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Where should your child go to school?

By Billie Davis

When their daughter was approaching school age, Jeff and Lori Larson decided to keep her with them in homeschooling. They wanted to protect her from popular, worldly values and guide her in their own Christian lifestyle. They wanted her to receive basic knowledge in reading, writing, math and history, without "postmodern" ideas related to social issues.

The Larsons were members of a thriving church with active ministries for children. Both Jeff and Lori had college degrees. Each was employed, but Jeff’s income was sufficient to support the family. So Lori suspended her career, and they both devoted themselves to the many tasks of preparation. They talked with experienced homeschoolers; consulted the library and the Internet for information on homeschooling legislation, state and local requirements, and available resources; registered in compliance with local regulations; selected materials from Christian publishers; and transformed their child’s room into a comfortable, attractive place in which to teach and learn. "It was worth the effort," they say. "Homeschooling was the right choice for us."

Sam and Doris Adams, a young couple with two elementary-age children, had moved to the city to take advantage of job opportunities. One of their new neighbors urged them to visit his church. In the friendly atmosphere of the evangelical service they began to understand that they and their children had spiritual needs. They felt conviction, accepted Jesus, and soon became members of the church.

The pastor suggested they visit the church-sponsored Christian academy and think about enrolling their children. They were impressed with the school. They saw it as an opportunity to give the children Christian teaching and a suitable peer group, along with good basic schooling. Tuition costs were no problem for them. "Christian schools really support young families," the Adamses say. "We made the right choice."

The Way They Learn
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
#037094

Should I Homeschool?
Elizabeth & Dan Hamilton
#036652

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling
Debra Bell
#037066

To order, click here and look for the WANT MORE? link or call 1 800 641 4310

David and Fern Miller were both from Christian families, and were mature Christians when their first son was born. He and three siblings after him were reared in the church. Their first school was Sunday school. Among their first words was a prayer. Before the children were of school age, the Millers visited the local public school open house. They met some teachers and learned all they could about the school’s academic program and extracurricular activities. As each child entered the school, both mother and father showed interest and talked with the children about their school experiences. Today the four Miller kids are participants and leaders in school music and athletic activities. They invite school friends to church events. As a result of their children’s involvement, the Millers have more opportunities to be of influence in the community. "I’m glad we kept them in public school," David explains, "They have been given excellent help in developing their skills and interests. And they have learned how to face challenges to their beliefs and values."

Each family made the right decision.

"Train a child" (Proverbs 22:6, NIV). In three syllables the writer of Proverbs proclaims an essential responsibility of parenthood. Many biblical passages make it clear that the home is the first "school" and parents are the first teachers. God called leaders to form an earthly society. Under divine guidance these leaders gave God’s people specific instructions that included the admonition to teach it to their children. Every symbol and tradition in the Old Testament has two purposes: to help people know and worship God, and to perpetuate to the next generation an understanding of God’s plan.

Every human society since the beginning of history has had concern for the training of its children. People always organize to form communities and nations, and social organization always includes some reference to child-rearing principles and methods. As populations have grown and moved throughout the earth, ideas about education have changed and multiplied. School systems that started in homes became attached to various religious and political systems. Today we have an incredible array of options. There are public schools, private schools, church-related schools, charter schools, and various types of Internet and distance-education programs.

"School choice" has become a political slogan. But for Christian parents it is much more than that. School choice is a matter for prayer, and for some of the most serious thinking a parent will ever do. Many parents are trying to decide among the three most common choices: homeschool, Christian school or public school. As we see from the examples, each choice may be correct in some situations. Decisions must include consideration of children’s needs and characteristics, parents’ values and characteristics, and the availability of reliable information and resources.

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