The Formation of Faithfulness
A Conversation with
MIKE & MELISSA WOJCIK
In this interview, Mike and Melissa Wojcik, parents of Abigail and Michael and current Coram Deo Academy family, share how they came to value classical education’s focus on building a strong foundation of faith in young people.
How did you find yourselves starting a family and living in northern Indianapolis?
We met and married while living in the Chicago area. We had always dreamed of living near the mountains, so when the opportunity presented itself to move to Colorado, we took it. Although our four years in Colorado were incredible, we missed our extended family in Wisconsin and Illinois.
We always loved Indiana and spent many weekend getaways here when we lived in Illinois. When an opportunity to move back to the Midwest arose, we prayed that God would work everything out for us if it was His will. Here we are.
What do you and your wife feel was beneficial about your own education? What was lacking? How did both your experiences influence your decisions regarding your children’s education?
I [Mike] had a private education that stressed discipline and humility, along with a challenging curriculum. In grade school, I enjoyed a small community with a weekly church service. Religion was a required course from grade school through high school. Upon reflection, I know God gave me wisdom and discernment through my education that I have used and will continue using throughout the rest of my life. The challenging curriculum kept me interested in learning, which was important to both of us when considering our children’s education.
I [Melissa] attended public school and recall mostly memorizing and regurgitating information on demand. We were not challenged in the areas that our kids are. We did not learn about ancient civilizations, speak in public, nor engage in much discussion until high school. Even in high school, those components of the classical curriculum were only touched upon. Public school did have challenging advanced placement science courses in high school, though. From a faith perspective, our church was small, and none of the kids from youth group went to public school. Though there were great people and families at school, godliness was not a priority. Development of godly character, though taught at home, was not reinforced at school, which was confusing as a kid.
Although God’s children are supposed to be salt and light in the world, I realize now how crucial it is to have a strong foundation in one’s own faith before navigating conflicting worldviews day in and day out.
Had you known of classical education before joining the Academy?
We learned of classical education in 2010 when we started looking for alternatives to public school. We had moved into a great school district in Illinois, thinking we would send our kids to public school. One morning, we dropped Abigail off at preschool, and we mentioned something about God being with her after entering the preschool building. Abigail gasped and said, “Mommy, you can’t say that. You can’t talk about God like that in here”. We realized we needed to send our kids to a Christian school, because we never wanted them to be ashamed or reprimanded for using God’s name respectfully.
We started looking for schools in the area and were blown away by a Classical Chris- tian School in Naperville. When we toured the school, the students in sixth grade were comparing writings from Josephus (in Latin) to the correlating Biblical account (in English). Students in second-grade demonstrated their mastery of the periodic elements, and third graders discussed the cycle of sin/judgment/repentance/restoration with the Israelites. We loved how the curriculum used a Biblical worldview as a lens for learning about God’s creation and how the connections between different subjects still intertwined, thus reinforcing one another.
What do you see as the critical component of a good education?
When there is a strong parent/teacher relationship, then true progress can be made. We entrust our children with people who have an incredible influence on them every day, so we need to know that they are learning truth, and that they are developing a love of learning. Though there may be minor details that don’t line up, as long as the overall goals are the same, we are all moving in the same direction. Our kids have fun learning at school. The teachers reinforce textbook work with games and hands-on activities. It helps students who tend to learn differently, and the kids are challenged without being discouraged.
How does education impact you & your children’s faith?
Whatever environment an individual is in will undoubtedly have an impact on him or her, for better or worse. Since there are more hours in a day spent at school than home, we want our children to spend the bulk of their day with godly influences, both teachers and students, to reinforce what is being taught in the home.
We have great discussions about faith because of what our kids learn in school. For example, in third grade, the kids are studying Exodus and how the Israelites turned their backs on God in the desert, grumbling and complaining despite clear displays of God’s power through miracles. Because of the overlap of Exodus in Bible and Egypt in history, the kids have a cultural context to view God’s word, which enriches their learning experiences and fortifies their understanding. As parents, it gives us the opportunity to help the kids apply what they learn in school to our lives now, like how we all complain at times we should be grateful for God’s provision in our lives.
Being part of a community with like-minded families allows the kids to live out their faith without having it contradicted by teachers, curriculum, or other students. They are truly being trained up in the way they should go, from a 360-degree perspective, but they are also being prepared to handle the pressures of life outside of school.
Describe what you’d love to see your children becoming. What do you hope they’ll know about you as parents?
We want our children to have a strong relationship with Jesus, be disciplined in thought and behavior, have godly hearts and a love of learning, and to think for themselves. Ultimately, we want them to discover what God has planned for them and to pursue it with courage and faith.
Our children can always count on our support, and any guidance we give will always have their best interests in mind. We want them to know how unconditionally loved they are. Though we remind them as often as possible that they are truly a gift from God, we hope they can see what a joy it is to be their parents.