The premise of this article is to address an issue that is on every parent’s mind when it comes time to go back to school. Am I making the best education choice for my child? Am I setting my kids up for success in their life? Am I sending them to the right type of school or should I be sending them to _____? Let me say right now these are all great questions to ask. However, before you continue reading let me clarify if you are reading this article looking for me to give you a definitive answer on what schooling type is the best you can stop reading. Though if you are willing to hear my thoughts on the matter I promise to give you new things to consider as you decide what to do.
As someone who was homeschooled for everything but college and works in Children’s Ministry his topic surfaces often. I am targeted because parents think that as someone who went through homeschool and “turned out okay” I can then speak clarity about what to do in their specific case. Let me say that is not the case right now. By thinking that your child is the same as other kids or even their siblings you are setting yourself up for failure as a parent.
By thinking that your child is the same as other kids or even their siblings you are setting yourself up for failure as a parent.
Now I am not saying there will not be similarities. However, as a parent I urge you to use caution and avoid making this assumption about all things. Avoid falling into a groove with your kids and try to do some form of cookie cutter parenting. This type of parenting can be dangerous and ignores the fact that scripture says that we were all created unique by God.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
There is no perfect schooling type for any household or child. I think that the questions you need to ask should be based off of where you child is at developmentally at this point in time. Then also leave yourself open to the idea that it will not always be the same answer every year. Take into account all the normal things their personality, learning style, developmental stage, social skills, the environment of the schools, and your child’s opinion in the matter. However, in my opinion there is one question that should take all precedence when choosing an educational platform for you child. That question is,
How is my child’s educational setting helping them follow in the footsteps of Christ and draw them into a loving mature relationship with God?
Read that again and consider the implications. Every education system has advantages and disadvantages to it. Biblically it is the parent’s responsibility to pass on their faith to their kids. Not the church or the education system but the parent. Whether your child knows God or not you need to be incorporating ways of exposing them to the truths of scripture daily. Just as your child developmentally is not ready for everything spiritually your child might not be ready for everything.
As a parent you need to identify where you child is at spiritually. Then make sure the atmosphere you placed your child helping them grow. Know your strengths and time constraints too; do not take on anything you cannot pull off. Also be aware of everything your child is being exposed to. On all sides of this debate in culture we accuse the other of indoctrination. The reality is though that indoctrination is defined by the culture we expose our children to. So is the schooling you are doing indoctrinating your child? Yes. George Barna says it bluntly when he said; “In a race to a child’s heart, the first one there wins”. When you became a parent you entered the race and in this race you need to make sure that they are exposed to the truth of the Gospel. Like I said there is no right or easy answer to the debate of the education system. As a parent though I encourage you to respect each other’s decisions and help one another as you seek to raise up a generation for Christ. That is what matters most.
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself about your child’s walk with Christ to help evaluate the opportunities for growth they have had:
- When is the last time he or she heard the Gospel?
- Has he or she made a commitment to follow Christ?
- When is the last time my child had an opportunity to share their faith?
- How has my child been challenged to grow as he or she seeks to follow Christ?
- How is the education system I have placed my child in helping to prepare him or her to be independent in their walk with Christ while remaining in the world?
- Is the setting or what I am exposing my child to preparing them to be in the world on his or hers own or am I setting them up for culture shock?
Okay the list goes on and on so I will stop there. If you have any questions or want input on a specific scenario do not hesitate to comment or reach out to me. I would love to help you fulfill your role as a parent.