As parents we are faced with a number of key decisions that we must weigh carefully for the life and development of our children. As a pastor in a local church, I regularly receive the “child education” question from concerned parents. Should we home-school our kids? Should we send them to the local public schools? Should we send them to a private Christian school? What is the right answer?
To complicate the issue, we have the Facebookology factor. Facebookology is the discipline wherein theology, philosophy, sociology, and psychology are blended together to form a Molotov cocktail of highly opinionated know-it-all-ness. To get a Ph.D in Facebookology you simply need to have internet access, sign up for a Facebook account, and lack the hesitancy to weigh in on a myriad of issues that you may or may not have any business spouting off about. It is really very simple.
When it comes to the issue of how we raise our children, particularly as it relates to their education, Facebookology doesn’t offer us any concrete answers. As Christians, we should prayerfully and carefully approach this subject, both personally and particularly as it pertains to other families.
As I see it, there are three primary viable options. 1) Public school, 2) Private school, and 3) Home-school.
Growing up I actually experienced all three of these options in my immediate family. I was the 3rd of 4 children, and between my siblings and myself, we were enrolled in private school, public school, and home-school for different periods of time. There were years where a couple of us were in private school while one was home-schooled. There were years where we were all in public school, etc. I can remember in 2nd grade I began the year in private school and finished up at home. Early on in my life when my parents weren’t satisfied with the public schools in the area, they worked with the pastor of our local church to start a private grade school, which we all attended, and which is still in existence over 25 years later. When my family relocated from California to Oregon (when I was heading into 6th grade) my parents felt like the public schools were a good fit for us; so my sisters and I all finished up through high school in the public school system.
As parents of 3 young girls, Carissa and I are now entering the years where we are faced with these decisions ourselves. What is the best option for our kids? What is the best option period?
All three options have their strengths and weaknesses. For the purpose of this blog, I’m not intending to delve into the details of each option. What I do want to do here is attempt to offer some counsel on the framework within which we make these vital decision for our children.
When you are praying and dialoguing about public, private, or home-school, I would simply say one thing: Mind your own business.
What do I mean by this?
I think as we make these decisions as parents we need to “mind” or “give mind” or “take into account” our own business.
In biblical studies the term “exegesis” is often utilized. To “exegete” a biblical passage means to “pull out” of the passage what is there (the root of this term is a compound word beginning with the Greek word “ex” meaning “from” or “out of”).
As we make these decisions as parents concerning our children, we need to exegete a variety of factors:
1) Our individual kids
2) Our local school districts
3) Curriculum (public, private, or home-school)
4) Teachers, faculty, coaches, counselors, and the culture of a school.
5) The needs of our children and family dynamics
6) The social setting each child will encounter (in any of the three options)
7) The spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental trajectory of each child year by year.
As we exegete these and other factors, pray, seek godly counsel, and make informed decisions with each our children, I believe the grace of God will guide us as parents.
I think the key is: Mind your own business.
Included in this is the realization that what may be good for one or all of your children, may not be the correct path for another parent, child, or family. We should stay informed, dialogue, and encourage one another, but always keep in mind that our job as parents is to follow God’ s leading for those whom we bear the responsibility: our own children.