lions, tigers and school decisions - oh my.

Making decisions about how to educate your children is very difficult and very personal to everyone I know.    However, whatever you decide: public school, private school, or homeschool is your decision.

Let me just say a few things up front:

1. I don't have kids YET
2. I do plan to have children at some point in the future {I can hear my parents breathing a sigh of relief}
3. I don't intend to offend anyone through the contents of this post-only to encourage and challenge myself and any others that feel so inclined to read along as I process via the blogsphere

No kids... ok, so why the post, Ray?

This post is not a response to any one thing that I have heard, read or observed... it is simply to express some concern about what the topic is doing to the church and to encourage those who will make, have made, are getting ready to make these big decisions regarding how to educate their children.  This post is for myself - one day I will feel the pressure that so many others are feeling to choose one method or another and I know I'll need to look back on this to challenge myself.  

I'm concerned, friends.

I'm concerned that we have let this decision about the way each family does school dictate the way we view one another.
I'm concerned that we've taken this schooling thing and let satan divide the church into 'segments' or 'cliques' {dare I say...} that are for or against one school decision or another.
I'm concerned that we have made it our personal conviction that everyone else must agree with and decide that the same schooling method is right for their family.
I'm concerned that to some, the method of schooling chosen for your family will somehow impact you eternity.
I'm concerned we've lost sight of the gospel in light of the area of schooling.
I'm concerned we've let satan convince us that one decision is more sinful or less sinful than another.
I'm concerned that we have forgotten that God is still in ultimate control and is bigger than any governmental regulation/trend....

Internet, those seem like really harsh statements... I truly hope that none of them are true.

You know whats funny about all of this?   I know several families that do homeschool, families that do private school, and families that do public school and they all do it well.  They respect other families for the decisions they make regarding school and they know that their decision is the best one for their family.  I have so much respect for these families... and I hope that when we have kids and make our school choice that we'll be just as respectful of what's best for everyone else's family.  So I want to give a shout out to those families that do it well.  I appreciate your understanding and your respect for each of the other school options out there.

Ok... some of you are dying for me to share so here is some background on me:

- I went to public school from K-10th grade and from 10th-12th grade I went to a small christian school in Kansas City. 

Some things I hope Scott and I will consider when making the schooling decision for our future children:

-I am not an educator.  I have a BS in Psychology and an MBA with an HR concentration.  I will be very helpful to my kids when they take psychology and business classes.  I will be able to talk with them about a SWAT analysis and how to communicate with different types of personalities.  However I did not spend my college/masters years learning how to teach others well.

-Assuming we will be living in the same area that we live in currently - we live in one of the top school districts in the tri-state area.  They are doing something right in regards to educating local students.

-I want what is best for my children.  I want them to learn how to deal with others well- people they like, those they don't.  I want them to be challenged to think critically, problem solve without giving up.  I'm afraid that I would be a softy - I think I'd let them give up too quickly or help make excuses for them.  

-I pray even now that the gospel will be central in our household.  I pray that Scott and I will be able to reflect the focus and importance of the gospel to our children.  Regardless of what school method we choose - the home is the place they will have the opportunity to see this lived out the most.  I pray that the living out of the gospel will be central in our household.

-I will ask myself.... what is my motive behind the choice I've made regarding my kid's education?  Am I motivated by an anxiety about my student being influenced by those in the world around them at school - so I make a certain decision to avoid my child interacting with those in the world at all {and oh-by the way helping my own anxiety while we're at it}.  Sheltering for the sake of my anxiety or fear for my child is in no way God-honoring.   Or am I motivated solely by my schooling experience and make a rash decision that isn't the best for our family.  Praying now that the Lord will guide my motivation, that the spreading of the gospel will be my motivation, that the 'making much of' God will be my motivation.

-We are called to be salt and light in the world.  I can't think of a better way to begin preparing my children for what it is like in the world than to send them to school where they are surrounded by it most days for 9 months out of the year while they still live with me.  Or if that isn't the best decision for our family, how will I be intentional to put my kids in settings where they are surrounded by the world to be the salt and light?  I can certainly decide to 'protect' my children from the world's influences by making their school decision for them.  However, once they leave my roof - head to college... get a job in the real world... they are now in the world and are no longer under my influence.  How will I intentionally prepare my children for being in the world even after high school?  I can't help but be thankful for all of the glimpses and influences of the world I experienced while I lived with my parents... I was able to go home and talk about and ask questions about those things.  My mom and dad did a great job preparing me to discern well once I left my childhood home.  I'm so thankful for them.

I hope this will be helpful for me later in life... When we are actually faced with making a decision.  While I'm fairly certain what that decision will be-- I pray now that God would align my desires with His will for our family.

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