Contend Earnestly: Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

My Kid Will Be a Social Misfit

Let’s be honest, if you are a Christian and you raise your child to be Christlike, your child is well on his way in being a social misfit. Saying things like “to live is Christ and to die is gain” is pretty strange and not real socially acceptable. When your child doesn’t sleep in on Sundays but goes to church and listens to a dude talking about a 2000 year old book for an hour is also very odd and not socially acceptable.

So, if you are a Christian we are already in a lot of trouble when trying to be social in this world. What we don’t want to do is set up our kids to be like he is from Leave it to Beaver in a King of the Hill world. I get that. To be honest, I know a ton of homeschoolers, private and public schoolers and all of them are odd in some way. Some homeschoolers that I know are just like you would expect, social misfits that couldn’t hold a conversation with Richard Simmons. Not sure if I could do that either. But, the weird thing is that I see the same thing with public school kids as well. My personal belief is that it is on the head of the parent to get their children involved in other things that interest their child. Get them involved in sports, art, dance, etc. to make sure that the child is able to stay social and on mission for the glory of Christ. If one keeps their child at home and allows very little interaction with the opposite sex and other people with differing views, you are well on your way to building a holy bubble around your child that could very well turn them into a Pharisee with very little social skills. So, to be honest, it has to do more with the family and parents than how one is schooled. Although, this will be much more difficult to accomplish in a homeschool atmosphere than a public or private school one.

By Homeschooling My Child Will Be More Safe

This is only true if you decide to shut the world out from them. Then check misconception number 1 and it will turn into a reality instead of a misconception. Are there crazy things that happen at public school? Sure. But there are crazy things that happen everywhere all the time. Again, it has to do with parental involvement to not merely give their kids a list of “do’s and don’ts” but to give them principles to rule their life so that when those temptations come their way, they know how to answer and respond. I have great conversations with public school kids who come and ask me different understandings of what they should do in certain situations. At a young age they are already understanding how decisions impact the glory of God and not just merely a “don’t do that” mentality. So, don’t think that just because you homeschool your child it is more safe…unless you decide to shut them off from the world, then all bets are off.

By Homeschooling My Child is Taught Only What I Approve Of

At the younger ages, this is totally true. This also depends on how you decide to homeschool, whether it is through co-op, video, or totally dependant on you. Now, I will say that if you are not qualified to teach certain subjects, please don’t act like you can. I will go through more of the subjects that I will struggle with in public school when I get to those posts and how I personally will deal with them.

When your child gets older, there are many thoughts in Christian circles on many different subjects where you might not be qualified to teach. Science and theology are big ones. There are many ideas in science from Christians that are vast and wide, same with theology. You will have to be very careful in what you are going to allow your kids to be taught and be very involved, which is no different than a public school parent. I had one student come to me once, as he learns through video by himself in his room, and was asking me if a certain thing his theology teacher was correct. This guy (teacher) was whack. It was way off and not even close to what the Bible teaches.

So, to a certain age, your child will only be taught what you approve of, but there will be an age to where they will have to be taught by someone else in some fashion. I know there are exceptions to this, but from what I have seen most homeschool parents end up allowing other experts take over at some point. Which I believe is a good thing, but stay involved and make sure that you discuss what your child is learning or you have fallen into the same trap as an uninvolved public or private school parent.

Homeschooling Gives My Child a Better Education

Maybe. This isn’t entirely true. It can be. But I still believe that it isn’t the type of school you are in, but has to do more with the parent’s involvement and the child’s work ethic. If you deeply entrench your child with a God fearing work ethic, they will get the most out of the education that they can. I firmly believe this. I have seen really dumb homeschoolers, very bright homeschoolers, very dumb public schoolers and very bright public schoolers. What is interesting, is that the potential of that child is only reached when the child and the parent put forth the effort. You can try to blame this on the “system” but from all the people I know, the research that I have seen put forth, it is bunk. For every dumb public schooler there is an equally dumb homeschooler.

Final Thoughts

Am I against homeschooling? No. Not at all. Am I against it for my family? Yes. We will not homeschool, period. But that is the answer for my family. What I really want people to be asking and really challenging themselves with is “Why am I homeschooling?” If it does not start with the glory of God and the mission that he has put your family in, I believe you will start living in some sort of idolatry. This is the same with someone who desires to public or private school as well. It must start with Jesus and work down from there. Your first question for your family must be, “We want to glorify God in all we do” the second question always flows from this, “How do we accomplish this?” If the how or the why rises above the first question, you are out of order and have started to lose sight of the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” If you start with “I want my kid to have the best education” or “the public school system is terrible” or “I want to spend more time with my child” you have missed the point of living on mission. We are told that this life is difficult, that we will be hated, persecuted, and that Jesus came with a sword that will separate even families. This is the life you have chosen, errr, that God has chosen for you. This doesn’t mean that if you choose homeschooling that I believe you are not living on mission or that you chose wrongly, but I am praying that you have chosen it not for your kid’s sake, but for the sake of Christ and His glory alone. Do not fear. Do not fear choosing homeschooling your child because you think they will be socially crazy, do not fear that you will be sheltering them, do not fear that they will not have friends. Fear God. Then choose how you will live this out. God should always be first in our decisions, not our children.

37 comments:

Josh R said...

I am not all that impressed with this post.

Are homeschooling kids totally safe? No, but they are safer. Are they total sheltered from outside ideas? No, but the outside ideas are far more forign to them. Do they get a better education? Usually.

We can try to minimize the benefits, but I don't really think these are misconceptions. Homeschooling doesn't get a perfect track record, but I think the statistics bear out that it had a darn good one.

Overall, I think this is a question of control. How much control do you want over your children's upbringing. How much time do you want to invest in them? How much time do you want to spend with them. If you are doing it for these reasons, It is great.. If you are doing it without wanting to make the full effort, it isn't going to work.

I don't think the problem is that the public schools teach things that we don't like so much as they don't teach the right mindset. There is a lot of very subtle mindset differences that make a huge difference in worldview.

The Christian mind should seek to pour it's blessings out as an investment in others - to Love others as we love ourselves. But that is a foreign concept to the culture.. It is all about making yourself better, making yourself successful, Accomplishing something.

The dedicated homeschooling parent demonstrates selfless sacrifice every day in what they do. When I compare discussions I have with secular parents with the conversations I have with Church groups, it is very literally like being in a totally different culture. We just think different.

Kids are born in the other camp. Our job as parents is to do everything we can to win them for Jesus. Now if I submerse them in the culture that is natural to them, when I teach them something revolutionary - Like the gospel - it is going to be easy for them to compare my mindset to their teachers, peers, and cultural infuences, and just write me off as a lunatic.

But if they grow up seeing parents selflessly sacrifice for them, then selfless sacrifice will not seem nearly as crazy.

I am playing devils advocate to a degree here. My kids are in a secular private school now, and there is a good chance that they will be in public schools in a few years. I just think that you are being overly critical - and I don't see a good purpose in your post. I know a lot of homeschooling families, and I don't really think your perception is accurate.

brad ross said...

Dig your point of view Seth!

Todd Janes said...
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ZSB said...

This is actually brilliant, Seth. You didn't blog for almost a month, so to bring the readers back full force, blog a series on something that's sure to get you plenty of huffing, puffing, and downright self-righteous rage (from both sides of the issue).

Well-played, my man. Well played.

Julie said...

Seth,
I believe a child can grown up to hold a Secular Humanistic world view and try to add God in. I believe this is dangerous. I point this out because when you speak about Christian kids being “social misfits,” I want to respond to you by saying only in the secular humanistic sphere. I believe you see the public school setting as a “normal” setting just missing God and you can add the God part in. I believe you are wrong and I say this in a kind and philosophical way. 
A Common Misconceptions About Public Schools: They are neutral about religious things.
Here is what I believe: Secular humanism is a religion. I believe children are indoctrinated with this world view in public schools! Secular humanism has the support and force of law behind it in the public schools! This does not have to be the case in private schools and home schooling
The Secular Humanist world view holds:
• When solving problems or providing guidance for conduct look within. Application of reason is the standard and it is subjective.
• Physical evidence and science are the basis for teaching mathematics, history, literature, science, or even moral and behavior training (Void of God)
The Christian World View:
• God’s word is the standard for solving problems or for guidance.
• God is part of mathematics, history, literature, science, and moral and behavior training.
It turns out, subtly, that when our children go to public schools, what they are being exposed to day by day is secular humanism, they learn that God is not really relevant here. This socialization is not purposeful, it is just what happens. God is not in the stories students read, God’s standards are not the standards for behavior, reliance on God is not spoken about. Textbooks ignore God, And in schools, God becomes something “families” believe. Children in the system become socialized within the system and they learn different rules for different places and people.
Children may get a Godly world view at home but at school, 8 hours a day, they learn the secular humanist alternative to a traditional faith-based world view, they learn to think for themselves 1st and rely on God at home! They are taught to do what is right in their own eyes, a fallacy spoken about in the bible in Numbers 15:39. They see other students and teachers whom do not believe what their parents believe to be God’s standards. God becomes compartmentalized.
This is my warning! A lot of socialization goes on at school no matter what children learn at home and no matter what parents tell them. This is why I believe home schooling and private schools offer a better scriptural choice.
Respectfully submitted,
Julie

Jailer said...

Something to consider about safety: much depends on your neighborhood & public school system. There can be real, daily physical safety concerns when sending your kid to public school. I say this as a guy who spent his junior high years in a school with iron gates, not-very-helpful security guards and near-daily violence.

That's what makes this conversation so situationally dependent, as you have alluded to. I do agree with some of the previous posts, however, that some of your assertions seem to call out for statistical support.

Karen Cook said...

Amen, Todd and Julie! I wholeheartedly agree with everything in your posts. I’d also like to comment on a couple of Seth’s points.

Seth commented, “I have great conversations with public school kids who come and ask me different understandings of what they should do in certain situations.”

I believe that the majority of homeschooled kids would go to their mom or dad, not their youth pastor or friends, with questions about what they should be doing in a certain situation. Of this I am quite certain: homeschooling is the best way to built a deeply intimate relationship with your child, especially in the junior high and high school years, to really get to know how your child thinks, her strengths and weaknesses, and where her heart lies. When teenagers spend inordinate amounts of time together in classes, small groups, or cliques, the opinion of their peer group becomes their main concern. While they may hesitate to share “embarrassing” thoughts and questions with their parents, they are usually quite comfortable talking with their friends about serious matters and, more frighteningly, taking the advice of these sometimes foolish young people! Very seldom in the public school world do you see kids who enjoy spending time with their parents – not just at home watching TV, but going shopping, going to movies, playing sports, or just hanging out – many non-homeschooled kids would much rather be with their friends. But because homeschoolers have developed an intimate relationship with their parents, they actually enjoy being with their parents and they couldn’t care less if it’s “cool” or not.

Seth said, “Am I against homeschooling? No. Not at all. Am I against it for my family? Yes. We will not homeschool, period. But that is the answer for my family.”

Never say never, my friend. As the mom of four daughters – three public schooled, one homeschooled – I can well remember thinking that I would not homeschool, period. I truly believed that homeschoolers were just too weird – how could you possibly spend 24/7 with your kids, wouldn’t that drive you crazy? How will they ever learn independence? What about socialization? What about being salt and light in public school? Well, the Lord had other plans for our youngest daughter, and He turned this homeschooling skeptic into a homeschooling advocate. I now look back and wish I had homeschooled my older daughters.

To use your own point, Seth, what I really want people to be asking and really challenging themselves with is ”Why am I public schooling?” If it does not start with the glory of God and the mission that He has given your family, I believe you could start living in some sort of idolatry . Your first consideration must be, “We want to glorify God in all we do,” and the question that comes from this is, “How do we accomplish this?” If the how or the why rises above the first consideration, you are out of order and have started to lose sight of the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” If you start with, “I want my kid to have the best education,” or “the homeschool system is terrible,” or “I want my child to be salt in light in the public school system,” you have missed the point of living with a mission. God should always be first in our decisions, not our children or our own educational comfort zone.

And, Seth, if at some point you discover that God has a different educational plan (or educational mission, if you will) for your family, I have some really delicious recipes for crow that my husband and I have enjoyed over the years. ;o) Love you, brother.

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Julie said...

You know, as I think about this more and more I have figured out SETH IS RIGHT! Seth said “The danger of the removal of all Christians from public schools is to remove the Christian voice against the darkness of this world.” HE IS RIGHT!!!!

It is the “CHRISTIAN VOICE” that has been removed from the public school! Christians can and are there but their “Christian voice” can’t be and isn’t, has been silenced already! Christian teachers can teach in the public schools and they do, but they cannot teach with their Christian voice. Christian students can be in the public school but not their Christian voices!

It is the “CHRISTIAN VOICE” we have allowed to be silenced and that is why Christian kids and Christian teachers have has so little affect on turning the public schools around. And that is why I do not believe public schools are the best choice for Christian children! You see I found teaching in the public schools, I could not change things, I could not make things better even though I really wanted to because I could not use my “CHRISTIAN VOICE” – that was out of bounds!

Josh said...

You never cease to amaze me with your topics and the responses you get. I think your views are Christ-centered and worth blogging about.

Good series!

djplb said...

Todd Janes' post was more right on than yours Seth, no offense, but I am just curious, How can you take such a strong position on something you have so very little experience with? Honestly...the only reason I could find probable is that the Holy Spirit may have planted a seed inside of you and you are playing Devils advocate. The homeschooling experience falls on the mother primarily and I bless all of those mothers out there praying to be pure vessels of Gods words and teachings. Public School and State College is no place for A Christian - you are planting a Sunflower in a field of thorns I am not saying that a child cannot flourish for only God . Christian Homeschoolers are less worldly, I can save us but would rather give my son a taste of heaven then expect him to overcome the temptations of hell. I also agree with a comment on your last post involving sending out young men and women as Christian soldiers - Jesus was how old when he entered the world to preach? Faith, Prayer, understanding the word, and love are our armor and weapons and they are no where to be found in public school in fact they have been abolished.

Seth McBee said...

I have read through most of the comments and what I find interesting is that for the most part, the die hard homeschool crowd refuses to publically acknowledge the hardships of homeschooling, but finds and exaggerates the facts with public school. That is what I have found with this.

What I have also found is that the public school people that I know that have a purpose and mission for their family to choose public school for the glory of Christ, still see why homeschool and private school makes sense and can glorify Christ for other families.

I say this because I have had some private conversations where someone told me their intention of public schooling thier kids a few years back and were made the outcasts at their church and were fired upon like crazy for being so stupid.

I have also had some private discussions with homeschoolers who have enjoyed the posts, but have asked not to be mentioned because they don't want to be ostracized for their agreement with the public school mission for families.

I have also noticed many people saying that the public school decision isn't a sin but is up to each family, but when all is said and done, if you describe a duck thoroughly and then say it isn't a duck, that doesn't remove the facts...it seems like the way the public schools are put forth and the demeaning language that comes against public school parents, someone needs to have the balls to say that I am in sin for deciding this for my family.

Logically, many of the arguments that have put forth will not hold water as we continue throughout this discussion.

I highly thank all who comment, and ask that you continue to do so. I am surprised as well, how much people hate public school, and the hatred that is shown against those who choose to put their children on mission as a family by public schooling them.

One correction I will make...is safety for the child.

Ray brought up a great point by pointing to the extremes of safety in schools...every school is different, which I agree with and I was thinking more of non-voilent safety, which I did not put forth in any way. I understand how that could have sounded like a real dumb thing to put forth.

My thinking was more in line with spiritual and moral non violent safety.

Hope you are all doing well, and I am not surprised that no homeschool people found this post to be helpful. Because it seems that there is nothing wrong with homeschooling based on many of the comments I have received...just a thought.

And...I am very qualified to write on this topic as I have been involved more in understanding homeschooling than most would figure.

Julie said...

Seth, In your posts,you have also seen many posts from parents who, like you, confidently put their children in the public schools for 12 long years, and like you were very confident that choice was the best choice and were very involved with their children and who now wish they never had made that decision! You have heard from public school teachers and public school students whom look back and say be very careful. We don't hate public schools! We care very much for them and have put many many years of effort into serving the public schools. We are very concerned with the environment. I for one have seen no hatred in any of the posts against you or anyone who chooses to put their children in the public schools. I feel all the posts have been very respectful and I am not sure where you see hate?

Todd Janes said...
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Seth McBee said...

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Seth McBee said...

Julie.

I wonder what your response would be if I used the same tactics and attacked homeschooling. But that isn't my point, because I don't find anything wrong with homeschooling as long as God's glory is put first and foremost and Christ is the center of the decision and his fame is what is sought.

Every public school person that I have spoken to has been appalled at a lot of the comments. Sadly, some of those warned me that this would happen if I decided to get into this series.

Todd Janes said...
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Seth McBee said...

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poopemerges said...

Tomorrow I would love to weigh in on this...but until then I will just pray that some of you who seem to worship your kids will be convicted that God and not your family is at the center of the universe and his will and his glory not your kids protect is what must come first. Hschoolers can sling mud all they want but as I read your arguments all I read is people unconvinced of the worth and Glory of God and unconcerned for his reknown. You seem to have no will to follow Jesus where ever he may lead, only the will to ensure a better piece of enculturated Americaized crap Christianity.

This is not to say that a Holy Person could not homeschool...only to say that all of the above arguments are based not on the Glory of God and spreading the knowledge of him leads us as captives...but on worry and mongering and other things that are an affront to his sovereignty and goodness.

Peace,

D

S

Todd Janes said...
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Karen Cook said...

On hate:

Seth, I am sensing lots of anger towards homeschoolers from you. It seems as though you have encountered those types I sometimes call “homeschool Nazis.” These are the “righteous” folks who believe that they have somehow received a special revelation from God. They believe that if you aren’t homeschooling, then you’re in blatant disobedience towards God. These types are a disgrace to homeschoolers – to Christians – everywhere. They are on a par with legalistic Christians who condemn anyone who watches TV, goes to R-rated movies, has a glass of wine or – gasp! – dances!! As it is unfair when non-Christians group all Christians into this same stereotype, it is also unfair for you to group all homeschoolers into the same stereotype.

In none of the previous posts has anyone said they hate public school or families who decide to put their children into public schools. We are simply pointing out the dangers of doing so and the reasons why we chose to homeschool our children. And you pretty much set yourself up to be challenged when you make statements like, “I cannot foresee any reason that I would ever homeschool or private school my children. I am pretty set on public schooling them. I know all the ins and outs of this, have my whole life and still very involved with those who public school their kids. So, I come in this with some conviction already.”

I’m wondering why you even put this subject up for discussion when you have so obviously made up your mind and firmly believe you are right. Were you hoping to change the minds of homeschoolers or were you just hoping to gain more support for your choice? Again, I’m not sure where the anger and the feeling that homeschoolers hate your choice is coming from. Are you just angry because we disagree with you?

You quote your public school friends as saying, “Every public school person that I have spoken to has been appalled at a lot of the comments. Sadly, some of those warned me that this would happen if I decided to get into this series.” I would be interested to know exactly which comments were appalling to them. Was it that we pointed out that public schools teach from a secular humanist point of view? That God is offensive to the public school system and has been purged from the classroom? That homeschoolers have chosen to remove their children from this ungodly atmosphere? That we don’t believe children are called to be soldiers for Christ?

You say, “I am surprised as well, how much people hate public school, and the hatred that is shown against those who choose to put their children on mission as a family by public schooling them.” We don’t hate anyone. What we do hate is this godless and sinful society we live in. We also believe that while our children are young, our family’s mission is raising up a godly generation. Our mission field is our children.

I’m just not “feeling the hate” for public schoolers from any of the previous posts. Once again, homeschoolers don’t hate families who feel convicted by God to enroll their children in public schools. You will find no greater advocate than homeschoolers to defend the right of a parent to raise and educate their children in the way they see fit. In these posts we have simply explained our reasons for making the homeschooling choice for our own families. And might I point out, by making this choice, we are daily challenged about our decision. We are ridiculed, challenged, belittled, and sometimes even hated -- by the public school system, by politicians, by our society, and even by some in the church. Homeschooling isn’t an easy choice, but for our family it is the only choice.

I have some other points, but am constrained by the number of characters allowed in an individual post, so I’ll post this one and start another. Thanks so much, Seth, for putting forth this thought-provoking subject. If nothing else, it has helped to energize me for my final year of homeschooling by reminding me of exactly why I’m doing it.

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Karen Cook said...

On Children as Missionaries:

You said, “The point is My family listening to God in how we can glorify and enjoy God most, and you try and answer this for me. You try and weigh things for me and try and tell me that it isn't about Gods sovereign mission for my family but more about the goods outweighing the bads . . . If we did things that way we would have zero missions in dangerous countries. Is it hard to go through the public school system? Yes no doubt . . . can you tell me that the good outweigh the bad? Not for my family and the sovereign vision of mission he has given us. For whatever reason most hard core homeschoolers just don't get this . . . and it's sad. It's not about my family, but it's about God and his glory.”

And, “Is there any trust in where God has put people? Is there any trust that God has a mission for people in all kinds of dangerous situations? I wonder what the response is from you guys where missionaries are in dangerous places around the world and in the ghetto?”

And, “I don't see my kids as my own, but God's. I see them and my wife and my own life as God's, and if we have to die or suffer great consequence because we are putting forth the glory of God among the nations for the sake of Him alone, I am okay with that.”

I find a flaw in your reasoning in that you seem to feel that your family - - your family, not just you and your wife - - have a mission in the public school. Can you please point me to Scripture that states that God sends children into the mission field? Can you show me where God gives entire families a mission? Last time I checked, God has no grandchildren. He deals with individuals who have made a commitment to Him. Just as your children are not saved simply because you are saved, I don’t believe that children have a mission simply because their parents do. But I could be wrong and I am willing to consider your Scripture references.

If, however, you feel your mission is to serve the Lord and risk your life, God bless you. But you can never convince me that it is okay to endanger your children - - God’s children - - to do that. My personal feeling is that missionaries with children should never be serving in a place where their children are in physical danger, nor should they ever park their kids in missionary schools while they go away and serve in dangerous situations. There are plenty of single and childless missionaries who are called to do that work. Children are a blessing from the Lord, not puppies. Our responsibility as parents is to protect and nurture those children and train them up to serve the Lord.

You say, “I can't believe that your case is open and shut with the thought that if the child isn't saved then we shouldn't put them within public schools. Have you ever done any studies of the families in the Old Testament?”

One of the things that convinced me that I should pull my daughter out of public school was the experience of the Israelites in the Old Testament. Many times when the Lord gave a city into the hands of the Israelites, He instructed them to kill every person - - and sometimes the animals! - - in the city before they inhabited it. God was basically telling them to purge the city of every evil influence.

Joshua 23:6-13, I Corinthians 15:33, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Psalms 1:1-2.

In my opinion, sending your children to public school for 6 to 7 hours, 5 days a week is tantamount to yoking them together with unbelievers. Your children will be spending hours each week under the authority and teaching of godless people. Until they are grown and able to make their own choices and decisions, it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure that they are kept separate from fellowship with unbelievers.

I’m open to argument with Scripture to back it up. I’m so enjoying this discourse!

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Karen Cook said...

On Homeschooling:

You say, “It seems like the way the public schools are put forth and the demeaning language that comes against public school parents, someone needs to have the balls to say that I am in sin for deciding this for my family.”

In none of the posts does anyone ever use demeaning language against public school parents, unless you consider stating facts about public schools to be demeaning language. And I indeed have the ovaries ;o) to say flat out that if you are deciding to send your kids to public school because you have pridefully decided that you are going to do just that, period, then, yes. You are in sin for deciding that for your family. In my many decades on this planet and as a Christian for over 30 years, I have learned that it is wise not to stomp your foot and say, “Never.” In my life, God has delighted in putting me in places I swore I would never be - - like homeschooling, for example - - and He has blessed me and used me for His glory when I yielded my will to His. But if you have prayerfully considered all of your options for educating the precious possessions with whom God has entrusted you, then, no. You are not in sin.

My three adult daughters graduated from public school. I have homeschooled my fourth for the past 10 years. I know what I’m talking about. My three publicly-schooled daughters were raised in a committed Christian family. They attended church and youth group every week. The younger two even had the privilege of an outstanding youth pastor who challenged them to live for Jesus. Perhaps you know him? Jason Katen? But I wholeheartedly believe that they were all negatively impacted by their public school years.

My oldest (the non-Katen-ized one) was always a rebel. She was the one who kept us on our knees. And although she was bold enough to stand up to one of her teachers and - - in class! - - challenge her views on abortion being taught in the classroom, pointing out the absurdity of the teacher’s statement that she’d rather have an abortion than give her baby up for adoption, this same daughter was lured away from God for a time and fell in with the rebellious kids she met at school. Yes, she could have met these kids at places other than public school, but it is my firm belief that had we homeschooled her and protected her from the evil and temptations readily accessible at school, she might have developed a stronger character and been more capable of resisting evil when she was older. (And there is a happy ending to this story, she’s 31 now and was baptized two months ago!)

My other two publicly-schooled daughters were always on fire for the Lord. They went on mission trips to Mexico, attended Bible studies, worked in Awana and VBS, and volunteered at church. They spoke openly about their faith at school. They witnessed to many unsaved kids, stood up for their beliefs, and challenged unbiblical teaching in the classroom. But these same two daughters repeatedly came to me and urged me to homeschool their little sister. They didn’t want her to be exposed to the things they saw at school every day - - drugs, violence, sex, teen pregnancy, the assault on God being taught in the classroom - - things that robbed them of their innocence and, in some respects, their purity. It was a deciding factor in our choice to homeschool our youngest. And today, both of them are considering homeschooling their own children, or having Grandma help out.

So I’m just saying that even though you are equipping your children to serve in the mission field of public school, there is no guarantee that, depending on their temperament and character, they won't be swallowed up by the evil of this world and turned away from God.

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Julie said...

Seth,

By you comments, you seem to be under the miss conception that I am a home school parent and thus, my opinion of public schools are hateful and thus not valid. I was not. When my oldest son entered kindergarten I was confident like you! I was warned by a very dear friend the I should home school my children but I told her no! I knew there were some concerns about public school but I would be there with my children in the public schools and I would be involved, I would be in the world but not of the world with my children. I was a good Christian and a good parent and no one loved their children more than I! I have walked in your shoes.

Another comment you made leads me to believe that you believe that children whom have problems in school usually have parents whom are not involved with their children and I say that is not the case. Being involved does not guarantee you children will do well by the school’s standards. Some students are just not cut out of that mold! You cannot tell today how your children will do!

With my children for 15 years, I spent my time in the public schools. I was in the schools with my children. I guess you can say I was really part of the schools. I volunteered in my children’s classrooms very, very regularly and I knew all their teachers very well and I know what was going on. I was the head of the PTA at all the schools my sons went to until Junior High, I was the school librarian for a while when the librarian had to be away. I was involved.

I am a very deep hearted person and I was in the public schools to help. I worked with struggling students when I was in the schools. I worked very hard! One of those struggling students was my son. I worked with other parents who’s children were struggling and I learned a lot. When my children got to Junior High and High School, parents were no longer needed or really wanted at that time in the classroom to help. I was very good at helping in the elementary schools and I had a lot of experience so I went back to college and got my teaching certificate. I taught in public school for 7 years. Always my focus was on the struggling students and this is the environment I know best. I worked very hard to make sure no one failed.

Julie said...

There were some problems in the schools that I had to live with if I wanted to teach in the public schools. There were policies set by law that I believe were not helpful for all student. Teachers, principals, school boards and even very involved parents like you… could do nothing about some problems because it was law. The Christian Voice is not a standard in the public schools, that is set by law. Many books your child will read, you will view as not appropriate but the school does not have to listen to your concern that morally your Christian standards do not fit. They don’t care! They are morally neutral, that means many time any thing goes and if you don’t like it, tough! This does affect education.

Where a student finishes in his or her class does affect the environment of the public school too. By High School, classes are pretty divided between the good students and the not so good students. In classes like “Videos as Literature” you have a very different culture than you do in the college bound literature class.

Policies are set by law as to behavioral problems and all children have a right to be taught in the least restrictive environment available. This law does have an effect on the behavior of students in the school system. That means that teachers cannot remove children from many classrooms if they have an IEP even if the teacher and students are endangered. This is a big stretch to say but I know from experience it is true. Teachers cannot restrain students even in dangerous situations… the list goes on. Legally teachers hands are tied and legally they sometimes cannot use common sense in some critical situations. Children whom need a lot of help become empowered and you wonder who is in control. Yes, you can be there as an involved parent, but without a change of laws, you cannot change things. The things I am saying are not politically correct I know but they are true. When I was teaching, we could not ability group students and teach. We did not want students to get pigeon holed as dummies and so all suffered. This was not a teacher choice, or a school choice, it was a school district choice. This was educational philosophy and unquestionable. It has softened up over the last few years but I am sure there are others.
Cont.

Julie said...

Do I hate public schools? No, absolutely not! I care deeply for public schools! I care deeply for the children and for the many teachers who teach in the public schools, they have a hard job. I appreciate all that those loving teachers do. But as I have said, there is a progressive philosophy in the public schools, especially in the later years that legally even involved parents cannot change today. This philosophy may be subtle but it is there and I believe it should be a concern to Christian parents.

As for your Christian voice in the schools, you can try! You can try and battle but they have the power! They have the legal position behind them. You can make your stands but they get to decide!

I wish you luck! I have not in any way meant to be hateful! I have only tried to share perspective, Karen Cook has only tired to share perspective, Todd Janes has only tried to share perspective. Really we have all tried to say many of the same things with different words. We can hear what each other are saying! I am thankful for most of the posts I have read. They are loving and kind and thoughtful to those who really have the ears to hear.

Yours in Christ from those whom have been in the world,

Julie

Julie said...

Seth, You say

"You guys are still proving my points...homeschooling in your point of view is the only choice.

I know of no God fearing public school parents that would say the same about public or private schooling. "

Seth! I am a God fearing public school parent! Karen is a God fearing public school parent! Darla is a God Fearing Public School parent! I am kindly wondering what are you talking about???

Josh R said...

I do think that our children can become idols and we can put them ahead of God..

While that is possible, I don't think it is typical.

Remember that raising godly children is a prerequisite to eldership Titus 1:7. God sees this as being very important. Our best testemony to the world is how we love our wives and children.

As such, I see this as my responsibility first and foremost. Now I can delegate it, but must do so very, very carefully.

I think this is the core disagreement. Many of us see homeschooling as being the default option, while the culture sees public school as being the default option.

Anonymous said...

wow, I can't believe all the people that are so fired up about this. Rather than repeating the same arguments over and over for a week, people need to move on. Saying the same thing to me 40 times dosen't make it sound any better, my 3 year old can do that. I think everyone needs to stop trying to be right and pray for eachother and our kids. Also to understand that when we talk about sending children to PS to witness that doesn't always mean standing on a stage reading the bible. We witness through our actions, words, and love for others. So while my 6 year old may or may not be saved he can still witness through his life at school. I love my children but they are not mine, I can not make choices for them based on fear. Even though I may want to. God is in control he knows my sons paths and what is going to happen along the way. My job is to help guide them and comfort them when they fall cheer for them when they succeed and love them until they die. I am tried of feeling like if I send my kids to school I am some how giving them the short end of the stick. So if he lays on my heart to send them to PS to WITNESS yes WITNESS, I answer to Him. It is not my responsibilit to please those around me, as I don't seen to by very good at that. Sorry if I sound harsh, but I am not as nice as my husband. God's kids, His control, my trust in Him and His direction for there lives not matter where they go to school. Everyone needs to chill out. I am sure you will all have comments on how I don't know what I am talking about and didn't use scripture or whatever, but don't really care. I love my kids and God has given my such a blessing to be their mother. And at the end of the day I have to trust the Lords choices for us, not others opinions or bad experiences in the PS system.

Anonymous said...

wow, I can't believe all the people that are so fired up about this. Rather than repeating the same arguments over and over for a week, people need to move on. Saying the same thing to me 40 times dosen't make it sound any better, my 3 year old can do that. I think everyone needs to stop trying to be right and pray for eachother and our kids. Also to understand that when we talk about sending children to PS to witness that doesn't always mean standing on a stage reading the bible. We witness through our actions, words, and love for others. So while my 6 year old may or may not be saved he can still witness through his life at school. I love my children but they are not mine, I can not make choices for them based on fear. Even though I may want to. God is in control he knows my sons paths and what is going to happen along the way. My job is to help guide them and comfort them when they fall cheer for them when they succeed and love them until they die. I am tried of feeling like if I send my kids to school I am some how giving them the short end of the stick. So if he lays on my heart to send them to PS to WITNESS yes WITNESS, I answer to Him. It is not my responsibilit to please those around me, as I don't seen to by very good at that. Sorry if I sound harsh, but I am not as nice as my husband. God's kids, His control, my trust in Him and His direction for there lives not matter where they go to school. Everyone needs to chill out. I am sure you will all have comments on how I don't know what I am talking about and didn't use scripture or whatever, but don't really care. I love my kids and God has given my such a blessing to be their mother. And at the end of the day I have to trust the Lords choices for us, not others opinions or bad experiences in the PS system.

Julie said...

Dear Anonymous,

Why do we keep writing? Because like the author of this blog has suggested, if we really believe in something important we should “CONTEND EARNESTLY.” I agree with you I have spent way to much time on this and tried to say the same things 40 different ways (to me that is what contending earnestly means) but the author has told us he has enjoyed our responses and has asked us to continue to “CONTEND EARNESTLY” and we have thought we had something of value to add. If something is not important and you don’t care, then you don’t put much time into it.

If this was my blog, I would have started with Deut 6:19 as this was the guiding verse I often turned to and I would wonder what God meant about teaching your children. I think that is where the real difference has come between me and the blog author. The author of this blog is concerned about being diligent in teaching his children to be witnesses to the world and this is certainly a Godly goal and there is no argument there.


Deut 6:1-9
1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,
2 "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.
3 "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you--' a land flowing with milk and honey.'
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Cont.

Julie said...

9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(NKJ)


Prov 22:6
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
(KJV)



For me, when these verses say: “teach them diligently to your children, when you walk with them and talk with them and sit with them, in your house, as you walk by the way, as you lie down, and as you rise up…” I have interpreted that to mean all the time! And I have interpreted that to mean all of God’s commandments and the fear of the Lord. When the verse says "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates….” I have interpreted that to mean keep them ever present before your childrens eyes. I don’t see this being done at the public schools and this is a concern to me when being obedient to this verse. This is the train of thinking I see the bible asking us to do when it comes to train up our children. I believe we add academics to this training to be tools to be used in this training. We learn to read to read the bible and learn from God. Yes, academics have their place and are important in our daily lives, but I believe it is this Godly training that is so important to God and from this verse, I believe it shows that it is a long term, full time job, an all day job that can be done in private schools and home schooling. (Notice I say can and not will!  ) I am very much concerned in training children up so they will walk in the ways of the Lord Prov 22:6 as I am sure you and the author of this blog are and from Deut 6:1-9, I see this as a full time job though I see no requirement for you to hold the same understanding. cont.

Julie said...

And so Anonymous, it is not fear I am running from in the public schools as you have suggested, but the constant reminders and training before the eyes of our children that I see as what God has asked us to do.

Anonymous, you have said “I am tried of feeling like if I send my kids to school I am some how giving them the short end of the stick. So if he (God) lays on my heart to send them to PS to WITNESS yes WITNESS, I answer to Him. It is not my responsibility to please those around me,”

I agree with you! No one has said anything about you! No one said “your kids will get the short end of the stick”. No one has said any thing anywhere about YOUR responsibility or rated you or your husband on this issue or as parents. It is totally up to you and the Lords leading.

The author has asked us for council about how we see God’s word directing us in this manor and he has asked us what we believe God would lead us to choose and why. If you are not interested in our opinions, why are you reading this blog?

Your kids are God's kids, God is in control, and your trust in Him and His direction for your children’s lives does not matter where they go to school. These are all very true statements but the topic of the blog was “How should I school my kids” and “Should I home school my kids?” These were the questions, not are you a good parent! The question was not is it sin to send Christian kids to public schools….You would have seen very different responses.

You say “I love my kids and God has given my such a blessing to be their mother.” And I am thankful for that. You say “And at the end of the day I have to trust the Lords choices for us, not others opinions or bad experiences in the PS system.” And I agree! I have not judged you or even spoken about you and wish you only the best.

And now Anonymous, I will chill out. I have done my best. I care very much for the blog author and for you and for all Christian children and judge no one. I have “CONTENDED EARNESTLY.”

Karen Cook said...

Julie, your comments are spot on and I completely agree with you. I, too, am just about done with this topic and look forward to the new installment from Seth! :o) I do have just a couple of things I would like to comment on and then I will have said everything I can on the subject.

Anonymous said, “Wow, I can't believe all the people that are so fired up about this.”

We are not fired up, just passionate! As those of you who don’t homeschool have already discovered, both on this blog and out in the real world, homeschoolers are a passionate bunch. For most of us, we firmly believe that the Lord has led us to homeschool our children, and as with anyone who is convicted by God to serve in any capacity, we must serve with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength, and as Julie said, we must contend earnestly for that belief.

Anonymous said, “Also to understand that when we talk about sending children to PS to witness that doesn't always mean standing on a stage reading the bible. We witness through our actions, words, and love for others. So while my 6 year old may or may not be saved he can still witness through his life at school. I love my children but they are not mine, I can not make choices for them based on fear.”

I hope that any Christian who enrolls their child in public school is doing it because both they and their children have that conviction. Because to put your kids in public school for any other reason would be in disobedience to God. It is my contention that you must consciously and prayerfully consider the many educational options available for your family and then make the decision to place your children in public school because you feel God has commanded you to do so. It must never be because it’s the easy thing to do (because following God’s will is many times the hard thing to do), or because you feel ill-equipped to do otherwise (because God will equip you to do whatever He requires of you), or because it is what everyone else expects you to do (because serving God doesn’t take into consideration what people think, but only what God thinks). If you and your spouse have prayerfully brought your decision before God and believe with all your heart that the Lord is leading you to place your child in public school, then praise the Lord! Now your mission begins.

I must admit that this is the first time I have ever encountered public school parents who firmly believe that the Lord has led them to publicly school their children in order for their children to be witnesses, and it’s actually given me much to think about. I have heard the argument many many times before that parents want their children to be salt and light at school. But to believe with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength that the Lord has actually given your family the mission to send your children to public school to witness is wonderful. I only pray that you have included your children in your prayerful decision. Do your children believe that they are called by God to be witnesses for Christ in public school? Is this their mission in obedience to Him, or is it your mission for them? Are they aware of what their mission is? If your child is not saved, what would he be witnessing for? Have you equipped your child to contend for the faith in a public school setting?

Continued . . .

Karen Cook said...

As a mother who has seen three daughters through public school, I just want to let you know that you have your work cut out for you. You will need to be an advocate for your child every day. You’ll need to get to know your child’s teachers (about six of them each semester when they hit junior and senior high school). You’ll need to monitor what they are being taught each day and many days will need to re-teach, clarify, or biblically dispute what they have been taught in school. You’ll need to read their textbooks. You’ll need to be prepared for hostility from some teachers who will question your authority to supervise what they are teaching your child. You’ll need to be prepared to pull your child out of classes that teach about evolution, homosexuality, or sex education, and be prepared to be criticized for that choice by teachers, administrators, other students, and your child. You’ll need to gird up your child for battling the world each day, preparing them to be ridiculed by many students and sometimes by teachers, and to be challenged for their beliefs. You’ll need to daily remind them of what God says about the things that they will be exposed to every day, issues of modesty, purity, sex, drugs, homosexuality, other religions, temptation, respect for authority, violence, the authority of their parents, unwholesome speech, putting their own self-esteem above all, the list is endless, and many of these things will come from teachers and/or be supported by school policy and the law. You’ll need to know who they are eating lunch with every day, who they hang around with between classes, who is influencing them and may be enticing them to sin. You’ll need to explain to them why their teachers are wrong, but that they still must respect them. You’ll need to help them when they are torn between believing what they are being taught at school and what they are taught at home, because sometimes those things will be polar opposites.

In so many ways the job of a parent of a publicly-schooled child is so much more difficult than the job of a homeschooling parent. But it will bring you to your knees every day and constantly remind you that God is in control of whatever situation your child may be placed in. As Anonymous said, “God is in control he knows my sons paths and what is going to happen along the way. My job is to help guide them and comfort them when they fall cheer for them when they succeed and love them until they die.” But as it says in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, your job is not only to guide them, but to “teach them diligently” about the word of God. As long as you are doing this every day, then you are doing your job.

Anonymous said, “I am tried of feeling like if I send my kids to school I am some how giving them the short end of the stick. So if he lays on my heart to send them to PS to WITNESS yes WITNESS, I answer to Him. It is not my responsibilit to please those around me.”

No one in any of these posts has meant to imply that you would be giving your children the short end of the stick if you send them to public school. Those of us who are older and have experienced firsthand having children in public school only want to warn you of the many dangers you will encounter, caution you to be very certain that you and your children are, indeed, called by God to do so, and encourage you to contend earnestly for your calling.

God bless all of you as you raise your children. I welcome your comments directly at tkcook@roadrunner.com.

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Karen Cook said...

A couple more for Seth:

Seth said, “I wonder what is said when I say that I believe the best place, I am saying the best place for my child to grow spiritually and know God more is through the public school system.”

I would say that I’m just wondering how exactly being at a public school will help your child grow spiritually and get to know God more. God has been banned from all aspects of public school.

Seth said, “So, if you want to stick to your thoughts on "since my child my not be saved I won't put him in public schools" then if you put him in any secular thing that involves teaching or training in any way, you are going against your stated principle. No sports, no dance, no art, no music...nothing that is trained or taught by someone who is not saved.

All of my daughter’s teachers for music and sports are believers or I am present throughout the lesson. I might also add that I monitor what is being taught in Sunday school and at youth group as well.

Seth said, “And what age is someone allowed from under the parents to start doing so?”

When a child becomes an adult (which by law is 18, but by common sense isn’t until their early 20s) then they are capable of making choices for themselves because they have been trained up in the way they should go.

Okay. Now I’m done until next topic. God bless you all!

To God be the glory,
Karen :o)

Anonymous said...

I am a little concerned by your comment that you will not homeschool your children, period. Is it reasonable or right to be so dogmatic against something that is not specifically forbidden in the Bible? It's terrific and appropriate to say that you will not ever divorce your wife. Or you will not ever murder someone. But please be careful to not shut the door on something that *may* become God's will for your family in the future. He seems to not be calling you to homeschool *now*, but He may have different plans for you in the future. Please be open to His voice...

By the way - you do sound really antagonistic about homeschooling. You aren't just against it for *your* family, but you seem slanted against it for others. That's too bad, especially since you are surrounded by many kids at TCC who are fine examples of what homeschooling can do. Frankly, I'd much rather be around a homeschooled kid than a public/private school kid. Generally speaking, the homeschooled kids interact easily with adults and with their peers. I don't see that with public/private school kids.

Izzy said...

why I homeschool

..."The education system does not change to include the gifts and creativity of people; people have to be trained and prepared to fit the system. This training and preparation fills young and (potentially) creative minds with boring, irrelevant (E.g. complex mathematical equations most people will never use) and often inaccurate information (E.g. A twisted view of history that puts the State in the best possible light). The result is a mindless imitator that is capable of regurgitating government propaganda and fulfilling a need for a mindless robot.
The education system of today is producing people who are dependent on earning money from one specialized skill to pay for all the other things they need. Education should encourage self-reliance. The basic skills people need to live without dependence on others should be at the heart of this...
read the whole comment at my blog
http://mikedurland-reallife.blogspot.com/

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