This year my wife and I started a new phase of life when our oldest became a student. Now it is just kindergarten but it started the process that now will be a constant in our family for the next decade or more. About two years ago we started wrestling with where to place our children and we noticed that just about every system has certain things we loved and other things we, well, did not like so much. That led us to investigate and really think through what we wanted to do with our family.
Over the next few posts I wanted to share with you our thought process and then finally what we decided and why. I am sure that not everyone will agree with us and that is okay. What I do hope you are able to see is the process of our thought process. If you are entering this phase or already have kids in school I hope you are able to think through this process as well, even if you do come to a different conclusion.
Choosing the Right School for Your Kids
I recently had breakfast with a friend to talk about life, kids and school. He is a teacher for the local public elementary school which is one of the highest ranked schools in our state. We talked for a while about where to send our kids as they are approaching the age to begin school at which point he made the most interesting statement, “Once your kids start school I will have them more then you will,” and he’s right!
Once a child is in school they will be with him from roughly 8 AM till 3 PM. As a full time working father I do not get home prior to 5 PM and occasionally not until 6 PM. This means that at the end of the day as I tuck them into bed I have spent a total of 3 to 4 hours with them while the teacher spent 7. Over the course of the week changes as I will have spent upwards of 45 hours with my own kids outside of work and church and they were at school for 35. But once you add any events, sports, extra meetings at church and family gatherings I bet it evens out rather quickly.
That Being Said…
I get that my kids will have to go to school but I want to make sure I choose wisely and deliberately. I would like to first revisit some things that I know to be true of the parenting in the Bible. I believe that I am ultimately accountable to God for how I raise my kids so it is reasonable for me to start there.
- Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go.”
- Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach them diligently to your sons…”
- Psalm 78:1-7 – “…Telling to the generations that come…that they may set their hope in God…”
- Psalm 127: 3-5 – “Children are a gift…like arrows in the hand of a warrior.”
- Ephesians 6:4 – “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
What all of that “actually” Means.
When we look at the Word of God for direction for our responsibility for raising our children there are a few things that stand out to me. Each of them prepares the way for the decision that we make regarding where the kids attend school. There are a few things that are clearly present that are worth noting.
- There is an active and deliberate responsibility for the parent. (Prov. 22 “Train”; Deut. 6 “Teach”; Ps. 78 “Tell”; Ps. 127 aiming an “Arrow”; Eph 6 “Bring”)
- There is a clear command from God for parents to obey. (Duet 6; Eph 6)
- The overall education is the parent’s responsibility. (Duet 6; Eph 6)
- There will be a day when they are not your responsibility. (Prov. 22; Ps 78; Ps 127)
Each of these observations I believe can be supported by these passages and it is important for us to note what is here for us to obey and the guidance to follow. It is equally important to notice what we do not find in these passages, nor do we find anywhere else in Scripture. Here are a few things that may be an option but are not in the Bible; therefore we need to be careful not to be dogmatic about the wrong things. It does not say…
- Christian School is the best option.
- Home School is the best option.
- Public School is sinful.
- God prefers one option to another.
The Bible places the responsibility of the education of the children on their parents. This is for their education and development in math, reading, and science as well as the things of the God. This includes how they deal with people, show respect, live for God, learn to be a friend and so much more. The truth that comes forward is that we may delegate certain portions of this education to others. BUT, Just because I delegate something does not mean I am not involved or that I have escaped being responsible for it.
Over the next few posts I will unpack for you how I framed up the decision and what we took into account, then finally what our decision was for our kids at this time. Before we get there though, what thoughts do you have? What are the sources you looked to to determine the starting point for your thought process? What else do you see in the Bible that I may have overlooked?