Educating Your Child Through To Adulthood
Deciding on a school for your children and helping them decide on a future career are tough decisions. Do you ‘shelter’ them with a Christian education from primary through to high school? Should you allow your teen a gap year? What are the best options?
Bible-based vs Christian schools
To begin with schooling, it is pertinent to note that not all schools claiming to be ‘Christian’ are rooted in Biblical principles. Many government-funded public schools proclaim to be Christian, but in reality this means a hymn or Bible reading at assembly once a week. Teachers at these secular public schools are not necessarily saved and the government determines the curriculum. A private, Bible-based Christian school, on the other hand, acknowledges the Holy Trinity in all areas of study. Here Christians will teach your children and nurture their religious and spiritual needs. Biblical Christian schools are often smaller than public schools and your children will learn in a more intimate atmosphere. The curriculum at non-secular Christian schools can be tailored to a child’s specific needs, which is a great advantage if you have a sensitive child. Teacher Jacqueline Pretorius says “I teach at a secular public school and I see how the godless nature of the curriculum, as well as the godless opinions of unsaved teachers, negatively influences kids.”
The benefits of secular schools
With regards to secular schooling, most neighbourhoods have a public school in the vicinity and thus accommodation or transportation should not be a problem. First-time mom, Judy Schellingerhout, feels that “it is important for children to meet people with different values and beliefs. In this way, children are exposed to the real world.”
Another mom, Mariette Visser, feels that sending your children to a public school is a wonderful opportunity for them to share Jesus with their friends. “They will learn that the world is not perfect and that Christians need to reach out to other people.” Whether one chooses a Bible-based school, a Christian school, home-schooling or a secular school, it is crucial to pray about your decision and to stay actively involved in educating your child. Regularly discussing their homework with them and explaining Biblical truths in a real-life setting are critical in establishing a Christian worldview they can carry into adulthood.
Finding other Christian parents to network with and ingratiating yourself with the schools parent-teacher association can also go a long way in vocalising your concerns and protecting your child’s education. For more info on Christian schooling please see www.aceministries.co.za or www.homeschool-tce.co.za or www.ivangeli.org or consult www.kipmcgrath.co.za or www.deltaeducation.co.za
Life after school
Once you and your child have made it through school, important questions once again arise: “Will I be able to assist my children in making the right career choices?” “What if my child is finishing school this year and still doesn’t know what to do?”There are several options available including: a gap year, a short-term skills course (like photography), a work experience venture or a missionary based ‘year of your life’ programme.
It is critical that whatever your young adult chooses to do with their after-school education, they do it with purpose and intentionality. The following statistics reveal the importance of this post-matric choice:
- A major study has found that a shocking 40% of South African students drop out of university in their first year – one of the most significant reasons for these drop-out rates is poor career choices
- According to www.nationmaster.com only 15% of South Africans are enrolled in tertiary education
- Research has shown that individuals with tertiary education are three times as likely to be formally employed (compared to individuals with grade 12 or less).
Should one take a gap year?
Many parents stress at the mention of a ‘gap year’ as they envison their teen sleeping all day and wasting a year at dad’s expense. If your child is uncertain of their future, encourage them to explore a gap year or ‘year of your life’ option. Or suggest they use the year to gain experience in various fields, through taking on an internship at a place he or she is interested in working at.
Your son might be excellent at writing, but once he experiences the pressure of meeting deadlines, he might realise this is the wrong profession for him. A productive gap year provides your kids with time to discover their passion so that they can make the right decision concerning which course to enrol in at College or University. This can save you emotional and financial distress. For gap year options see: www.frontline.org.za for their Biblical Worldview Summit or see www.treverton.co.za for their options.
Christian tertiary education
If your child has a strong desire to focus on Christ in his or her vocation, there are various Christian tertiary education options they can consider. Find out whether your local church is running a Bible school or any other such short courses.
If your child is interested in a longer, theology-based course, he or she could enrol in a Bible College and obtain a theological degree or diploma. Going to seminary school is another academic option. do an Internet search for seminaries in your area or consult the JOY! website under advertiser directory for various listings or see www.satsonline.org or www.charisbiblecollege.org.za or www.btc.co.za or www.ctbs.org.za or www.hbc.ac.za
Compassionate study options
If your child is intensely touched by the needs and tears of others, he or she could consider completing a counselling diploma or a short-term or long-term mission programme. For further info regularly consult JOY! Magazine’s advertising sections.. For further options see: www.icp.org.za or www.unisa.co.za or ywamworcester.org.za God might also have called your child into full time ministry…if you feel this is the case, approach your pastor for advice.
Adventure, arts and drama
There are various Christian adventure programmes that equip young people with leadership skills. Such programmes are often advertised in JOY! Magazine. See www.beyondadventure.co.za or www.3dmidlands.co.za or www.hatfieldtc.co.za or ww.jlife.org.za or wwwtargetlife.co.za. If your child is more interested in arts and culture, he or she could consider practical courses like photography/design/media or writing workshops. Often a diploma or more practically based education option is better. See www.mediavillage.info
Key essentials every child needs
When one looks at future employment options for young adults entering the marketplace, certain key characteristics have been identified as essential:
- Honesty, integrity and reliability
- Resourcefulness, common sense and pro-active decision making
- Confidence and the ability to sell and market oneself
- Teachability and the skills to learn quickly and grow in areas of responsibility
- Leadership and a positive attitude.
Obtaining valuable skills for a successful future
Try where possible from a young age to instil confidence and resourcefulness in your kids. When they are older, send them on a sales course. If a person can’t sell, they will truly battle in life. An entrepenurial course is also an essential recommendation of JOY! Magazine.
Making choices about your children’s future is certainly challenging, but you have the wisdom of Christ available. “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask where the good way is…and you will find rest for your souls.”Jer 6:16.