When I was growing up, I went to the same parochial grade school for eight years. Afterward, I transferred to our local public high school for four years and then earned my bachelor's degree in four years at a Catholic liberal arts college. Though my education included a blend of public and private schools, it followed a somewhat steady, predictable course. My husband's education, on the other hand, was a bit more piecemeal. He ended up going to seven different public elementary, middle, and high schools before finally completing his senior year at a private high school.
For both of us, each school represented a unique experience—some more memorable and meaningful than others. When it came time to choose the right school for our sons, we started at a Catholic elementary school, transferred into public schools, and finally landed in a private Christian school through eighth grade.
Things took a new tack when we moved onto a boat for a year and homeschooled (or should I say "boatschooled") all four of our boys, ages 3 to 13. Neither my husband nor I had ever taught before, so that year represented a rich learning experience for all of us. When it came time for us to settle down and move back into a house after our year at sea, we sent our kids to the local public schools in our new town.
I share our educational journey not to prescribe a course of action for you—instead it highlights the myriad choices we have for getting educated. Even within one family, children may present specific needs that require a unique solution. For instance, one of our sons suffers from severe ADHD. Traditional classroom learning was nearly impossible for him. We finally identified a high school that specializes in experiential learning. Our son benefited greatly from this hands-on approach. For a child who learns best when he can touch, feel, and experience a concept, having that option was a lifesaver.
Parents make decisions for their children's education based on a variety of biases, expectations, and options. In Maria Cowell's article, "The Education Debate," she explores how parents discern what kind of education to provide to their children. There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to teaching kids. Kim Harms and Tammy Darling prove this point perfectly. In "Christian Kids in Public Schools," Kim shares how her decision to send her kids to public school grows out of a desire to be salt and light in the world.
Tammy, on the other hand, explains her choice to be a home educator in "Why I Homeschool." Both women have important reasons for choosing the path they have for their kids. Their articles may help you discern what approach to take for your family and what to expect with either decision.
Adults can do much to further their own learning, whether through a formal degree program or in a Bible study. TCW's marketing director, Mary Goodrich, shares why she chose to go back to school for a master's degree. We hope you find encouragement and inspiration if you find yourself in a similar situation.
In "Finding Faith in the Cloud," Allison J. Althoff investigates the various online learning that's available to women who want to connect with other women who also are learning about their faith and growing in it.
Education is a powerful tool we have for changing the world. May you steward all learning well.
Marian V. Liautaud