I am asked this question all the time. "Do you think our family is a good fit for CLA?" I've thought about it for some time, and I have developed a list of indicators to help families work through this important decision.
1. If you believe your Christian faith should be front and center and not relegated to the edges, you might be a good fit for CLA. That is, if you believe Colossians 1:17 describes reality when it says, "He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." You believe that the word "everything" in this verse means everything and every subject. If that is your heart, you might be a good fit at CLA.
2. If you believe that education works best when there is a short distance between the living room and the classroom, you might be a good fit for CLA. You want what you teach at home reinforced, not undermined, when your child is in school. You want your deepest convictions driven deeper and not pushed aside. You believe that your child's school should be your partner in the "crazy-hard" calling of shaping immortal souls, which means the living room and the classroom are singing from the same songbook. If this captures your understanding of an effective education, you might be a good fit at CLA.
3. If you believe education is a relational task, you might be a good fit for CLA. You believe online or virtual education is not really education at all. It might be a way to check off a box, but it is no way to shape a life. You know that students flourish in an environment where they know and are known. That means class sizes are small enough to promote such knowledge. You believe that when classes get to 25 students or more, good kids fall through the cracks, and you are determined not to let that happen to your child. If this resonates, CLA might be the right place.
4. If you believe a local education for local students is more effective, CLA might be the right place for you. In other words, you believe that neither Washington or Nashville knows what is best for students in McMinn County and beyond. You believe each student is made unique in the image of God, so you know that education cannot ever be a one-size-fits-all endeavor. You believe that education doesn't need to be dictated from on high to be an effective education. If you embrace this vision, you might be a good fit for CLA.
5. If you believe testing is overrated and excellent teaching is where it's at, you might be a good fit at CLA. Nobody says it better than my friend and mentor, Randy Brock, "I am just an old farmer. And on the farm, if we wanted a cow to grow, we fed it. We didn't spend all our time testing it." If you agree with his statement, believe progressive education is becoming nothing more than progressively preparing for tests, and you believe this is not preparing a generation to think through real life issues they may face, this might be the place for you. You believe these things rob them of the joy of discovery and does not inspire them to learn. If you believe there is a better way, you might be a fit for CLA.
6. If you believe that simply stopping at preparing for college is a goal that is too small for your child, you might be a good fit for CLA. That is, you believe that going to school just to get more schooling isn't the most important part of education. You believe life preparation is at the heart of an effective education and you don't want to build a brain-on-a-stick. You want your children to be faithful and fruitful men and women who will go change the world. That might involve going to college, but going to college is not the ultimate goal. If this is the education you want to pursue for your child, CLA might be a good fit for you.