As we embark on another school year, I’m reminded of a few things. Most centrally is our job as parents (and grandparents) to teach God’s ways in all that we do.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5–7

God is to be involved in every aspect of our children’s lives (relationships, sports, education, etc.) So, while we all are faced with many factors in education decisions, we should pursue the ideal of training our children with a view toward God in all they do. Xavria Schwarz is the Principal of Christ Lutheran School in La Mesa, CA, says “The overall pursuit of Christian parents should be to raise kids who are followers of Jesus. If this is my top priority, their education should naturally include a Christ-centered approach.”

Often, I have these conversations about education with families. From elementary to college choices, finances play a role in these decisions that affect the well-being and future of their children. We might discuss how to afford private school. Or, we might lay out plans so one parent can stay home and home school. The objective is to find the best plan, based on the unique circumstances of each family, to prioritize an education centered on God’s truth.

My wife and I send our kids to a private, Christian school here in San Diego County. We love the passionate, gifted people who teach our kids and emphasize the community that brings out their best and encourages them to build on their weaknesses. It’s a sacrifice financially for us, but God has provided. The many hours our kids spend in school are filled with learning experiences (in the classroom and on the playground) that center on Jesus.

I know many families that home school their kids and are able to bring a Christ-centered approach along with quality academics and an array of social and community learning activities. Homeschooling is on the rise as more parents, many seeking a Christ-centered approach, circumvent the public educational system. Education News reported on the academic success in that home school students “typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on such (standardized) exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile.”

Charter schools (publicly funded schools that operate with a certain level of autonomy) are also on the rise. Many are organized by people of faith who can create a school culture around their values. Even in public schools, families can take a more proactive approach and get involved in choosing their child’s teachers and reviewing the curriculum with their kids.

The point is each family has a unique situation with unique options calling for different choices. What cannot be compromised is our call to teach God’s words diligently to our children. To meet this call as parents, we need to:

Sacrifice.

It’s not convenient or easy to give our time, attention, and finances, but it is necessary.

Seek Community.

Schwarz agrees, “When we feel like we belong, we work harder. We take risks. We fail and try again. We admit guilt. We ask for and offer forgiveness.”

Understand the Importance.

Our kids spend half their year and a third of each of those days in school. The influence of their education is significant — that can be for good or bad.

Don’t let these years casually pass. Teach God’s ways to your children…