Contend Earnestly: How Should I School My Kids?: Introduction

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

How Should I School My Kids?: Introduction

I have always known that schooling was a big issue when it came to Christian parents and their children. I have been intrigued by it ever since my mom was told that she wasn't a good mother for being a public school teacher herself, and also sending me and my youngest brother to public schools our whole life. The crazy thing is that my mom was well educated, so was my dad, and I was still public schooled. There were many things that my parents could have improved on, and many things my children will say that I should improve on, but the decision to have me public schooled was not one of them. I grew up for the first 12 years of my life in Oklahoma, dreadful place, but the people are cool. In Oklahoma the only people that I knew who were home schooled looked like they came straight off the covered wagon and land rush. Seriously. Not kidding. I never knew that kids could be even partially normal and be homeschooled, they were just a strange bunch.

After 12 we moved up to the great Northwest just outside of Seattle and I have been here ever since. My father was a tent maker and was a youth pastor for parts of those years, I was the youth director for my church for the past 5 plus years, public schooled my whole life until college, so I come with much experience even if my own children are quite young (6 and 3). I am guessing it is my age, involvement in church, etc. but it seems nowadays that a small minority of true Christian parents send their children to public schools. Today I simply asked the question of what people preferred, and it quickly turned to a heated debate with close to 200 comments (click here for page view). What was shocking is that the minority of people would even consider public schooling their children. It seemed like those who are broke and holding down two jobs were the only ones, besides a select few, who had a distinctive reason for public schooling their children. Very interesting to say the least.

I will be quite honest. 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. But, I don't want you to think that I believe that this means that the other means are then a sin and shouldn't be pursued. Not at all. What I want to do, like I try and always do when I blog, is for you to seriously consider why you are choosing or advising others on choosing what to do for their children.

I am going to set this up in three different posts that will give what I believe are the strong and weak points in each of the categories. I hope to not draw any straw men or unnecessary reductio ad absurdum arguments into the mix. What I simply hope to do is get my thoughts down, and then have a healthy discussion on the topics at hand. I know, especially after today, that the blood boils hot on this topic. So, as you read these posts, remember that I can get tongue and cheek, I will destroy bad argumentation when I feel it necessary, but I still love those who challenge me in my thoughts. So come ready to comment, challenge me, be challenged, etc. Remember that I am usually an equal opportunity basher of all. So, if you start laughing at the posts, you probably will be quickly yelling at them too. But, that's cool, as long as these get you to look more to Jesus and his glory, I am good with you screaming at your screen and looking like you have tourettes syndrome.

In the end, I want you to really understand that the answer to everything we do in this life, including our schooling decisions with our children, is not about ourselves, but is about what glorifies God and his risen Son the most. If you do not believe that is the question that should be asked, you will get very frustrated at some of these posts.

So, the outline will be as follows: Each will include pros and cons

Home School
Private School
Public School
Why I am choosing Public School for my children

I hope you will find this proactive and not destructive in decisions when it comes to our schooling. Because our children are the most important things in this they're not, God's glory is.


Ted said...

Seth - I missed the mega-brouhaha that you started yesterday, but for what it's worth, I send my son to public school and besides the guns and condoms they hand out at the door every morning, we love it! Seriously, we do love it, even though it seems to go against the Young Reformed Playbook. Though many (read: nearly all) of our best friends are homeschooling, and it's working great for them.

ps - Kudos to you for wading into the hornet's nest of raw feelings that is this topic. Be careful.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Judging by that FB thread, this series should generate some discussion!

Your last paragraph is a much needed exhortation. I know I've made my children the most important things in the world at times, and that is most certainly idolatry.

I just noticed that Al Mohler posted an article on home schooling today. I would add the link, but it might land my comment in the spam filter, so I won't; it's easy enough to find.

Bad Alice said...

Looking forward to this. I would love to home school, but not because of my religious convictions - more because of my ideas about education. We are in a district with very good public schools, so I can't complain. The education for my special needs child is exceptional. My other daughter often says she's bored, and I think that schools don't encourage enough independent learning, but on the whole I like our schools so far. My husband offered to home school the oldest, but she isn't interested at the moment, because there's a brand new school being built, and - joy of joys for her - it has two floors!

Jailer said...

Thanks for bringing this up. You'll note I linked to you over on the Jailer ( I'm not surprised you got so many comments, given how emotional this topic gets ...

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