Monday, July 31, 2006

Back to school

My posting is going to be a bit sporadic this week getting ready for school, which starts here next week.

This will be the first year in a while that all of our school-age children will be attending public school. We have been adventurous in the education arena - we've sampled a bit of everything: homeschooling, public schooling and university model-schooling. It has been quite a journey, and I have learned something from each experience. I have great respect for all perspectives on this subject.

When I have more time I may write more about this, but suffice it to say that my experience has been that there is no one perfect option. Each one has its own set of pluses and minuses, and we prayerfully consider our family's complete picture each year to determine how to best meet the needs of our children's character and educational goals.

Especially for those of you who have little ones, I would like to encourage you to pray about this important subject.

I just love the way Family Life's Dennis Rainey articulates a balanced view on school choice.

The issue of where your children should go to school-whether it be
homeschool,public, private, or private Christian-is a hot issue among
Christians these days. There are so many choices and different opinions, and
it's tempting to look at what other families are doing and compare their
decisions about school to your own. This happened to Barbara and me as our
children reached school age. Some of our friends made choices that were
different from the way we felt God leading us, and we started wondering,
"Are our values wrong? Are their values wrong? Are we making the right
decision?"The question is not whether their values or ours were wrong, but
are our values different? I've read a great deal of Christian writing on
this subject. Much of it pits parents who have chosen public school against
the homeschoolers, or the public schoolers against the parents who choose
private Christian education.

This kind of attitude fosters a divisive and judgmental attitude within the Christian community. Romans 12:3 commands us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, and this applies to our decisions as well. We shouldn't think more highly of the decisions we make just because they're different from someone else's. And in the case of educational choices, I believe there's biblical support for all of these choices.

When you and your spouse start considering the school question, one of
the first things you can do is determine your family's convictions. This may
help clarify what you think is important and what the Lord is telling you about
this issue.


Here are a few links to get you thinking about this:

School Choice
Determining your core convictions
Transcripts of broadcasts talking about different school options

10 comments:

Jen said...

WE HAVE SCHOOL STARTING TOO. I ONLY HAVE ONE CHILD GOING OFF I CANT IMAGINE HOW MANY YOU HAVE. GOOD LUCK AND I WILL SAY A PRAYER FOR YOU TODAY.....GO BY ORGANIZE JUNKIE AND CHEK OUT HER MEAL PLANNING...IT MAY HELP YOU GET ON TRACK WITH SCHOOL STARTING...I KNOW IT WILL ME.
HAVE A GREAT WEEK.....AND REMEMBER TO TAKE TIME FOR YOU.
JEN

Glass Half Full said...

I hear ya - the weeks before the first day of school can be hectic. There is already one school supply that I cannot find and I've been to Target, Walmart, and Meijer. URG!

Katrina said...

Great post, Katherine, and so true. Decisions about education can be some of the trickiest and most emotionally-charged, and sadly, there can be plenty of judgmentalism on all sides of the table. I'm with you - each family has to make it a matter of prayer - lots of prayer - and make the best decision they can, according to where they see God leading them.

Jennifer said...

It's wonderful that since you've chosen most of the options, you can truly give a balanced perspective. It is too bad that it can be so devisive in many churches or social circles.

A pastor's wife (who had also experienced many of the options personally for her kids) once told a group of us moms that if we prayed earnestly for our children regarding this that God would give us peace about the decision, because He knows and loves our children even more than we do.

Katie said...

Thank you for these links, I will definately check them out. I am currently doing preschool activities with dd at home now which is going well and we have thought about homeschooling going forward but I am rather torn on the issue. Thankfully, I have at least 3 more years before formal school age! :)

voni said...

I like that article. Thank. We have sent our kids to christian and public school. I was homeschooled growing up. This year we are sending all three of ours to pulic. I share your thoughts that there are pluses and minuses to all. Dennis R. brings up a good point in sharing Romans 12:3. Its an educational choice that God has entrusted to PARENTS to make. Our standing in Christ is not wrapped up in that desition. Not an issue that should devide the body of Christ.

Susanne said...

My kids are shuddering as I tell them you'er back to school next week! :D We still have 1 month of holiday left! This topic can also be an issue in between spouses if they have opposing thoughts. Prayer, and lot's of it, is definitely what is needed for each individual family on what to do.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I try and remember that only by the grace of God go I....and we reevaluate the "plan" each year :)

Anonymous said...

I love the above comment by Voni. Boy, we are quick to make 'choices' into 'issues', aren't we?

Thanks Katherine for these links and your thoughts. Much needed wisdom for this young Mommy!

Chris from Canada

Jan said...

Katherine, this is such a volatile issue for many people. There are ten people in our family who are teachers in public schools. Our daughter Jeana and her husband home school, and people often can't understand how we can support their choice, and still be public school teachers. The answer, as you implied, is so individual for each family, that there is no "right" answer, no
"one-size-fits-all" solution. What is right for Jeana's family may not be right for other members of our family. What is right for Jeana's family this year may not be the "right" answer years from now. We all need to be listening prayerfully for the "right" answer for our own household.