August 22, 2011

School Daze

Home school. Public school. Private school. Classical school. Parochial school. Christian school. Picking a method of schooling your children can be overwhelming. You want to make the perfect decision, and mother guilt rears its ugly head. Because feelings run very deep about schooling choices, those in ministry may find their decisions subject to scrutiny. (e.g., I anticipate some criticism of this post!)

Sweeping statements abound. "Home schoolers are socially awkward." "A public school education produces secular humanists." "Those students who learn Latin are snobs." "That school doesn't prepare kids for the real world." "There is only one biblical method."

As a ministry woman and parent, I felt the conflict between making the correct decision for my children while hearing from others who did not agree with our choice. These principles helped me keep a balanced view.

  1. Parents are responsible before God for training children See Proverbs 22:6. However, you don't have to do all the training yourself. Formal schooling, the home and the church all play a role in your child's development.
  2. This is a joint decision. Both you and your husband should be involved in deciding where you will educate your children. Some criticism is warded off if you are able to say, "We agree that this is what God wants for our family."
  3. Talk to others. Ask other Christian parents about their children's school experiences to hear pros and cons. But, don't be pressured.
  4. Tailor decisions to the child. Pray that God would show you what is best for a particular child. For example, we knew our daughter would not compromise her Christian beliefs in a public grammar school so we sent her without worry about that issue.
  5. Consider your circumstances. Think about your financial situation, transportation needs, characteristics of the school that are important to you, if you are equipped to do the job yourself, support systems, etc.
  6. Change is possible. No school decision is irreversible. If one school is not challenging him enough, consider a change. This was the case with our math whiz son when we transferred him to public high school.
  7. Mistakes are made. You have to make the best choice you can with what you know. Don't be too hard on yourself if you think you made a mistake. The wrong kindergarten is rarely life altering.
  8. Be charitable. Love other Christians in spite of the schooling choices they make for their children.
May you and your children relax and enjoy this school year. Remember that you are pleasing God, not people in your ministry. God uses all of our experiences for His own glory. Whatever school you choose for your child cannot change that.


  1. Rob and I have struggled with realizing that kids are not pawns in our ministry plans. Our recent school choice for our son didn't do any favors for our church. His education is probably not opening avenues for potential recruits to our church. But, as you so helpfully wrote, it's about what's best for our family.

  2. In my little corner of the world, the pressure comes more from people who have chosen a different method of schooling than I have. You want to think that you have picked the very best school and may feel unsettled when a ministry leader makes a different choice.

  3. We found the greatest success when our three kids were in three different schools, public HS, private Christian day school and all boys boarding school (because he was smart not trouble!) But it took trial and error to get there. The indecision was conquered when we asked, "What's best for them?"

  4. Margaret, thanks for sharing your experience. Even those raised in the same family are not exactly alike in schooling needs. My biggest problem with two different schools for two different kids was that the vacations did not coincide, which can make family togetherness more complicated.


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