A friend recently loaned me a copy of Home School Enrichment Magazine so I could read two articles of interest. As I scanned the rest of the magazine, I came across an article called “Crazy about My Kids,” in which the author describes all the “excuses” Christians give for not homeschooling their children. I laughed out loud when I read, “Homeschooling is definitely not the norm – in the world or in the church.”
I’m not sure where she goes to church, but it certainly isn’t anywhere I’ve been in the past fifteen years. Of the four friends whose birthdates and residence could possible put them in the same class as my preschool-aged son, three will almost definitely be homeschooled, and the mother of the fourth hasn’t entirely decided against it. I am almost afraid to admit I plan to send my children to public school.
Let me first say that I respect and appreciate the commitment, time, and money that goes into quality homeschooling. I can also understand the desire to homeschool, especially in my school district, where the school board was sued and voted out of office after asking teachers to allow their students to hear that (gasp!) people who believe in a Creator actually exist. (Contrary to many news reports, the district was not even “teaching” intelligent design, simply reading a statement at the beginning of a unit on evolution that said some people disagreed with the theory.)
I won’t say that I would never consider homeschooling my children – I can envision a few specific circumstances where I might. However, I would homeschool only after other options were exhausted. Why? I see the mass exodus of Christians from public schools as the church literally telling everyone in those schools that they can go to hell.
The Bible tells us to be salt and light in our culture (Matthew 12:13-16).* If no Christians are in the public schools being salt – preserving the remaining moral character of the schools and challenging ideas that are inconsistent with a biblical worldview – public education is left to rot. If no students are there being light – standing up for what is right and showing their peers faith in action – many will graduate from high school without ever hearing the name of Jesus used as anything but a curse word. And students who do not know any Christians personally can imagine that all Christians are all the bad things we’re said to be.
Homeschooling has many advantages, but most benefit homeschooling families and not the culture at large. By taking our children out of the public schools, I fear the Christian community is contributing to –even worsening – the very problems with public education that make homeschooling so popular in the first place.
I know a lot of you disagree with me on this topic. Please leave a comment and tell me why!
*A great book on being salt and light in our culture is Roaring Lambsby Bob Briner. I highly recommend it – it’s an easy read, but it really influenced my thinking on these matters.