Saturday, June 6, 2009

Home school vs Public school - sort of.

Do you home school or send your children to public school? What are the advantages of home school?
~Parents have curriculum options
~Flexibility of schedule
~Children learn at their own pace
~Children get more one on one time with the 'teacher'
~Special needs kids have a better chance of their individual needs being met at home
~Parents can raise their children in a sort of bubble
~In general, home schooled children have a more rounded education, and top colleges are recruiting from home schooling families.
Not a terrible list. But one pops out at me as being a terrible reason. What is it that we are protecting our children from?
There can be a long, long list. It is a parents job to keep our children safe. "Don't do drugs", "Don't jump off the roof", "Don't play with fire", "Don't talk to strangers".
What do we tell our children to do? What is it that we dream for our children? We want them to be leaders, to be confident, to make good choices. We (Christian parents) want our children to go and make disciples, to live virtuous lives. How much practice do our children have at this in a sheltered environment? When parents claim that they live God centered lives, and that their children are being raised biblically, then example can your children possibly be to them? If our childen are always in the company of 'church' families, with very few exceptions, how are they practicing discipleship? How are they supposed to be a light to the world, when we hide them?
What about the children and the families that are in public school? Let's just assume, for a moment, that all Christian families are pulling their children out of school. That we have decided that the government is forcing to much in the way 'unacceptable morality ' on our children (i.e. homosexuality as normal, sexual education in elementary school that offers birth control, prayer and evangalism as unacceptable, etc.). Okay, so now the local public school is a cauldrin of sin. There are no Christian families sending their children there. No Christian parents attending PTA, or parent information meetings. No Christian parents giving input on curriculum changes, or forming relationships with teachers and other classroom parents. There are no children that have been raised to live virtuously on the playground influencing other children. There are no children in the classroom demonstrating virtues to the teachers.
What now? Have we just told all of those families to go to hell? Have we, of our own accord, chosen who has access to the gospel and a model of a Christ-like life?
If we choose to respond to the crumbling of the institution of public school by avoiding it all together, then we are supporting the decline of our neighborhoods. We are avoiding relationships that we have been instructed to build. Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so that we could put our families in a church bubble, then hope that when they graduate from High School, they will face the troubles of the world with grace.
I am all for protecting my small children from the perils of bad language, lewd behavior, and degraded thinking. Our children age, however. There comes a time when we should be coming along side our children and guiding their choices rather than making choices for them. If your children are not given the opportunity to make choices in a lost world, when parents are there to guide them, then what do they do as young adults?
A few will stick close to what they learned. They will go to a christian college, they will get into the church body and cocoon themselves there. They will attempt to become engaged in some sort of church building ministry. Even fewer will step out into the world with confidence in Christ, mingeling with the 'others'.
Most will drop out of church, if not upon entering college or the workforce, then by the time they are 30. After all, the world is nothing like the one we presented to them for 18 years!
Home school has it's place. It's a good place. It can be a great tool. So can public school.
What is your reason for homeschooling? Or, for that matter, public schooling? Are you putting your family in the way of the tax collectors? Are you influencing, on a daily basis, those that are addicted, prostituting themselves for the desires of the world, looking for something better? Or have you decided that those things are unpleasant and you just don't want to deal with them?

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