Christian families often struggle with the concept of education for their children. Of course, you want what’s best for your child, socially and educationally, but you also don’t want to expose them to concepts which don’t match your core Christian values, or to people who might potentially be a bad influence.
Education is more important in today’s world than ever before, and there are ways to provide your child with a suitable level of learning while maintaining the role of Jesus in their daily life.
Public education is the paradigm of the American education system, as it provides the basic minimum of learning expected of United States students.
To some extent, the quality of public education depends on where you live and the neighbors you have. You’ll likely want to consider your child’s maturity level, both personally and in the faith, when determining whether you want them to attend public schools.
Some of the lessons will not be Christian-based, and the child will meet non-Christian students. So, be prepared to temper their school experience in the evening with explanations of how to maintain spirituality in the company of people who don’t share the religion.
A further consideration is that school provides social training as well as a learning experience and to generally prepare a student for life after school. Public education forces the student to meet the kind of people they will have to interact with in adult life. A student can learn how to interact with non-believers while keeping their own faith.
A private school, especially one which is based in a church, can solve the problem of what a student is exposed to while still providing great teachers and the social experience of attending school.
Choosing a private school gives you control over what your child is expected to learn, rather than what is mandated by the state. This approach can balance the ideas of providing faith-based education with the social experience of interacting with other children on a daily basis.
Home schooling provides you a chance to provide a perfect faith-based education with absolute control over what your child does and does not learn.
A problem of home schooling is that teachers nearly unanimously suggest that homeschooled students tend to be behind comparative to other children their age when returning to a formal school.
This isn’t a reflection of the parent’s ability to teach, but more of a simple fact that when you are home alone with your child there are distractions from the scheduled education routine.
There is the further issue that it’s easy to focus on topics your child is good at and enjoys. There’s nothing wrong with that, as a matter of fact you wouldn’t be a good parent if you didn’t want to conduct activities which make your child happy. But, in the sense of education, the hard topics your child doesn’t enjoy are just as important.
A common solution for this is to work together with some of your friends who have children the same age as yours to provide a well balanced educational plan, and help each other maintain focus on the daily schedule. There are also online virtual schools which work in conjunction with home schooling to provide a formality to what your child learns.
A Combination of the Three
It is possible to gain the advantages of each educational style while negating each of their disadvantages by using a combination of them over the years.
A common means of this is to send a child to a private school for their early years to learn the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Then the child can participate in homeschooling to develop those skills before returning to a public or private high school.
If your child is college-bound, a formal high school can be essential toward building relationships with friends and mentors while developing professional level teacher references for the college application. It also allows for the opportunity of school-based extracurricular activities which may turn into scholarship opportunities.
~ 1776 Christian