educational routes for your children
Educational routes for your children are very important in their academic growth and development. It is here where you must choose wisely as a Christian parent.
Of course you want your child to have the best when it comes to his/her academics; yes, we all do indeed; however, this can be a daunting task to search out and plan for when there are various choices out there. Depending on the age/s of your child/children, you may be looking for:
- Childcare: This includes options of home daycare, daycare/childcare centers, babysitting/nanny services, Christian nursery schools, etc.
- Early childhood development centers--Kindergarten (Christian or secular/public)
- Elementary schools: These could be public, private, or Christian
- Middle schools: These could be public, private, or Christian
- High schools: These could be public, private, or Christian
- Homeschooling: Children taught in a secular or Christian setting
- Private tutoring: Children taught usually through a hired tutor, and done so through special circumstances
- Colleges/Universities/Technical/Trade schools: These can be secular or Christian institutions as well.
- Online/Internet Learning: Nowadays we have lessons taught through the computer more than ever and can be a great way to learn.
educational growth and development
As you attempt to find the correct academic path for your children, you will want to make sure they will be receiving the right kind of training in helping them grow up and develop into well-versed, highly-skilled and intelligent individuals, who will then be raised up to become faithful ambassadors for Christ.
The Bible responds to this, where it tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Finding a good daycare, school, or college/university for your child requires a bit of planning and mapping out at first. It is important to decide how you want your child's educational path to go. In so doing, ask yourself and/or your child a few questions such as:
- Do you want your child to attend a Christian school or institution? Is that highly important to you? Or, are you confident that he/she should attend a secular school?
- Do your finances indicate that it is a feasible and practical choice to attend a Christian daycare, school, or college? If not now, then are there ways to plan for it to be a possibility for your child's educational future?
- If your child will be attending a public/secular childcare center, school, or college, will he/she have to abide by certain school zoning laws within your residential area, or will he/she have options of attending in other school districts? This was the case for my daughter when her dad and I were making decisions on where she was to attend school. At the time we made the decision to move out of our current neighborhood in order for her to attend a better type of elementary school in a safer environment.
- Is homeschooling an option for your family? I realize there are certain states, cities, or regions that either frown on this type of educational route, or have squashed it out completely. Also this type of schooling can be expensive for a family unless they unite with other like-minded families to share the expenses of giving their children an in-home, educational experience. I know of families who went this route, and would truly not have had it any other way.
- Are you or your child able to take online classes through his/her school or institution? Here you may have to spend out a bit of money, possibly more than just attending class at a school or university; however, it may save you some time if you're pushed to finish your educational program/degree sooner.
educational institutions: christian vs. secular
Although there may be different choices in the particular layouts of schools, specializations in their academics, or certain location considerations within your region or area, there are truly only two types of educational choices you and/or your spouse will need to make for your children: either a Christian or secular school, or place of learning as their basic foundation.
Either choice you make can and will affect your child's life for up to 18 years of age, and longer! Educational learning requires careful planning and consideration, especially for the Christian family.
My father's parents gave him and his other four siblings a Christian education, and that was in the '50's and '60's; but they were very poor farmers who lived on very little just to be able to give their children a Christian education (from the early elementary to the first years of college). They went without many creature comforts in life, including many basic necessities for their family because of it. They were faithful to God in all things and knew He would provide for everything they needed, including their schooling.
My own parents were not able to afford to send us to Christian schools for our educational experience due to very poor finances. They did; however, give us a lot of Christian educational training at home. They made sure we had early morning devotions, studied the Bible, and learned to pray for what we needed, as well as for the sake of others. They taught us to memorize Scripture so that whenever we went out the door everyday for school, play, or church, we were armed with the strength and power of God's Word!
All my siblings and I attended public, secular schools; and, although we had some bad experiences and troubles along the way (fighting with other kids, mean and uncaring students bullying us, non-compliance with teachers/parents, bad attitudes towards others, even using profanities, etc), our parents sure helped us to get straightened out through tough love and discipline (even a good spanking or two when needed), strict family discussions, Bible study through meditation and memorization, and spending much time in prayer to God. This was, for us, getting a true homegrown Christian education! Later on, each one of us were blessed to attend Christian colleges and universities for further knowledge because we realized the need for continual study in helping us each in our jobs, careers, and in our daily walk with Christ.
Some advantages there are in attending Christian schools, colleges/universities are:
- Being assured that your child will receive Christian training that is foundational to his/her spiritual growth and development, making sure the gospel message is taught, learning and memorizing Scripture verses, and making good application of these important values and principles in your child's life.
- Participating in various opportunities that draw your child into his/her future purpose or line of work.
- Developing important skills and talents which will give your child the confidence to use them towards spreading the gospel message to others one day, whether it be through the avenues of home/foreign missions, child evangelism, working with the elderly, disabled, or what have you.
- Learning the concept of "being separate" from the world and of all its influence and evil devices. This may be taught, depending on the particular school code, creed, and beliefs. Make sure you really look into these before deciding whether or not your child should attend there. Usually schools hire teachers who speak on or teach their classes according to these standards, principles, and beliefs in which the school goes by.
Disadvantages you may find in attending Christian schools, colleges/universities are:
- Many of them range from somewhat expensive to "off the charts" expensive. You may see that the only way of sending your child there would be through friends/family loaning or donating money to help, getting a loan through your bank, credit union, or other financial institution, applying for certain scholarships/fellowships, mentoring programs, or just really praying hard and asking the Lord for His guidance, help, and provision. Personally, when it came time for our daughter to apply for college, my husband and I did not have the funds to send our daughter to a Christian college, as was our first choice for her. We prayed and trusted the Lord for His guidance and provision during this time, and as He would have it, He allowed for our daughter to receive a state-funded grant, along with other scholarships, and her college room, board, and tuition were all payed off in full with very little money from our pockets! The Lord saw fit to send her to a state college (secular of course), but He knew what He was doing and His plan for her life unfolded from there.
- Stricter dress codes, rules, and policies of various Christian schools. Here you can expect that there would be a certain code or style of dress, as well as rules of conduct within the classrooms and at school events. This is to prevent any questions raised on spiritual behaviors and modesty of dress, as well as addressing financial concerns for parents when going to buy school clothing and shoes for their kids.
- Potentially higher standards/policies for school entry or acceptance of the student. I know that some schools/universities require that the student write out a personal life essay to describe his/her salvation, future goals in life, and reasons for wanting to attend that particular school.
Advantages of attending a public/secular school, college/university are:
- Sometimes its easier to obtain funding for public schools because many of them are cheaper to attend. There's a possibly of bringing in to your child more grant or loan money, as well as scholarship and/or fellowship funding. This may depend on the parents' income, the state or region you reside in, whether or not your school/college is located locally or in another state, and/or your child's educational goals.
- Your child may receive a greater range of opportunities of study within his/her field or area of industry. Certain public high schools and colleges/universities may provide various programs or studies of interest that some Christian institutions may not have.
- Some rules of classroom behavior, policies, or dress codes may be more relaxed in the public school system than compared to those of Christian schools. Personally, I don't feel this is in any way an advantage for the parent or student. This is where it can get tricky, which make way for teachers, principles, parents, and students to argue and dispute over what looks good and what doesn't, or what is proper and what is not.
- It may be that it is just easier and more convenient for your children to attend a certain public/secular school that is within an acceptable walking or driving distance from home. Many of us make choices on what is feasible or convenient for us at that time. This might be an advantage for you and your family, or it may be the only educational route you have going for your kids right now.
Disadvantages of attending a public/secular school, college/university are:
- Although there may be various types of curriculum taught within the different school systems (public and/or private), your child will undoubtedly be exposed to controversial and downright sinful and deceptive teachings and rules of thought, which teach on subjects such as: evolution theories claiming to be "correct and true", the condoning of abortion, joys of feminism, praises and proclamations for the new kinds of families out there (those from families of homosexual parents, transgender parents, non-married parents who live in with each other, or who never plan to marry), and so forth. If your children are taught in the classroom that these are good and acceptable behaviors, I would encourage you to tackle and discuss these issues at home, giving your children clear Biblical instruction and guidance on these hard issues of our day.
- Location of some public/secular schools, colleges, or other institutions may reside in very poor areas, or inner cities that have high crime rates and therefore could bring up the question of safety for your child to attend there. Or, they may not have all the tools, lab supplies, books, etc. to offer students in order to gain a well-rounded learning experience, or insure your child that he/she will reach various educational goals.
- Throughout your child's educational experience, there is a higher possibility that he/she may be exposed to or engage in activities such as: racism, bullying, fighting, jealousies, drug and alcohol abuse, lying and cheating on exams, pre-marital sex, STD's, rapes/molestations, homosexuals, transgenders, pedophiles, and other forms of debauchery or sinful behaviors. I'm not saying nor implying that these issues do not happen in Christian schools. I know they do. However, I feel that some of these issues are more tolerated and even condoned at public/secular schools than at Christian schools. Examples of this are things like: passing out condoms or birth control pills to kids who are sexually (or not) active, being allowed to openly discuss and act on homosexual, transsexual, and pedophilia desires. Furthermore, here's a new one for you; some states are now allowing students in their schools to identify themselves in different terminology. According to an article given in USATODAY.com, entitled, When Asked Their Sex, Some Are Going With Option "X", the author, William Cummings, says that " States are starting to recognize a third gender: Non-binary. More than one-third of transgender people describe themselves as 'non-binary', which the National Center for Transgender defines as "people whose gender is not exclusively male or female, including those who identify with a gender other than male or female, as more than one gender, or as no gender, identifying as a combination of genders, or not identifying with either gender at all." This is ludicrous, sad, and pathetic all at the same time. It would seem that these people are not happy or satisfied with the certain sex or gender God created them to be, so they have decided to create a third gender. As if that were truly possible! Last time I looked, God designed and created only two sexes-two genders; male and female. Other than that, there is no other.
look to the lord for educational advice and guidance
As you can see, there is a lot to think about and consider when planning out the educational route for your children to go on.
The suggestions I would give here to you, and to every believer who is a parent, or to those thinking about becoming a parent one day; Go to the Lord in prayer first and foremost. Lay this request at His feet and ask Him for guidance in directing these educational paths for your children. He is the only One who knows what is best for them, and how they are to arrive there. Meditate on these words from Scripture in light of making these important decisions along the way:
- Psalms 119:105 says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
- Psalms 37:4-5 reminds us to, "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."
- Proverbs 3:5-8 also says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."
- Proverbs 16:9 tells us, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps."
- Psalms 27:14 says to, "Wait upon the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord."
- Romans 8:28 encourages us, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Lastly,
- Matthew 6:33 instructs us, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Let these sweet promises give you hope and peace in knowing that the Lord will take care of everything in His time, not our's. He knows the educational plans He has for your children, so you must trust that His love, guidance, and direction is true.
Whether your children attend public, private, or Christian schools, no worries. Just remember that of all the training and education they might receive, the most highly important thing of all, is that they know they are loved, protected, and provided for from our dear Saviour, who died on the cross and rose again, to give them eternal life with Him: And, then finally; to an expected end.
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