Should I choose Public or Private Education for my child?

 

Computer keyboard with key Learn, internet education concept

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:

Homeschool
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
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.

6 Things You Can Do to Raise a Godly Daughter

Happy mom and daughter

We desire our daughter love and know God. We desire that God use her in an awesome way. We want to be the Godly parents we should be.

How do I raise a Godly woman?

How do I recognize when my child is ready to take the next step in their faith?

How do I spiritually train my child?

Each of these questions come from parents of varying backgrounds and walks of life. Yet all speak of the same desire to train up our kids to know their Heavenly Father. The task of doing this seems so simple and yet so challenging.

Aimee Fair is a mom of three and leads preschool ministry at our Blount Campus. Her gift lies in her ability to patiently draw out of others what they didn’t know was there.  I’m personally blessed by Aimee’s words and guidance as she responds to the questions above. Hear what Aimee has to say…

Our girls are constantly being told by the World how they should look, act, and speak…What can we do as Christian parents of girls to equip them as they interact with these contradicting ideas?

We can talk…

We can talk about Jesus and how He is working in our lives.

How He helps us daily.

How He is with us always.

How we can talk to Him anytime.

How we can trust Him no matter what.

How He can help us make the wise choice.

And how He’s a friend that will never leave me.

We can listen…

We can be truly present and engaged as she expresses her thoughts.

Girls have words and they need to get them out. And I want to be the one she processes the things of life with so I can guide her to the Godly response.

We can surround her…

Surround her with Godly influences that will speak Truth into her life.

Small Group Leaders

Small Group members

Adult friends that you respect

When I asked my daughter how parents can help their girls grow spiritually, this was the first thing on her list…

“Get your girl connected with her Small Group Leader, whether it be in fpKIDS on Sunday mornings (consistently going the same hour helps build connections) or on Wednesday nights in Students…My Small Group Leaders are the best! I can go to them about anything!”

Then, as a parent, you get to know her small group leader too! Introduce yourself! Switch phone numbers so you can work as a team to grow this girl up in the Lord!

Surround her with God’s Word by writing it on her mirror…put a note on her pillow…speak it over her…cover the walls of your home with reminders of His love for us!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

You are precious.

You are beautiful inside and out.

You are a child of God.

You were chosen by Him.

Your strength only comes from God.

God has a plan for you!

We can teach her Thankfulness…

A thankful heart truly is a happy heart. Thankfulness gets the focus off of me and onto God. Because it’s not about me!

We can give her resources…

Some of our family favorites are…
A Girl After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Jesus Calling (available in versions for preschoolers, kids, and teens!)
Girl Talk by Nicole O’Dell
-Listening to the dramatized version of the New Testament as she goes to sleep
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

We can be an example…

Above all, we can be examples in her life of what spiritually walking with the Lord looks like when we live it out day by day, moment by moment.  That will speak louder than our words ever will.

Raising Boys: Good guys vs. Bad guys

Portrait Of Two Young BoysRaising boys is filled with challenges. Personally I’ve got two. Both are very different in personality. Yet in some ways they are very similar.  The following question from our Marriage and Parent Summit hits home for me. And I deeply value the response.

My 2 year old is into good guys vs bad guys earlier than I would like. I want him to like stories without conflict like Curious George.

We live in a society riddled with violence. Movies, television and video games continue to numb our society to the effects of death. The permanency of death is removed with a reset button. As a result, we have children growing up with a lack of regard for life.

Despite our efforts to protect our young men from the hostility in the world around us, we are not able to change how they are created. If you have a boy or have been around boys, as soon as they can pick up a stick, it quickly becomes a gun or sword. “Bang Bang” is not something they have to be taught. They are created in the image of their heavenly Father and he is a warrior! (Exodus 15:3)

The man after God’s own heart, David, was a warrior. He loved God and had a relationship with him like no other. He fought the bad guys, he defended Israel, he stood firm in battle. And God loved him for it.

There is obviously an unhealthy focus on violence, and we see the effects of that in our world. The answer is not trying to change how your son was created.

Rather, we need to teach our sons about honor and integrity.

We need to teach our sons to value life.

To always protect and defend the weak.

Our children quickly learn that there are good guys and bad guys. Those two groups of people will exist until Jesus returns. We have a responsibility to teach them that their battle is not with flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12), but we can’t remove their desire to fight the battle!

This results in weak men who don’t know their identity in Christ.

I want my boys to grow up to be men who fiercely love God, love their families and are willing to fight the battles they face in life.

I want them to know they were created to be warriors for the kingdom. If the natural manifestation of that is running around the yard killing the bad guys, I’m okay with that.

Katie Linkous is the mother of 2 boys and 2 girls. Her experiences as a mom have drawn her deeper into God’s word as a source of wisdom and direction for her family. Katie serves as a volunteer leader on the fpKIDS team at the Pellissippi Campus at Faith Promise.  She and her husband, Clay, have been part of the Faith Promise family for two years.

Question from the Parenting Trenches: “How do I deal with my child’s anger?”

Young girl indoors cryingOur emotions are an amazing quality that God invested in each one of us. Some people’s emotions ride a little closer to the surface than others… but believe it or not, we all have them. Our kids have them too.  You don’t have to be a scholar to know that.

Here’s a great question from a parent that I believe is common to many.

Our 4 year old has recently been very angry. What are some ways to help him with this?

Hope Hall is our fpKIDS Elementary Coordinator at the Blount Campus. As a mother of 5, she is well versed in the emotions of kids and how to help them work through them.  Here is what Hope had to share…

I would start with prayer. I am a mother of 5 so I can tell you from experience that all children are different. They respond differently to circumstances and act out their frustrations differently. I would pray that God would reveal to you through conversations with him and through His word (the Bible) just what is the root of the anger. This would give you a great place to start.

My 6 year old doesn’t like to be told no. He acts out (especially in public) when he is told that he can’t have something or can’t do something that he has decided he should be able to have or do. So, we now have conversations before entering the store about what my expectations are. How I expect him to act and respond. I also decide before hand on what the consequence will be if I don’t get that behavior.

I have noticed that being positive and praising him is what helps him make wise choices with his behavior. So, if it’s been busy around the house and he hasn’t received as much attention then those are times when I notice he seems to act out more. I can solve that by just spending some quality time with him reading a book or playing a game. While giving him my full attention we talk about why he responds in anger and how we should respond in different situations. I also love to attach everything with a bible verse. I love to show him how God answers my prayers through his Word. We sometimes memorize the verses together so that I can give him a friendly reminder the next time we are in the situation.

There are 4 great tactics we learn from Hope’s insight.

1.  Set Expectations
When kids know what’s expected, they have an easier time meeting them. Holding kids accountable for their behavior is an important reality of life. You set them up to win when you tell them in advance what you will hold them accountable to.

2.  Have a Plan
Already have a response planned out in your mind.  If your child decides to disobey or act out, you should already know what you’re going to do.  Don’t leave it up to chance. When you do, you’re more likely to act out of anger or make threats you can’t deliver.

3. Observe
Watch for factors that contribute to your child’s response. Do you see a pattern? What can you do to change the pattern? Or to better prepare your child for the impact?

4. Praise
Catch them doing what you want them to do. Some of the best words to invest in your child’s heart are “I notice you…”; “I always love when you…”; “I’m so thankful you…” These words spoken consistently over time will affirm your child.

Questions from the Parenting Trenches: “How can I be a godly father?”

Father And Son In Park With American Football“How can I be a godly father?”

We’re responding to questions from our recent Marriage & Parent Summit. This question comes from a young dad and it strikes at the heart of every parent I know. This question reflects a desire that I believe is hard-wired into every parent. That innate need to reflect the heart of our Heavenly Father to our kids.

My friend, Jamie Davis, is an amazing dad. He’s found there are 4 things he’s made part of his daily rhythm that help him in his parenting. Check out his top 4 tips to being a godly parent:

  1. You First: You can be a godly parent to your child by demonstrating at home that Christ is the center of your life. Talk TO Him and talk ABOUT  Him. Let Christ be a part of your everyday conversations. Pull away and spend time just with God. When you do this, you show your kids how important Christ is to you. (In fpKIDS, we like to call this “Making It Personal”)
  2. Them Second: Make it a priority to pray with your child and read the Bible with them regularly. What is part of the regular routine becomes priority in their lives.  (We call this “Creating a Rhythm”)
  3. Create Boundaries: Don’t be afraid to discipline your child. They want boundaries and are wired to want you to be in charge. So lead them. They’ll love you more for it. (We call this “Fighting for the Heart”)
  4. Give Them Words: Most importantly, tell your child how special they are and that you love them.  Your child wants to know that they are loved by YOU! When they know how much YOU love them, they better understand how much their Heavenly Father loves them. Your words over time will build their self-worth. Don’t assume they know it. Say it out loud and say if often.

You might say, “That’s way too simple! Being a godly parent can’t be that simple!” And in many ways, you’re exactly right.  These 4 points are very simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy. The challenge is in making these part of your everyday routine.

Being consistent in these 4 habits when everything around you is going well… or falling apart. Being consistent in these 4 habits when you feel like it… and when you don’t.

Does it mean you can never, ever miss a day without exercising these habits?  No.

But incorporate them as a way of life and you can truly say… Follow me, as I follow Christ (1 Cor 11:1).

Questions from the Parenting Trenches: “Am I a Bad Parent?”

Bad or Good. Concept of Choice.

“How do you tell the difference between a phase or just bad parenting?”

“I hate being a hard parent.”

“I go to bed every single night feeling unequipped and ashamed at the fact that I haven’t parented with enough integrity. I wish I had more tools.”

These are statements that came from parents at our recent Marriage & Parent Summit. I appreciate the rawness of these confessions. And I value a faith community that allows someone the room to be so very transparent.

As I read each phrase a single theme echoes beneath the surface.

I’m scared.

What if I mess this up?

This is too important to mess up.

As a parent along the journey, I want to say, “I get it!”  I understand the the angst of growing into the parent I want to be. I identify with the fear of failing as a parent. And I have to remind myself often of God’s promise that He is faithful to complete the work He began in me.

I invited my friend, Katie Linkous, to speak into the statements expressed above and the underlying fear they represent. As a mom of 4, Katie weathers her fair share of parenting challenges.  Listen to her wise perspective on overcoming the fears of parenting failure.

Who defines what good parents look like?  Today, there are many voices sharing their opinions on how the task of parenting should be tackled.  It is easy to get lost in all of the theories and methods that we have access to.  It’s likely you feel unequipped, despite all of the books you have read.  It’s easy to become fearful of messing up.

The mistake we make as parents, is buying into the idea that raising kids takes a separate manual.  Our kids are truly just adults in training.  We can use the same instructions to raise them that we are using for our own lives.  The more we apply Truth in raising our kids, the less challenging parenting will be.  

If you are a believer, you have Wisdom living inside you.  It was by Wisdom that God created (Proverbs 3:19).  Drawing from Wisdom, whether by the Holy Spirit speaking directly to your heart about a situation with your child, or from the written Word, will remove the questions from parenting.  

I can read books and surround myself with Godly influence, but ultimately, I have to trust that God chose me to be the mother of my children.  Because He chose me, He is also equipping me on a continual basis to train my children in the way they should go so that they will not depart from it! (Proverbs 22:6)  

Questions about discipline, integrity, life skills, time management…all have answers in Jesus.  Scripture tells us that even when we are weak and don’t know how to pray for what we need, the Spirit is interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:26).  There isn’t anyone in the world with all the answers on how to raise your kids.  Look to heaven, trust the Holy Spirit in you, search out scripture and ACT on what the Lord teaches you.  Faith without action is useless.  When the Lord reveals Truth to you, you have a responsibility as a parent to act on that, even if it’s hard. Trust that He will give you strength when you grow tired (Isaiah 40:29) and your hard work will produce good fruit.

Consider a few action steps that will equip you to choose Truth and move away from fear:

  • Read Proverbs – Choose a 31 day reading plan that leads you through the book of Proverbs. Highlight & memorize those that have an “if, then” formula. Proverbs is filled with promises. If you take a certain action, you will gain a desired outcome. For example, Proverbs 8:33 promises… Listen to discipline, and become wise. If your desire is to become wise, then you must learn from discipline. Though there is wisdom to absorb throughout Scripture… a solid, first-step is Proverbs.
  • Find a Mentor – There is likely a parent that you admire. Maybe their kids are older than yours and you see in their kids what you desire to see in yours. Seek out that parent and learn from them. Compile a list of specific questions and find out how they parent and lead their family.
  • Narrow your Need – Sometimes one problem can overtake your perspective. Things may not be as bad as they seem. If you’re struggling with fear, pinpoint the fear and apply focused prayer toward it. Take specific, intentional steps toward a remedy. You won’t regret the time you invest… but you will regret the time you don’t.