I know I shouldn’t mention it, but in about a month the “s” word will start. What “s” word? The dreaded….school. Yes, summer break will end. We will have two in public school (ps from here on out in this post) and two home schooling (hs for short) and four who have graduated, one from Christian school and three from ps. Whew. In today’s day and age, the decision of how to best educate our children is not to be taken lightly. Can Christians send their children to the public schools? If we homeschool them will they miss out on important social growth? Can we afford to pay the tuition to send our child to a private Christian school? These questions and many more come with the decision….so what do we do as Christian parents when it comes to school? I’ve spent plenty of time thinking, researching, and praying over this decision.
When it comes to research on educating children I have exhausted myself. I have read books and blogs and articles and statistics. I have spoken to friend who educate their children in ps, hs, and Christian school. I have talked with teachers and administrators. I have talked with my own children. I, along with my husband, have tried to come up with the very best plan for the education of those we are in charge of. We have prayed for wisdom. We have sought God's will in this matter. In the end, we have worn ourselves out trying to figure out the right/best choice.
At a time when tolerance is a buzzword in our society and we are encouraged to embrace diversity, I have discovered that field of education is one filled with silent judgement. Much of the conservative Christian hs crowd doesn't get how anyone who is conservative and Christian could send their precious children off on the prison bus to the government mind control centers that they believe our public schools to be. They are critical (and rightly so) of Common Core, teaching methods, curriculum content, unbelievable issues such as gender neutral restrooms & locker rooms, and a host of other issues. I too have grave concerns about these issues.
The Christian ps community often doesn't understand the hs lifestyle, They are concerned about the quality of education that can be provided at home. Some wonder about the wisdom of removing the young people from Christian families from local schools and their influence and witness for Christ leaving a dark gaping hole. This can also be a legitimate issue to ponder.
So why the need for a blog post about this issue? I'm not an expert, despite all my research. I'm just a mom. I haven't even figured out the right answer. GASP. This is a huge issue for my Type A perfectionist leaning self. How can I make a decision about this if I haven't figure out the BEST answer yet? This struggle could leave me locked in a cycle of indecision and back and forths that would leave me feeling like a failure. Oh wait, it already has. It's time to stop. Stop the research. Stop the worry about what anyone else will think. Stop the "concern" (there's a church word for you) that my decisions will and have ruin my children's lives if I make the wrong ones. It is time to just STOP.
I believe there is not one right or best answer for every family. I'd go even further, there is not necessarily one right or best answer for each child in a family. In the same way it is important for each couple to determine if both parents will work outside the home or if one will stay home to care for the children, in the same way couples need to wrestle with the subject of birth control and family planning, each Christian family needs to first and foremost seek God and then know themselves and their children and make the best decisions for their family. Then, no matter what school choice they go with, they need to teach their children to love God and love people, to deny themselves and pick up their cross daily and follow Jesus.
I could write many, many words about why this decision is the best one for our kids and our family and me personally right now. I'm not going to, because it doesn't matter. Those things are the stepping stones on OUR path, and it's different from yours. The bottom line is this: I have watched kids grow up in public school and turn out to be young people who love the Lord and make great choices in their adult lives. I have also seen children be led astray by influences in the public school environment, both by their peers and by philosophies. I have seen Christian school graduates go into adulthood with a strong faith and walk, and those that turned away. I know homeschool graduates who are excelling and those who stun their families by plunging themselves into sin. There is no form of education guaranteed to produce children who live exactly as their parents would expect or hope. It doesn't exit. God commands parents to teach their children about Him. No matter what school my children attend, that command stands. My husband and I are given that responsibility. We dare not shirk it, or pass it off to others. While we can (and do) have those who come alongside and support us in this work of parenting, WE are the ones with the responsibility.
So as we, for now, have our feet in what feels like different worlds, I remind myself that they are not really so different. The Christian parents I know all want what's best for their children. Every one of them. My goal is to encourage others who may be struggling with making the best decision for their own children. When you arrive at a decision you agree on and have peace from the Lord about, step forth in confidence. You don't need the approval of others. You might make mistakes. In fact, you probably will. It's OK. Listen to God. Listen to your spouse. Listen to your children. Listen to your heart. Be diligent in teaching your kids about the Lord. Live your life. Be filled with joy. This is your adventure!