Is it ok to use Wednesday night Bible Study at church for doing school homework?

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/10/2012 ( 35 moms have responded )

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I recently found out that my daughter's teacher was allowing them to do school homework during this time instead of teaching a Bible lesson. I feel like this time belongs to God and should be used to learn about him and become closer to him. The Christian Education Administrator told me she was aware of this and that as a homeschool mom I do not understand the children get much homework from the schools. My daughter also has homework everyday. She completes it "at home" where it is supposed to be done. I do not send it to church to disrupt the Bible lesson. Any suggestions?

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Valerie - posted on 02/06/2012

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also, I might add....it would be considered ludicrous to show up to a gymnastics practice, piano lesson, swim lesson, etc and sit and do homework the entire time. so why should a lesson on God and the Bible be any different? I wonder how many of these students have other extra curricular activities they go to throughout the week.

Alisha - posted on 01/16/2012

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I would ask the Bible Study teacher if she is going to teach the Bible and if not, keep your daughter home and read the Bible to her yourself! Obviously this class should be just a supplement to you teaching the Word of God to your children, so if it is a waste of time for your child, don't bother with it.

Linda - posted on 01/11/2012

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Just a footnote: Awana is a non-denominational children's Bible club where the kids memorize a LOT of Bible verses, play games, and have a Bible lesson. There are thousands of them in the US and in about 140 countries all over the world. I think it is the most awesome kids program ever! I like it so much that when we moved, and there wasnt one close by, we started a new one here in New York! You can find out if there is one near you by going to www.Awana.org and clicking on the church locator tab at the top.

Heather - posted on 02/07/2012

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If they want to have a homework session, they should offer a homework session. But if it's called a Bible study, then it should be a Bible study. I know it sounds crazy to make it that simple, but I would recommend asking the church to call it what it is so that people aren't misled. Then asking if they can either have a Bible study or if you should seek elsewhere for biblical leadership.

Victoria - posted on 02/07/2012

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As a Children's Pastor in a small church of about 50 people, personally I find this completely unacceptable. If there is a children's ministries leader or Pastor speak with them, otherwise speak with the lead or senior pastor about it. They are there to learn about God, his word & ways and should not even be bringing home work with them to the bible study.

If this volunteer is unable to meet the mandate of teaching the children then perhaps they should not be give this ministry position.

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Carla - posted on 01/09/2013

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Very nice, Carol. Back on the Early Church days, the Church was the hub of Christian life. They gathered at each other's houses and ate together and fellowshipped. We have sadly lost this because of hectic lifestyles. If the church is centrally-located, why CAN'T a parent or two volunteer to be tutors? With the Internet in our lives, even if someone isn't a genius, they have access to answers for the children's questions.

Dr Dobson said his children had ONE outside activity per child. He and his wife didn't run and drive all week long to get their children to soccer practice, football practice, cheerleading practice, tap, ballet, music lessons, and on and on.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and ask ourselves 'is what we are allowing to happen to our children healthy?' Sometimes a quiet night at home is more beneficial.

Got a little off-track, but all this seems to tie together. If we pare down our lifestyles so we aren't always running on empty, there WILL be more time to get homework done, AND attend Bible studies.

God bless, all

[deleted account]

Let me preface by saying that some children don't have anyone to help them with homework at 'home'. In addition they may be in an environment that is not condusive to studying or research. As members of the body of Christ, we have an obligation to help each other in every aspect of our lives. The time that the teacher was taking may be the only way some children will get their homework done. Most students that attend WED night bible school are also Sunday school students. Therefore usually, they are being fed more than once a week anyway.
I agree with the basic idea of your concern. Bible study time should be used for that. However, there is way to have time to do homework as well.

That being said, instead of demanding that it stop, make an offer of compromise. Why not set aside the last 15 minutes of class for homework questions, assistance with research, etc.? In addition, why don't some of the parents alternate and attend the class to help with that effort. Another option would be to set aside one Wed night a month to cover a particular academic topic, with the students coming prepared with questions.

The real question is what are our obligations to the children. Christ is first of course. But when we get stuck in traditional practices and refuse to open our minds to new ideas, we miss the mark. This does not mean we change the WORD. But just as we use Kindle's instead of Bibles to follow the message; big screen TV's positioned throughout the building to allow everyone to see and hear the service while performing other duties, and multiple services to accommodate the schedules of our members, we must also think outside of the box to teach and train our young people.

All children don't come from the same backgrounds. Things may be perfect at one house, but some deal with circumstances that most could not imagine. Meet the needs of the children and you will be amazed at the results. Just refer to Jesus. He showed many examples of meeting the needs of the people first, then moving into the teaching of the Gospel. We do well to follow His example.

Nancy Jo - posted on 02/09/2012

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I agree. I am going to have to find another church to go to. It is so good to know that many of you feel the same way that I do about this. The time is set aside for learning about our Lord and Savior and that is exactly what I want my daughter to do.

@ Valerie... I like the way you think. My daughter takes ballet, and none of the chidren do homework at ballet class. The instructor would not put up with that.

Angela - posted on 02/08/2012

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Thanks Heather! You have said exactly what I said, several posts ago! Only more briefly and succinctly!



If it's going to be a homework session, then call it something like "Homework Club". If it's to be known as Bible Study, then it should be exactly that!

Valerie - posted on 02/06/2012

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The only time I would be okay with homework in that situation is if there is extra time after the lesson is done. sometimes lessons don't take as long as we plan, and in that case I would be fine with homework being allowed. but it should be rare. I love AWANA! I was in it growing up, and now I help lead it while my kids are in it. it is a truly great program! I too find your pastors response disturbing. We recently had to switch churches because we had seen similar signs of the pastor and members of the congregation were burned out. we stayed and tried to help, but finally we had to go elsewhere. the church we are in now is amazing and doing incredible things for the lord, including awana which services many kids in our community that do not attend church regularly. You're in my prayers! keep us posted about what happens!

Angela - posted on 01/31/2012

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Yeah, Teresa's right. What's the point of sending them to Bible study if they're only doing homework? They can just as easily do that at home. Save your gas!

[deleted account]

When I am sending my girls to Wednesday night Bible study (next school year when they are in middle school).... they will not be doing homework at Bible study.... otherwise what would be the point of not just staying home?



If I was sending my kids to a Bible study that was doing that instead of having a Bible study.... I'd find a different one.

Angela - posted on 01/22/2012

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Brilliant answer from Alisha - just ask the Bible Study teacher - she's the one "teaching" after all!



If she doesn't give the answer you're hoping for, keep your girl at home.



Simples!

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/16/2012

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@ Jennie... that is my whole point too. Thank you, your support is uplifting.

Jennie - posted on 01/16/2012

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Amen to that! If its for a bible lesson it should be a bible lesson. Its sad that we are not teaching kids the word of God the way its supposed to. I would understand if the lesson was over, there was extra time left, it would be fine. But that is unacceptable!

Carla - posted on 01/13/2012

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Yes, Nancy, we will pray God will point you to the place you belong, IF the pastor doesn't respond correctly. I have a feeling when God heard him say that that even HE gasped!



God bless, sweetheart

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/12/2012

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@ Angela... We are actually a small church of about 100 members. The "teacher" is a volunteer and is supposed to be teaching the Bible. I think I stated before that she took it upon herself to let the children do homework. I found out because when I asked my daughter what she learned or what they did in class she kept telling me "nothing". I am going to speak with the Pastor again on Sunday morning. His response does not sit well with me, and I want to speak to him face to face rather than over the phone. I plan to include the idea of taking my daughter elsewhere, if his response is still the same... well my whole family may need to find a new church. Keep us in prayer. Thanks for your help.

Angela - posted on 01/12/2012

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I’m assuming that the Wednesday night Bible study session is for children/teenagers rather than a universal one for ALL Church members? One I attended at my own Church was just Wednesday Bible study and any person of any age could attend. I also get the impression that your Church is quite a large fellowship? Most Church communities I’ve been involved with have been 100 people or fewer – often up to just 50 people. So I’m unfamiliar with very large Church communities.



You describe the person that presents the Bible Study session as a “teacher”. Is this person actually a qualified teacher and salaried or simply a volunteer? A volunteer, up to a point, can set their own parameters within their voluntary service – after all, they’re providing their time and skills for free.



Also there may have been a democratic decision reached on how the children who attend this Bible Study session spend their time. If it’s the wishes of other parents (plus that of the children themselves) that the time be used for homework, and this is a majority decision, then it would seem there would be little you can do about it (other than look for Bible Study at some other venue – another Church!). However with that scenario, it’s incorrect to term this meeting as “Bible Study” since those that go there are NOT actually studying the Bible! If they are going to continue with it as a homework session, then it should be re-named – e.g. “Homework Club”.



I would have very happily attended a Homework Club that was held somewhere other than my own school and much preferred it to doing my homework at home when I was a youngster. My parents would have also jumped at the opportunity to send me somewhere like this where an adult would be supervising. Much better than heading round a friend’s house to do homework together when we’re more likely to play music, read magazines and chat about the issues that teenagers generally discuss. Or the public library where we could just be reading any old book for our own pleasure and entertainment. Also better than doing it at home where other family members (i.e. those without homework commitments) are watching TV, having leisure time or hoovering the floor - thereby making the environment a distracting one! I totally can see why this “Bible Study Group” turned “Homework Club” is very popular! I can well imagine children of non-believers being sent along to take advantage of this useful local resource!



Your minister’s attitude that “it doesn’t always have to be Bible, Bible, Bible” is a bit silly – why call it Bible Study then? Have you tried asking him when exactly it WILL be “Bible, Bible, Bible”? End of semester or half semester break, perhaps? If your own child has nothing to gain by attending (i.e. she’s already finished her homework earlier whilst at home) then why send her? Find another one OR ask them to consider renaming it Homework Club and having a Bible Study Group AS WELL. I can imagine much of this depends on available volunteers to staff such projects. And if the Bible Study Group is going to be run on the same night as the Homework Club, then chances are the vast majority would attend the Homework Club in preference. If the set up with Bible Study sessions being used for kids to complete their homework is bringing in new members your minister will obviously welcome the increase in revenue from tithes & offerings plus the larger Church community that results. Sadly, cold, hard cash will play a HUGE part in this.



A polite discussion with your Minister where you raise these issues might be helpful. If you feel less than confident about this, why not write him a letter? In it you can concede that you understand that the majority preference may well be with having a homework club, you appreciate that this might be a selling point for the Church and you appreciate volunteers are needed for any regular project undertaken at the Church – but you really would like your child(ren) to benefit from being part of a Bible Study group. Ask if he thinks it would be better for your child to find a new Bible Study group at some other Church – where the participants actually study the Bible! That puts the ball in his court to respond.



Good luck!

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/12/2012

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@ Angela... my daughter will be 8 this Feb. I do not think her age is important, at whatever age she should be learning about God during Wed. night Bible study. Right?



I want to thank all of you moms. Everyone has wonderful ideas and it has all helped me. I love this Circle of Moms. I am always blessed when I share my struggles. :)

Natausha A. - posted on 01/12/2012

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I agree that your pastor's response was troubling, to say the least. However, if the teacher is not teaching, then she is not doing her job. It sounds like you could be the light in the darkness. Looking for another church is a good idea, but only after God has released you. I think a good idea would be to use your knowledge and insight and gifting to create an after-school program at your church. You could take time to help kids with homework and tutoring first and then follow with some sort of Bible lesson or Bible based activity. Maybe you could base some of what you do at your church off of the Awana program. That way there won't be any excuses for kids doing their homework during Bible study. If kids still need that extra time during Bible study, have someone take them to the side or in a different room to give them the extra time they need and then they can join the Bible group later. So, find a way to change things for the better. I to believe that if you are the for Bible study, then that is what you should do, but I also know that kids get penalized if their homework isn't done and turned in on time. Both are important. God does understand if you can't do everything, but I think that we should never leave him out. His time is for him. If you can't participate, just don't go. I think it's rude to God to say this time is for you and then you go but give him your full attention.

Carla - posted on 01/12/2012

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I'm going to push the envelope a little further--I find your pastor's response horrifying! If his heart is not after the future members of his congregation, maybe HE is burned out and needs to step down, or talk to the Lord about another church. We entrust our pastors with the most precious things we have--our children. When they are not being fed, especially in their vulnerable teen years, they will starve and wither.



God bless

Angela - posted on 01/11/2012

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How old is the child in question? You never said!



Going to a different Church on a Wednesday evening sounds like a good idea if you're not happy with what's happening in your own Church. Good luck.

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/11/2012

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@ Linda... I am going to look for an Awana group close to our home. That is an awesome idea. Thank you. I also found my Pastor's response lacking.

@ Anne... another great idea for a different church. That really speaks volumes. I am not so sure my husband would agree, he wants us to be together at the same church. So, I would have to convince him to switch. I will keep this in prayer, my approach would need to be loving and concern for our daughter. Thank you so much for your response.

Anne - posted on 01/11/2012

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O.K. I have a little different slant. It sounds like the teacher may be burnt out as a Wednesday Night Bible Teacher. Does this give her a free ride to do what she is doing. I do not think so. Is there anyone else that may be waiting to be asked to teach a class? If not I have to agree with the other moms maybe a different Church on Wednesday Evening. I wish you lived in my town Our church has a wonderful Program for not only our adults, but on each age group. When I say Program I do not mean lots of "bells and whistles". But loving committed Christians that Love The

Lord and want to share His Love Nd The Gospel.

Kelsey - posted on 01/11/2012

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@Linda-I grew up in Awana! I have some of the best memories from Awana and Awana is the reason some verses stayed with me all through my teenage years and younger twenties even though most the time I was not currently faithfully attending church. Although my own children are not in Awana, ages 2 and 4, I make sure that the are memorizing verses. My 4 year old knows at least 5 already. I pray that they will always stay in heart.

Kelsey - posted on 01/11/2012

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I honestly don't see anything wrong with it. It at least gets kids in a safe environment around Christian adults and other like-minded kids. Of course, there should probably be prayers in there and maybe even some scripture memorization. kids need to learn that everything they do should be for the Lord. Whether it is a Bible study or homework. And who knows, maybe the only time they get hmwk support is at church.

Linda - posted on 01/11/2012

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I think coming up with your own activities is a great idea. Here is one more....Have you thought about sending your daughter to a mid-week program at another church? We sent our kids to an Awana program at a different church from which we attended on Sunday morning mostly because it was closer. Many people from other churches have kids at our Awana program on Wednesday night for the same reason, or simply because they like our program better than the one at their church. I think it would be better for your daughter long-term to be with other kids who WANTED to study the Bible. I also have to add that I find your pastor's response somewhat troubling.

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/11/2012

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@ Carla... that is exactly how I feel. So much of God gets put to the side, this is time dedicated to God and should be used as such.
@Linda... yes the teacher is supposed to be teaching a Bible class called Pioneer Club where the children are to learn and memorize scripture and do other fun activities. In my opinion, homework should be done at home. Thank you all so much for your help. I have found out that many church groups are allowing children to do homework instead of learning about God and the Bible. To update: I recently spoke to our Pastor about it, and he said and I will quoate him, "It doesn't always have to be Bible, Bilble, Bible." Not exactly the answer I was expecting. Some of the children only come on Wednesday night, which means they aren't learning about God at all because the class has been turned into a homework hour. As parents, my husband and I have made our daughter a fun Scripture workbook with coloring pages, puzzles, Scripture to memorize and sign language pages to learn to sign the Scripture verses. I cannot have her in Bible class with nothing to do. If the teacher refuses to teach and has the support of the Pastor, than my hands are tied. So, I came up with my own solution to ensure that the time is used to learn about God.

Linda - posted on 01/11/2012

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I guess some clarification would help. What is this Wednesday night Bible class? Is the teacher supposed to be teaching the Bible to kids, but is not doing any teaching? If that is so, then why would you even send your daughter? Or are there other activities involved as well and this is only one segment? If the church is going to offer a Bible class for kids, then they should offer it. If kids have too much homework to participate one night, they should stay home and do their homework. Of course, in my opinion, the church should have AWANA instead of a simple Bible class---the kids will memorize God's world and have fun doing it! (and leave the homework at home)

Carla - posted on 01/11/2012

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I know they give kids a lot of homework. I know that with all the activities it is stressful----however----they can do homework at home, and not have to drive to the church. We have cut Bible studies and God in general, out of so much of our lives, it seems to me that this hour or so that is supposed to be devoted to learning more about our eternal lives is of more importance than getting good grades. Sorry, I think this teacher has missed the mark.

Rebekah - posted on 01/10/2012

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I attended the public school system and when in high school, I did do my homework on Wednesday nights at church. I wasn't the ONLY teenager that did this though. So, because of it, the lesson was shortened, so we could have time to do homework and our pastors would actually help us, while getting to know us more personally.

When I was younger, my mom told all of our teachers in school that if we had homework that interefered with church or family activities and was longer than ONE hour, it would not be complete. But high school teachers did not care if that was my mom's rule and it affected our grades... so we had to do our THREE hours or more of homework.

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/10/2012

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@ Angela... you do make an interesting point. To clear things up a bit for you; my daughter has on average about two and a half hours of homework each day. I give her time to complete it before church, play, or social time. Her Wednesday night Bible teacher has decided on her own to allow the students to do homework instead of presenting a Bible lesson. This leaves my daughter in Bible Class sitting there with nothing to do. I teach Sunday School on Sunday mornings. Sometimes we do art or watch fun movies instead of having a formal class, but I always include prayer and scripture to set the project or movie up. I do not leave God out of what is going on. I want to thank you for your point of view, it gave me a new perspective on how to see this situation, and it helped. You are very kind and helpful, which was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

Angela - posted on 01/10/2012

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H'mmm interesting .... There's another (current) thread on here about a mother who's having difficulties getting her teenage daughter to do her homework!

As a parent, I'd want my kids to do their homework. The social life would be curtailed until she got it done. And, the midweek Church life would be curtailed as well until it was complete. You say your daughter's TEACHER allowed the students to do homework during Bible Study time - so do I assume that Bible Study is part of the SCHOOL curriculum? If so, then the school will set its own rules.

I live in England so not sure about Church and school structures in the US (which is where I assume YOU live?)

Also, I would argue the point that homework is to be done at HOME. It's actually to be done at any time outside the structured school lessons. It may be done during a free period at school, breaktime, recess, lunch hour etc ... even on the transport going to & from school if this is feasible. Doing homework at the public library or school library is another option.

As an adult in full-time work, our company often put us on courses where there are assignments to be completed etc ... I sometimes do these when on nightshift if the demands of my role are few enough at that time to allow it.

I'm from a family that are very PRO education. As a young mother, several years ago, I picked up a leaflet in our Church offering a free correspondence course. This was before the days of Internet and e-mail. I asked my mother, an office worker to get me some envelopes for a correspondence course I was doing. Some time later when giving me the envelopes, she asked what my correspondence course was in. Her face dropped a mile when I said it was Bible Studies! She felt that if I had the time to study and do a correspondence course whilst my kids were very small, I should rather be doing the type of educational course that would stand me in good stead employment wise for when my kids got older!

My neighbours' method of disciplining their sometimes unruly children was to send them to their bedrooms for an hour or 2. I remember them shouting to their oldest girl (about 14 at the time) "...and DON'T be taking your homework up there with you!" Their reasoning was that time out should be a total punishment and very boring - therefore don't take the homework along! In my parent's home they would've INSISTED on the homework going upstairs with the kid!

Just realised that your daughter's homeschooled though! Do you know that I got 2 hours homework study time every evening after teatime from the age of 11 in a UK school? This is NORMAL. Parents want their kids to pass exams and assessments - they want them to get decent jobs and maybe go to University - this is all absolutely normal. A large part of academic success is brought about by the self-discipline of completing homework. Time management skills are also learned in this. But actually getting the homework DONE is the biggest challenge to children. I really feel that the end justifies the means.

A child with school commitments, Church commitments and maybe chores and tasks to do to help around the home will be really pressed for time. When does he/she fit in a social life? This is SO important to kids, especially teenagers. They need time away from the family, the Church, the home and the school to be their own person in order to develop into a rounded adult person.

All work, all pray and no play doesn't make any individual an interesting character.

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