Today's blog post is from a discussion board response I wrote to one of my peers who greatly supported homeschooling his children. These are my thoughts, my opinions, and I am in no way saying the view I hold should be the view held by everyone, but please read:
I found your article very interesting, since I have struggled with varying opinions on home school, private school, and public school education. I admire that you home school your children, and I understand the reason why many parents choose this route. I found it interesting that the main reason parents in the study wanted to home school their children was to focus on "strengthening the relationship with their child." I think this is noble, and a good goal, but I think it could be unhealthy. For instance, I am an only child. My parents, when we moved to VA and I was about to start going to my county's public schools, contemplated the idea of homeschooling. At first, I thought the idea was kind of exciting, but we didn't dwell much on it and I ended up attending public schools. I am a Christian, and I come from a Christian family, and though my family believes in having close ties, I do not think keeping me home would have been healthy. For one, I'm almost "too close" to my parents, since I'm an only child, and because of that, I would have a hard time viewing them as my educators and not my closest friends (which they are) or my mom and dad (which they will always be to me, no matter how old I am). Also, I went through a very opinionated phase in high school that would have made teaching me very difficult. Sending me to school outside of the home was beneficial in that I saw the teachers as authority figures and not my buddies. I also think I studied harder and performed better academically because of the academic competition; I knew I was capable of good grades, and I wanted to prove myself. In a nut shell, I don't think I needed to strengthen my relationship with my parents. If anything, the attachment needed to be cut and I needed to experience the world of public school in order to grow and learn, both academically, personally, and spiritually.
You ask, "Is the public school system a hostile environment for Christian children?" I am not a parent yet, and I can only form an opinion from my own perspective, but I would say yes and no. I recently was married this summer to a wonderful man of God. We do intend to have children, and we have discussed the options for educating them. He is studying to be a youth pastor, and, as this course alludes to, I'm studying to become a teacher. We have come to the conclusion that we will send our children to public school for multiple reasons, with one of the main reasons being his future career. What kind of message does it send to the students of his future youth group and their parents if we, as spiritual leaders of their children, are concerned to send our own children to the school their children attend? How can my husband preach on "being in this world and not of it," on "being salt and light," if we keep our children from the world instead of teaching them how to confront the world and change it?
I very much respect your decision and the reasons for your decision. Like I said, I'm not a parent yet, so I may change my views on educating my children when that time comes. I did want to comment on one of your statements: "God is not welcome in government schools, and therefore they lack the values and moral character development that you can achieve from Christ-centered education." I feel that though God is not publicly allowed or accepted in public schools, His presence still resides in individuals. Not all public schools are equal, and some are more traditional, some have more Christian teachers and are more accepting of Judeo-Christian beliefs. I think, as the reading of this course has shown us, we are called to be a city on a hill for our students (as teachers). And as students and parents of students, we're to encourage them to do the same, not pull them out of an environment that so desperately needs to hear about His love and hope.