I truly believed that God has ordained the days of each one of our children, and everything He allows is for their good and His glory. Along the way He gives us freedom in our decision making, guiding us by His Spirit. This is no more true than we make make schooling choices for our kids.
With tailor-made design, God has fashioned the unique path on which each of our children will walk.
For now, my kids walk on a public school path. I began sharing the list of reasons why we were drawn to this decision, only because I am often asked. Please note that I understand the list of “cons” for public schools is substantial and there are many benefits to home and private education, but the public school “pros” for our family tipped the scales. Here is the continuation of why we are currently in the public schools:
4. Because we are grateful for the gift of free public education.
Having had the opportunity to travel to some third world nations, we have seen first hand the privilege it is to be able to send our kids to school so easily. In Africa, students walk for miles to go to a school which takes the majority of their family’s income, to study late into the night (often risking their life) with little or no electricity, and without school supplies or materials. They know that education is necessary for getting out of poverty so that will take whatever is offered to them, making every sacrifice possible.
As a result, when my children are zoned to go to some of the highest rated schools in the country, we feel compelled to receive and embrace this gift of grace with gratitude. I can’t imagine explaining to our sponsored child that education, with busses and textbooks, art and music, master’s degreed teachers, and beautiful buildings is free to us, but is not good enough for us to participate in it.
5. Because all of life is to be redeemed.
As a believer, I often have to fight the tendency to want to “throw out the baby with the bath water”. If something is tainted, or broken, or sub-standard in our American culture we tend to discard it and start with something new. If something is used for sinful purposes, our fear drives us to avoid the “neutral thing” altogether (e.g. television, movies, dancing, alcohol, certain foods, public schools). Yes, our school systems are not perfect and are in need of repair, but redemption is God’s specialty, and as His people He invites us to be a part of the process. Public schools can be good if we allow God to enter into our involvement with them.
6. Because I am still my children’s primary teacher.
When our son stepped out with his too-big backpack slung over his five year old shoulders that first day of kindergarten, I didn’t question for a moment that I was still his mommy and that it was still my responsibility to teach him. So, he went for half a day and when he returned home at noon, I spent 30 minutes giving him an individual reading tutoring session. Every evening we would have Bible time. And the time in between was spent in social instruction (discussing his day and fielding arguments with his sister), science experiments (baking cookies, etc.), and math field trips (addition at the grocery store).
To this day, I still am involved in the classroom so that I can reinforce things at home. We go to God’s Word on issues in question. I go into their principal and teachers to discuss things I am concerned about. I pull them out of school when I want them to learn something different.
But ultimately, sending my children off to school is a healthy reminder that they belong to God and that the Holy Spirit is their constant companion and instructor. He loves and knows them more than I ever will, and can be trusted with their lives.
7. Because God’s voice is to be heeded above all others.
This final point is most important of all. We can make lists all day long, weighing our options, but when the Lord gives us a specific word of instruction, we must obey. As I mentioned in the previous post, I can make good cases for every form of education. There is no one definitive answer for everyone. In the stillness of our hearts, as we heed His voice, it is the words which whisper peace to our souls that have the ultimate say.
I am not to judge you and you are not to judge me, especially on issues not explicitly stated in Scripture. It is very likely that we will make different decisions in raising our children and we may not agree. All that we should be concerned about, all that we should be spurring one another toward, is love and obedience to Christ…whatever that is supposed to look like for you.
Whether or not you sent your child off on a school bus today, or drove them to the school across town, or settled them into their studies around the kitchen table, you can be sure one thing. They will receive the education this year that God has planned for them (Psalm 139:16), for He will give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Raising life-long learners, only by grace,
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