What is a University-Model® School?
The University-Model® combines the best attributes of traditional schooling with the best attributes of homeschooling and integrates them into one model. The result is quality, cost-effective, college-preparatory education that gives parents more time for imparting their own faith and values to their children. In partnership with one another, parents and the school work together toward a mutual goal: to produce wholesome, competent, and virtuous followers of Christ who will change the world in their generation.
The fulfillment of God’s purposes on the earth depends on godly families who know Him and make Him known.
Parents play a critical role in this mission. They have God-given responsibilities to shepherd their own children by mentoring them to know Christ and to live according to His purposes. God’s design is that parents lead their children to understand that they are blessed and have a mission to become blessings in the world.
Christian young people are inundated with worldly “callings” to pursue goals that are inadequate and ultimately unsatisfying. They are constantly being lured into counterfeit purposes that fall far short of God’s highest and best: personal happiness (apart from fellowship with God), popularity and acceptance, relationships and sexual activity, success (academic, artistic, athletic, material, social), and the pursuit of their desires to have, do, and believe what they want with no accountability to an absolute standard of truth.
The purpose of the University-Model® is to cooperate with parents who aspire to train their children to live as responsible Kingdom citizens of the world. The UM school, therefore, emphasizes discipleship instead of evangelization and uses its resources to train young adults who are willing, equipped, and courageous to impact their world in order to glorify God.
The University-Model® is a five-day academic program with students spending 2-3 days in the central classroom and 2-3 days in their “satellite classroom” at home. Both classrooms are under the supervision of the professional educator.
The key to the success of the concept is the integration of a biblically-based, parentally-guided, Christian faith and a sound, teacher-directed, academic environment. Parents partner with professional educators in this educational process. Under the supervision of the qualified educator, parents are required to provide oversight responsibilities of their children’s coursework in the satellite classroom at home. They also serve as paraprofessionals by providing extension, enrichment, tutoring, and study skills instruction.
As the level of parental involvement progresses from a private tutor (elementary) to a guide (junior high) to course monitor (senior high), parents are expected to continue exercising responsibility for their children through graduation.
Because the goal is to prepare students to become spiritually and academically independent, the University-Model® provides a gradual transition from the home to the school. Since younger children typically need more time at home, it is recommended that full-time elementary students attend school two days a week, while being in the satellite classroom three days a week.
When students reach the middle school age level (sixth or seventh grade), their time generally increases to three days in the central classroom and two in the satellite classroom. The goal is to introduce upper-level students to a college schedule where they attend school whenever classes are scheduled instead of spending full days in the central classroom.
For upper-level students, large University-Model® schools should provide a college-simulated environment. This requires the school to schedule sixty (60) minute classes on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and longer classes, usually ninety (90) minutes, on Tuesday/Thursday.
The teachers are in charge of all direct instruction in the central classroom, and they encourage and expect students to learn the material assigned through independent practice and homework. Teachers also provide consistent feedback to students and parents regarding the progress in each class.
The school integrates the Christian faith, formation in virtue, and a biblical worldview into the context of each subject area, to the end that character building that begins in the home receives support and reinforcement throughout the school community.
The University-Model® offers a rigorous, college-preparatory education that is second to none. Validation of the University-Model® by the entire educational community proves its value as a highly credible alternative model of education. The AdvancED accreditation of NAUMS, Inc., along with the growing number of accredited NAUMS/UMSI member schools, support this belief.
Note: In 2010, the NAUMS, Inc. Board of Trustees voted to permit the officials of University-Model® schools to implement three-day programs for full-time elementary students, although the two-day elementary schedule is considered ideal.
THE GIFT OF TIME
The graph below shows the academic benefit of gradually preparing students for direct entrance into college vs. an approach that requires significant adjustments.
On the left side of this diagram is the number of hours each week students are in a classroom guided by a professional teacher. On the bottom, from left to right, are the ages of students up to 18, the typical age for high school graduation.
The upper portion of this diagram is the additional amount of time the University-Model®, in contrast to the traditional model, gives back to parents.
According to information gathered by pollster George Barna, the most critical period when 94% of all boys and girls come to a saving faith in Christ is before the age of 18, and 90% before the age of 14. Only 6% will make the decision to accept Christ between the age of 18 and their death. Since parents are the most influential factor in this decision, it is vital that models of education exist that keep parents involved with their children during the early, critical years of a child’s education and spiritual formation.