Sunday, May 4, 2008

Schooling Decisions

Wow. I CANNOT believe I am about to write about this! This is probably not the post of your dreams, but I would love it if my blogfriends could lend a listening ear... and their support!

My precious first-born is going to be 3 in July, and I am in the midst of praying about what direction we will choose for Caleb's schooling. All mommies go through this, I know! But now MY little one is about to go through it; so this is SO big to me.

First of all, schooling choices are very personal! I will tell you what I think God has been telling me... but that is ALL it is: What God has been telling ME! Maybe he is talking to you about some of the same stuff. I would love to know!

OK. Enough disclaimer.
I have been looking for a preschool for Caleb. I would love 2-day, because he is a young 3 (birthday in July), and frankly, I don't think he needs more than that. That being said: I am still considering the option of not enrolling him at all for next year, and waiting until he is 4. However, right now I am leaning toward enrolling him in the fall (based on Caleb's individual personality and needs, as mommy and daddy see them).

Everyone looks for different things when it comes to schooling. These are the things that are most important to me and Matt, at the preschool level (and beyond):

1. An Intentional Christian Education
2. Warm, loving teachers
3. A priority on character development
4. Structure

As weird as it sounds, I am not nearly as worried about skills and education. Caleb will be 3! He is at a tender age where he mostly needs to be loved and shepherded... mostly by his mommy and daddy, but also by other loving adults. He is being taught all the abc-123 stuff here at home, and I rest easy in that area.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, I have not spoken to many preschool directors who share my emphasis. So........ I am limited. I will be visiting some schools this week, and I will let you know how it goes.

I might as well share that Matt and I are considering homeschooling or Christian education for our kids. This will effect our preschool decisions for a variety of reasons (including funds). Recently, God has led me to some information that has pointed us clearly in this direction (we were leaning that way, but now feel more conviction). I would love to share some of the quotes that impacted me so strongly; as God spoke through each of them. If these quotes cause you to Thirst, you can find more in The Bible (of course), and on this site. Remember, I already gave my disclaimer... but if God convicts you at all, who am I to hush Him up!?!:

  • “The school system that ignores God teaches its pupils to ignore God,” writes Gordon Clark. “This is not neutrality. It is the worst form of antagonism, for it judges God to be unimportant and irrelevant in human affairs. This is atheism.”
  • Here’s the problem. Even in schools that try their level best to achieve academic objectivity -- and there are precious few of them -- the goal is never reached, because neutral education is impossible.
  • There are basically two kingdoms: a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It seems strange to have those who walk in darkness educate children of light. It doesn't fit.
  • "I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt...I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth."
    Martin Luther
  • "Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
  • "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
  • Only an education that has the liberty to address the whole child -- social, intellectual, emotional, physical AND spiritual -- reaches the possibility of excellence.
  • And, regarding cost: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
    (Matthew 13:45-46)

Wow. God is really pressing this one on my heart! I long to prepare my children for the work that God has for them. AND I promise to train up my children in the way they should go.

Now, in the homeschooling vs. Christian ed. question: that is a biggie!!! In the end, I know I will have to lean on God and His peace to make this decision, as there are major pluses and minuses with both. I do not take any of the pluses or minuses lightly. Actually, I don't even know if I want to go there, since this is such a personal choice and I want to be directed by God, not peer pressure. Maybe I will let you in on what I struggle with... but that is a huge post unto itself.

For now, I guess I need encouragement to stay the course and to continue seeking God's will, and BIBLICAL exhortation and friendly support. If you think God can use you in any of these ways, please add a comment!! I will be waiting! Thanks to my God-seeking friends!

4 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Angel said...

Hey there!!! I KNOW how hard it is to make these decisions. I struggled so much with the right thing to do for both our girls.

We send Zoe to a Christian University Model School- It's a cross between private, homeschool and college. It's 1/2 the cost of most private schools. She is in class 2 days a week and home 3 doing her busy work. WE LOVE IT! I don't know if you have one in your area but you can e-mail me if you want more info. angel weir at gmail dot com :0)

Kaitlyn and Kaiya will be doing preschool home school style and go to the same school as Zoe when they are older. Anyway... HUGS! I wish you all the best. Angel

Rachel said...

That is such an important decision. One that doesn't come easy...but God will guide you to make the decision that is best for your precious boys. We have such a tough job as parents to protect our children from the evil that is so prevalent in society today. If we don't protect them, who will? Of course my passion is homeschooling for now, but that is obviously not the only option. There are fabulous Christian schools out there. I will be praying you have peace about whatever decision God leads you to make.

Tessa said...

Hi Darlene,

First of all, I can recommend a great preschool in our area if you are interested ... Jonah went there for 2 years. I did not want to him to go when he was 3 either, but it definitely was something he was craving. Since he is an only child, he wanted the social interaction so much! I was constantly being asked to have friends over or go somewhere - so a loving Christian preschool was a perfect opportunity for him. I will never regret it - he blossomed in those 2 years ... became much more social, and outgoing - more comfortable in his own skin. He also seemed to "get" discipline - when I was really struggling with it before.

Anyway, I believe strongly that God places different aspects about our children on our heart for a reason. I call it our "Mama Button"! Jonah goes to public school and I am completely at peace about it. I even read your quotes and I have not been convicted! So, I know that we have made the right decision because I know how the Holy Spirit will work on me if we didn't.

I can always talk to more about this - I also believe that you have to make a decision based on what you feel is best for your child. I know that Jonah has a strong faith and loves God with all of his heart, soul, and mind. He will tell you in a instant that God is his favorite "person" and that he can't wait to get to heaven!

I am praying that God will lead you down the right path with your little guy's education and you will be at complete peace about it!

Billie said...

well, you know my confusion over this subject. i will say though that i only plan on sending my kids to preschool for one year...the whole purpose for me is to get them (and me) adjusted for the real school thing...schedule wise and stuff.

so, since dakota didn't start school until he was 6 he didn't go to preschool until he was 5. sierra is different because of the liu thing. christian will go when he is 4 1/2 since he will be almost 5 1/2 when he starts school.

i don't think it's necessary to start them when they are 3 or for them to go for 2 years unless YOU want them to.

i love the option that angel has, but alas we do not have such options here.

i have been at peace with dakota is public so we will see.

i know tessa (as she shared) feels strongly in the public school. i do believe it depends on your child. i don't think that dakota could or would profess a faith or a love for the lord it our parenting, his personality, his heart or his lack of christian education? don't know...but i don't feel it's time to move onto anything else yet.

ok...i need to stop rambling!