So you’re a Christian parent…who sends her kids to public school?
I know, it’s not an easy decision. There’s a lot of pressure out there to do the “right thing.”
Maybe public school wasn’t your first choice.
Maybe you’d love your kids to be in private school, but it’s too expensive.
Maybe you wanted to homeschool but it just didn’t work out.
Or maybe you’re in a good public school but you feel that pressure, the pressure that says, “How am I going to raise my kids to be Christians if they are in a public school classroom?”
I get it. I know that pressure.
My parents felt it too and they responded by homeschooling me for 12 years, along with my siblings. They were intentional.
I made a different schooling decision than my parents. But I’m intentional too.
And you can be too.
Here are Four Lessons I’ve learned in the last five years of being both a Christian Mom and Public School Parent.
1.Trust the Holy Spirit to do his job
When I was a teen, I was super concerned about the spiritual condition of my boyfriend’s heart. Yeah, he said he was a Christian, but was he doing his devotions every day? (I’m rolling my eyes so hard at my teenage self). In good Christian girlfriend fashion, I nagged him about it until one day, my best friend said, “What are you doing? Are YOU his Holy Spirit?”
We should pray for, teach, and remind our children each day of God’s love and truth, but ultimately, we need to trust that God has their best interest in mind and loves them even more than we do.
2. Sheltering vs. Shaping
So often we think that the World is a dark, scary place and fear that public school will corrupt our kids. We want to hide them away, shelter them where it is safe. But, the truth is, the sinful nature starts in the heart. Environment can have an influence (good or bad) on a child’s decisions, but a decision to make bad choices ultimately starts in the heart.
My kids are sinners (some days more than others) who need God’s grace, just like every other child in their school.
I can’t control the hearts or actions of all the other kids, but I can work on shaping the character of my own sons. We all want to protect our children, but we have to work inside the heart if we ultimately want to protect them from bad influences.
3. Take the lessons as they come
I was a bit stunned when my second grader came home from school one day and asked, “Mom, is there a bad “F-word?”
And I thought, Are we having this conversation already? In second grade?!
Was I ready for this?
Was now the right time?
But if not now, when?
Ultimately, it was a gift, an amazing, awkward, halting, hilarious gift of a conversation. It may have come earlier than I wanted it to, but his innocence meant that he wasn’t embarrassed to come ask me about something he had heard at school.
After all, as his parent, I am also his first teacher, and I am going to take the lessons as they come, however surprising, unexpected, and premature I think they may be.
Because, if not now, then when?
4. Be Intentional
While it may seem “easier” for Christian school or homeschool families to integrate the Bible, theology, or alternative historical or scientific narratives within the framework of their school day, public school families are just as able to provide this type of education to their children as well.
You just have to be intentional.
In our family, we integrate our faith through daily prayer, memorizing verses in AWANA, listening to Bible music CDs every night, weekly church services, and by talking—all the time—about living like Jesus, loving God, and loving others.
We took our church’s baptism class TWICE before my son was baptized in 2016, just to make sure he was ready for this big decision.
We talk about evolution AND creation.
We talk about kids at school who don’t have dads, about marriage, sex, about loving others, and God’s plan for families to be healthy and strong.
We talk about all kinds of things, intentionally.
No matter what educational system you choose for your family, true education of the heart and mind takes effort, as well as the mindset that often times, the best learning takes place outside of the classroom.
Are you a Christian public school parent?
It’s ok to raise your hand and admit it. We’re in this together, walking this path, making good choices for our kids, teaching them to love God and love others with intentionality.
God bless you, mama, both today and the rest of the school year.
What about you?
What educational choice did you make for your children? Why?
What fears do you have about public school (or private school or homeschool?)
How are you being intentional today to help your kids grow, learn, and thrive?
Share your story (or questions!) below!