on work outside the home to help handle the costs of two tuitions with the two oldest children in high school.

Kapteyn suggests that families consider out-of-the-box solutions to managing costs, from applying for Children First Grants to making use of the voucher incentive programs that some schools offer.

Her view is that the benefits of Christian schooling “far outweigh the costs.”