Should I choose Public or Private Education for my child?
What are the benefits of Christian vs. Public Education?
How do I discern which is better for my child?
We Americans love options. Even if you consider yourself to live a simple life, you probably make a dozen decisions before you ever reach your desk at work in the morning—hit the snooze for five more minutes, or get your day started as soon as the alarm sounds; check your email on your smartphone before you jump in the shower, or wait until you get to the office; demand to get the last word on your child’s wardrobe decision, or let that battle go today; make a cup of coffee at home, or run through the drive-thru on your morning commute; spend time in the Word to get your day off right, or do it later when you are more awake?
You get the idea.
Clearly, some decisions carry a bit more weight such as what kind of school do I enroll my child? As Christ-followers, we’ve been duped into believing there IS a correct answer (whether it is homeschooling, Christian education or Public School). While there may be a correct answer for your family, choosing differently than some of your Christian friends doesn’t make anyone wrong… just different.
Let’s look at the differences to help you determine what’s best for your family:
In the homeschool environment, you have control of the curriculum and at what pace your child learns. You know your child’s learning style. You have the freedom to take field trips as often as you like. Something came up with your family? Just slide the instruction schedule for the day. Homeschooling is education as you like it.
Christian Private School
Sending your child to a Christian school gives your child the opportunity to experience a greater level of social interaction (cliques, not making the school basketball team, etc.) in a setting that integrates Christ as the primary world-view. Likely, your child will be educated in Bible history, evangelism and systematic theology while also being challenged in algebra, World History and biology. The ratios will be smaller and your child could have more one-on-one attention if you choose the private school option.
Public school will expose your child to people who believe differently than you do. Here, you will be able to teach them to be salt and light. Kids will have to understand what they believe to be able to defend it intelligently. Statistics show that private schools are not inherently better than public schools, when comparing scores of kids from similar ethnic and economic backgrounds. So, opportunities abound with extracurricular and academics alike. Riding the bus, Friday night football games, prom and graduating in a class of 500 will be memories and events that will shape them.
I’ve read that school represents about 16% of your child’s time. So, whatever you choose, just remember that the foundation your child stands upon is laid at home. Just as it’s not the church’s job to be the exclusive spiritual teacher, nor is it the school’s job to be the expert in what your child believes about the world. You shape your child’s educational experience and attitude just as much (if not more) than any institution.
Amber Davis leads Elementary Volunteer Teams at the Pellissippi Campus. Amber grew up in Knoxville, attended Bearden High School, and then went on to UT to study Journalism and Electronic Media. Her passion is helping others find a way to take part in what God is doing at Faith Promise Church.