Should Classes at Church Be Based on Age or Grade?
It is a social standard for children to be grouped by what school grade they are in. Although homeschooling allows children to learn at their own pace, some families question if they should place their child in a church class by age or academic grade level.
Home education permits students to develop and learn at their own rate. While extra time can be taken for the child needing to master a new concept, there is no need to hold them back when they push ahead faster than expected. Some kids excel so much academically, they would be in a higher grade by public school standards. This is especially true in the elementary years with early reading students.
Although not every family chooses to participate in children’s church classes, it is available in most churches. The decision of your child’s class level should be made carefully. It’s tempting to move an academically advanced student to a higher grade to keep them challenged. Before making a final decision, consider the long-term affect.
A homeschooled child will likely make friends in any class, as most are accustomed to interacting with individuals of varied ages. As the students progress each year, your child will want to progress with their friends. They will not want to be held back. During the middle and high school years, those friends will be ready for youth groups and new levels of social relationships.
Children experience so much growth and change as they become adolescents. If you choose to have your young scholar continue with friends by participating in a youth group, they will experience more mature topics. Youth groups often engage in discussions with adolescent themes. Younger kids may not be ready, regardless of academic advancement. Additionally, youth ministries often encourage students to evangelism by inviting unchurched friends. Younger students may be exposed to cultural topics a parent would prefer to address.
It can be beneficial to have kids grouped with similarly aged students. Regardless of the academic challenge of a children’s ministry curriculum, God will use it to speak to your child. If a child does not feel challenged with the class lessons and wants more during that time, have them sit with you during service. Later, discuss the teaching as a family.
Although I have always encouraged my children in friendships of varied ages, I believe there is wisdom in keeping a child’s grade level comparative to their age during church classes. Smaller churches often combine grades, so a more challenging class or main service may be better. In larger churches that offer individual classes by age, carefully consider where to engage your child. Prayerfully make the decision that is best for your child while pondering the long-term effects.
Teresa is a wife and busy homeschooling mom. With a passion for writing, she shares the adventures and lessons of her faith, family and homeschool.