Can you pray for us?

We’re having some interesting discussions in the Armstrong house. As always, we’re talking about big important future things. One of the big topics we’ve had come up recently is education.

Our oldest daughter, Abigail, is in public school. She’s smart as a whip, and a really good student. Overall she’s had a pretty good experience in school; a few issues with other kids, but nothing too major. We’ve had a number of concerns, some minor, some major, and very few have been able to be resolved.

Our middle girl, Hannah, is nearly ready to start school, too. In fact, Emily’s been very proactive in starting her education already. She knows her ABCs, her numbers one through ten, and has even started to read and write. In fact, here’s a look at one of her recent spelling efforts:

Hudson isn’t even two, so school’s not quite on his radar yet. He’s happy just jumping, running around and playing with cars.

But as we’ve been talking, the idea of homeschooling has come up. We’d previously said we’d only do it if we had a deal-breaker situation come up, like the school started demanding our kids affirm things we fundamentally disagree with. But lately as we’ve talked, we’ve been wondering about what would offer the best quality education for the kids.

And we’re really not sure what to do. What I don’t want to do is say to Emily, “So, we’re going to do this now,” if she’s not sold on the idea. In fact, I’ve been waiting for her to make a call on what she thinks is the right thing to do. She’s started talking to the kids about the idea. Hannah likes it (even though just a few months ago, she was super-psyched about putting on her back pack and going to school like Abigail); Abigail’s opinion changes from day to day. Some times she’s keen on it, other times she’s not sure. There’s a lot of uncertainty around it right now, which is fine.

I’d rather take the time to make a wise decision than to rush in without counting the cost, y’know?

But if you could pray for us on this, I’d really appreciate it. From everything we’ve read, and from all the people we’ve talked to so far, it seems like a really good option, one that could help our wee ones not only get a leg up in terms of quality, but allow us to enjoy their company a little while longer. (It’s terrifying to believe Abigail’s going to be seven this year! She was barely two when I started this blog!)

Finally, I’d love to get your take on this: where do you land on education? If you’re a parent, would you homeschool? Were you yourself homeschooled? I’d love to hear your experiences and any wisdom you might have to offer on this.

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  • Kim Shay

    I will definitely pray, Aaron. As you know, Emily will bear the biggest load with this, and if she’s not on board with it, she could find it terribly burdensome. My husband was a big help by doing things like bringing home take-out at lunch, marking math (which I hated doing) and just being a sounding board, but I did all the research, purchasing and teaching. That said, I would do it again in a minute. Our reasons were primarily because we had a daughter who was very keen, but was, already, at 11 years old, pretending to be “dumb” so she could fit in. We didn’t want that for her. All three of our kids were early speakers and readers, and we wanted to let them progress at their own rate. When I talk to younger parents, I say if you can homeschool from K-8, do it. We put our kids in public high school, and while there were issues, we’re glad we did it. Homeschooling for us, helped us build relationships with our kids we would not have otherwise done. Today, my kids are all doing well. My oldest is getting her PhD in English, my middle son is about to graduate from Heritage with a Bachelor of Music, and my youngest is in his second year at Waterloo. They are strong writers and communicators and they are well read. I hope this decision goes well for you, and I’m sure you will have many others who will be giving you valuable input.

  • Michael Boling

    Thanks for sharing this as this very discussion is something taking place in my own home. Figuring out what road to pursue is a difficult one, in particular whether to pursue homeschooling, what that looks like in practical every day life, the logistics of such an endeavor, and what it means for two working adults. We are leaning more and more towards homeschooling as the current public school situation is not working out well for the long term academic needs of our daughter, at least at this point in time.

    Much prayer is in order, that much is certain to ensure everyone is in agreement on the way forward.

    • ‘Guerite ~ BoldLion

      Praying for you Michael too! (This is Marguerite Harrell but I am also know as ‘Guerite ~ BoldLion too). Keep up with good work on blogging too.

  • Pastor John

    My wife and I were Christian school teachers. We were and still are very firm believers in a solidly Christian Education whether it be private or home schooling. We could not fathom placing our children in an environment that at its very best isolated issues of faith making them irrelevant to day to day life. The thought that my children would spend the majority of each school day under the instructional care of people who, even if they were believers identical to myself, could not connect matters of faith and scripture to the matters of life did not make sense. This seems especially important considering we are talking about their most formative years intellectually. I believe that a public school education most often produces secular minded Christians not because its evil but simply because that is the way it is forced to educate by law. This is the truth of Proverbs 22:6. So I would encourage you to home school your children. All three of my children were in Christian school from K-12th grade. All went to on to college and graduated with honors and all are home schooling their children or seeking Christian school alternatives for them today. I will pray for your decision. One last note – I would recommend “The Christian Mind. How should a Christian think?” by Harry Blamires. While it does not deal with Christian education directly it will help you see the value of a Christian education. Blesings

  • Sarah Van Beveren

    We have three girls, the oldest is about to turn six, and we are homeschooling. The commitment often feels daunting, and being home everyday is sometimes difficult (Canadian winters are not helpful), but we’re in it for the long haul. Having other homeschooling families for mutual support and to spend time with has been a huge blessing. I’ll be praying for you, Emily, and your little ones.

  • David Antonini

    My son’s only 6 monthd, but we’re already having similar discussion. His mum is a teacher, and not impressed with what she sees in schools here. So it’d probably Dad teaching at him if we did that.

  • Michelle Dacus Lesley

    I have been home schooling since 2000. We have four children. Our daughter graduated as valedictorian of her class last May, and we have 3 sons in 8th, 6th, and 5th grades. Our general plan is to home school from kindergarten through 6th grade, then put them into a small Christian school for middle/high school. It has worked beautifully for us, but home schooling is not for everybody. I’ve advised lots of parents new to the idea of home schooling, so if you or your wife would like to send me a Facebook message (or e-mail: with any specific questions, please feel free :0)

    • Aaron Armstrong

      Will do, thanks Michelle!

  • Jared Totten

    I was home schooled from third grade all the way through high school. And though my wife was not home schooled, both of her younger siblings were and she has even taught art at a home schoolers’ Co-op. So both of us have had first-hand experience with it, and, given that both sets of parents were proponents and practitioners, you’d think the decision was already made up for us.

    But after reading Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley, we truly felt unpressured and free to chose public, private, or home school apart from any perceived parental pressure from either side. (He says the greatest determining factor in a child’s upbringing and owning Christianity for themselves when they grow is not where they were schooled but rather “The common denominator between success and failure seems to be the
    spiritual depth and sincerity of the parents, especially the spiritual
    depth and sincerity of the father.”)

    The biggest deciding factor for us came when we read “The Well-Trained Mind”. (If you haven’t read it yet, you owe it to yourselves to read it before you make up your mind. It’s a long book, but you can get the gist in the first few chapters and the remainder of the content is basically a walk-thru of the entire proposed curriculum).

    We have since pulled our 4 year old daughter (soon to be 5) out of preschool and began homeschooling in January. So we’re only two months in to the project, but if you ever wanna cross notes, you know how to find me.

  • Ryan Higginbottom

    I just prayed for you, Aaron. It’s a big decision.

    It may help you to think of this not as a decision to make once for all, but for right now. My wife and I go through a re-evaluation of our oldest daughter’s educational situation every year. I think education is a matter very specific to each child and family. I used to feel guilty that we didn’t feel called to school at home, but I’ve since become convinced of this: you and Emily are responsible for your children’s education no matter where they are learning. For some of your children at some points in time, that may be at home, it may be in a Christian school, or it may be in a public school (or some hybrid of options). One of the most dangerous things is to think you don’t need to read and think and question deeply just because the children are in a Christian school (or even a home school).

    Be comforted and encouraged: God promises to give wisdom when we ask! And you’ve got lots of people asking on your behalf!

  • ‘Guerite ~ BoldLion

    Praying for you all for wisdom that you all do need to have. I do see a lot of pro in home schooling and with CC. I don’t have any children but furry children. I do see a lot of my church family are involve in home school and CC. Then private local school can be great but if affordable. I know that not all can afford private. I was in private boarding oral school for the deaf for 7 years (1973-1980) out of state and love it then went to public school for the first time in 1980 and hate it due to lack of teacher attention and large classroom. If I was a kid again, I rather be home school or small private school for better teacher attention. Again, I will be praying for you all for the wisdom that you all do need to have.

  • John

    When our first child was ready for school, we thought carefully about how to proceed. Putting all the arguments aside, we simplified the situation as follows.
    Given that our children are the greatest gift we can imagine receiving, and given that we want to serve the Lord in all things and fulfil our responsibilities before Him, we perceive there are two options available.
    Firstly, have our kids taught in the public system where teachers may reject God (but the school definitely has nothing to do with Him).
    Secondly, have our kids taught in a setting where God is honoured and followed.
    Suddenly, there was no real choice at all.

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