Friday, August 5, 2011

Home and private schooling

I am not trying to make you mad.

I have an honest question that I would like opinions on. There are many arguements both for and against home and private schooling. As a Christian mother and public school teacher, I really only have one big question. Before I get there though, I would like to dispose of a couple talking points. Socialization of these kids comes up, but that is a pretty large issue and rather dependent on individual child, so we aren't talking about that.

I do also understand that there are some children that need to be in classes of 3 to 5 kids, but they are few and far between. I understand there are academic advantages to private schools as well as well prepared home schools. However I think there are ways to interact with the public schools and achieve this. I understand that there are burnt out teachers and bullies that can do harm to a child, but for this discussion I would hope your Christian child living in a Christian home would believe in his/ her worth according to God. I would also hope he/she was taught about the sorrow, anger and pain those without God must live in. So I'm not sure taking him/her out is a healthy answer for the Christian child.

I also understand hoe the current school system fails boys every day. Therefore I understand the desire to give them a little more maturing time. I also realize there are plenty of non-Christians attending private schools. However, being there they hear the gospel often whereas non- Christians in public school don't. I also understand there are non-Christian concepts taught as fact in school today. But once again a Christian child in a Christian home should not be swayed by these things.

So with those points out of the way, I have a question. How does a parent reconcile The Great Commission that is give to every Christian including children with the separation of these other schooling methods? I have seen multiple examples of Christian students making a significant impact for God amongst their peers. Some have even been brought to salvation because of the example of these kids. Should we protect them from these negative things when this is the world Jesus sent them too? At what point is it detrimental to the Kingdom when we are making it better for our kids?

Once again, I am not trying to make anyone mad. I am simply wondering where our parental and Christian responsiblities lie. Please share your opinions with me. I have not made up my mind. I simply don't see the other side of this discussion, so please show it to me.

7 comments:

  1. If I had to make the call today, Ben would go to public school. He's only 2 and God may show us different between now and then, and I want to be open to that, but that's how I'd go if I had to decide today. I'm not down on homeschooling or the private school environment - I just don't think it's for every kid or every parent. Just like public school may not be for every Christian kid or parent. Personally I don't have a single qualm with what a God-hater may try to throw at my kid. Go ahead, God-haters, fire away. I'm more than willing to put the discipleship we're instilling in our child against ANYTHING you have.

    But....that's the perspective and the attitude God has given me. I know some very wonderful people who would disagree with me and have been called to homeschool their children or have them in Christian academies. I support that 100% and know for a fact that they are called to do exactly what they are doing, and I see how God has blessed their efforts.

    However, I feel pretty confident in saying that God didn't call anyone to tell me what I should be doing and didn't call me to tell anyone what's best for their kids. It's a very individual thing. They all have their pros and cons. We all have our callings and personal convictions. I don't know why we can't just leave self-righteousness by the wayside, love and respect each other for our differences, and leave it at that. God has a place in the kingdom for all of us.

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  2. I believe we have to give our children strong roots before sending them out into the world. A lot of the great leaders in the Bible had a time of growth before their great moments happened. Even Jesus was in his 30's before he started his public ministry. The biggest thing I teach my children is their commission to "go and teach". We reach out now and they do participate in missions, and I'm hoping that as they grow this will increase.

    I too was a public school teacher, and I'm not against them or any type of schooling. Don and I just felt a strong calling from God that one of the main missions he was giving to us was to teach and train these little men that He blessed us with. Personally, I just didn't feel I would be doing my best with that responsibility by putting them under the influence of others for the major part of their days/influential years.

    I feel the Bible makes it clear they we shouldn't place ourselves under the influence of the world. Children are so bendable. I feel it's my job to allow God time to strengthen their faith so that they won't bend to the world's way, but instead will be salt and light.

    To me, each day of school at home is a day in the real world. We do a lot of "every day" type of things together I get the chance to point out God's hand in it all. There are no pressures for them to concentrate on clothes or other material things. They don't focus on being popular, having the right shoes, or "acting cool". I'm able to keep a lot of their focus on God's plans for that day instead of what the world wants us to focus on...not that we are perfect.

    Statistically, 75-85% of public school children that grew up in a Christian home leave their faith when they go out into the world. With home schooled children that number is around 6%. My prayer is that all of my boys will grow into men that will leave my home ready to begin the calling that God has on each of their lives...whatever that may be.

    God bless!

    Shannon

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  3. The training thing makes sense. Just because a person or a child is a Christian doesn't mean they are ready to live that publicly. I'm not saying they are a different person in church and out of church. I just mean to go out of your comfort zone to speak to people about Jesus. God has called both Drew and I to live publicly, or to publicly live out our faith. With me being a teacher and having this blog, both things God has called me to, public living is a part of me. However, not everyone is called to such public living. God calls each of us to different things and how we are "training up" our children is a part of that.

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  4. For what it is worth having experienced private Christian schools and homeschool with our own kids and being very close to kids in public schools...just because it is a Christian school doesn't mean everyone who attends is Christian. Therefore, there does exist within a Christian school a mission field, albeit, it may be somewhat smaller than a public school. I would also suggest the same for homeschool circles. Just because someone homeschools doesn't make them a Christian. Again a potential mission field within homeschool circles. These two options; private Christian schools and homeschools are not immune to all problems. For us we have chosen schooling paths that are in line with what we believe our kids need at that particular time in their lives. - Rob

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  5. Luke 6:40 "...but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." There is only one place where I can guarantee that my child will have a teacher that I want him to model. that is in my own home. that is not an arrogant statement, only that I can KNOW that they will see Christ modeled, Christian service exemplified, Scripture taught and understood, and understand how a believer walks and talks and lives in repentance and forgiveness with his savior.

    Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." your child is either a thermometer or thermostat. A thermometer changes according to the temperature in the room...this is a child that conforms to the ways of the world. the peer pressure is too great and they follow. A thermostat sets the temperature of the room...this is the young adult that sets the standard, a leader, not influenced by his peers. this is not a child, but a godly and mature young person who is bearing the fruit of the gospel in public and private. Only you the parent will know when your "child" is that mature.

    The great commission was given to adult disciples. He called the children to Him and He blessed them...and then sent them back to their parents. Even of the most mature adult He said He sent them out as sheep among wolves. He would not send a small child out among wolves.

    And a spiritually mature child has a wonderful sphere of influence outside the public school realm. There are neighbors, family, friends, family ministry opportunities. it's not like removing children from institutional settings removes them from impacting the world! not at all!

    Deutoronomy says teach them to your children. Proverbs says listen to the teachings of your mother and father. No where does God give that role or responsibility to ANYONE else but the parent. When you give over those keys of responsibility to other adults, friends, coaches, then you surrender that God-given responsibility...and you cannot blame anyone but yourself if the end result is not what you wished. Just by hours alone a parent can "lose" to any institutional setting, public or private.

    I don't believe you will see the relational results that homeschooling provides by any other means. it will change you, the parent, in spiritual ways you cannot even imagine. it will change your family's dynamic in a powerful way. I hope that as you consider options, you would give great time of prayer and study to what God's Word has to say on the subject.

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  6. "The great commission was given to adult disciples. He called the children to Him and He blessed them...and then sent them back to their parents. Even of the most mature adult He said He sent them out as sheep among wolves. He would not send a small child out among wolves."

    The Holy Word is relevant to us all and these are instructions for all believers. If that's your interpretation, I can completely respect that, but I have a slightly different view. No one is saying we expect our kid to be the next Billy Graham and tackle kids in the hall, pinning them down to preach to them. But there's no denying that there is great chance to make great impact for the kingdom in the public school setting. Neither Andrea nor I would be where we are today had God not placed two special friends as classmates. I can also point you to an 11-year-old son of a couple of our friends who has been instrumental in leading two of his friends to Christ. I agree it would be silly to expect things like this out of every child, but if you sense a calling in this direction, I don't think it's wrong to send them out into the public schools.

    "No where does God give that role or responsibility to ANYONE else but the parent."

    How far do you take this? What if his/her little league coach, karate instructor, or piano teacher isn't a Christian? Are they not worthy to serve our children? I honestly don't understand this mentality. Do people seriously lack this much faith that an outsider can out-impact a parent? I think much is to be gained in hearing both sides of an issue and talking to our kids about it.

    "...and you cannot blame anyone but yourself if the end result is not what you wished."

    One could argue that's a two-way street and could in fact be double true in a homeschooling setting.

    "it will change your family's dynamic in a powerful way."

    I appreciate your perspective and thoughts and I mean you no harm by saying this, but this IS an arrogant statement. You don't know a thing about our family dynamic, with all due respect. Please don't assume that what's best for your family is best for everyone's. This is how disagreements and misunderstandings occur. We all have our callings and personal convictions. I definitely respect yours.

    "I hope that as you consider options, you would give great time of prayer and study to what God's Word has to say on the subject."

    Thank you, and I would hope that if the end decision isn't in line with what anyone would agree with, they would still respect our decision, feel confident that we are grounded in God's Word and followed his lead.

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  7. The bottom line for me is that I see a lot of hurting kids out there in the public schools and they need Jesus. The time that they are in school is a lot of time to witness to them. Christian teachers, volunteers, and classmates are the ones to do it. I'm not assuming every child is ready for that work, but some are. And if they weren't in school, then kids don't hear about Jesus.

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