Saturday, June 7, 2014

Choosing a School for your Child: Will Their School Define Them?

    Let me start by saying that I have two young children. Neither of them are in school yet. We are just starting to explore school options.

     We recently went to an open house at a private, classical, christian school. We will probably send our children there, because their values (i.e. worldview) match our family values. Making education choices for your child are complex. There are many options: public, private, secular, Christian, charter school, home school, etc... There is no simple answer. Often you will think about: your child's future, the quality of the education they will receive, the peers they will socialize with, the cost of tuition (if any), the values or worldview they will learn, etc, etc....

    This brings me to some of my core values / goals for my family:

-To raise children that become the spiritual giants of the next generation. 
-To raise children that follow God with their whole heart.
-To raise children that follow the Bible's clear teachings on all matters no matter how loudly our culture tells them to do the opposite.

I firmly believe that parents are the most significant influence in a child's life. This means that if you have similar goals for your family, that ultimately the responsibility to meet those goals falls on you and God.  Let me say this again a different way.

The amount of spiritual effort parents pour into their children, is most often directly proportional to the achieved result.

This means that children do not turn into Godly adults (Christ followers) by accident. It also means churches, schools, pastors, youth camps, books, movies, etc... do not produce Christ followers. Those things are tools that parents can utilize to help them achieve their goals, but by themselves these things often fail to produce Christ followers. The statistics will back me up on this.

So, in regards to education options for your child; a great Christian school can be a great tool, but it does not determine the fate of your child. Each family creates their own destiny. I believe the families that follow God, produce the best results.

So, if you have the means and the opportunity to send your child to an amazing Christian school, should you? Absolutely.  It can be a great tool in your family's journey to producing Christ followers. However, not everyone has both the means and the opportunity. Often one or both of those items can be elusive in your family's life adventure. Do not panic!  You still have many tools available to produce wonderful godly children.  The most important tool for producing a Christ follower, is the one you cannot buy the unyielding determination of the parent(s) to produce godly children.

If your family decides that a public (non-christian) school is the institution that will educate your children, that is fine. Just make sure to understand what that means and to adjust your battle plan as needed. You will need to fortify and continually replenish certain areas of your family's worldview.  Maybe your family will have bible devotions after school or after dinner. Maybe your family will use a biblical based school curriculum to supplement public school. Maybe the parents will be sure to monitor what information their child is consuming from school diligently asking questions: what did you learn about today? Did you hear anything that conflicts with the Bible today? Did you hear anything that conflicts with our family's values today?

Even if you do send your child to a great Christian school, don't forget that the school is not raising your child. You are!  Your child will not be at school 24 hours a day. Confrontations between children brought up with a biblical worldview and our culture are inevitable. All families need a battle plan for combating our culture; the families with children attending a Christian school may just draw their plan differently.

Homeschooling can also be a good tool for raising your child with the worldview you want them to have. This is a good option if you have a lot of time, but not a lot of money and you do not want to spend a lot of effort battling conflicting ideas your children might learn from public school.

Make no mistake that you must battle the ideas that public school produces if you want to give your child a biblical worldview. Public school does not teach a neutral viewpoint. By leaving out God and religion public schools are teaching a defacto standard of: humanism,  materialism, and to some extent atheism. When you do not teach about God, it is easy to believe there is no God.

Don't forget to include God in your family's goals and the choices that help shape your child's future.  I often pray that I will successfully deliver on these goals. I suggest that any parent reading this article spend time in prayer before making a decision.