If you got past the title and you’re still reading, you’re probably either internally fuming or cheering.
It’s true. It would take an act of God for me to send my kids to public school.
But I don’t say those words as someone who chalks up modern-day “acts of God” as an impossibility. I say them as one who very much believes that God is alive and working—in numerous ways I can see and in countless ways I can’t even imagine.
I say those words as one who has a personal relationship with Him, and who trusts Him to direct my paths in very real ways with very real intentions and very real ramifications.
The fact is, it would take an act of God for my kids to attend public school.
Or private school.
Or Christian school.
My kids happen to be homeschooled, but it took an act of God to get us there, and it takes ongoing acts of God to keep us there.
Your reasons matter
You see, when it comes to the decisions Christian parents must make—especially those concerning something so significant as our children’s education—it’s infinitely important to consider how we get there.
Because our reasons matter.
They matter a whole lot more than we think, because our reasons reveal to our kids and to all the watching world where our trust lies.
“We can’t afford Christian or private school” conveys the message that God is not trustworthy.
Regarding homeschooling, “I’m not patient enough, organized enough, or motivated enough” and on the flip side, “My kids aren’t compliant enough” convey the message that God is not trustworthy.
“I’m afraid of what my kids might be taught in a public school” conveys the message that God is not trustworthy.
We Christ-followers have claimed to trust God with our eternity, but our faith is proven and our testimony is secured when we demonstrate our faith in Him through little and not-so-little choices we make every single day.
Do we really believe that without faith, it is impossible to please Him? (Hebrews 11:6)
Do we really live by faith, and not by sight? (2 Corinthians 5:7)
If so, the only question at hand for Christ-followers considering their children’s education ought to be, “What does God want?”
How to choose
How do we answer the question, “What does God want?” when it comes to our kids’ education? Volumes could be written on the subject, but here are a few points to get started:
1. Endure in prayer.
This is the first step, but it should really accompany every step. Make this a serious matter of prayer, and ask others to pray with you and for you.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. ” Proverbs 3:6
It’s been my proven experience that when I ask God to guide me, He never fails to do so. He does it by giving peace or unrest. By opening doors and closing them. By bringing across my path conversations and information that either confirm or contradict.
When you ask Him with a genuine heart that just wants what He wants, He will never, ever fail to show you what that looks like.
2. Excavate the Bible.
Dig deep into God’s Word, taking time to put aside your assumptions and your excuses, finding out what God has to say about questions like these:
What does God say about parenting?
What admonitions does He give to parents?
What does He say about children?
What is His goal for godly families?
What is a Christ-follower’s role in the world?
What does He say about His provision?
3. Examine the options.
With the solid biblical framework you established above, think about how your family can best accomplish God’s goals. With His plan in mind, consider advantages and disadvantages of each type of schooling.
A word of warning here: when we list pros and cons, it’s very tempting to incorporate our circumstances, listing things like finances and schedules. Resist the urge to do that just yet. This step should solely be devoted to how each type of schooling can help us fulfill God’s design for families.
By this point, you will likely begin to sense God’s leading toward a particular type of schooling.
4. Evaluate the obstacles.
Now is the time to look at things like budgets, temperaments, schedules, and any other circumstantial hindrance related to the school toward which God is leading you.
God doesn’t ask us to step out in blind faith. In fact, Abraham’s example (Romans 4:18-22) reveals that when God promised to make him a “father of many nations,” he couldn’t help but look good and hard at his old, shriveled, good-as-dead body and his wife’s elderly, barren womb.
God knows you want to look at the obstacles, and that you almost can’t even help it. So go ahead. You might even consider listing them.
5. Esteem God greater.
Abraham contemplated his circumstances, but “no unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God.” Rather, “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.”
I love the way God grants us permission to look at the obstacles, and the way He then invites us to remember all the reasons why He is bigger and stronger and able to overcome every last one of them.
At this point, continue in prayer, confessing to God where you believe He is leading, and then tell Him about the obstacles you see. Acknowledge that He is greater than any obstacle, and let Him know that you will follow wherever He leads. Tell Him you will keep taking the next logical step where you believe He is leading, trusting Him to provide and overcome any circumstance that interferes, or to redirect your path if you’re heading in the wrong direction.
6. Exercise faith.
Take the first step! Whatever that looks like for whatever option God leads you toward, take the first step. Watch and pray for how He is confirming your path or altering it.
. . . .
Every decision we make on behalf of our children should require an act of God. Will you join me in seeking the Lord’s face about His desires for our families, and then by faith following where He leads?
I agree, it would take on act from God for our family as well. I went to public school on and off as a child and even back then it wasn’t a good place. I can’t even imagine how much worse it is now.
Hi, Ana, and thanks so much for sharing your perspective. I’m thankful for a God who has an opinion about these things, and for His desire to direct our paths. May we be faithful to follow Him!
You are so very gentle with controversial topics, and I really appreciate that about you, friend! 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us over at Grace and Truth! 😉
Thanks so much for stopping by, Jen, and for your kind words. While schooling choices might be controversial, we would do well to put our opinions aside and just follow the Lord’s leading, wouldn’t we? I appreciate your real-life example of this kind of faith.
I really loved this!!! Thank you. I will be sharing. I would love for you to link up at 100 Happy Days!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and for sharing, Kate! I’ll be sure check out your linkup. 🙂
My kids have done primarily private Catholic school but at now in public school for many reasons. I have had amazing experiences in both types of school and we continue tight relationships with our church and private school families.
Currently our three kids are at three different schools having three great years. (Elementary, intermediate, & Jr high) my oldest wears Christian clothing to school and is part of a Christian club at school called FROGS lead by faculty…and he’s popular because he’s kind and smart. They all say the pledge daily WITH God in it. They are free to pray at the pole. My kids are amazing examples of Christ and I feel that are exactly where he had called them to be.
This all said. ..we are in one of the top districts in the country and I recognize that not all experiences are like this. I do feel fortunate that our first 9 years (including preschool) of schooling were spent in private school. I would have loved to homeschool. I’m a hover mother by nature so I believe that gracing me with two extremely intelligent kiddos & one with special ed needs was God’s way of making me let go a little and trust in him.
Hi, Carrie, and welcome! I’m so glad to hear that your children are having a positive experience in school. May God grant His people discernment to know His personal will for each of us and our families, and a zealous obedience to carry it out. Thank you for reading, and for sharing from your experience!
Thank you so much for this! We homeschooled last year (4 kids with 1 on the way) and I love homeschooling. But God led us to a great public school this year! I’m quite nervous, but have an underlying sense of peace because I know it is the right thing.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Crystal! I hope this school year is going well for you and your family.
Or maybe the act of God is to reduce your finances to a point where private school is no longer an option, so saying “We can’t afford it.” is absolutely true.
I see what you are saying. Yet we stopped sending our kids to private school because we realized they could get the same Christian school experience for a fraction of the cost at home. The percentage of the cost of private school in our income had increased and we no longer thought it was a wise choice. We knew we could be using that money for serving others and giving back. When people ask, though, I often just give them the short version: Why did you pull your kids from that great private school? Well, we just couldn’t afford it any longer.
It’s true. We couldn’t afford to put my comfort at not having to teach and their ability to go to an expensive school over the immediate needs we saw around us. Could we have struggled along and made it work with God’s provisions while also donating what we do? Maybe. Was it the wisest use of the money God has entrusted us with? No.
I don’t think that is saying God is untrustworthy. I think that is being extremely honest about where our priorities lie. We prioritize charitable giving and tithing over the private school experience, yet we want our kids to have a Christian education. So, we homeschool.
I would just be careful assuming where a person heart is at or how much they are following God’s leading by hearing a concise answer to the “Why do you honeschool?” question. ☺ There are a hundred reasons why someone might simplify the answer to those asking.
Hi, Jen! It sounds as though you are earnestly seeking and following the Lord’s leading, and I praise the Lord for His faithfulness to your family. Thanks for sharing from your experience!