The issue of education has caused a lot of dissension lately, especially in the secular world; but it has even entered our church families with regard to our covenant children. There are those who are staunch supporters of our Christian day schoolers, who disapprove of homeschooling. On the other hand, there are homeschool parents who accuse other Christian parents who send their children to a day school of their choice, of relinquishing their God-given duty to train their children. Neither of these views is accurate; yet both exist within our Reformed community.
There are many variables involved in the decisions of how and where to educate our children. But whatever our choice, our first duty is to raise our children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. Within this context we need to teach our children obedience, self-denial and the willingness to serve. Second, we as parents have the obligation to teach our children life skills, ultimately how to provide for themselves. Within this second goal, we seek to make the most of the talents and opportunities that are within the grasp of our children. However, in this skewed generation, that sub-goal has become the ultimate goal and in both circles, home and day school families faU into the trap of teaching the child to become self-centered and self-seeking, obliterating the former focus and vow we made at the baptism of these covenant children.
I think my point is a humbling one for all of us. Neither homeschool or dayschool families should have room to criticize the other. Rather, we should seek to serve each other and to pray for each other’s children. If one or the other happens to take an extreme view, we must be patient and forgiving rather then taking offense. Both approaches to choosing have enormous challenges. Parents of dayschoolers need to be constantly vigilant to offset that self-absorbing current that inevitably seeks to overtake this generation. Homeschoolers an also be swept up in that current in our small world where the pressure to do all and be all can be overwhelming. Both types of families need to constantly re-evaluate their own spiritual standards and example within the family because, ultimately, the family’s direction is generally the direction the children take. We can encourage and support one another practically by attending functions of both homeschoolers and dayschoolers; we can support the Christian education and if able, encourage another in the Lord, and outdo one another, not in accomplishments, but in service.
Connie Sikma and her husband Douglas are members of the Seventh Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Mrs. Sikma homeschools her four children, ages 12, 9, 7 and 5.