You name it—educationally—our family has experienced it in some way.
My husband and I grew up attending public school.
I went to a Christian college; he didn’t.
I’ve taught homeschoolers, part-timers, public schoolers, and Christian school kids.
Our boys went to the Christian school where I teach, but participated in activities with kids from home school and public school.
What have I learned?
Parenting is full of decisions that rest between your family and God. What the culture says is irrelevant.
Maybe your culture says, “All my kids go to ____________” (insert a schooling choice).
Is that what we’re called to?
We’re called to follow God’s leading in our lives, not to follow culture blindly like sheep. Look at each of your sons, individually. See them separately from one another and separately from your friends’ children.
We must be open to God’s leading about our boys’ needs. Are you seeing stress connected to your current educational situation? Is it healthy stress—just the product of growing up and learning that your son needs to face? Or is it unhealthy and unproductive stress?
A good friend of mine has three children who all have different needs, different strengths, and different weaknesses. Although the culture around them supports attending the school her husband graduated from and the pressure is great, she says, “They may all graduate from different schools. And that’s just fine.”
Pray, asking the Lord to open your eyes to your sons’ needs and to give you the flexibility to respond.
Schooling decisions aren’t forever.
Things change; kids change. Yes, you may have entered homeschooling thinking it was for your family, but the Lord may be calling you elsewhere. Be open; be flexible. Go where God leads.
If God is prompting you to consider another type of schooling, take stock of what’s out there. Options abound! From traditional public and private school to charter school to homeschooling and virtual schooling, there’s a menu of choices. And don’t be afraid to consider a blended approach. Some private schools will allow your child to enroll part-time; homeschooling co-ops are another idea if you don’t want to go it alone.
Pray, asking God to lead you to the right people and situations your family needs.
Don’t Get Caught in Expectations.
No matter what schooling your son is involved in, you may have expectations you’re not seeing fulfilled. Maybe he’s not Ivy League or Major League material—let go of those expectations! Do all you can, then accept the best your son can give. Search for other areas of success. Find his loves and talents and capitalize on those, always reinforcing the value of a good work ethic. In all things, he can “…work at it with all [his] heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” (Col. 3:23).
Pray for the ability to see your son as God created him and the wisdom to guide him to what God has in store.
Help End the Mommy Wars
It’s hard enough being a Mom—we don’t need to be fighting each other. You may be sold on your brand of schooling, but please understand it may not be for everyone. God uses all kinds of situations for good in our lives, even when we don’t expect it. Have confidence in what God has called you to do with your family and stay open to His leading. Befriend the moms around you; we’re in this boy-raising thing together, and we need each other.
Pray for understanding for other moms, especially the moms you may not see eye-to-eye with. Ask God to give you a glimpse inside their hearts and to soften yours.
This decision isn’t about doing schooling our way – it’s about schooling our sons God’s way. Open your heart and mind to what He’s saying to you about your sons and their education.
Looking for more resources about your boys and school choice?
The Moment I Knew My Son Was Okay… – MOB Writer Amber Lia’s personal anecdote about her family’s educational journey
Keeping First Things First by Meg Meeker, M.D. – a post about school and beyond with your boys
The Me I Want to Be (Student Version): Becoming God’s Best Version of You by John Ortlund – a book to help your preteen and teen boys know who they are in Christ
Laura Lee Groves is the mother of four sons and the author of I’m Outnumbered! One Mom’s Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys, in addition to Pearl, a novel about international adoption.