What Sovereign Grace Ministries Teaches About Educational Choices – Part 3

January 3, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

What follows is the third part of a transcript of a teaching given by GS at Covenant Life Church on February 21, 2009.  You can view Part I by clicking here.  Part II can be found here.  You can access the audio version of this talk here.

Please note (as I said in the introduction to Part I):  I actually completed this transcription quite awhile ago but have been reluctant to post it – mainly because it’s been my experience that conversations on this blog about homeschooling tend to degenerate quickly into arguments. 

So, before we begin, I’d like to make it VERY clear that I am NOT interested in sparking a debate about homeschooling versus public schooling versus private Christian schooling.  I realize that this IS the subject matter of Mr. Somerville’s teaching.  However, I believe this transcript is important NOT so much because of WHAT Mr. Somerville teaches, but rather because of HOW he teaches it.  You may find yourself agreeing with the vast majority of what Mr. Somerville says.  I myself actually agree with many of his thoughts. 

But what is significant about this particular teaching is NOT whether Mr. Somerville makes true or false statements about his subject matter.  Instead, what I’d like us to pay special attention to is the way that he seeks to sound very open-minded and yet nonetheless clearly conveys his own strong personal preferences…which his audience, unless they are very discerning, will almost inevitably find themselves absorbing and following.

So…

If you wish to discuss this transcript, PLEASE keep in mind that I am primarily interested in analyzing the manner in which Mr. Somerville (and by extention, the majority of SGM’s leaders/pastors) seeks to shape his audience’s thinking while at the same time remain seemingly “neutral.” 

I am NOT interested in arguing about the merits of the various statements that Mr. Somerville makes about the different educational choices.

Thanks!

That said, here is the final portion of the transcript…

———————

[GS speaking:]

Turn to the next page.  Homeschool.  Advantages.  You can’t avoid discipleship in a homeschool setting.  [Kris says:  Actually, I’m thinking you can.  What of all the parents who homeschool but have no particular religious inclination?]   Ah, this is hands-on.  You are going to get to disciple your child every day whether you want to or not, cuz they’re right there and they’re gonna be showing their true colors throughout the day, and you’re gonna get to deal with that.  OK?  That – that can be a real advantage, even though you pull your hair out in the process.  [Kris says:  I smell a false dilemma here.  Does not being around your kids during part of the day mean that you’re not discipling them?  Moreover, does dealing merely with the issues that come up around the house actually give a parent enough real opportunities to disciple their kids (I’m specifically thinking of older kids, teens)?]

There are many opportunities to cultivate family identity and relationships in a homeschool.  Uh, it’s a wonderful thing to have siblings three years apart, five years apart, playing well with each other – sometimes – afraid it’s not heaven on earth, homeschools have their challenges, too, but, that is one of the benefits, is sibling relationships.  Parent – sibling relationships.  You may have a parent of yours living in the home, and now you have parent-grandchild relationships that are facilitated by that.

[Kris says:  Really?  So kids who go to school won’t have the same opportunities to cultivate a family identity and relationships?  I can understand there might be some time constraints, but if you’re actually teaching, say, two or three or four kids at two or three or four different grade levels throughout the day, you really SHOULDN’T have a whole lot more time for cultivating family relationships than would kids who’d spend the day in school.  If these siblings really have that much time to play together, I’d have to question just how much they’re actually doing throughout their “school” day at home.] 

There’s maximum flexibility to tailor the curriculum and instruction to the needs and interests of your child.  OK.  You’re – you’re the principal, you’re the head of school, you get to create your own school and do it the way you think best, within certain state-mandated standards, but if – if, uh, science is something you really value, you can point the curriculum that direction.  If field trips, living history, ah, lots of biographies – if that’s all part of something you value, you can build that into the curriculum.  You have the flexibility to enrich the curriculum with field trips, foreign languages, internships, in-depth studies, etcetera.  You can take your family vacation in October when all the rates go down and make it a learning experience.  OK?  Now, you can also abuse all these things, and some homeschool parents do, and, ah, justify it in the name of homeschooling, when really, it’s a compromise of standards, but – there – there is a flexibility to do things with your curriculum. 

Minor exposure to peer influences, except younger brother or older sister.  Minor exposure to worldly values.  At least, you get to control what that exposure is.  You’re almost totally in control. 

And, typically, it is less expensive than a private school.  K.  I was asking my wife last night, “What do you think people pay on average for homeschooling?”  Somebody had submitted this question via email.  Can really range.  You can pay thousands of dollars to homeschool at the high school level, if your children are taking classes outside the home, or enrolled in online programs.  You – you can pay thousands of dollars.  Ah – if you are really educating on a shoestring, especially in the elementary grades, you can borrow curriculum, can go to the library, you can probably do it for a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand.  OK, so there’s a broad range, depending on how well you do your research and what your own choices are.  But it generally, typically, is gonna be less expensive than a private school.

Lots of advantages.

There are some disadvantages of homeschool that you need to consider.  While many students receive an excellent home education, common deficits in homeschool would include – not always, but would include these – number one, limited knowledge and skill of the teacher, especially at the upper level.  Now, I’m not gonna ask any homeschool moms here to raise their hands.  But you’ve all felt this.  You – you know your gifts, you know your weaknesses, you know there are some subjects that you just don’t think you could teach at that level.  The curriculum can be poorly designed.   Ah, you pick and choose.  “This one looks good,” or, “This one was free,” and you find that you’ve got five different publishers for six different courses, and they don’t necessarily mesh well.  OK?  They weren’t made to go together.  There can be low or inconsistent academic standards.  Um, again, I was talking to Suzie last night about how easy it is in homeschool – you stay up late for the Super Bowl, Monday morning rolls around, you’re tired, your kids are tired, so it’s just easier to say, “Well, sleep in, we’ll start school at eleven, and we’ll adjust.  Well, maybe you will, or maybe you’ll just scrap that day’s assignment and go on.  It’s easy – it’s easy to lower those standards.  Um, whereas, when they have to go into the classroom, and the bell rings at 8:15, and the teacher’s gonna expect to see their homework, that does keep that standard high.  There’s a temptation to shelter the child rather than prepare the child for engagement with other peers and culture.  

[Kris says:  A “temptation“?  Or does this tend to happen automatically unless the parents make a rigorous effort to combat it?  I think it’s rather unfair of Mr. Somerville to so emphasize the lack of a biblical worldview in public school curriculum, and frame that up as some task that the public school parent will have to work hard to combat, but then turn around and give the homeschooling parents a mere gentle suggestion that they “may be tempted” to not prepare the child for engagement with other peers and culture.

I think any honest homeschooling parent would have to acknowledge that their kids keep busy and “engage peers and culture” only because they (the parents) work at this deliberately.  Not preparing homeschooled children for “engagement with peers and culture” is not something that is a mere “temptation.”  It’s very likely going to happen, unless homeschooling parents get out and make a lot of effort to do stuff with other kids their kids’ ages, from other backgrounds and even – gasp – from other belief systems.]

I think some well-intentioned families have sheltered their children too much, and they’re not prepared to engage, just as other families have failed to consider this enough.

Home education places new responsibilities on parents and creates new, often-challenging, dynamics between parent and child.  It’s hard to be the mother of a fifteen-year-old boy.  It’s harder to be the mother of a fifteen-year-old boy when he’s not doing his math, and you’re having to make him do his math rather than benefitting from a teacher who handles that part for you.  K, that adds to the friction.  Now, that can be very sanctifying, and good in God’s overall plan, but it complicates the parent-child relationship.  Parents must find outside resources for educational assessment.  Um, you may begin to detect that your child is struggling in school, and you might start to wonder, “Could my child have a learning disability?”  Um, you have to go outside to find help for that, whereas in a school setting, there are gonna be trained professionals to help you recognize that and diagnose a proper response.  Finally, loneliness can be a temptation for children educated at home, especially as they get older.  But if you have an only child, that can be something that you have to compensate for.  Um, again, the parent-child relationship is a precious thing, I wouldn’t be quick to say you have to socialize your child in some way, some certain context.  [Kris says:  Mr. Somerville “wouldn’t say you have to” socialize your child in some “certain context”?  What?  Does he really think that an isolated existence, particularly for the “only child” he was discussing, would EVER be a healthy thing?  If not, then why does he give that wishy-washy disclaimer again?  Why the “I’m not going to say…”?  Why is this guy giving advice, anyway, if he won’t even be brave enough to state the obvious, that it would certainly NOT be good for a poor kid to end up hanging out with nobody but Mom and Dad for his whole childhood?]  But you do need to consider this.  If your child’s saying, “I don’t have any friends, everybody else is doing this or that,” it’s something at least to listen to and be sensitive to.

Questions to ask about this model.  Do I have the internal and external resources to provide an excellent home education for my child?  OK?  Internal resources will be things like faith.  Faith’s a big one.  [Kris says:  Hmm.  So now the act of homeschooling has been framed in terms of one’s “faith.”  Think of the implications.  With this sort of statement, automatically, within SGM circles, there’s gonna be an underlying assumption that a non-homeschooling parent somehow LACKS faith.

I’m NOT denying that homeschooling requires a huge amount of commitment, discipline, desire, and drive.  But faith? 

And why is faith only being raised now, for homeschooling?  Certainly, daring to allow your kid to attend a public high school should then be framed in these sorts of terms, too, because I’d think that such a decision would require AT LEAST as much “faith” as homeschooling (if we’re going to define “faith” as “trust in God”). ]

Dads, if your wife does not have faith to do this, you shouldn’t have faith to do this.  Wait until she has faith.  Faith is gonna be crucial to do this well, to do this in a way that pleases God.  Without faith it’s sin, according to the Scriptures.  Do you have the self-discipline?  Do you get yourself out of bed so that you can also get your children out of bed and get them doing what they need to do?  Do you have patience?  Do you have perseverance?  Do you have vision?  Ah, again, every homeschool mom is gonna consider a failure after reviewing this list.  Some truly do need to consider their limitations and say, “Maybe it’s not just me.  Maybe – maybe there are legitimate reasons to consider doing something else.  If I can’t do it well, perhaps I shouldn’t do it.” 

[Kris says:  “Perhaps” you shouldn’t do it?  Again with the wimpy language!  I would say that there’s no “perhaps” about it.  If parents are aware that they definitely are unable to homeschool well, then they have no business even considering this option!] 

Now – by the way – let me just encourage you to talk to Rita back here.  Um, and Rita, feel free to – to add to this.  But Rita’s worked with a lot of homeschooling moms, again, I – I don’t wanna minimize this.  Virtually every mom is gonna assume that she’s not doing a good enough job, and – “Please, honey, send them off somewhere else, anywhere else, don’t make them learn from me.”  [Kris says:  Hmm.  Wouldn’t this demonstrate a lack of faith?]    Er – those ladies need help from God and for their husbands to believe that this is God’s – God’s good decision for them at a certain season, OK?  So no mom will ever feel competent to do that, I can promise you that, but many – and most – are gonna be able, with God’s help, and the support of their husbands, to do this, if that’s what God is calling them to do.  K, so, talk to Rita, if you’re thinking, “From what Greg said, I don’t see how I could ever homeschool.”  Let her give you a pep talk for homeschooling.  [Kris says:  If it’s about “faith,” isn’t faith a gift from God and not of works?  Why would you need a pep talk if you have faith?  And if you don’t have faith, then it’s a sin, right?]  OK?  Cuz she may help you come to faith that I just destroyed.  I don’t mean to – I don’t mean to weaken your faith for this.  I just want you to count the cost and to realize the implications.  K?  Do you hear me on that?  Come talk to me if I’ve just blown your faith out of the water and ruined your child’s life.

External resources would be things like time, space, finances, educational expertise, etcetera.  Are you also trying to manage a home business while educating your five children at home?  That could be a problem.  Are you in bed most of the day because of a health condition?  That may limit you.  [Kris says:  “COULD” be a problem?  “MAY” limit you??  Really?]  Ah, uh, do your finances not allow you to purchase any curriculum?  That’s gonna be a challenge.  So think about those different things.   

[Kris says:  I really hope these parents do more than “think about” those things.  Come on, Mr. Somerville.  If you’re bedridden for some medical condition, isn’t it obvious that you SHOULD NOT be attempting to be your kid’s only teacher!

But let’s see.  Public school has been set up as this “almost-never-but-occasionally-maybe” choice.  It’s a choice that is “legitimate” for SOME parents in SOME situations.  Mr. Somerville isn’t willing to go on the record, however, as endorsing his examples’ choice to send their kids to public schools.  After all, even though they followed his prescribed method of making a thoughtful decision, he had to slip in that disclaimer.

Secular private school was set up as a sort of pie-in-the-sky, excruciatingly expensive proposition that might work for the one guy who is on the faculty…but if you really dig deeper, your motivations for choosing such a hoity toity luxury are probably worldly and selfish, so you should reconsider.

Christian schools were discussed fairly honestly, in my opinion, and Mr. Somerville did do a decent job of discussing the sometimes prohibitive tuition costs.

But now, in his discussion of homeschooling, he’s seeming to bend over backward to imply that almost NOBODY has an excuse NOT to homeschool.  Even if you’re dying in bed, there’s apparently still a possibility that you COULD homeschool, if you had the “faith” for it.]

Finally, if I homeschool my child, how will I prepare him or her to engage effectively with peers and cultural influences?    [Kris says:  Yeah.  How would you do this?  Sadly, we won’t find out here.]

Last model – I call it the hybrid model – um, different things.  Some of you might be aware of a program called Chieftan, the Chieftan Institute, which is a one-day-a-week program in our area that serves homeschool families, provides a classroom setting where they can come work with a teacher, receive instruction, and then they do class work for the rest of the week.  Um, within our church, a group of parents formed a similar organization last year called the Montgomery Christian Institute.  It meets off site, they’ve recruited teachers to teach certain classes.  It is in a Christian environment.  The teacher really provides tutorial direction for the week, and then the student does the independent learning throughout the week with the teacher’s guidance. 

OK, these kinds of things can be very helpful.  There are online programs.  There are homeschool co-ops, where parents share the responsibility for teaching through the material.  K.  In all of these, the advantages are, first, there is a certain blend of classroom instruction and the homeschool environment.  A certain blend of that, if you like both elements.  You do need to note that the class typically meets once a week with an instructor serving as a tutor who’s directing independent learning.  In a – a 90-minute class once a week, you’re certainly not gonna get the same caliber of instruction from a teacher that you’d get if a class meets four hours a week.  K, you just need to know that.  It’s more of a tutorial program, but it is with a trained teacher who can provide some direction that you may not feel you can provide.  The instructors have a knowledge of and interest in the subject matter.  Um, whereas some homeschool moms are not interested and don’t wanna do it, but they have to because they’re homeschooling  OK, it’s nice to know there’s someone out there who really likes teaching writing and has some experience in that.  It – it does make you feel safer as a parent.  Moderate peer influence.  Moderate because they’re together for a limited amount of time during the week.  It’s pretty minimal.  There is a classroom community there of structure, there are common Christian values, and typically there’s gonna be a lot of similarity in parental standards.

Disadvantages.  The once-a-week tutorial format can be challenging for students who struggle with independent learning.  K, that may be hard for them, they may need more hands-on instruction.  Sometimes the academic standards are lower than in other contexts.  This isn’t across the board.  You would need to evaluate each teacher and each class separately, but sometimes, because it is just once a week, sometimes those standards can be lower.  The curriculum may not be integrated – ah – meaning in the school where we look at – I – in – Covenant Life School, rather, from the years I spent there, we look at the curriculum kindergarten through twelfth grade, and we – we make sure that it all progresses in a systematic way.  The concepts learned in kindergarten are reinforced in first grade and again in second grade and mastered in third grade, and new concepts are introduced in fourth grade, refined in fifth grade, mastered in sixth grade.  You look at the whole K-12 sequence trying to refine and strengthen and reinforce these – these teachings standards.  Whereas when you use one of these programs, you’re picking and choosing, typically.  The science class may not line up with the science class you took last year.  The English class and the history class may not, um, support each other or complement each other.  You’re really taking an a la carte approach to each of the subjects, in most cases.  That can work out fine.  When you compare to a school that has synchronized those courses and integrated them, you see there are real advantages to that. 

This form of schooling is gonna be a little more expensive.  It – it may cost four or five hundred dollars to have your child do an outside class in – in this setting.  You’re gonna have to drive them back and forth.  Ah, if I can quote Rita on this, um, Rita has shared this in – in the homeschool meetings we had for the family schools program, over the years, as her children have gotten into high school, and she’s relied on a lot of other resources to help them, she’s stopped referring to what she does as homeschooling and I think, Rita, you call it home-directed education?  Is that right?  Because this child may be taking a science class at Montgomery College, a history class in a co-op over here, a science class with seven other students with this independent science teacher, and Rita’s job is really to drive them from place to place.  I think she had 27 carpools last year or the year before that.  Um, a lot of driving, a lot of monitoring, and that – I think that model has served Rita’s family very well.  You can ask her more questions.  She’s – her children have gotten a good education that way, and that served the needs of their family.  It’s involved a lot of driving around.  Ah, I know one mom whose email address was “TaxiMom.”  Cuz I think a lot of homeschool moms doing this feel the same way.  All right?  There’s a moderate exposure to worldly values.  It is a peer atmosphere for those limited times each week when they’re together.  You just need to be aware of that, depending on strengths and weaknesses of your child.

Well, questions to ask about this.  Are you prepared to maintain a high level of involvement in the direction and oversight of your child’s education?  [Kris says:  Interestingly enough, Mr. Somerville has already established that anything less is shirking our commitment as Christian parents.  So this question is kind of a no-brainer at this point.]  You are going to be fundamentally involved in overseeing their work, in tracking what they do.  The teacher’s gonna give some direction, but you’re gonna have to do a lot of oversight.  And the same question we asked for one of the other models, what makes this model more attractive than the other alternatives?  You’d wanna have good reasons for doing this versus plain homeschooling or plain Christian school education.  [Kris says:  Or, God forbid, choosing public school.  I guess that “model” isn’t even worth a mention this late in the game.]  What will this accomplish that those other mod – models wouldn’t?  And it may well meet a need that your family has that the others don’t. 

I’m coming down the home stretch.  Stay with me, you’ve been very attentive.  I appreciate that.  I wanna just overwhelm you with a bunch of questions here that I think you can ask about any educational model.  These would be great things to use as you try to evaluate your particular child in this particular season.

How strong is my child’s relationship with God?  How strong are my child’s biblical convictions?  How would my child’s spiritual health be affected by the educational model in question?  How strong is my child’s relationship with us as parents and with our family?  How strong is my child’s commitment to the church?  Are my child’s closest friends inside or outside the church?  That can be important if – if they’re going to a public school and their best friends are at the school, it’s hard to keep them engaged in church life where that’s the case.  That’s why we ask this.  Is my child easily influenced by peers?  How much is my child attracted to the world?  Am I considerate of my child’s preferences without compromising parental leadership?  We need to lead, we need to listen.  Both of those are important, especially as our children get older.  Am I willing to invest financially in a quality education without over-extending?  Am I cheap?  Do I devalue education and I put my money, my financial priorities, elsewhere?  That’s a problem.  On the other hand, do I invest too much in education and not save or give in other places I should?  Maybe I’m over-extending.  That would be a problem as well.  As – as you can see, we still wind up with a perfectly clear answer.  I’m afraid in some cases it’s – it can seem like it’s just muddying the waters, like, “Man, he’s making me think about all these new things I never was worried about before.”  And yet when you stir these all in and pray over them, I think these do lead to a wiser decision.  Have I sought wisdom regarding this decision from a multitude of counselors?  I skipped one.  Are my educational decisions unduly influenced by a desire to please others?  What if everybody in my care group is homeschooling and I’m thinking about Covenant Life School?  Does that influence me too much?  Well that shouldn’t.  Though those should be some of your counselors that you’re listening to, to learn from.  OK?  Don’t let fear of man influence you, but don’t let pride keep you from hearing what they have to say.  What educational model would best help my child develop his or her God-given potential?  Regardless of what educational model I choose, do I see myself as responsible for the education of my child?  And finally – this is the big one – am I personally convinced this is the best option for my child and my family at this time?  And, am I trusting in the providence of God to be a guardrail even if I make a mistake?  OK?  Even if I regret this in the future, am I trusting God that this was His plan?  K?  Now, my hope is that this has at least generated some questions for you.  The index card that I gave you, if you would, um, if you have any questions, write those out and give those to me at the break, which we take in just a minute, so that we can respond to those questions during the Q&A.

Covenant Life Church offers two educational resources for its members.  Um, we don’t offer public school.  We don’t have any yellow school buses, otherwise I’d be telling you about that third one.  I hope that I’ve given sufficient time to that model, and I hope that I’ve made it clear that that is a legitimate option for families in this church under various circumstances.  I hope that’s clear.  Our church only provides two models, and we want to just make sure that you’re aware of those two.  I – in the back, during the break, Jamie Leach will be on this side.  He will be here to answer any questions you may have about Covenant Life School, which is a K-12 day school, he can answer all your questions.  He’s got some information there for you, OK?  On this side, Rita Hoover, who’s got a plant at her table, which makes her table look a lot more attractive than Jamie’s, but Jamie’s dressed very nicely for a guy in this church.  D’ya see this?  He makes the rest of the pastors feel like we’re from Philadelphia or something.  But Jamie, Jamie dresses sharp.  Rita will be over there to answer any questions you may have about our family school program, which is our church’s support program to help homeschooling families.  You can homeschool through the county without being part of that program.  There are some families in the church who do that.  You save a little money on the fee that we ask families to pay.  But Rita can tell you some of the benefits of our program and some of the services that we offer.

Well, I want to close this time by just sharing a few comments about education in a Gospel-centered community.  School choices can be divisive in a community like ours.  I have witnessed or heard about educational turf wars within our church, where people in one educational context will make comments about people in other educational contexts, and vice-versa.  Assumptions, judgments, questions.  “Why did they do this?  What do they believe about that?”  I mean, assumptions that I think are grieving to God and divisive within our community.  I believe every one of us has a tendency to think, “My choice is the best choice, my choice is the right choice.”  I think it helps us feel better about ourselves, and it tends to make us look down on others and to condescend, or sometimes, really, to judge them for what they’re doing.  Well, our mission at Covenant Life Church is to build a community of Gospel-centered people.  We say that every Sunday in the guest reception.  We’re building a community of Gospel-centered people. 

How can we play our part in that when it comes to educational decisions?  Well, three ways.  First, in I Thessalonians 5:11, Paul says, “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up just as you’re doing.”  I wanna encourage you to remember that as parents, if you just look around this room, we’re gonna go out from here and probably we’re gonna wind up in all five of these educational models, at some point.  We need to look at each other and realize, we’re in this together.  We’re committed to the same goals.  We’re trying to accomplish the same purpose.  We’re striving toward the same goal.  Therefore, let’s encourage one another.  Let’s build one another up.  Let’s take an interest in each other’s families.  Let’s cheer one another on as we pursue different models at different times.

Secondly, let’s make charitable judgments of each other.  Let’s assume the best about their motives.  [Kris says:  Why not deal with the root issue here, which is that making judgments of any kind – chraritable or otherwise – is not something that normal Christians believe to be OK when it comes to their fellow believers’ lifestyle choices in areas where we have biblical freedom.]  If they’re making choices for your [sic] family that you wouldn’t make for yours, start by assuming that they’re trying to please the Lord and trying to serve their children.  OK?  That’s a great way to position your heart to judge them charitably.

And third, I wanna encourage you not to shrink back from humble dialog.  Humble dialog.  You may look at another family and have genuine concerns about their choices.  From what you’ve heard or seen, you may question how biblically they’ve processed this whole thing.  You may see bad fruit, or what appears to be bad fruit, in the lives of their children and have concerns.  I wanna encourage you, with those first two categories in place, be willing out of love to open up a dialog with those people.  Do it humbly, express your support, ah, but encourage and exhort to take education seriously.  Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.  Ask them whether they have biblical convictions.  Love them enough to ask those questions, but be humble enough to recognize that just because they do it differently may not mean they’re wrong.  If you serve them with good questions and then leave it between them and God, that’s a healthy way to approach this.  OK?  Humble dialog is important in a community like ours, and I’d just say right now, “I want that, I want you to ask me the hard questions out of love so that I make the wisest possible decisions for my children,” I think we’ll serve each other well and build a community of Gospel-centered educators.

[Kris says:  Here is something – trust me – that truly sets SGM churches apart from those in “normal” Christianity.  It is simply not normal to be watching one’s Christian brothers and sisters with this sort of an evaluating and assessing eye.  If you don’t believe me on this one, take some time to “seek counsel” from other Bible-believing Christians in non-SGM churches.  Ask them how much energy they expend looking at their church friends’ lifestyle choices and questioning them.  I guarantee you that the typical non-SGM Christian acquaintance will look at you like you’ve lost your mind.  They wouldn’t even know what the loaded language of “serving them with good questions” would mean.  In normal Christianity, it’s considered self-righteous and hypocritical to be beaming an analytical eye on others and looking for deficiencies and shortcomings.  Also, it is the absolute antithesis of humility.

If SGM pastors have heard horror stories of “educational turf wars” in their churches, then it seems to me this might flow out of teachings just like this one, where despite lots of talk of openness, there are still definite obvious prejudices and deep-seated beliefs that some educational choices are clearly spiritually superior to others.]

Final promise.  God tells us in Proverbs 3:5&6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” 

Father we ask you to fulfill this promise for us.  We recognize now probably more than ever how many factors there are and how much we need your help.  God, we entrust this decision to you.  We entrust our children to you.  And we pray that you would now guide our steps for your glory and for their good.  In Jesus’ name, amen.