When our first child was four years old my husband and I found ourselves in a sea of choices about his education. Adrift on uncharted waters, we researched and prayed. Public school? Homeschool? Private school? Questions did not always lead to answers, but more questions. Eventually, we did discern the will of God in order to begin educating our firstborn, but after three children and many years of educating, we still frequently re-evaluate the educational needs of each child.
Are you trying to discern the best educational path for your child? Consider the following:
We must not let our child decide.
Children do not have the wisdom to discern which educational choice is best for them. Their opinion should be heard and valued but not solely relied upon.
We must not let our friends decide.
Making choices because of peer pressure rarely yields a wise decision. We may have to swim upstream to do what we think is best for our child.
We must not let our extended family decide.
Family members often have strong feelings about choices in education. If Aunt Sue was a public school teacher, there may be pressure to go that route. If your sister homeschools, there may be an expectation to choose that route. While we should consider their opinions, the privilege and the burden of the decision rests on us.
We must not let our anxieties decide.
Remember God’s instruction in Philippians 4: 6-7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We must not let our finances decide.
Homeschooling and private education sometimes come with hefty price tags.
Consider God’s promise of help and provision. Finances factor significantly in our plans, but let’s not forget that God can provide a way for us to follow our convictions.
We must not let our own educational experience decide.
Just because we were educated one way does not necessarily mean that way is a good fit for our child. Each person has a unique personality, unique gifts, varying levels of intelligence, and a special path God has ordained.
We must not let our fatigue or discouragement decide.
How many times has our exhaustion caused us to lose heart? During those times of parental fatigue and discouragement we may look for an “easy way.” Beware. We may need to stay the course through the tough time rather than altering our path due to difficulties.
Each of these may be a factor in decision-making, but beware of allowing one of them to steer the ship. We can trust the Master of the sea to guide us. Remember that He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). Let’s pray and listen for His instruction. After all, He loves our children even more than we do.