I’ve been looking through your posts for a bit just looking over your reasoning but I have just one issue with it. I have many friends who are homeschooled but most of my friends and I were brought up in public school. While there is plenty of sin and temptation and drama that comes with public school, I am very glad that I went through it. It taught me valuable lessons in facing hardship as a Christian and showed me what the world without God is like. I became a Christian my freshman year of high school. Was it hard to not cuss? Yes. Hard to not look lustfully at girls? Yes. Hard to keep pace with AP classes and Orchestra and Latin club while also maintaining a social life and helping my youth ministry by leading a bible study and teaching 5th grade? Of course. But all these things made me a stronger Christian and I’m glad I was exposed to them early on in life so they don’t blindside me when I get into college. But the biggest reason for why I’m glad I was in public school was that I was able to bring Christ to my friends that needed to know Him. If I never went to school with them I doubt they would’ve ever considered getting involved with their churches or establishing a relationship with God because they never would’ve seen what God can do in someone’s life firsthand. Christian kids (with strong enough faith and a desire to work for God) need to be with other children of different backgrounds and beliefs because it gives them a perfect chance to change lives at a young age. My friends from church did even more than I did at their schools. They literally established their own student led ministries that had about 100 kids attend weekly before school on Fridays. And maybe this is something that only my friends and I were able to do because of how we were raised up and the opportunities we were given by our youth ministry discipling us, but I strongly believe that when you homeschool your kids you make them miss out on things God wants to do through them in the lives of others.
If the numbers bantered about are correct, about a whopping 80 percent of children raised in the church walk away from the faith when they’re older. That number is staggering to me, indeed a tragedy of tragedies. And when you look at it trans-generationally, the numbers are even more staggering, because after you take 80 percent from the remaining 20 percent, there’s not much left. You can see then how the decline is actually exponential. This brings us to two angles in which to look at the situation. First I’ll address yours, which is not not (double negative intended) relevant because it does look at the present reality and deals with that reality. I’m very happy for you, by the way, and it’s wonderful to hear your story. It’s great that you were there in the public school system sharing the Gospel in that very dark place. And as an aside, I too taught 5th and 6th graders in church before I had children. Only a couple of my 20 or so children did not walk away from the faith when they grew up, that I know of. Both surprised me, one because he didn’t walk away, and the other because she did. Your “angle”, if you will, sees things how they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That the public school system is, at this very moment, a dark place, is the reality of the present, a reality that you confronted.
But I’ll ask you to consider another angle, which is mine, and it starts with a couple of questions. First, if we can’t win our own children, how can we ever expect to win the world? Second, how many of the people that you ministered to, and shared the Gospel with, surrendered their lives? (Not that that matters, except in understanding my perspective) Rather than look at how things are, I’m asking the question, how did things get the way they are? And, what can we do to change the trend? And I begin answering that question by looking at a lot of things, including things beyond the shcoolhouse. But since this blog focuses on public school…
The bottom line, for me, follows the logic of this analogy: We would not send our children to death camps just so we can save them from the death camps. We don’t continue to lose 80% of our children, so we can win 20 percent. If we were winning 80 percent, because I don’t think we’ll ever win them all, then I’d feel more comfortable sending my children into the darkness that is the public highschool. But that’s just it. If we actually were winning 80%, the school system wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in because children grow up, and they become teachers, legislators, judges, school board members, voters, and even presidents. I can’t believe that if we were winning our own children to the Lord, that our world, and hence the world’s education institutions, would look like they do now.
As for your experience in school, I would say two things. First, no homeschooler will ever understand what it’s like to be in public school, and what he would have learned or experienced. But the same is true for those who were never homeschooled. It’s really an impossible comparison to make. We can only compare the images we have of the experiences we didn’t get. Still, I must grant that there is merit to your position, I just don’t think it merits sending our children to public school to gain those experiences.
Thanks for dropping by, and for commenting. It would be an odious task to read all my posts, probably even more arduous than it was to write them, but if you did, I think you would find that I, at some point, address most of your points. And if you have children, I’d urge you to not send them to public school, and if you do, to withdraw them at once.
Thank you for your kind and honest response. Like I said before I know some good guys that were/are homeschooled and they’re great leaders at our church so I’ve seen what homeschooling is like from their experiences and I have no problem with people choosing to homeschool their kids. I think the experiences my friends and I had at our schools were a result of many factors other kids don’t have. We live in the Houston area so we’ve grown up in a diverse culture of many races, cultures, and beliefs. We were raised to be open and accepting of other people’s beliefs and ideas. This made speaking about church and Christianity much easier at school because even if someone didn’t believe or agree with it they would still be open minded and kind about it. Plus, those who didn’t believe were still open minded to the idea of God so it made converting nonbelievers a little easier.
Another difference that changes our experience of schools is that we have an amazing youth ministry that is student run and student led. Everything from the worship band to the tech booth to announcements to prayer partners to welcome ministry to Bible study leaders to camp leaders to planning and setting up events is done by students so we were constantly shown how we could make a difference and lead others at a young age. Our pastors encouraged us to change our schools and change the lives of both students and school staff. Many kids don’t get the kind of ministry we did and instead are given very bland and unengaging experiences at church that push them away. Many kids feel embarrassed or lame because they go to church so they don’t let others know about it. But my friends and I love our church so much and it’s so much fun to be able to worship God and learn more about Him while also making friends and changing lives that we never stopped talking about it at school.
While I do believe that school does make it harder to keep your faith, I believe that the church is actually the main issue with that. Many kids don’t have a youth ministry or don’t have a very good one. What I mean by that is that many kids have Sunday school or a Bible study but it doesn’t engage them, get them involved in the ministry, show them how the Bible is applicable to their lives in a practical way, and build relationships with the students. It’s hard work to get a youth ministry to be effective and many times they fall short due to a lack of funding, or frequent staff changes, or inadequate leadership that goes beyond a Sunday morning and a midweek bible study. If kids are not actively involved and seeking a deeper relationship with God then regardless of where the education comes from, they’re not going to be interested in maintaining their relationship with God.
So while I do see that there is clearly a darkness that surrounds public schooling and I know that every single form of temptation runs rampant in them, I’m still going to enroll my kids in public school. My mom was a second grade teacher for many years and is now a intervention specialist for troubled students at her elementary school and my father was a high school coach, teacher, assistant principle, and is now the head of the department of transportation in the district. My aunt is also a superintendent in the district. I’ve been raised in a family heavily involved in public school and after experiencing it myself I’ve seen how it can make or break someone, but I could never live with myself if I didn’t raise my kids to be strong and faithful children of God eager to bring Him into others lives and not allow them to let God work through them in their schools. With a healthy Christian family life and involvement in an engaging, encouraging, and Jesus centered youth ministry, I think a young person who has a solid faith in God and wants to do something amazing for His glory should be able to have the opportunity to change lives every single day they go to school. Is it hard? Yes. Could it fail? Obviously. But I can’t allow my kids to sit in the boat when they want to walk on the waters with Christ by trusting in Him to work through them in their schools. Maybe my mind will change when I actually do find a wife and have a kid of my own, but as an 18 year old guy who just graduated after having an incredible journey with God through all the crazy events of public schools and saw God do incredible things while I was there, I’m pretty set on it. But to each their own, and God has a unique plan for everyone home or public schooled. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. God bless!
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