Friday, December 09, 2005

Should Christian Parents Send Their Children or Pull Them Out of Public School? (part one)

This past June, as the Southern Baptist Convention met in Nashville, TN, one issue that they readdressed and voted upon from the floor is that of Christian parents withdrawing their children from the public school system.

This is an important issue deserving of our attention.

All of my children go to public school. The Williamson County School District is an excellent school system. The principals, staff, and faculty of the elementary, middle and high school are very good (many of whom are Christians as well). I am "hands on" with my kids education and I have found the level of their professionalism and competency as educators to be very high with a commitment to excellence in all that they do. Most teachers are well invested in their students and go the extra mile when it comes to the kids learning and understanding. In fact, in 2004, the Grassland Middle School was the recipient as one of the Department of Education's "No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools." This was quite an honor for there were only 29 middle schools nominated out of the entire U.S. that met the President's requirements for the award. We are a very blessed family and community to have the Grassland Elementary, Middle and Franklin HIgh School in our area.

One anecdotal example for you
At my thirteen year old daughter's Christmas program this past Tuesday evening, most of the songs being sung were the traditional Christmas songs about the birth of Jesus. Though there were the fun "holiday" songs sung as well (Sleigh Bells, White Christmas, etc.), the emphasis in song was clearly on the "reason for the season." Many parents were commenting positively on the nature of the program while leaving the school that evening. They were especially grateful that our school was not just another "concerned about being politically correct" institution. The Christmas message was warmly and openly proclaimed in the songs being sung. Unlike our President who did change the White House greeting card this year from "Merry Christmas" to wishing the benign sentiment of "Happy Holidays" - our school joyously did not.

Each morning my children say the pledge of allegiance (with the words "under God" still included) followed by a moment of silence. This is a good way to begin the school day. Parent volunteers is highly encouraged and essential for educational success in this school system as well.

Why Do My Kids go to Public Schools?
Many people have been critical of me for putting my kids in public schools instead of home-schooling or private Christian education. I want to share a couple of key reasons why this is.

1. Though home-schooling is a legitimate trend among concerned parents over the values and ethics being taught today in public schools, I also believe in the biblical model of being "in the world, but not of the world"; and being "salt and light" to that same world. That includes the public school system. I don't share in the "raise them in a bubble" kind of mentality for the good and understandable motive of wanting to protect them from the evils of the world that we see being condoned as normative in society. I fully appreciate that reasoning. But, the Lord is greater than the lures of our culture. As adults we are tempted every day in a myriad of ways to compromise our faith and the values that flow from it. But we don't hide out in our churches each day; create Christian-only-living communities to guard against the wiles of the devil... do we? The same with our kids - "In the world; not of the world."

2. Most private schools (Christian or otherwise) in the area are terribly expensive ranging from $6,000 to over $10,000 per year for reading, writing, and arithmetic. Early on in a few of my children's education, I sent them to an excellent private school for a few years (their great grand parents paid for most of their tuition). Though the facilities were very nice and well equipped, I wouldn't trade the actual education that my kids are now receiving in the Williamson County public schools for anything. Even if I could afford to send them to private school today, I wouldn't. It is foolish to spend that kind of money (especially for grade school and middle school education) when the public schools here are equal to, or in our case, better than the private school counterpart in quality of education.

3. Lastly, as a Christian parent, there is no biblical prohibition against public education and it is an important distinction to make note. Many parents have contacted me off forum this past year sending very passionate, and in some cases, vitriolic emails to me about my stance on this issue. I always tell them, it is the parents and the school system's duty together to educate our children; however, in matters of faith, it is the parents duty, with the encouragement of other believers in the local church, to train up our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." I am not looking for any school to somehow create the values, life convictions, ethics, and/or morality for any of my kids. I'm certainly not looking to them for their spiritual enrichment or maturity (this is where private Christian schools I think have crossed the line). That is my job as a Christian parent to do so--not the schools... any school. I send them to school each day to receive the best education possible from elementary through college in order to be well-equipped, productive men and women in the field of learning and vocation that the Lord will sovereignly direct them in their lives.

This is a Hot Button Issue
Needless to say, this is a hot button issue; but it is important enough to address here as believers in the Lord and to pursue wisdom from the Scriptures. I have many friends that home-school and respect them deeply; I have many friends that send their kids to private school and respect them as well. That has not been the path for my family. All three have merit. So the concern here is not to debate with anyone which of three choices is good; which is better; and which is best. The issue is: what do the Scriptures teach about living in a pagan world, how to function in that world, being used by the Lord in whatever venue of life you find yourself in, and most importantly, how to bring glory to the Lord in every aspect of living while in the world.

I wouldn't want my kids anywhere else but right where they are. I am a blessed parent to be a part of this school system in Williamson County. And I am doubly blessed that the kids, for the most part, have had wonderful, caring, excellent teachers. Needless to say the sports program, social events and community service projects have rounded out their education in very good ways. Is this kind of education free from struggles, concerns or problems. Of course not--there are important issues that constantly need attention, action, and assessment. But this is where the Lord has us as a family, and for one, I am grateful for the leadership in each of these respective schools. I pray for them daily.

Questions to Ponder
Some questions to ponder: Should we pull out our children from these schools? Should we stay and be salt and light there for the gospel? Are our children being indoctrinated against Christianity and traditional family values? What alternatives exist if this conclusion is embraced? What about the Christian teachers that are making an impact there for the Lord? I will be addressing these and other questions at the beginning of next week. The Word of God is not silent on this issue beloved, though sometimes we must seek His wisdom "...and search for her as for hidden treasures" (Proverbs 2:4) see verse in context - read Proverbs 2:1-9.

What do you think about this? Please post your comments - this is an important issue and I need to hear from you.

May I pepper your thinking with the following words from a respected, insightful and knowledgable Bible teacher and educator, Dr. Al Mohler, President Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY. (Though Al and I may not always agree on issues and even find ourselves polarized on some matters, those differences in no way diminish my personal regard for him as a Christian thinker, Bible teacher, and theologian.)

Here is the quote:
"I believe that now is the time for responsible Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools. This strategy would affirm the basic and ultimate responsibility of Christian parents to take charge of the education of their own children. The strategy would also affirm the responsibility of churches to equip parents, support families, and offer alternatives. At the same time, this strategy must acknowledge that Southern Baptist churches, families, and parents do not yet see the same realities, the same threats, and the same challenges in every context. Sadly, this is almost certainly just a matter of time."

What say you?

Mathetos,
Steve
Matthew 5-7

51 comments:

Ellen said...

As for all of your questions:

It depends on the school, the school system, the parents and the child.

The area that I live in - well, it can be pretty scary. As a single mom with 2 teenagers, it isn't really possible for me to send my kids to private school, and all of those who can afford to have - which means that my kids didn't have many Christians peers to choose friends from at school.

At church, there is a sort of caste systerm - you can guess what it is. Not so much for the boys, but my daughter had a really hard time being accepted. One girl (who ended up being my daughter's best friend) openly joked about public schools.

It wasn't until this year that my daughter started being accepted. I pulled her out of public school and "dual enrolled" her in a community college. I still can't "home-school", working full time. But I can call her "homeschooled" and send her to college as a junior in high school.

With the "homeschool" label, she is more acceptable to her "Christian" peers at church.

No matter what the "church" decided about homeschooling - they need to make sure that this caste system doesn't develop. There is shame on one side and pride on the other.

ColinM said...

Ellen has a great point- I hope parents take note. I wonder if those same ridiculing kids would in fact be salt and light in the public schools.

Although the Scriptures make no prohibition against public schooling, we are accountable for how we raise our children. The question is, "are we preparing them for Harvard or for Heaven?"(C Thompson). We must never view schooling as a duty of the state, in any capacity. We may partner with them, but the accountability always lies with us. Is the risk worth it?

Another question- if your child has not surrendered to Christ, how are the salt and light? I understand they can be a testimony to the glory of God through their family, but without the indwelt Holy Spirit, we would be ignorant to think behaviors and opinions of their mates will not have an effect on their thinking and worldviews. We also must remember that the charge isn't to send our kids into the world, but for us to go into the world while training up our children. To view your child as a mini-evangelist at the earliest ages cannot be reconciled with Scripture, especially as you are charged to nurture and protect them.

I am inclined to agree that it depends highly on circumstances. but Mohler is right in the churches and church members need to step up and help those like Ellen if it would be her desire to homeschool or privately school her children. It is in my opinion a tragedy that the church would allow her to work anyhow if she is actively raising young children.

Denise said...

My two oldest girls are in public schools here in Southern California (ages 9 &12).My husband and I have the conviction that this is where our girls are to be and unless God changes our convictions, this is where they will stay.

My daughters, primarily my oldest, has had great opportunities to witness for the Lord. There was an event a few years ago when we had to have a discussion between me, the teacher, and the principal about students sharing their faith at school, and it was handled well. I believe Christ was truly honored. It was a great civic lesson for us as well as learning to stand up for our faith in the secular arena.

There have been many wonderful discussions we've had with both our daughters on practical as well as theological issues that have arisen due either to conversations that took place on the playground or due to what the teacher had taught. I've taken these opportunities to teach my children how to think biblically and I am so proud of my oldest daughter who is developing some discernment now.

While education is not addressed in Scripture (and therefore no one can be dogmatic about it), there has in the past been a sort of attitude by some that tends to look down on Christian parents who publicly educate their children. It has become, in some circles, the mark of being *truly* a spiritual person--or at least being accepted by others. In a word, its legalism and it stinks. We should all be aware of this and do what we can to guard against such thinking.

I agree with all three reasons that Steve gave for publicly educating his kids--they are similar to our own convictions.

Denise said...

Can I throw out some questions/issue for consideration on this topic? Here we go:

Paying for private schools sometimes forces mothers to work. I know of such a case. This is unbiblical because Scripture says the wife/mom is to be busy at home taking care of the family.

As Dr. Street from The Master's College pointed out, there is danger of becoming a child-centered family instead of a parent-centered one, when homeschooling. Homeschoolers need to guard against this subtle yet dangerous threat.

How well equipped are parents (usually the mother) to educate their children? Would they be considered a top-quality teacher if placed in a school?

How well do parents know and teach solid biblical doctrine? This is of eternal value, education is not.

Doug E. said...

Great topic,

We currently have our children in a Christian school, but because of tuition we will be starting home schooling next year.

I agree with many of your points, especially the one that says there is no prohibition against public school. I've been told on occasion that those who send their children there are sinning. Which I believe is wrong.

But the main force behind this is not the idea that government funded schools are contrary to scripture, but that much of what they are teaching is simply untrue, and that we are responsible for the training of our children. Now this argument carries some weight in my opinion.

Calvin in the opening statements of the Institutes Speaks about the foundations of knowledge, which are knowledge of God and knowledge of man. If these two foundations are incorrect then it throws virtually everything a person believes into error.

When a public school teaches math, reading and writing they are teaching something that is true, but the entire underlying philosophy is incorrect. Thought they may be correct in teaching that cells divide, they are completely wrong on why they divide. Their theory is based on naturalism, when the truth is found in Christian Theism.

On top of what they are teaching, it seems like kids, (young ones especially) seem to learn more from their peers then their teachers.
In fact I still struggle occasionally with things I picked up at a young age from my non-Christian peers at school.

I think Al Mohler is right in seeing the concerns of the public school but I think he may be wrong looking for some mass exit. As Christians we are to discern each individual situation, and this can be difficult. That is why we tend to like it when the church can create some new "law" or "biblical principle" to give us and easy answer. But Scripture never said making decision involving Christian liberty would or should be easy.

In simple form, each parent must discern each situation.

Doug

Shawn L said...

I think the worst thing about this is the body of Christ is disagreeable about this? It seems to be an decision for each godly parent to make in their position.

I think those that are overly polarized to one or the other are sometimes missing the point of a godly parent's decision. I've seen both.

For example, think of how great Steve Camp's heart is. What we should be asking primarily him and his congregation : Are they teaching and training up his kids? Are they admonishing them in the Lord? That is the question we should be asking not if he's into public or homeschooling.

We should be passionate about those things, is the body of Christ training up the next generation to love and adore Christ!!!! whereever we are at.

You could public school and not train up and you could home school and not train up in the Lord. That's the most important thing.

I don't know the salt and light argument may be true for some people, like me who's children I don't believe are saved yet.

We homeschool because my wife love to teach the children and she enjoys it. If we had come up with a different opinion of this I would fine. We try to be involved in the community as much as possible as well.

Unchained Slave said...

It occurs to me that the question one should ask is, “Why?”

Why is one sending their children to the any particular school.

Public, private, or home schooled the motivation is the ‘real’ lynchpin of the ‘argument’. Too often in ‘our’ society, parents are abrogating their responsibility to ‘train up a child in the way he should go’, placing the onus on the ‘school’ to be the de-facto parents.

Steve, as you have stated in previous articles, it is not (any) school that is responsible for teaching children moral values.

The defining characteristic of school choice is parental responsibility.

If the parent(s) are actively involved in raising their own kids and teaching them moral values, then the choice of school is not as earth shattering.

If the parent(s) are expecting the school to take responsibility for raising their kids, then choice of schools is not as earth shattering.

Many years ago when I was in school, I went to public, private, and ‘Christian’ schools… Back then, the preacher’s kids always had the best dope…

The point is pro-active parents, instilling moral values and responsibilities in their children are the key. Parents expecting the ‘system’ regardless of which system, to instill moral values and responsibility in their kids - are going to lose.

ColinM said...

Let me not neglect again the thanks to Steve for bringing this issue. Let me apologize for length (brevity is fleeting from my tongue) and ensure my demeanor is love, not legalism (what is legalism, anyway?)

If you will, I want to address these questions from above and drive home a larger point.

Paying for private schools sometimes forces mothers to work” Mohler’s quote points to this (see below)

Homeschoolers need to guard against this subtle yet dangerous threat The goal is Christ-centered, not parent-centered; a Christian perspective, not psychological one.

How well equipped are parents…to educate their children? This is the STATE’S standards…how well equipped was Sarah, Rebecca, Abigail? God grants the wisdom to train the child in the way he should go…does that way mean Harvard?

How well do parents know and teach solid biblical doctrine? This is of eternal value, education is not. BINGO!

Mohler’s thrust is for the church to step in and actually do something. Offering a private school does nothing!! The church must be willing to finance education for (hear me on this) those parents who cannot afford to get their children out of public schools they deem to be detrimental to their child! The church must step up to help the mothers…the church must train the parents to teach their children, to have family devotions, etc.! Youth minister- to minister youth or train parents?

The focus always needs to be on the church corporate. It is great that individual family’s find “what’s right for them.” However, what about those who can’t get out of a terrible public school? Shouldn’t our focus be on the lowliest among us? Are we helping them? The same argument can be seen in the entertainment industry—“Just turn it off if you don’t want your kids watching!” That’s great, but what about the millions of kids whose parent’s don’t give a rip, how are we protecting them and what are we to expect in twenty years?

Hessel-Man said...

Hi Steve,

Thought-provoking post, as usual. I have a 3-year old and a 15 month old, so I haven't been forced to come to a decision on this one yet, but we're trying hard to figure it out... the time goes so fast.

For us, private school is not an option. It is quite expensive - I suppose that's kind of relative to what you make, but most folks I know aren't exactly rolling in it. If I believed it was the ONLY way though, I guess I would try to find a way to make it a possibility... live under a bridge or something.

So that leaves the public school system and home-schooling for us. I have a great deal of concern over sending my kids to public school. I am worried I might be “throwing them to the wolves”, so to speak”. I’m sorry if this sounds ignorant or paranoid – but I have seen a lot of evidence that there is a large attempt to push acceptance of certain ideas that are in direct contradiction to Christianity (homosexuality, no absolute truth – except when we feel like it, evolution). I remember experiencing some of this in high school - over 10 years ago, but I still am not so old I’ve forgotten all of it.

On the other hand, though, I am also concerned that by not sending them to public school, I have created an isolated, Christian bubble, not unlike a monastery, that has little resemblance to “real life” (as they will experience it in the work-place, in the mall, interacting with others) and will leave my children ill-equipped to deal with life as an adult. A large percentage of folks at our church do home-school. There is a lot of encouragement towards that direction, and a lot of support by knowledgeable, experienced friends if we do choose to go that way. I am, unfortunately, still undecided.

I quite agree that it is the parent’s responsibility to instill values, ethics, and raise them up in the fear of the Lord. I also appreciate your point about being salt and light and in the world not of it, and that “the Lord is greater than the lures of our culture”. I see that it’s going to take a great deal of involvement and assertiveness on our part no matter which way we go.

One thing in closing - I was concerned by an insinuation that seemed present in Al Mohler’s quote -"I believe that now is the time for responsible Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools.” By that line of reasoning, those who didn’t believe it was appropriate to exit the public school system would be “irresponsible Southern Baptists”. He didn’t say it, but if the “responsible” folks do one thing, what are we to think of the others who don’t do that thing? I’m not a Southern Baptist, so I guess I don’t have much room to talk, but I’d be pretty concerned if my local church made a statement like that. I believe there is room for private conscience in regards to this issue. To the best of my recollection, there isn’t even a Biblical command that we must get a specific, type of programmed education at all, though I am grateful we are able to do so here in America. It just means we have to think through stuff like this, and some of us (me) are a little slower than others.

Grace and peace,
Steve H.

Tim said...

Steve,

As a homeschooling Dad I have much to say in regards to this, but will limit to just a few things.

First, is our primary objective education or raising godly kids? Could you show me in the concordance education. No. But somehow you distinguish between "education" and spiritual teaching. This is where I see the biggest problem. Math is somehow disconnected from the Bible. History for many, but not all, is disconnected from the Bible. Geology, biology, chemistry, literature is somehow not sacred and connected to the Bible, but is separate. There is the major problem I see.

Israel was given good instruction to teach their children the ways of the Lord in Deut. 6. We will note that the times of teaching were all throughout the day and that responsibility was upon the parents. How are you able to do this all throughout the day, if they are being taught by someone else for 75% of that day?

Second, we speak of being salt and light. Really, that is not how we approach the issue. Are we ready to send our kids immediately to the mission field to be salt and light? No. Why not? They are not fully trained. However, we allow the state to teach them and allow taxpayers to have figurative "gun to their head" in order to educate our children. Public education is a scam and it is stealing from one to give to another. This is a moral issue, not a side item.

One last thing and I'm done:) What should we be grooming our young men and young women for? It is my belief that women are not to be groomed for careers (I can feel the tomatoes being thrown now). They are to be groomed for being mothers and wives. Men are to be groomed for being fathers and husbands. Can women be industrious? Of course. Proverbs 31 tells us the women was industrious out of her house. How in fact are our children being groomed? Are they being groomed according to the biblical model, or one we have established and said is harmless and has no real impact on their "spirituality".

I welcome your comments.

DaveMoore said...

Sledge,

Amen to your comments on public schools. My wife & I had the same dilemma with our daughters. We decided to send them to public school. Local private Christian schools, while very good, are just too expensive for average working people to afford. One couple at our church each had two jobs, and their kids each had part time jobs, just to afford their Christian High School tuition. While we admired their commitment, my wife & I decided to get involved in our kids education in public school. I volunteered in the classroom when my kids were in grade school (I worked nights at the time). The teachers seemed to enjoy having a dad in the class for a change. Several of my daughter’s teachers were committed Christians who were excellent role models. We didn’t want our kids to grow up in a vacuum; being in a public school would help them to move around later in the real world and teach them how to relate to unbelievers. As our kids got older, we discussed issues like why Christianity is true, creation, abortion, pre-marital sex, etc, and why we believe what we do when the unbelieving world believes something else. My oldest daughter was able to witness several times to schoolmates, and was able to comfort friends when one kid committed suicide. We’ve had many interactions with our unbelieving neighbors who also had children in the same schools, and made friendships where we have tried to make a difference. My wife has worked 11 years for the local public schools as an aid to handicapped and special needs children. She has been able to make a positive difference in the lives of many, including the friendships with other teachers and parents. It hasn't been smooth sailing all the time, but that is what life is about and God has provided through it all.

Dave

Scott Reavely said...

This has been a challenging issue for our church. Here is a list of affirmations we started with as we approached the decisions about public, private or home schooling:

AFFIRMATIONS: (What can we say about education?)
1. Children are a blessing and a stewardship from the Lord. (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 127)
2. Children are typically idolized in our culture and often in the church. This is sin. Children are not the primary consideration in following Christ (Luke 14:26-27).
3. Children will grow into successful adults only by the grace of God (Psalm 127:1).
4. The highest end for human life, and therefore for education, must be to know God and enjoy him forever. [We reject inferior and worldly motivations for education.]
5. Parents, and fathers in particular, are to be the primary influencers of children (Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:6-8). Parents are to coach their children and exercise care with regard to the other people who influence their children. (Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 1:10).
6. All knowledge is a sacred stewardship from God. There is no secular realm of knowledge from which God is excluded. (Rom. 11:33-34).
7. Children cannot be discipled without time.
8. The Great Commission is the responsibility of every disciple. Children will typically follow their parents lead in shouldering the responsibility for the Great Commission.
9. The education and training of children presents an opportunity for parents and the church to impact the future.
10. No schooling option is perfect. All have strengths and weaknesses. The key to successful schooling is to understand your model and then maximize its strengths and compensate for its weaknesses.

ColinM said...

Can I offer another comment? Here goes...let us not get caught up in the myth of unsocialized/unrelating homeschoolers. I have known many, not one of them was introverted or socially "behind." In fact, it has constantly been the opposite. Further, one of the largest growing segments of the lost is the churched lost. Let's not forget private school is a mission field as well. The crux of the argument for private school lies in parent-regulated curriculum, not the ejection of unbelieving peers.

Finally, is not the Holy Spirit and feeding on biblical truths enough "real world" knowledge for any man?

Shawn L said...

Steve H,

You know of course you must home school only!!! ;-) just kidding.

Hope you are doing well brother,
Shawn Lynes

Gordan said...

I agree with Tim.

To reiterate:

1. All truth is God's truth, and it cannot be said that you are teaching well if you divorce "facts" from God.

2. The reason my kids are not missionaries to the public schools is the same reason I do not attend Sunday services at the Mormon stake house. Do you attend Jehovah's Witnesses services? Why not? Shouldn't you be salt and light there? The public schools are the de facto State churches, preaching to kids eight hours a day the approved dogma of secular humanism.

3. You may not want or need the public schools to train your kids morally or spiritually...but you are kidding yourself if you think they're not trying to.

p.s. I Love You said...

My children are in public schools because I couldn't do them justice as their primary source of education. I want them to be exposed to all kinds of learning, not just what I know. And I do know many unsocialized and unrelating homeschoolers who don't know how make friends or even be way from their parents overnight without anxiety due to the seclusion of homeschooling. I raise my children, not the school. I train my children to follow God. I don't just send them to church. The schools and church are there to help me educate my children.

And I'm shocked at caste systems at church that would look down on anyone for where they are educated. That's not what Jesus tells us to do. As Christians we are to be open and accepting. I also believe it is a tragedy that the church wouldn't allow a mother to work while raising children. Christians kept slaves in the old testament, shall we as well?

My oldest is currently in a private Baptist college after 12 yrs of public school where she tells me that the homeschoolers can't keep up and don't always know the basics. "But man, can they quote the Bible" she says.

She went on her first mission trip to Moldova to work in the orphanges the summer before she started college. Her goal is become a teacher in a disadvantaged public school where she can share Christ's love with those who are looked down up.

I personally don't care how or where anyone educates their children as long as they do what's in the best interest their family and faith.

pilgrim said...

I agree with Ellen's opening statement-"It depends on the school, the school system, the parents and the child."

Some parents are not cut out for home schooling.
Some private schools are too expensive.
Some Public schools are excellent-some are not.

This issue was brought up at the PCA's General Assembly as well.

Many Christian schools have the same problems the public schools have, and depending on the schools hiring and student admission plicies you may not be getting what you expect. And many Christian schools are run by fringe groups--at least around here.
I'd ratehr give a child a foundation at home & Church and combat the worldly attitudes at home, than have them learn borderline heresies at school and try to combat those.

Some Christian schools are liberal, and teach some of the stiuff parents may object to about the public schools.

Some Chritian schools are well run and effective in education as well.

In Canada the public system doesn't seem as bad as a lot of what I hear about in the US.

so really it comes down to, "the school, the school system, the parents and the child."

And no matter which option you choose for your child--you still have a responsibility to teach them the ways of the Lord.

Michele said...

Just a thought or two or...

As parents we screen the movies our kids watch to avoid undue influences. It doesn't mean that they don't watch movies or exist in a "movieless bubble". For those that choose to homeschool, the same is true.

Homeschoolers tend to be out in the community regularly while most other kids are staying in a room with a group of same-aged kids. THAT could be easily considered a "bubble" since the real world doesn't group you by age.

For us, sending our kids out to be the salt and light in the world right now, would be the same as taking tender new plants and putting them out in the elements before their roots had grown strong enough to withstand them. A little bit at a time... not for 7 to 9 hours at a time.

It wears on me at times to constantly have to defend our choice to homeschool in the midst of professed Christians locally who don't homeschool - I would expect it to wear on my kids to have to defend their walking with Christ in the midst of a non-Christian public school.

Each family should prayerfully decide what's best for them and not make unfounded judgements on others. We've covered every type of education there is and homeschooling is what works best for us. But so many want to offer an opinion on homeschooling when they haven't even experienced it.

Ok, so that was five thoughts.....

ColinM said...

Scott,

I have been curious about your list all day, especially the part about fathers being the primary influencers. Doesn't Scripture tell us that mothers are the primary influencers? See Proverbs 14:1; 1 Timothy 5:3-14, esp. v10 and 14; and that Moses especially was loyal to the corporate Jewish body solely from his mothers caring nurture and influence?

Sparks said...

Mr. Camp,
Remember, you asked for comments and mine are not supportive of your view.

Not many public school systems can match the descriptions and performance of the one your children are fortunate to attend.

On this subject, you don't seem to be seeing the big picture beyond your own experience of what public schools are like where you live and the appalling lack of education children are receiving in the majority of school districts, not to mention the non-Christian agenda that is being indoctrinated into them.

While American children are being taught that having Jack and Dave as parents is normal, children in other countries are learning and achieving at levels much better than their American couterparts.

I'm sure there are good Christian parents in places like Memphis, TN or East St. Louis, IL or South Los Angeles or New Orleans who would love to send their children to public schools like you describe. The reality is that those opportunities don't exist for all God's children in our public school systems.

So, do you think you would have the same feelings if your children attended schools where drugs, fights, gangs and other mayhem are part of the normal school day? Where politically correct,liberal, anti-Christian and other unholy values are taught to your children daily?

Steve, I agree with you on just about everything you post. This time, you have really come across as elitist in your views that because your situation is so great, that it must be great for everyone else's children as well.

My children attend public school and we too are blessed to live in a school district where they are able to receive a decent education without a lot of the bad influences. However, a short 30 minutes away is a nightmare of public education that no child of any race, religion or economic standing should have to be forced to attend.

Salt and light? Is that decree for innocent children to be responsible for achieving, or the church of Jesus Christ?

pilgrim said...

not to mention the non-Christian agenda that is being indoctrinated into them.

That can happen with some of the so-called "Christian schools" as well.

You do have to be careful.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Campi,
I agree with you, yet once again.
WE are actually sending our youngest son to a Methodist pre-school right now because of the other options. (By the way, he's four and an awesome singer. They actually invited him to sing in their church's Christmas program tomorrow. He will be singing in the early morning service so we don't have to miss our own worship.)
Our other son is seven and in the second grade at local public school. This is where we will send our four year-old next year.
Both schools are great and as of yet have not taught anything anti-Christian. The public school actually did a little better during the Thanksgiving holiday than the Methodist school.
The leadership in this particular public school here in Lenoir City is thoroughly Christian and pro-traditional family.
I think it is probably better for us here in the great state of Tennessee than in other parts of the country.
In the end, however, the question will come down to what we believe Scripture requires us to do in the training of our children.
I make these qualifying statements regularly to bith of our boys:
"Your teacher is in a position of authority so respect him/her" (dumbed down to their language, of course), and,
"Only the Bible can reveal the truth about any given subject. So if your teacher says something that the Bible does not say, he/she is wrong. We will believe the Bible."

These two statments are being constantly applied to all of their studies, where my wife and I are very active.

Tim said...

Dear ps i love you,

You said,"I also believe it is a tragedy that the church wouldn't allow a mother to work while raising children."

Tragedy? My dear lady. You tried to make this an issue by bringing up the Old Testament. Let me introduce you to what the New Testament says about your role as a wife and mother.

Titus 2:3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things----
4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

When you are older you are to teach younger women, not take on a career and the things you teach them, obviously would come from what you have done yourself, not "do as I say, not as I do". The term homemaker in the passage spefically deals with your primary "career".

Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Wives are called to be submissive to their own husbands not someone else's husbands, such as happens in the career driven female.

Paul in speaking to Timothy told him to care for godly widows of a certain age and who had raised godly children. It is not the job of the state to educate or raise our children. That is not found anywhere in the Scriptures. God gave them to us, not the state.

If you reference the Proverbs 31 woman, then I might ask where her business was from? It was from the home and it was more a ministry than anything else. She is productive and industrious: a woman far above the worth of rubies. She is not lazy, discontent, sitting around on the sofa eating bon bons and watching sope operas. She is a virtuous woman, and the place where she is virtuous? The home. Ahhhhhhh.

My wife fits this, not because I am a hard nose, because I'm not, but because she is a gracious obedient servant of the Lord Jesus.

I say to the women that name the name of Christ who take on careers under the leadership of men other than their husbands, that they are doing as Paul said, "blaspheming the word of God".

If a godly woman is not cared for, she should not look to a career to provide for her while the church takes her kids into daycare, rather the church should arise to the occasion and stop discipling people to do the things that are the exact opposite of what God has commanded (ie day care).

Last note of the rant:) Remember that Titus is to speak "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine". Paul said that in the last days men would be those who would not endure sound doctrine. Though I might disagree with when the last days are or were, I think the open rejection of the bibilical mandate by even Christian women is a testimony against them and that there should be repentance. However, this will come as godly men assume their roles and love their wives and wash them with the water of the word.

stauf46 said...

My wife and I had the same view as you have articulated - until we sent our son to a public school 7 years ago. Our minds were changed quickly by the very obvious agenda of the school - particularly as they were subtly trying to drive a wedge between us and our son in terms of responsibilty (i.e. the school knows best).

You are right to be thankful for a good system in your community. This is an exception, as you have noted.

As a homeschooler and a pastor, I know that I have influence over parents in my church. Adding to the options, our church supports our local Christian school as well. I always stress to parents that the responsibility for their children's education is with THEM, whether they choose homeschooling, the Christian school or the public system (a public high-school teacher in our church calls it the pagan system). I don't dictate the 'subcontractor,' but put the educational responsibility before parents - a responsibility they must not relinquish.

My concern is that too many Christian parents do not discern the perils of the typical 'pagan' school.

Rose~ said...

Our children go to the public school. We have been very pleased with the academic and social aspects of this so far. Our 9 year old son is becoming quite a Christian Apologist, thanks to this experience. He has Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and Hindu family children as classmates. We feel he is being prepared for life in this world, where he will meet many types of people. (Side note: many of the teachers just happen to be Christians ... which is wonderful. My son's teacher last year came to his baptism and told us she prayed for him throghout the year. There are 5 employees/teachers at the school that are members of our church).

We have been able to meet "non-Christian" parents, befriend them. We recently have had an opportunity to minister to one such parent and are witnesssing to her of the hope we have in Christ.

Our kids' "spritual" education is totally our responsibilty and we could never hand it over to ANY school ... event the Christian school that is a part of our church.

Nice to agree with one of your posts.

Jeff Downs said...

Great comments Tim. Here is a short paper I recently had to write:
===
Should Christians Send Their Children to Public Schools?

For the majority of Americans who have children, the public educational has been their option. Many parents do not even consider home schooling as choice. In today’s society with both, mother and father, working full-time jobs, they would consider it impossible to home school. Frankly, they would argue that educators are better equipped and specialized in certain fields of study and therefore, should fulfill the role of primary educator.
Sadly, Christians are in the same position. Both parents work outside of the home, and therefore home schooling is not an option. Whisked away early in the morning, children are at school and parents at work the majority of the day. Children are let out of school in afternoon, not to return to mom and dad, but to a babysitter or a friend’s home. Mom, dad and children finally reunite in the evening to have dinner, off to bed, beginning the next day the same as the day before.
Should Christian parents have the same attitude regarding education as their counterparts? Is public education the best option? Is public education the Christian option?
It is a well-known fact that the public educational system has failed our young people; and home schooled or private schooled children are better educated. Instead of chewing gum and running in the hallways being a problem, guns and drugs are touted in the public educational system. Sex, by someone other then the parent, is taught as early as first grade.
Is the failure of the educational system the reason why Christian parents should not send their children to state run schools? Not in my opinion!
As Christians, we know God, is Lord of all - education included. From the beginning of time, man has been in a covenant with the creator of heaven and earth. We are obligated to love the Lord will all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:28-30). As parents, we are to pass onto our children an education that recognized that God gives to all, life and breadth. According to Col. 2, all knowledge is found in Christ and the believer is not to be deceived by empty philosophy, according to the traditions of men. Man, instead of giving thanks to God for all things (Romans 1) turns to praise himself. Instead of teaching our children that all knowledge is ultimately grounded in the creator of heaven and earth, state run education is built upon the elementary principles of this world.
Since our children are gifts from God, we are to return thanks to Him, and do all that we can to make sure they understand that God is the ground of all knowledge. State run education, in all areas, is antithetical to the Christian worldview. Therefore, Christians, who send their children to public schools are breaking covenant with their God. They are turning their children over to unbelieving educators, who will teach our children the very opposite of loving God with all their minds. According to Greg Bahnsen:
It constitutes a central element in what it means for those who are saved to keep covenant with God: "And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart, and you shall teach them diligently unto your children"--constantly and consistently, in every time and place, covering all the spheres of human thought, activity and living (Deut. 6:6-9). Note is taken that this responsibility has been assigned directly by God to parents, rather than any other institution of society. Regardless, then, of whatever children learn--from math and science to history, social studies, literature and the arts--parents have a God-given duty to see to it that their children learn it, as much as is possible (given the resources and opportunities available to their parents), with the perspective and application of the Christian worldview as derived from God's revelation.
Out of love for God and for our Children, Christian education should be a priority. As new creatures in Christ, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not being conformed to this world, but having a mind that is transformed (Romans 12:2).
What is disgraceful is that Christian parents average about 4 hours of conforming our children’s minds to God’s knowledge – thinking his thoughts after him; and an average of 30 hours a week is spent with unbelieving educators who are shaping the minds of our Children. According to Deuteronomy we are to “teach them [the word’s which God has commanded] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (6:4). This would require, from Christian parents, more than an average of four hours a week. Charles Spurgeon made the following comments:
Understanding our solemn duty as parents ought to provoke a certain amount of fear and trembling. Then again, it needn't paralyze us. Teaching spiritual truth to children is a joy. No one is more receptive, more hungry to learn, or more trusting than a child. Chances are, you'll never find more eager disciples than your own children. Don't squander the opportunity.
Children are not just hungry for lessons from the Bible, but they are hungry for the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and there is no better person to teach our children then someone who life’s goal is to think God’s thoughts after Him.

ColinM said...

There are certainly a lot of opinions here, but not a lot of substance. Someone please tell me how education has been conveniently divided into 'spiritual' and 'wordly/secular/science/etc.' Bottom line: all of our child's education is a parent's responsibility; i.e. a parent will be held to account for it. This IS NOT saying that all parents MUST homeschool their children. Get it out of your head that any part of your child's upbringing is not your responsibility.

Furthermore, that the parent isn't equipped to teach "As well" as a professional educator is foolish reasoning, unless you believe all your abilities and gifts have been wrought by your own accord and not from God. Your faith allows you to use God-imparted wisdom in areas you find yourself ill-equipped (which, dear child of God, includes all areas of your life, save none).

Please, I want to hear from Christian school parents who have befriended non-Christian parents who have their kids enrolled in a Christian school. Do we forget the mission field in our own pews and programs, and sadly, on our own membership roles? There is absolutely no apologetic from Scripture that elevates a parent's decision to utilize public schools. Someone please present one. The only verses I am seeing here are those that exhort parental responsibility, elevate a child as God's gift (which we conveniently relegate to parental-decision and biological processes), and maintain's that the arents are to protect and nurture that gift from God.

pilgrim said...

jeff downs wrote-
"It is a well-known fact that the public educational system has failed our young people; and home schooled or private schooled children are better educated."

I don't know tht is well known.
There are stydents who excwl and students who do not in all three.

As I mentioned before there is also a US side to this issue that may not apply outside the US.

The Canadian school system is not without its problems, but I don't see it as being as bad as I hear people saying the US system is.
And even then it will vary from one school to the next.

I would be interested to see evidence for this well known fact.
Specific evidence-facts & figures, etc.

Tim said...

Here is the bottom line for all of us. We side step the issue by saying, "It's the parents responsibility to make sure their children are educated. How they do it is up to them." Can you demonstrate that from Scripture? I am waiting upon the same thing that colin mentioned a sound biblical apologetic for public schools, or for that matter "private "Christian" schools".

I have heard people use illustrations of Daniel and Moses for their public school apologetic. However, we will not that Daniel was definitely well trained at an early age and already assumed to be a young man. Moses, was taught by his mother. Unlike, the ficticious "Ten Commandments" Charleton Heston's Moses, he was not older when he found out where he came from, but knew from early on.

I think most parents feel comfortable as long as their children aren't drinking, doing drugs, not getting pregnant, and sleeping around and that they are at church whenever the doors are open. I realize there are those who do not homeschool who do not fall into that category. However, I think Colin has made good points and I hope someone will rise to the challenge.

Michele said...

Pilgrim,
Here's some info to get you started:
"Dr. Brian Ray, in the most in-depth nationwide study on home education across the United States, collected data on 5,402 students from 1,657 families. Homeschool students’ academic achievement, on average, was significantly above that of public-school students. In addition, the home educated did well even if their parents were not certified teachers and if the state did not highly regulate homeschooling.3"
http://www.nheri.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=21

Or....
"Home school student achievement test scores are exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade (typically in the 70th to 80th percentile) are well above those of public and Catholic/Private school students."

"On average, home school students in grades 1 to 4 perform one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests.
The achievement test score gap between home school students and public/private school students starts to widen in grade 5.
Students who have been home schooled their entire academic life have higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who have also attended other educational programs."
http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/rudner1999/FullText.asp

momofmany said...

This is a fine "idealogical debate" ~ to which there will be no right answer, if it stays as such. What does God say? I've been searching hard, praying earnestly. Can anyone ellaborate on 2Cor 6:11-18

momofmany said...

I'm so thankful for the insightful words of many and to you Steve for opening the discussion. I've been searching hard and praying even more for clarity. Could someone comment on 2Cor 6:11-18 for me ~ especially 14 "do not be unequally yoked"? Thanks.

Jimmie W. Kersh said...

Mr. Camp,

My children ages 11 and 9 are not Christians at this time. I have chosen to homeschool because they can not be Salt and Light. As an education minister, I can not cast my childern (gifts from God) into the government educational system.

I respect the arguments of either side, I just can not send my lost children to public schools.

thelittlefields said...

Steve,
I would recommend you read RC Sproul Jr's book "When You Rise Up". He says a lot of great things relating to public schools and schools in general, and it is a very quick and convincing read about the issue of homeschooling. Further, let me assure you that most schools are NOT like this schools your children attend. Many teachers (the majority I would guess) are not Christians and have no love for the word of God. That may not bother many parents, but I would say that the biggest problems for Christians today is that we can't see how the Lord Jesus has anything to do with mathematics or history. Government schools drive home the point that you certainly can seperate the Lord fom the rest of your life, and especially your education.

I'm a middle school teacher and every day I'm reminded of why my children will never(Lord willing) attend public schools.

SJ Camp said...

I do respect your thoughts here very much. There are advantages in home-schooling--no question. And I do recognize that each school and area must be evaluated on its own merits. Even some that are home-schoolers shouldn't be - it's not always the best alternative either.

I will be posting by late afternoon tomorrow part two of this discussion...

Thank you for the passion and clarity which you all have contributed thus far.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Juice said...

So, Steve, if you want your children to be salt and light and you're a Baptist do you not send your kids to public school until you *know* they are believers or at least have been baptized?

Love your blog!

Juice

Jeff Downs said...

Steve said "There are advantages in home-schooling--no question."

You seem to still be looking at this the wrong way. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with advantages or disadvantages. It is, what are we going to do with these gifts God has given us - hand them over to pagan, who care not to take every thought captive, or just the opposite.

Some maybe interested in a new tape series A Truly Christian View of Education

And Just FYI, Greg Bahnsen's tape Education and Covenant Faithfulness fully convinced me.

pilgrim said...

Well Michelle--those stats do back up the point.
But they also raise questions.

-How do we know all of those students wouldn't do better with other chnages, or in other school settings?
-How do we know that public school students will do better in home schooling or private schools?
-How do we know home/private schooled students may not do the same or better in public schools?

In some cases we may, but not all.
And those stats don't prove the blanket statements I was referring to--hey do offer wieght to the arguments, but don't decide it definitively.

So I was trying to point out the assumptions and generalizations there.

Also those stats do not apply to other countries.

Some parents are not fit to home school, some private schools have the same or worse problems than public schools.
Some are better.
There is no one type of schooling in existence that meets all the criteria for all children.

Now there are absolutes--God has given us many. But in schooling He has given us principles, and the commandments He gives do not eliminate all but one or two schooling options.

I stand by hat I originally said--it depends on the parents, children and school.

ANd I also would agree with what most have stated--the final responsibility is with the parent.

Denise said...

How did Daniel fare, being groomed by King Nebuchadnezzar's men at around 14-15 years old, in the ways of his culture? How about Moses?

The thing is, we can't say public schools are dogmatically wrong. I get the feeling that a few folks here think so. The problem is that Scripture doesn't say its wrong, inplicitly nor explicitly. So to take such a view, the burden of proof seems to be on those who say there's no other way BUT homeschooling. I believe this is a matter of conscience. If this is being unequally yoked, then even adult Christians are not to be spending the day working out in the world.

I wonder if all children in OT and NT get homeschooled? Was this the norm? Or was it only for believers?

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michele said...

Sorry about the above deletion- I came down with a case of "spelling flu"... achoo!

Pilgrim,
No, the quick info I provided isn't definitive. Which is why I preceded it with; "Here's some info to get you started...."

But it is worth searching for more information on and prayerfully considering. =)

In my opinion, those who are committed to their child's education and truly care about their child would do well in homeschooling. Those who "dump" their children at school and are not involved in the educational process wouldn't do well with homeschooling. So I agree that not all should homeschool.

But for others "in-between"; those who don't 'dump' their kids and who are involved and who do care, then homeschooling should be a consideration.

And I don't think that choosing NOT to homeschool is a sin. I just don't want it to be thrown out by caring parents without prayer and research!

For instance; I can tell you that meals cooked at home are better for your children than eating out every day. That's my opinion.

I can add that the environment of eating together as a family makes for stronger family relationships. I can show you that the food at McDonald's (or wherever) isn't as healthful. You can then point out that not everyone will cook healthful meals or that you know a particular place that is big on serving nutritious meals. But I will say that for those who think nutrition for their children is important and are willing to make the effort to research it, then eating home-cooked meals together as a family could be a great choice!

~Michele

Tim said...

Surphing,

I mentioned Daniel and Moses in a previous post. The point of both of them was that they were "trained" (ie. educated by their parents. How do you think Daniel "purposed in his heart" at such a young age? He certainly didn't do it once he got to Babylon, but it was engrained in him from the time he was a little child.

Again, education is not the issue, godly training is. Don't mix the understanding of the two. They must be brought together, but the one influences the other.

Susie said...

Hi! Got here via a link at homeschoolblogger.com. Haven't read all the comments, but I have to say I do agree with you about engaging the culture (just wrote an entry about that myself). I believe being in the world, but not of it means we should engage the world around us on Christlike terms.

However, we *do* homeschool. I consider this one of those matters of opinion that Romans 14 would cover. Each family has to follow the Lord's leading for their own children.

The Bible definitely doesn't say "thou shalt homeschool," though it does instruct parents to teach their children through their lifestyle. That's easier for me to do when I have them with me.

As for the "real world" versus the purported "bubble," I believe both public schooled and homeschooled students inhabit the very same world. My children live in the same small town, talk to the same people, shop in the same stores, visit the same library, attend the same community events, etc. as public schooled students. It's not like we pull them into an alternate reality when we take them out of public school. IMO, they get more interaction with and preparation for the "real world" running errands and doing household tasks with me than they do within the walls of a schoolroom. Lining up for a drink of water, having a schedule dictated by bells, associating only with people who are exactly the same age, playing outside or eating lunch in 15 to 30-minute increments, etc...all these things are (understandably) logistically necessary in school where many children are housed together--but they have more to do with crowd control measures than preparation for the "real world." As adults, we don't do any of those things in daily life.

By keeping my children by my side, I can help them evaluate the messages they will inevitably receive from the world system...kind of like a "buddy system" until they are strong and confident enough to engage all on their own. I can introduce the world to them on *my* terms (i.e., biblical terms).

If they were away from me for six-plus hours per day, I couldn't fulfill that calling to be their guide through life. I couldn't instruct them "when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut. 6:7) I couldn't do it because they *wouldn't be there* walking by the way with me or sitting in my house. They would be somewhere else, under someone else's tutelage (if they were lucky enough to get that kind of personal attention from a teacher).

Finally, homeschooling is simply a more efficient use of family time. I guess I could put my 5yo in all-day kindergarten. But then, I'd be helping him with HOMEWORK (yes, our district gives homework to 5yo's) for an hour every night anyway. His phonics and math take only 30 minutes a day here at home, plus *I get to be with him* during the day, rather than missing him for six hours. IMO, children that age need lots of fresh air and sunshine, not to be shut up inside cinderblock walls. And they DON'T need homework (not if the school has them for six hours already).

Long enough answer? :) But, I do respect the educational decisions of other families. I don't inject unsolicited opinions into other people's lives and I appreciate it when they return the favor.

Susie said...

P.S. I should add, too, that I have benefited so much *myself* from homeschooling. I love the freedom of cherry picking our own materials, taking our own approach to the study of history (chronological, of course, which they don't do in school) and literature and math, and having the flexibility to try a different approach right on the spot if we need to. I have learned *so very much* in the past two years studying history with my two older girls, and we get to co-op with a couple of other families too.

What a blessing to read good literature aloud to them and experience all my old favorites with them! To enter Narnia again through their eyes, or experience Robin Hood's adventures! To have the time to answer their questions or look up the answers, if need be. To teach my 7yo how to quilt!

It's just so much FUN! I guess I could clean up my house all day if they were in school but it wouldn't be nearly so interesting. :)

Susie said...

Final postscript:

My thoughts on "engage or separate?" are here:

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/SusannahCox/55577/

And I completely agree with the commenter who said that parents should view the schools as subcontractors. No matter what venue parents choose to get it done, they should realize that *they* are ultimately responsible for their children's education. I'm leaving now, really... :)

jhmff said...

This is a really interesting discussion. I want to offer a different perspective that touches on what Steve said.

I grew up in suburban Chicago and went to some of the best public schools in the country. I had a top-notch education - so-called - and my schools are still hailed as tops in the national magazines.

I spent all those years excelling in my classes, being very involved in all the extracurricular activities and doing all the things parents tend to think their kids should be doing to have a great, well-rounded education. I was a success story. But was I?

Here's the problem. I was unbelievably miserable all those years, because I was the ONLY Christian I knew for most of those years. I always felt like the fish out of water. I was terribly lonely, even though I had tons of friends. I remember - for YEARS - repeatedly asking my mother to pray for just one Christian friend for me. How pathetic is that? All my friends were pagans. Yes, I witnessed to them. It never made any dent. Was I salt and light? Tried to be, but mostly, they couldn't have cared less about Christ. I just wanted to be in a Christian school. Even the kids in my youth group at church couldn't have cared less about Christ. They were just there because their parents forced them to be there.

So I went to a Christian college, and that was the best thing I ever did. I finally found some fellowship and learned more about the Bible - which had evaded me during those years in public school. What a concept - Bible classes! At a school! I was overjoyed to be there and consider my college years to be the most treasured educational years of my life.

Today, my kids go to a hybrid classical Christian school - half-homeschool, half-school. The price is unbelievably reasonable, and yet I still maintain heavy involvement in their educations. My husband and I love this arrangement.

So I just say all this to make two points.

1. Even if your kids are in a "good" public school, is that enough? It wasn't for me. There's more to education than just good programs, that's for sure.

2. There is another alternative to pure private school, homeschool or public school: the hybrid school.

And in the long run, does it really matter - jobwise - if you went to public school or private or homeschool, or what your grades were? It didn't end up mattering from what I have seen in the workplaces I've been in.

Might I also add ... I am still good friends with my Christian college friends. Dare I say, Mom's prayer was answered?

Randy said...

We just moved to Tennessee to work for the Navy and will be sending our children to the Public School after Home Schooling for most of their education. I think one of the problems with the Public School debate is when it is perceived that one is generalizing all public schools as the same and not making any distinctions. The problem is it means one thing to people in one region of the country and something else entirely in another. For example, when it was mentioned that Steve does not want to raise his children in a bubble he really is in fact still raising them in a bubble because of where he lives. Sending his children to a public school in Franklin, TN is almost akin to sending them to a Christian school in New York, Boston, L.A. or San Francisco. For others around the country they would see this unique situation compared to theirs as one where he has a choice to send them to a free “Christian” school (the public school) or an over priced Christian School ($6,000 - $10,000 a year) and the choice is an easy one to make.

When we lived in Wisconsin near Madison and other places up North we did not want our children educated in a public school even if we believed the public school system was, as Steve inferred that he believed, the only way a child can truly carry out the mandate to be “in the world; not of the world”. We felt having teachers promote, subtly or otherwise, homosexuality and other sexual perversions to our small children would have been unfair to them. Out of all the states we have lived Tennessee seems to have the weakest Christian school movement. I was expecting the opposite when we moved down. However, we can see why because the public schools here seem to be years behind the rest of the country in the moral freefall that has been taking place. That is why we are willing to send our children to the Public School here but not in other places we have lived.

I just feel that the debate is better served as a school vs. school issue rather than a “To Use the Public School or Not to use the Public School” issue. That is why some cannot understand for the life of them why one would send their children to the Public School and why others cannot understand for the life of them why one would not.

Randy said...

I realized after my previous post that saying "homosexuality and other sexual perversions" is essentially redundant and I felt that I should mention that there are other issues than that. It's also an issue of where the community support lies. In the Madison, Wisconsin area it primarily leaned toward anything liberal whereas down here in Tennessee it leans to the conservative. When Evolution is taught as fact and Earth Day is celebrated among other issues up there it is done more in the spirit of full community support and by individuals not at all sensitive to differing opinions. In an area where a lesbian is Mayor and homosexuals are known to disrupt Church services it is a very hostile and confusing environment for little children being taught one thing at home but something else entirely by the community, teachers and friends. Again, I don't know how fair it is to expect children to endure that kind of politically correct pressure at such a young age.

Here in Tennessee it is very different. The same things about Evolution, Earth Day, etc are brought up but generally by those who understand that there are differing opinions and there is much more community support for the differing opinions. A fourth of a class could be from the same Baptist church and half from 12 other Baptist churches. I'm not implying that makes them Christians but it does make it a more Christian friendly bubble for our children here in Tennessee compared to most other parts of the country. I just wanted to reiterate that using Tennessee Public Schools as a standard from which to determine that it is better to send children to Public Schools is not the best standard to use. I too saw a Christian School here and feel that there is not a whole lot of difference ultimately between that school and the Public School nearby. That is why my kids will be going to the Public School. However, leave the Tennessee area and it is a completely different story in many places.

It should not be a Public School issue but a school vs. school issue. Are the teachers primarily "Christian friendly" and are often Christians such as in Franklin, TN or are they primarily militant feminists, homosexuals and liberals as in many Northern schools. Also, I love some of the Christian schools I've been associated with yet there are some where I would never send my children.

Rick said...

gDear Steve-

My family and I serve in China. My wife homeschools our two boys. We do not agree with everything 'reformed' but we did get a great book on homeschooling by RC Sproul Jr. called "When You Rise Up". He had a wonderful answer to what is probably the strongest argument against homeschooling: the salt and light issue.

Simply paraphrased, Sproul maintained that we would not send our kids to be salt and light in a brothel for 7 hours a day. The only difference is that in a brothel they would not be continually pouring godless ideas into their head. Nor would we want to send our kids to be salt and light to a Muslim school.

I had never thought of it that way before. You might be interested in this book and just wanted to mention it.

Blessings,
Rick

Craig "Craig" Roberts said...

I believe there are two issues that are being mixed together by a lot of people. One is the issue of our children's relationship with God, and the other is education.

It is true that these will be related, as some of you have said, but our responsibility as parents is to first be right with our own relationship with God, modeling it for our children and leading them in the Way we are following.

If our location, our jobs, our pattern of Christian fellowship, or anything else is hindering our own relationship with God and/or our ability to share that relationship with our children, we need to prayerfully consider changing. Yes, I mean finding another job, moving, searching for a different church, etc... Surely God can lead us and provide for us as we seek to walk in His ways!

Education is not biblically mandated. In our society, education has more to do with preparing to enter society and work there. As Christian parents, I do not believe that our primary goal needs to be giving our children a "good" education or making sure they are succeeding academically. I am sure most of you agree with this, but I see this thinking creeping into some of this conversation.

It is true that public schools, for the most part, come with a relatively liberal, humanistic foundation. However, if our children are growing in a real relationship with Christ, especially in the context of a home where we parent(s) are also growing in Christ, there might be some struggles, but they will be able to remain in the truth of God because God's truth is really true, alive and active.

So far in this discussion, most people who have advocated a particular mode of educating their children (home-schooling, private/Christian schooling, public schooling) have mostly focused on whether or not the kids are getting a "good" education, meaning succeeding academically. Some who advocate home-schooling have focused more on teaching with a more biblical foundation, but I still think we need to focus more on the relationship with God.

I am not trying to attack anyone. Please don't get defensive. I did read all of the posts, and I already know that my generalizations do not hold for everything that has been posted. I just want to say that we need to be careful, even when we are quoting scripture, that we are focusing on things from God's perspective and not any other, which I am sure must have more to do with relationship than anything else.

That is what God cares about. God is after that relationship with us. God never calls us to be doctrinally sound. God does not call us to be theologically correct. God does not call us to be good or be morally upright or anything else. Everything God commands us to do is covered by Christ's character inside of us. Our job is to allow God to make Christ in us.

Of course, all of these things will naturally flow out of us as Jesus Christ is made in us, but God calls us to present our whole selves and whole lives for Him to dwell in and use as He sees fit. That is what He is after, that and nothing else.

Each of us, when thinking about our children's education, need to be examining our own hearts, and the context we are living in, to find the best path for living in Christ daily and showing our kids what that looks like and calling them to walk with us. For some of us, that may bring us to make radical decisions about location, career, etc...

It is not possible that there will be one correct educational solution for all of us. In the end, education is only one part of life, albeit a very large one. If we are serious about what is best for our kids, though, we MUST first be seeking to live in Christ ourselves, or all our efforts will simply be coming from our own selves and not our loving Father, who I am sure can do a better job than any of us.

Geri Noriega said...

I looked in the Bible and was unable to locate the verse that says it is the school systems responsibility to educate children. Mine or any others. I did notice you posted the names of the secular Christmas songs your school sang, but I was unable to locate the names of the songs that were song exalting Jesus,our Savoir. It amazes me how many Christians are salt and light in the school system that continues to teach evolution ,and depending on the state other subjects that are against the word of God. You should probably watch the movie IndoctriNation if you can not see the truths of the public school system. I will leave you with a scripture used at the end of the documentary,"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin,it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck,and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6.