When Women Make Different Choices Than You/Me

Confession: this post hit my heart hard this week. Complete conviction. Because the author is 100% right and because I have been 100% in the wrong many a time, in this exact realm.

Her post was titled "When Christian Women Make Different Choices", but it might as well have been titled "EMILY, stop thinking less of families who have different schooling opinions". Maybe it needed to be titled with your name at the beginning too? I don't know, I can only answer for myself here, but for me it was a key read.

As September rolls around, I have read post upon post about how and where moms are educating their children, and in the blog circles I frequent, two options continue to come up more than any other: in the home (home schooling) and in the Christian community (Christian schooling). And every time I struggle not to judge. And sometimes I don't struggle so much as I just give in to the temptation. 

Brad and I are very passionate about putting our kids (and indeed having our whole family participating) in public school. We want our kids to go to the same schools as our neighbour's kids. We want to be salt and light to our neighbourhood and see the public school system as a great avenue for that. I have neither the ability nor the desire to be a teacher in my own home (I studied marketing in university, not education, I reason). Likewise, I have neither the option nor the desire for my kids to receive a Christian education (there isn't a Christian school within 30 minutes from us, and we believe the parents and the church bear the responsibility to teach young children about Jesus and the gospel). I'm actually really excited about the day Lily and Oli step foot into their secular public school. The possibilities, the opportunity for Brad and I to live our faith out in front of the teachers and other parents, the real life questions our kids will ask, and how it will force us to be in the city and aware of it's needs as we shepherd our kids through it.

But that said, from what I'm reading online, a lot of you moms are equally excited about the possibilities you see as you enter your children into Christian school, or as you embark on homeschooling. And how dare I rob you of that joy?  I need to trust that you're seeking God and being mindful of the Great Commission as you make your choices, and that not all of us will come to the same conclusions. I need to confess that I've judged others as they've made choices, particularly regarding schooling, that are different from mine. And I'm convicted and sorry.

I deeply desire to change and be more open minded to God's unique calling on each family. In the coming months I'd like to have a guest series featuring moms/women who are living out life in a very different way than I am. I want to grow in my appreciation for that which is different, and even maybe makes me uncomfortable. I long to see mutual respect for women making choices for their families the best they feel led and know how, and it starts with my own heart. 

I'm preaching to myself here, when I say, there is not ONE way to parent, and there is not one "Christian" way to parent either. Some of the styles or philosophies we decided against probably work wonders for your family, and I want to celebrate that as I remind myself and my wicked heart to flee from judging others.

I strongly recommend this article by Christine Hoover, and her blog in general :)


  1. I'm right there with you! Thanks for the reminder to trust God is leading our friends on where their kids should go to school. My husband and I feel very strongly about public school education and I too look forward to the day I take our daughter and Lord willing other children to school.
    Excited about your upcoming series, Emily!

  2. Hi Emily!
    I enjoyed reading this as we are 'one of those' homeschool families. We were always pro public school, especially since I was a public school teacher before having the girls. However, The Lord is always working on us and He made te conviction to homeschool very clear to us ~ along with the girls attending a little Montessori as well.
    Our goal is to be 'bubble free' in our homeschooling! We don't do it to keep them from things but we do it in obedience to what He has laid on our heart. I think the misconception is that homeschoolers want to keep their kids secluded or apart - and granted for some that is true - however the ones that we know have the goal of raising their kids to be that salt and light you talked about and giving their kids an opportunity to learn in the style that best suits their needs. We adore our homeschool adventures just as much as others enjoy their traditional school ones! We are teaching our kids respect so I appreciate your comment about respecting other parents choices, realizing that we will not all have the same convictions. ~ Lisa Arbo

  3. I appreciate your honesty as you share God's conviction. We are one of those families who sent our children to Christian schools. We started in public and ended up moving to private sooner than we anticipated due to curriculum. It was a huge financial investment and I was handed a part time job five minutes from home that has more than covered the cost. It's still a sacrifice but in our particular city with our particular kids it's one we feel called to. I think your school journey sounds exciting too.

  4. I tried to write a comment it must not have went through, love this article

  5. this is very beautiful Emily :) I totally understand this and I think that we all have our issues that we feel firmly about, so it's hard to understand other's hearts. I think it's great that you're trying to see the full picture. I personally don't have a conviction in terms of schooling (I see all sides, and even think we'll make the decision per child). But I certainly have my biases in other areas. :)

  6. I have had so many wonderful conversations with friends about our education decisions as our children began entering school (for the record we are all over the board between homeschool, private Christian and public). We are a homeschooling family (but we send our son to our local elementary school for electives). We love the public school system and know that one day our children will be a part of that system. I am not so sold-out on homeschooling that I believe it to be the only way. I suppose I agree with Brianna Bell, in terms of not feeling there is only one correct way to school your children. However, I do feel very strongly that however one chooses, the first and primary way a child gets their Biblical teaching is at home, and their hearts should be fully prepared with the truth to handle whatever it is the world will throw at them. If our children are being guided in Biblical truths at home, then my feeling is no matter what education system we choose, they will be able to stand firm in their faith and be a light. At the end of the day, I could school my children in every subject and they could be geniuses, but if their hearts are far from the Lord, they are not making disciples of all nations and all I've focused on was their education and what opportunities I've exposed them to, then I've failed them. I loved your post and I loved Christina's article! Thanks for placing this topic on the table :)

  7. I love that you are sharing openly about your feelings and struggles with this topic. I think it is another area where moms "compare" and "compete". My husband and I both went all the way through in Christians schools and assumed our kids would do the same, but we have 2 in public school so far. Like you said, with the start of school, my FB feed is full of pictures and statuses depicting lots of schooling options. I struggle with feeling like I'm less of a mom than my friends that homeschool, or that my children are "beneath" their friends in Christian schools. This is our 5th year in public school and it's not always easy. Plenty of issues have come up that we've had to deal with, but it's given us a chance to live out the Gospel with our kids. We truly do feel this is where God wants our family right now. And I LOVE my mom friends who have chosen to homeschool or send their kids to a Christian school. Thank you for pointing out that we can make different choices and still be sisters in Christ!

    ~Callie Branch

  8. Hi Emily,
    I also loved Christine's article earlier this week, although I was convicted in a different area(s) (we are completley PRO attachment parenting, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding that it is hard for me when some Christians condemn these things, and I am guilty of judging others for their choices.)
    I have been thankful that there is no issue with schooling here - homeschooling is illegal in Germany and a total non-issue. Christian or private schools are very rare and so expensive I do not know anyone whose child attends one. Public schools are of high quality, and we already know we want to go with public school no matter where we live for the same reasons you mentioned. We both attended public school and survived ;-)

  9. Rachel Cotnoir30.8.13

    Hi Emily!
    That's a great reminder, thanks! I struggle a lot with that too! "Some of the styles or philosophies we decided against probably work wonders for your family..." and I would add, will maybe even work wonder for us some time later in our life. :) It happened too many times that I was judging people for a particular opinion they had, and ended up being convicted myself later that maybe they weren't that wrong after all! Schooling was one of those issues actually, we plan to homeschool Marianne, while it was definately not our desire when she was born. I wouldn't have believed it! "There is not one "Christian" way to parent" wow eh. Thanks xx

  10. Emily,

    I appreciate your honesty and willingness to admit your own bias and judgment of others.

    "I need to trust that you're seeking God and being mindful of the Great Commission as you make your choices." - Wonderful thought, Em.

    Judgment between people is so hard to stop. As soon as one person perceives that they are being judged, they quickly judge the other person as a defense for their own decision making. I grew up in public schools. Now I'm surrounded by women who not only spent their whole lives in Christian schools, but plan to send their children to Christian schools alone. That is a decision that they've probably given a lot of thought to. I must admit that I too judge other women when they give reasons for why public school is the "wrong" choice. I think, "but how can it be 'wrong' when I'm living proof of it going right?" The worst part is, I assume they are judging me with their own decisions. I make it personal.

    Thank you for this post.