Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Children Can Thrive In Public Schools

Christian parents have a variety of options these days for educating their children. From homeschooling to private schools to charter schools to public schools, I am of the persuasion that there is no "one size fits all" approach to schooling options for Christian parents. We must each seek the Lord on what would be the best approach for our family and trust Him with how He leads us.

For our family, my wife and I have chosen to send our children to public schools. We have been pleased with their teachers, the education they have received and the environment in which they are able to receive their formal education. We know that for some families public schools may not be the best choice but for ours we believe it is.

Tim Challies has written a wonderful review of a new book, Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School by David & Kelli Pritchard with Dean Merrill. The purpose of the book is to help guide parents that have children in public schools on how to make their children's experience the best possible. Challies says this:
"What the Pritchards do is simple: they allow us into their home and family, telling us why they made the decision to public school and then showing us how they have gone about it. It’s not like they public school out of ignorance. To the contrary, they do what they do out of conviction that this is the way they can best raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. That word “fear” is important to them. Following Proverbs, they say that the fear of the Lord “is the foundation on which all learning, all knowledge-gathering, all schooling should be built.” To do that, they focus on instructing their children from their earliest days in loving the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength; on learning unconditional obedience to their parents; and on attaining self-control. With these values being instilled in their children, they are ready to guide them through their education.

The most valuable lesson of all, at least in my view, is that public schooling is a family affair. The decision to place children in the public education system is a decision to have the whole family involved in this system. They say, “We should not think in terms of sending our child off by himself to ‘the mission field.’ We go there together. This is a family expedition. When we show up each August to enroll our kids for another school year, we are enrolling our family into the life of this institution. This is a joint venture.” This means that mom and dad are involved not just with the children, but with the school and teachers and leaders.

A second valuable lesson is that is the lesson that all parents are homeschoolers. The Pritchards make it clear that public schooling still calls for the parents to teach their children and to be involved in all that they learn. No good parent can abdicate all of the children’s education to other people.

There are many other lessons, of course. Some of them are broad in application while others are more specific. What I appreciate, though, is that all have come out of the testing ground of their own family. Through it all the Pritchards show their unshakeable belief in the sovereignty of God, their trust in his promises and their heartfelt desire to honor him in all things."
Having our children involved in the public school system can be a wonderful opportunity for Christian parents and families. But so, too, can other schooling options. Raising children in today's society is no easy task but I believe we can trust God to care for children no matter where they receive their formal education.

To read the complete post by Tim Challies please click here.


1ofHis said...
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1ofHis said...

Wow! I just wrote a post on this topic. Parental involvement is the key to their child's academic success.