Choosing Educational Options
Another school year is drawing to an end. Students are looking forward eagerly to summer holidays with nary a thought about the school year that starts in September. But parents are often thinking ahead, wondering what educational options might be best for their family.
Having taught or having had my own children involved in public, Christian, home school, and alternative education systems, I have personally come to some conclusions. Here are a couple important ones:
First, education must be seen as an integral part of our total lives, not a discrete 9 to 3, Monday to Friday, September to June package. We must recognize that children are constantly learning. Many other parts of life may actually have just as many, or more, important educational ramifications, particularly if our school choices do not offer a strong Christian spiritual component.
Secondly, in the part of learning we call school, our children of course learn a curriculum of Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and other subjects; but just as in every other part of life, often the lessons of the hidden curriculum (the things we may not realize are being learned) are the ones that really stick to them and influence their attitudes, decisions and actions for the rest of their lives. These are lessons of world views, values, spirituality and relationships. Sometimes these lessons are learned incidentally, but often they are intended, and those intentions may be quite shocking!
I can not tell you the best choice to make for your children. Only God can do that. But I can tell you some of the things He might want to say to you, because He talks a lot about learning in His Word.
Central to our children’s education (remembering that every part of their lives is a part of their education) is the ultimate purpose: for them to learn to love God with all their heart, soul and might, and to love their neighbour as themselves. And the most important teacher for this is the parents, in every moment of time they spend with their children (Deut. 6:4-9, 11:18-22). Fathers, particularly, are responsible to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). The key source of curriculum is God’s Word, which will develop our children into people of God who are complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Use of the scriptures brings conversion, wisdom, rejoicing, enlightenment, fear of the Lord, warning against evil, and great rewards (Psalm 19:7-11). It will also bring true prosperity and success (Josh. 1:8-10), liberty and blessings (James 1:25), the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18), safety (Prov. 8:10), rest (Matt. 11:28-30), answers to prayer (James 15:7), knowledge and instruction (Prov. 1:7), life and good fruits (Matt. 7:13-20).
As we seek to train up our children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6) let us keep our eyes on the educational goals which count both for life here on earth and for eternity: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness, eternal life (1 Tim. 6:11-12). And here’s a closing thought which I once read somewhere: Some trust in a perfect curriculum, some in excellent teaching skills, some in superb scheduling, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (see Psalm 20:7).
Date: June 2005