I published an article yesterday entitled “Why I Will Homeschool,” in which I argue that the educational philosophy behind the systems and methodologies should be front and center when we make such an important decision for our children.
Those in favor of sending their children to government schools may provide the following reasons for doing so:
- For Missions
- To Avoid Worldliness
The thing that concerns me about such a position is that the motivation is not to educate one’s children in the traditional sense — there’s no mention of teachers or philosophy or methodology or curriculum — but to send them into an environment hostile to the Christian faith with the hope that they will be salt and light, and toughen them up against the allure of worldliness.
Perhaps it all boils down to our thoughts about the proper role of an educational system. I believe an educational system should give children the tools to think critically and the information on which to act with those tools, all within a worldview grounded in truth and love, the motivation being to better understand God and His creation, with the ultimate goal being to engage the Lord and humanity in ways that best honor the Lord and make the best use of the talents He’s given us. OK, that was a pretty long and awkward sentence. Sorry about that.
On the other hand, I don’t think teaching our children truth should take a back seat to requiring that they be young missionaries sent into a hostile environment, hoping that (like a vaccine helps us develop an immunity to the flu) they’re able to build up a resistance to worldliness.
I’m all for missions; I spent about a year in the jungles of Mexico doing what some might label “missions work.” I want my kids to have the same heart for reaching out to the unsaved, whether in the States or another country, and I’ll encourage those opportunities. I also struggle to grow in discernment and try to be on guard against the creep of worldliness into my heart. My wife and I’ll impress that on our kids as well, through “teachable moments” and the more formal homeschooling process. I think there are better ways for our kids to engage others with the gospel and build up their anti-worldliness muscles than immersing them in a system built on a foundation that says God is irrelevant.
Again, I’m not wholesale against tax-funded schools. I spent 12 years in the public school system, and had some wonderful teachers and wonderful experiences. My sister taught for decades in the public school system, and was a blessing to her students. What I’m saying is that we need to think long and hard about the development of those over whom the Lord has given us responsibility — our children — and how we can best bring them up in the knowledge of the Lord and His creation.
Some choose homeschooling; others choose private or public schooling. Just as homeschoolers should probably not be so quick to condemn those who’ve chosen to delegate that responsibility to others, I’d argue that non-homeschoolers need to stop ridiculing those who choose the counter-cultural route of managing that education themselves at home.