Photo courtesy of Rob Shenk
While this may not be the exact week for you to send your children back to school, I'm sure all of us with children are thinking that way. (I think I would be thinking that way even if I didn't have children. I love back to school time and buying school supplies!) In today's culture, it is difficult to know what to do when choosing a method of schooling for our children. We know that we are responsible for their education--do we delegate it and put them in a controlled education environment, do we prepare them and send them into a more hostile environment, or do we just do it ourselves?
Photo courtesy of Claudia Snell
Sadly, this has been a big topic of debate among Christian parents, mothers in particular. In a changing world and culture, division is the last thing that we need. Yes, we need to stand up for principles, and I find that schooling our children is an issue with strongly held convictions. However, as I once heard someone say, in a war there is a common enemy. If the Army and Navy and Marines started fighting amongst themselves or disagreeing on methods of warfare rather than pulling together, there wouldn't be much real fighting done and the enemy would be able to continue his own agenda quite easily without threat.
Whether you choose to send your children to a public or Christian school or school them yourselves or unschool is between you and God. I think there are some basic principles we should all remember in schooling our children, and they should apply to all of us:
1. Our children are ours to educate. Yes, I homeschool, but that's not what I'm talking about here. It is our responsibility to give our children the spiritual education they need. This is not the responsibility of any church or school system or curriculum, but it is wholly ours. Those other things can be helps, but in no way replace us as our child's main teacher.
2. Our children must be prepared for the world. Regardless of what age and circumstance you release your children into it, they must be ready for the culture into which they will inevitably be released. You may choose to prepare them in the midst of it as in a public school or train them in a greenhouse as in homeschooling or somewhere in between with a private school. But they must be ready!
3. We must seek the Father's will. I'm a firm believer in God having an interest in and plan for every part of our lives. I believe He has a plan for our children's schooling. Not in a general sense. There are too many variables and kinds of people. But He will show us as individuals what He wants us to do!
4. Once the Father has clearly revealed His will, don't question it. I don't mean that once you've chosen a method of schooling, you have to stay with it for the whole 13 years. God can lead from year to year, and what His will is for you now might change next year regarding schooling. However, my parents were clear in the fact that they were to send me to a private school, so when times got tough financially, they didn't question but they trusted God by faith to send the money so we could go to school. As far as I know there are no outstanding bills at the school! :-) God always provides. If you have been clearly assured that public school is the place for your children, then don't listen to those that will tell you that your children will be ruined. God can keep your children there if He desires you to send them there. If God has shown you without a doubt that you should homeschool, don't listen to those that tell you your children will be destroyed academically and will never function in the "real world". Take that step of faith and believe God to lead and guide you as you teach them.
I understand that this is a very controversial issue. I don't think there is any reason for Christians to avoid controversial issues if they keep a Christian attitude while discussing them. However, we are not debating this week which method of schooling is correct. We will hear from three different moms this week who school their children in three different ways. As you know from reading this blog, I am an avid homeschooler and love it. But, I want to represent all three of the major methods of homeschooling fairly.
Photo courtesy of AvoloreYou will disagree with something that is said this week. If you must respond, remember we are not debating. The ladies that write the posts this week are not going to change their minds unless God tells them to. Keep your comments sweet and Christ-like.
Now, let's wash down the chalkboard, sharpen our pencils and clean out our desks as we prepare for BACK TO SCHOOL!