What About School in 2020-21?
We are about halfway through our summer school break, which means school is starting soon. Before COVID, most of us didn’t think much about our school decisions. We did what we had always done before. But now, so many families are having to make this difficult and potentially life-changing decision quickly. There have been so many new decisions on how we “do life” at this point, it feels crazy and maybe even a little overwhelming that we have to think about our choice for our kids’ education. But this is an important one.
The education of your kids is an important decision worth thinking through and making well. Where will your kids learn? What will your kids learn? How will your kids learn? Who will be the one initiating that learning and guiding their moral compass? These are all choices families are making right now. To help, I’d like to offer some points of consideration as you are making these important decisions.
1. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (ESV, emphasis added).
For those of you who know me, you knew I was going to start here. Whether you choose to send your kids to school, homeschool, do online school, or whatever else you may think of, you are to teach your kids to love the Lord with all their hearts. You are to talk about God with them all the time. In verse 8 it says that it is to be a “frontlet,” which is a decorative band worn on a forehead. In other words, they should see and hear about loving God all the time because it’s literally on their forehead. Teach it to them. It’s the most important thing to help them learn during a regular school year or a pandemic school year.
2. You are the best advocate for your child. As parents, you know your child best. You understand your child best. You know what your family needs. It’s time to put Deuteronomy 31:6 into practice, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
This means doing the right thing for your children might not be the easy thing. But it will be what best allows them to mature into the Christ-follower and learner we hope they become.
3. Be prayerful about this decision. Cling to 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” It’s good to talk to our family, friends, and others who are making this same decision, but put your trust and faith in the God who made you in his image. He wants to help you make this decision. Ask God to reveal the direction you should take and then move in that way.
4. Please remember that your school system and teachers are doing education in a pandemic for the first time. This is as new to them as it is to you. The same school, administrator, or teacher you loved and adored last year, is the same one who is now trying to make the best decision possible. They are figuring all of this out one day at a time and doing their best to help our kids learn and keep them protected. Let’s show them grace and encouragement during this time. Let’s fill their inbox with supportive and positive messages. Let them know that you are praying for them as they strive to continue educating the kids in our community.
5. Parents are actually being given a choice…that’s good news. No one is telling you what to do; you are given options. You can choose to keep your kids home and homeschool, keep your kids home and do online school, or send your kids to the actual school building. All these options can work. Make the best choice for the glory of God and the good of your family.
6. Everyone’s circumstances are a little different. Let’s be kind with the choices other people make for their kids.
7. Lastly, once you have made your decision, sit down together and talk it through with your kids. Help them see why you have chosen to educate them this way right now. Pray together about it and show them that you are following the plan God has revealed to you.
These times are uncertain, ever changing, exhausting, and sometimes just plain sad and scary. But the truth that our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever still stands. The same God who led the Israelites through the wilderness is the same God we serve. He has a purpose and a plan. Let’s follow him moment by moment, step by step, day by day, school year after school year.
I am available to talk to anyone who is struggling with this decision. I have been there. The circumstances surrounding the decision were different, but I still had to make the same decision of where my kids would do school the next year. I stand today to tell you that God cares about this decision and promises to—and wants to—guide you through it.
Praying for the families at Bethel, in our community, and across the country.