God Is Bigger Than Our Educational Choices

It’s back to school time and we  moms like to chatter about what is “upcoming” for our  kids this fall.

homeschool2

Some of you are making plans to homeschool, like we are.

Some of you are sending your kids to private schools.

Some of you are sending your kids to public schools.

I was reading a little bit of the goings on over at Courtney’s blog as she shared her inward struggle with putting her son in public school because her husband thought this was the best idea for their family. I appreciated her honesty and transparency as she tells how she struggled to let her husband lead, and how God changed his heart. It was a great article!

But, in reading some of the comments, I got the feeling that some women actually felt as though home schooling was the only right(godly) way to educate a child. And other women, single women or those who had their kids in public schools were having to defend their choice.

This saddened me, because I wondered if I have ever unintentionally sent the message that home schooling is the only right way to train/educate  a child. I wondered if those who couldn’t educate their kids at home ever felt “looked down on” or like they were not considered a good mother. Imagine the unnecessary guilt this type of attitude lays on single or divorced mom who works hard to keep her family afloat, or for a mom who would love to home school but her husband has other ideas.

Guess what.

God is bigger than our educational choices.

I have seen parents raise godly kids who came from  home schooled homes, privately schooled homes, and publicly schooled homes.

And I have seen parents raise ungodly kids who came from  home schooled homes, privately schooled homes, and publicly schooled homes.

Schooling should be a means to an end, not the end all.  The home life  and the “spiritual temperature” of the parents heart towards God is the biggest factor in successfully training your child. (Are you cold, lukewarm or hot towards the things of God?)

If you and your husband disagree about how to educate your children and your husband decides that they need to go to public school, you are better off letting your husband lead and submitting to his authority  than you are nagging, manipulating and whining to get what you think is the educational ideal.

Of course, let him know how you feel about it, but after that initial conversation, no nagging, pushing, pouting or punishing.  We, as wives, have a mandate from God to submit to our husbands, but we have no direct mandate that our kids education must look a certain way. 

Our educational choices are an area of liberty.

We should never look down on others because they choose a different educational route than we do. This, of course, would be uncharitable. I have shuddered inside when I have heard women say (in their self-righteous tone of voice) “WE homeschool our children,” or “WE don’t watch this.” or “WE don’t allow that.” The emphasis being on them, of course, like we really care.(If someone really wants to know what you do, they’ll ask, thank you very much.) And when you speak to someone in a condescending tone of voice, you are proud, and your educational choices mean very little, because God opposes the proud.

I have appreciated, and learned from people with perhaps stricter standards than I who are humble. They are not the ones who are “in your face” with what they believe about everything under the sun. They are the ones who you have to ask, and they’ll tell you gently why their family has chosen not to do something or other.

I believe that we can still be enthusiastic about our families choices, as long as we are sensitive and compassionate to the feelings and situations of other people.

A wise woman considers the end result of her words. Are they  callous, critical or condescending? Are they ministering grace to the hearer and edifying?

In the body of Christ, we are to build each other up. As women, it is easy to compare ourselves to others and although sometimes that can be helpful, most times it is a set up for discouragement. Let’s be careful not to unnecessarily wound others in areas of liberty.

In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity

 

Want to read more? I highly recommend:

Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges (excellent chapter on having a Critical Spirit about non essentials)

Humility by Andrew Murray (classic read for any Christian person! I read it once a year. 😉

20 comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Right on! Homeschooling is a nice trick if you can do it. It has many inherent benefits, allowing for continual discipleship, absence of peer pressure, and tailor-made methods for each child. But consider that Eric Liddle, the Olympic runner featured in Chariots of Fire, was sent to boarding school at about 7 years old. He didn’t see his father again until his late teens, I believe. I don’t think that was a good situation for him; yet as we know, he grew up to be a very strong, grounded Christian man who died serving the Lord in China. We make a mistake when we see home schooling as evidence of godliness.

    • SJBeals says:

      LIsa,–Yes, yes, yes! It is a big mistake to equate homeschooling with godliness. However, we could equate humility in disagreement as a sign of godliness. :)

  2. Nicole Auld says:

    Amazing-amazing! Very well said Sarah and keep encouraging us women my sweet friend! :)))

  3. Kim Goldstein says:

    Thank you, Thank you for this. I am one of the moms who’s sons are in Public school and I have been looked down upon because of it. I had a mom who homeschools her children say once that the bus was evil :( Made me very sad. My husband and I prayerfully considered where to send our boys and for now public school is where we feel led. We are always open to making a different choice in the future. For now I ask for God’s protection over them as I send them out into the world and pray that they will make a difference. Blessings!!! Kim

    • SJBeals says:

      Kim, sorry you have been looked down on! That is sad! Remember, we are here to please God, not man. Sometimes that makes the “looking down” part a little easier. :)

  4. Tina P. says:

    I couldn’t agree more, I homeschooled for a year and it just wasn’t for our family…so I sent my children off to our public school where they have been the past 4 years. I always think it’s great to see different families do different things. Whether we have 2 or 12 children or we educate our children differently, as Godly women our main concern is living a life that loves and honors God and our chidren seeing that.

    • SJBeals says:

      Tina, I totally agree that hmschling is not for everyone!! :) Sometimes I wonder what I am doing homeschooling! ha,ha

  5. I encountered a situation last night that pertains to this. My youngest daughter and I were at Payless Shoes and the very young obviously pregnant clerk asked her if she was getting the shoes for school, and what grade she was going into. My daughter, excitedly told her yes, the shoes are for school, and that she was going into 4th grade. She excitedly added as an afterthought -“I’m homeschooled.”

    The clerk looked up at me with concern and asked if I thought homeschooling had been a lot better for her, and I quickly replied “yes, It’s been great for her.”
    I didn’t think about it until I left the store, but the clerk had a worried look in her eyes. I think she had just added one more thing to her mental list of things she had to do if she really wanted her baby to have the best–and she looked overwhelmed.

    I need to remember to convey my thoughts in a different manner. It’s not homeschooling, but rather following God’s leading, that is truly best for my children.

    • SJBeals says:

      Kristen, I just recently had my kids pediatrician ask me for an hour (on her time) about homeschooling, and I could tell she was worried about her own kids. She told me that she was alarmed at the number of kids who come through her practice who have low reading levels, low self esteem, etc… So, she asked me to email her great resources, etc. We emailed back and forth a bit, and she was extremely overwhelmed. In the end she decided that she couldn’t do it and juggle her practice as well. (I think she was also pregnant.) I encouraged her by telling her that her kids would do fine in school because she was a concerned, involved parent! I agree with you…we can be passionate about our choices for our own family, but also gracious and cautious when dealing with others.

  6. Jocy says:

    Thank you for your post and encouragement. I have learned this by experience. My main goal is to see my kids glorifying God in their lives as they serve Jesus and the community in which the Lord has placed us as a family. We’ve been through Christian School, homeschool, and now for the second year we have done public school. I was terrified at first just contemplating the last one, but ironically and as if the Lord was trying to teach me a lesson, it has been during the Public School years that our oldest son has become a christian. What a lesson to us as parents!!! I have learned that it is not my methods or choices what saves our children; it is HIS Grace and that alone. Certainly God is bigger than our choices!!!!

    • SJBeals says:

      Jocy, thanks for sharing your story! I am so glad your son trusted Christ. Yes, God will use the means he wants to capture the hearts of our kids. Blessings!

  7. Nicol says:

    Hi Sarah- This post was stated so well. I cannot add to it. A good reminder and exhortation to not judge others in areas of liberty. BTW- Homeschooling is not a guarantee of ANY of the proclaimed benefits. I think that a parent needs to home educate their children because they feel it as a deep conviction and then should continue to remember to ENJOY it!

  8. […] who is also a believer in Jesus Christ. You see, I do not believe that home schooling is the ONLY way to educate a child. In fact, if I could afford it, I  think there are many schools that could do a better job than I […]

  9. Sarah – So glad I came over to see your post! Thanks for this – I’ll be referencing it for my own readers. Your heart is beautiful and brings honor to the Lord. Thank you, Shannon

  10. Thank you for posting this. I’ve seen so much spoken about how parents must hate their children if they don’t homeschool, how they’re not Christians if they don’t homeschool, and it grieves me. Some do put homeschooling up as an idol, and that’s just plain wrong.

    I don’t homeschool. I’ve tried it with 3 autistic children, and it’s just not right for us at our stage in life. But we do pray and do bible study before school, we work on fruits of the spirit and other studies after school, and pray for the kids as they go. Our pastor drives school bus for our local district as well. God is bigger than school choices. God can work anywhere He chooses.

  11. Allie says:

    Beautifully said and greatly appreciated by this single mom.