Let’s open up a can of worms, tell the emperor he has no clothes, and talk about the elephant in the room.
Let’s talk about education.
I can tell you’re excited.
Before we begin, I should disclose a few things relating to myself and the subject of education, so you know where I am coming from.
First off – an admission: I sort of feel like being sick to my stomach over making statements about education. While I have no problem doing things differently that other people, I really loathe arguing about such things. The furthest I have come to making a statement on education in the past was to personalize Romans 14 with an emphasis on education. You can read it here if you’ve got lots of time – but in essence, it’s a call for us all to put aside our egos and remember that loving and serving God is what life is about – not fighting to the death, or to the pain for that matter, over how we teach our kids.
Secondly, you might be interested to know that I grew up going to public school during my elementary years and private school for my highschool years. In terms of my own family, my oldest two children went to public school for a time and I am currently teaching all four school-aged kids at home.
Thirdly, and this is fairly important: I think the ways we choose to educate: homeschooling, private schooling or public schooling, are neither good nor bad. There is no right or wrong way to educate your kids. Or to paraphrase Paul in Romans 14: “everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it, or talk about it, contaminate it.” So if you want the definitive answer on which method of schooling you should choose, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
On to the good stuff:
I think the first thing to keep in mind when deciding how you are going to educate your kids is to remember that the method that you choose is not nearly as important as your reasons for choosing it. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason can yield unfavourable results. Or to put it in the context of schooling: sending your kids to public school doesn’t ensure you are parenting without fear any more than sending your kids to private school or homeschooling means that you are. Instead of pretending that we’ve got it all figured out, let’s admit that there is no perfect system, and work hard to fill in the gaps wherever they may be.
I think we often make the mistake of calling an entire form of educating wrong, rather than addressing our fears surrounding it. It’s like mixing up a symptom with the disease. We can try and make one form of education a cure-all for our parenting woes, when what we really need to tackle is our fears about the many big decisions we make on behalf of our children. Fear wins when we choose to homeschool our kids because we are afraid of them being influenced by other agendas at work in a school system. Fear wins when we send our kids to public school but then fail to provide them with the support they need to live differently because we’re afraid they’ll rebel against God if we ask them to be different. Fear wins when we outsource the spiritual training of our children to teachers in a private school because we’re afraid we don’t have all the answers. Fear comes in all sorts of forms and when we choose to do one thing because we are afraid of something else, it will end badly every. single. time. Making decisions based out of fear usually teaches our kids one of two things. Either our God isn’t big enough to do what He says he will do, or, we are unwilling to submit to God and do the hard things He has asked us to.
But I have good news – the truth is this: We serve a God that is too big to put into a tidy little checklist of must and must-not dos. He is able to give you the wisdom you need to parent your kids. It won’t always be easy, but God will always be with you, and there is nothing like the peace and joy that comes from trusting God!
Can I get an “Amen!”? How exciting that we serve a God that allows for diversity in so many areas. His grace is big enough!
So what do we do? For starters – we can have a good look in the mirror and ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. You’ll know if it’s fear or not. Be honest. Be brave. Then choose the form of schooling that is the best fit for your family and go for it! Embrace the flexibility of homeschooling, be thankful for the reinforcement of your faith within the private school, and love the programs and teachers available at your school down the road.
Start being a positive voice in what is often a sea of negativity. Lose the pride and the rhetoric that so often accompanies schooling – of any kind. Be an encourager. Go in confidence that you are doing what God has asked you to do, and share that confidence with others by allowing them to be candid and different from you.
Never speak so badly about a form of schooling that you would be embarrassed to choose it later on down the road. Eating crow is never fun, and I’ve done plenty. Just ask the twenty-five year old me if she thought she would EVER homeschool her kids…are you kidding me? She would have given you an earful, I’m sure. Thank God for His grace working in my life!
God is bigger than any form of education. There will be struggles and challenges, and we’re going to have to teach our kids to grow and trust God and make their faith their own, no matter where they learn. Let’s not be so caught up in our own pride or fear that we make a decision that is not in the best interests of our kids.
To read more about Fearless Education be sure to watch this video where Tim Kimmel answers the following question in the Parenting Q&A portion of our Website: