My oldest child just turned five, which means he will be starting kindergarten in just a few short months. After wondering where on earth the time has gone, my immediate reaction then becomes a little bit of panic regarding the school situation: Where should my child go to school?
Should I homeschool him? Should he go to the private church-based school where he has attended preschool for the last two years? Should we send him to the public school district where both my husband I attended all 13 years and where I taught after graduating from college?
This decision, I’m convinced, is going to give me an ulcer.
Perhaps the decision seems so momentous because I know it will have a lasting impact on the life of my child, or maybe because there isn’t an absolute right and wrong. After all, the Bible doesn’t tell us explicitly “Thou shalt send your child to public school” or “Thou shalt homeschool.” There are advantages and disadvantages to every option! Although I certainly do not have all the answers (we haven’t even made our final decision yet), I want to share some thoughts and resources that are guiding us along the way.
1. Pray about it. Prayer is critical in a decision of this magnitude. We must communicate with God daily for His direction for our family and where He wants each of our children to be educated. We must plead with Him to let His path be clearly evident to us. No matter how much research I do or how much wise counsel I seek, nothing takes the place of prayer. Although I know His answer won’t be as obvious as being written in the clouds (which would be great), I can depend on Him to guide my heart … even if it is only the gentlest of whispers.
2. Seek the counsel of faithful mentors and friends. Find families that you admire and ask what has worked for them and what led them to make that decision for their child. Recognize that what works for one family might not work for yours … but be open-minded and willing to listen.
3. Explore the options. Visit the schools you are considering and observe friends who homeschool their children. Ask God prior to each visit to guide your heart in the path He has already chosen for your child.
4. Do some research … but not too much. You can literally drive yourself crazy with all of the material out there meant to sway you one way or another. Each writer/author is passionate about the path that he/she has chosen for their family and will present compelling arguments that convince you to do the same. If you’re anything like me, you’ll read one thing and convince yourself that’s what you should do and then read the opposite argument and then feel compelled to do that! Throughout your research, ask God to guide your heart … not someone else.
Here are some resources we found to be very helpful as we tried to keep an open mind about all options:
Going Public by David and Kelli Pritchard
This book approaches public schools as an opportunity to train our children to be lights in the world. The authors make the argument that public schools can provide excellent opportunities for teaching our children how to handle situations the world might throw at us in God-honoring ways while they are still under our loving guidance and care. I found this book to be a great parenting resource in general, whether you choose to send your child to public school or elsewhere.
Julia DesCarpentrie also shares similar thoughts in her essay “Public School Mission Field“.
In this article, Tricia Goyer shares the extensive benefits of homeschooling her children, such as discipling them, spending quality time with them, and protecting them from unhealthy influences. Tricia also shares how God helped her cope with challenges and doubts throughout her journey as a homeschooling mother.
My friend Stacie also shares “5 Reasons she and her husband have chosen to homeschool their children.”
Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
This book is a bit intimidating upon first glance because of its large size. I found the first chapter to have the most influence on the reasons this family chose to homeschool and the remaining chapters were simply resources to help others in their homeschooling endeavor.
The American Association of Christian Schools shares many of the benefits to a Christian education.
(And if you just want something lighthearted in the midst of all your decision making, check out Jon Acuff’s list of Public, Private and Homeschooling Stereotypes and have yourself a laugh.
Finally, we must recognize that what is right for our family is not necessarily right for everyone. God has led each family as He sees fit … the important part is that we are reverently seeking His guidance for our family and asking for the courage and strength to do what He has asked of us. We must give grace to our friends and neighbors who have chosen different paths under God’s direction.
*The resources shared in this post are solely for the benefit of the reader and are not officially endorsed or affiliated with MomLifeToday.com or Family Life.