Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Educating Our Children – Where and By Whom?

byFaith's current debate/discussion: In the March/April 2006 issue of byFaith there will be a discussion on the education of our children. The article will be based largely on an interview/discussion with three experts. One believes that public schools are the best educational choice for Christian families. One is an advocate of home schools. And the other believes the most responsible choice is Christian schools.

As Reformed Presbyterians, as the parents of covenant children, as those who are to be in the world but not of it—where do you believe our children should go to school? And how should we relate to others who have come to a different conviction? In this discussion, we are asking for comments before the article is published. To submit your comments, click here.


Anonymous Dori said...

These type of discussions make me feel sad. They can be divisive & make us defensive about our own schooling choices. It is ridiculous to believe there is a "one size fits all" schooling choice for every family, Christian or not...or even worse the belief that if you were a "real" Christian you would school your children a particular way. The choices my husband & I make for OUR children may not be the best choices for YOUR children. God made us individuals not clones. We've chosen each method of schooling for our children over the years...public, private & homeschooling. They were the right choices for us at the time because it was where the Lord had us.

10:35 PM  
Blogger M Clark said...

Well said. We did all three ourselves.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We felt, very strongly, that as Christians, we should raise our children in a public school.We did not want to shelter them from the world, but, teach them how to be salt and light in the world.

We had to keep close communication with our childen, and request prayer and support from our church family.

We know that God used our children in the public schools. I am amazed and grateful to Him for his hand in our children's lives and the lives of others who knew them.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A child's education is such a formative experience, both for parents and the child. Some children seem to fit easily into the traditional classroom; others are "different," and these require extra thought, research, and prayer to find the best situation for them.
Each school choice has its strong and weak points, though I have found homeschoolers (and I was one for 6 years) generally less willing to admit the drawbacks--it is hard to critique one's own work objectively, especially when so much effort is given to make it succeed.
Having used all three types of schooling for our son,I believe the Lord directed us in each situation as we prayed and evaluated where He wanted us to be. This foundation of prayer helped us through the difficult times that arose along the way.
Our last experience was in the public school system, and although there were disappointments with the academic climate at times, our son is firm in his belief that those years prepared him for the transition to college, as he began to stand for truth amid the climate of ungodliness he encountered.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous susan said...

I have appreciated all of the comments that have been made, but I must confess that I am disappointed at the decided lack of Scriptural basis informing the discussion. The point isn't whether or not our children survived well the schooling we decided to give them; the point is, what do the Scriptures say is our covenantal responsibility when it comes to education.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The scriptures say, " Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

It does not say by what means, home school, Christian, or public. But, it does state frequntly that a parent's role is to instruct the child.

We all come from different backgrounds, and so, we all will have differint views on how education should be accomplished. But, it is clear that our primary role is to be fully responsible for our chidren's spiritual insrtuction.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

Good choice of Scripture, although certainly not the only one that speaks to this topic. Also, you seem to be making too much of a sacred/secular distinction, a distinction that I don't think we want to make post-

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We've heard "salt and light" from one person, "train up a child in the way he should go" from another... please share the scripture you're referring to.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Susan said...

One of the Scripture passages I'm thinking of is II Cor. 10:5, and I'm wondering how in an unbelieving environment with teachers who are either unbelievers or not allowed to speak about the one true God, a child can learn to "cast[ing] down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bring[ing] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Do we need to teach our children from a perspective that is fully informed by the Scriptures and taught to the glory of God? Do our children need to be taught all subjects in this way, or only the Bible and Catechisms? Since the "earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof," (Psalm 24:1)do we do a disservice to our children when we do not teach them about God's world from a perspective that is fully informed by the Holy Scriptures?

But I guess I must also admit that I don't think a grab bag of Scripture quotations is the way to go in trying to come to grips with the issue of educating our children. I think what is involved is a whole theology, as I mentioned earlier, having to do with parental and covenantal responsibility. I would recommend reading Machen and VanTil on education. I also think Kuyper would be helpful because one of the big issues is, under which sphere does the education of our children fall, the church, the state, or the family.

I am not the answer man, ah, I guess I should say answer woman :), I'm just trying to facilitate deeper discussion and deeper thought about this very important topic.

Best regards.

6:10 PM  

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