I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. What I write about here is often what I’m dealing with in the moment.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about how the coming school year will begin, especially here in South Carolina. We’re having some of our highest numbers of coronavirus cases since all this started, especially in Charleston County, which is where my younger daughter’s school is located. Across the country, many parents are having to make decisions about whether their child will attend school in person, only virtually, or some mix of the two.
Uncertainty is not where I thrive!! In the midst of all the upheaval, it’s the familiar Bible verses that are bringing me comfort. Yesterday it was this one.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
The God who knows the end from the beginning has peaceful thoughts toward us, not evil ones. “An expected end” is also translated as “a future and a hope.” God has plans and hope for our and our children’s future. (And couldn’t we all use some hope about now??!!) He has a purpose for us as parents and for our children as we walk through unsettling times.
I already know that my high school daughter’s senior year is not going to look like we expected. Even if they have in-person school, I don’t see her cheer squad traveling to games or the fine arts program competing in events. And what if things get worse and, after starting in-person, they switch back to only online learning?
You may be facing different decisions for your child right now, maybe totally unrelated to schooling. But as I try to come to grips with my own current situation, I developed eight tips to help me get started on making a decision. This post is geared toward making schooling decisions, but the tips can certainly be applied to choosing extracurricular activities or determining how old your child needs to be to have certain privileges!
1. Pray for wisdom.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” ~James 1:5
Claiming this promise on a daily basis! God has the true wisdom we need to make decisions. No, we won’t find a Bible verse that says, “Choose this schooling option for your child” or “Sign your child up for this activity.” But we can find principles in His Word and ask for Holy Spirit guidance as we pray.
2. Lay out all of the options.
Admittedly, if you’re in a situation like ours, you’re not sure exactly what the options are at this point. But write out the ones you do know. If you choose to homeschool on your own, what programs are available to you? Do you know yet what options the school your child normally attends are offering? You may need to consider any financial implications related to each option as well.
3. Decide what the long-term goal is.
Because our daughter’s planning on attending college in a year, one of our goals is for her to complete a couple of dual enrollment classes. Those will earn her high school and college credit. Maybe your children are younger, and you want them to have a solid math foundation or they need to catch up in a certain subject. Determine what the desired outcome is and look at which choice is most likely to get you there.
4. Don’t let fear decide for you.
Fear can affect our decisions, and usually not in a positive way. There are certainly risk factors to consider. This could be a child going a long way off to college or having your child try a new curriculum or, in today’s reality, catching the coronavirus.
So use common sense. Take your particular situation into consideration. Drill down into what you’re afraid of and then make the call from a place of confidence. Which leads to…
5. Gather helpful information.
Don’t be obsessive about it (a tendency of mine!), but research your options. Be informed. Figure out what the results might look like if you choose one way over another.
6. Get wise counsel from others.
Talk to those who have already made the choice you’re considering or who have direct knowledge of the situation. Don’t listen to every talking head, news pundit, or distant relative who is convinced that if you don’t do it their way, you must be crazy.
7. Base your decision on what’s best for your individual child and your family as a whole.
You know your child better than anyone else does. Some children work well independently. Others need teacher direction or more social interaction. There may not be a perfect fit, but choose what best meets your child’s needs. At the same time, consider how that choice will affect your whole family.
8. Pray for peace.
We’ll start and end this discussion with prayer. Here’s another one of those familiar verses that’s always applicable.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
God can give you peace that you’re making the right decision. Take it to Him in prayer, then make your call. And rest in knowing that there are very few decisions that can’t be changed when they no longer work for you!
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