A Parent’s Guide To Choosing A School In Yamhill County, by the C.S. Lewis Academy
At first glance, there would appear to be two very good reasons why I would not find this guide particularly relevant. For one, I am not a parent. For another, I do not happen to live in Yamhill County, although it is a neighboring county to where I live in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. What really makes this book interesting to me despite its lack of immediate relevance is the fact that I am interested in pedagogy as a whole  and this book does a very good job at posing questions for parents to ask and seek the answers for. And that means that if one is a parent or if one is interested in schooling, this short book of about 25 pages does offer a great deal of interest in helping to frame one’s expectations of schools and what we want to get out of them for our children. As I happen to consider that a worthwhile task even in the absence of children in my life at present, this was definitely something I appreciated reading and which I found thoughtful and worthwhile.
The authors of this guide have adopted a straightforward set of questions for parents to ask that presumably they expect their own school to be able to answer in a thoughtful and positive fashion. They encourage parents first to define the needs and learning style of their child(ren), determine realistic options, and evaluate each option according to core values, academics and curriculum, school culture, and balance and fit. After that there is an encouragement to check out the school and see it in action as well as following the application process. Throughout the guide the authors offer a look at the diversity of educational options that exist even in Yamhill County as well as the sort of thinking that allows one to think of the balance between academics and other activities that are offered by schools. By and large, this guide seeks to make parents into intelligent and discriminating consumers of education for their little ones, and the writers probably assume that their audience is made up of Christians with a high degree of interest in ensuring a safe learning environment (free from bullying and the threat of drugs and promiscuity) as well as a rigorous academic environment for their kiddos.
Overall, despite the occasional typo, I found that the guide did a great job at educating its audience to ask questions as well as prime the reader into asking precisely the sort of questions that the school was willing and able to answer about itself. What I found most striking, though, was that the guide itself did not answer any of the questions itself. Presumably the school has staff that are willing and able to give answers about the school–and I asked some questions on social media about the school and its approach to learning–but I still found it interesting that this guide was rhetorically structured to prompt questions rather than provide answers. This led me to think that the academy in question had a focus on classical education, since it seemed to be a vastly more rhetorically ambitious guide to a school than I am used to seeing as a fond student of marketing material in general. When one sees the rather stereotypical appeals that are often made by schools to pump themselves in the eyes of potential students, one can recognize when greater sophistication is shown. And this guide is nothing if not sophisticated, and something that would be useful for parents far outside of Yamhill County, to be sure.
 See, for example: