July 15, 2013

3 Ways to Put Schooling in its Place

by Clint Archer

If you are anything like the typical Christian parent who loves their child, you probably have an opinion about whether a child should (or may) be schooled at home, at a private Christian school, or in the public school system. The way some proponents of the various views air their opinions, one would think they’re helping you to choose whether to send your child to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell.classroom

I don’t view Dante’s Inferno as an allegory for school selection, but I do empathize with the heavy responsibility that presses on a parent’s shoulders like Atlas. And I know I will annoy you who passionately hold to any of the above options. We have three little kids (and counting), and I can already tell that they are each going to thrive in different environments, and by God’s grace could probably survive in any educational atmosphere.

School is not an institution that God recognizes as responsible for the spiritual formation of your child. The role of teaching children about God is up to the parents.

Parents may recognize their inadequacy in imparting calculus and trigonometry to their wunderkind. They may decide to staff that out to a local school; no harm, no foul, if you ask me. But that is an entirely different matter from whether or not parents are involved in teaching the children about the Lord, and how to apply the Bible’s wisdom to their lives.

Your offspring may prove as prodigious as Good Will Hunting, but if he cusses, brawls, lies, and otherwise behaves like a hellion, as Matt Damon did in that movie, then what’s the point of his education? God is not impressed by evil genius.

kid reading

It makes sense to me why a parent would get upset with a school that does a poor job at teaching a child Ohm’s law or English grammar. What are we paying them for, if not to teach the students the math that is over our heads? But we’ve missed the point of school if we become disgruntled because of the absence of Bible instruction offered in the classroom, or a presence of unwholesome morals, or spawning misinformation about world views.  It certainly is nice when a school helps with that stuff, but biblically it is not their role, it’s ours.

Homeschooling is an effective approach that avoids using the school as a support of the family at all. But there are legitimate reasons why a family may choose to avail themselves of the help a school offers. There is nothing sinful about parents who dropped out of high school admitting that they cannot keep up with their gifted eleventh-grader’s chemistry syllabus. A parent doesn’t have to be smart to be wise, and he or she doesn’t need a diploma to be godly. But parents do need to do the best they can to equip their children for the spiritual traps that will await them while they are in school.

So, how can we use the school as a helper, without letting it become a substitute?

1. Spot the Mistake

As a parent you should get involved in the content of what is being taught. Hunt for inaccuracies in science textbooks (concerning Evolution, for example) and adjust an erring biology teacher’s opinion about when life begins. Bring the Bible to bear on the material that your child is being exposed to.

When a teacher ventures away from their subject and begins to interpret the material in ways that have spiritual implications, he or she has drifted into spiritual education.  A  teacher is not my kid’s pastor or parent, and my children need to understand that.

As Paul warned Timothy,

1 Tim 1:5  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  6  Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,  7  desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Get to know the teachers, and frequently quiz your children about what they are learning.

2. Screen the Friendskid with phone

Be involved in the social influence that is part of school life. Unlike friendships that develop around church and through extended family gatherings, schools bring together children of all walks of life, religious backgrounds, and world views. This can be a valuable opportunity, but must be very carefully managed. Always bear in mind the warning of Scripture that “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33).

These days bad company is carried around on smart phones. A parent who doesn’t know their kid’s FaceBook password is a parent who doesn’t know the company their kids keep.

3. Remember Who’s the Boss

Let me start by admitting that when I taught high school English, I would not have appreciated someone saying what I’m about to say. But as a parent, I’ve switched teams.

Schools shouldn’t be permitted to dictate your family’s priorities. Teachers understandably view their particular subject as the most crucial knowledge your child can gain, and their homework and testing schedule as more important than other teachers and certainly more urgent than the student’s family time.

As a former teacher I can vouch for how easy it was to convince parents that they should not take their child out of school even one day early for their family vacation, because of a critical quiz or lesson that would allegedly affect their kid forever. As a parent, however, I realize something that never occurred to me before: the parent does not work for the school, the school works for the parent.

If our family acquiesced to every school event presented to us we would have literally no time alone as a family. There is always a track-meet that needs spectators, a play that requires an audience, a club that begs for a parent to assist and a child to participate. There are friend’s parties, and parent-teacher conferences, and meetings, and countless other activities of vital importance that invade precious space on our family’s schedule like an aggressive cancer.

The family needs to close ranks against all the good things they could be doing through the school, and instead insist on the better things they need to be doing through the home.

If a school situation is becoming untenable due to unreasonable demands on time and commitment of the children and/or their parents, it may be time to reconsider the education path your family has chosen. Perhaps if the “define the relationship” discussion didn’t work, there needs to be a “it’s not you it’s me” break-up talk.

Seriously, we need to remember who works for whom.

If you don’t agree with my view, I’m sure you’ll allow me to blame these misguided notions on my schooling. :)

 

Also by Clint on this topic:

Raising Bubble Babies

When are you ready for kids?

 

Clint Archer

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Clint is the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church. He and his expanding troop of Archers live near Durban, South Africa (and pity anyone who doesn't). When he is off duty from CGate, his alter ego blogs at Café Seminoid, clintarcher.com
  • LC

    Warning: public school teacher chiming in :). I think this is a great post! It is so helpful to teachers when parents take the responsibility of their kids the right way. Unfortunately, it seems like many parents are leaving that up to schools, which is why there is such a need for us to get in there and teach good values. The only other thing that I would add is that if parents really want the best education for their kids, they need to partner with teachers. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they do and not call them out when they are wrong. But it does mean that you should treat them as professionals and respect their opinion and work together to educate your child. I know you were reflecting more on the spiritual side of education, but a good rabbit trail never hurt anyone, right? :). Thanks for this post!

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Excellent comment. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for chiming gin.

  • Been burned by public schools

    I’ll say what this article is afraid to say: public schools destroy the character of children with the worldly influence of peers. We can dance around this as much as we like, but it’s rare to see exceptions to this. Mom gives up on trying to homeschool, or wants to keep working so that standard of living can match that of the secular world, so let the State do the educating, and the inevitable result is children that emulate the values of the world.

    • Dwight Chamberlain

      Thank you for your humble honestly. More people need to know this truth.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Um, sure, that is a valid opinion. Remember that this blog is read by people in over 30 counties, some of which have excellent public schools. But wherever you have peers, you have influence. We need to be aware of that. Thanks for your comment.

    • ellejean

      Then I guess it’s impossible for me to be saved and raising my children in a Christian home since I went to public school? Same with my husband. And every Christian friend that I have. And the majority of the people I know at our 2000+ church. Oh and all of our pastors on staff. All public school kids.
      I think you’re underestimating God.

      • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

        To be fair, he/she did say “there are rare exceptions” ;)

  • Dwight Chamberlain

    Brother Clint,

    Thanks for the post. You’re right! I do have an opinion (full disclosure, I’m the President of the Board of Washington Christian Academy), and I think it is the duty of Christian parents to remove their children from the public education system as soon as possible. Either by home schooling or by Christian school enrollment. I don’t know about the public schools in South Africa, but here in the USA they are dangerous places for Christians to allow their children to go.

    Christan parents should not be lulled into thinking they can undo the damage at night and on weekends that the public schools will do to their children’s training in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Rare is the child that will make it through that gauntlet and come out the other side unscathed.

    Dr. Albert Mohler aptly addresses this in a post he wrote a number of years ago regarding a debate going on in the US Southern Baptist Convention: http://www.albertmohler.com/2005/06/17/needed-an-exit-strategy/

    As I reminded our families in my end of year address to the WCA community, here is why we must employ Christian education for our children:

    1) The truth is taught here – Reason, logic and philosophy based on truth nurture our children’s young minds so that they are fertile soil for the planting of the
    gospel. Because they understand the truth about the world and the way it works, they will not be confused by it – and they will more quickly come to know their role in the world and go on to lead productive lives to God’s glory. Non-Christian schools, especially public schools, teach children falsely about who God is, how creation came to be and how the world is ordered. This indoctrinates a secular world-view that is hostile to God, reinforced by worldly news media, movies and television and social media. Children who spend the vast amount of their waking hours in these schools are often confused, feel out-of-step and even embarrassed by their faith. This is rich soil for the enemy and his minions to pull children away and cause them to question and even abandon what faithful parents try to teach them.

    2) We are commanded to teach our children about God and the Lord Jesus Christ – Scripture is full of commands to train up our children in the faith. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”. In other words – all the time! Not just when they are not in school. It is almost impossible to do this when we give our children over to secular “government” schools for the vast majority of our day and allow them to be taught untruths about history, science and reason.

    3) Our children see authentic Christian community lived before them. There is no avoiding it. Our children get steeped in it. Born –again, Spirit-filled
    faculty and staff surround them every day. Faculty and staff who know that they are all imperfect as the students are. And they know that were it not for God’s divine mercy and grace they would not even know who he is! This authentic world of humble, caring adults shows our children the truth of God’s gospel even as they walk the halls. This teaches children what “normal” should be like. Then when they encounter the world they see it as it really is. And they have role models all day long who, in addition to their parents, shape the way they grow to see that world.

    4) Our children learn how to think, feel and act – Although they may not be regenerated, born-again Christians when they leave (that is God’s work in God’s time), they do know the truth and the answers to life’s important questions; How the world works, why bad things happen, what their place in the world is, why God cares about everyone, why God hates pride and the ultimate questions that they, alone MUST answer. This results in children more prepared to accept the gospel and more eager to contribute to the world in meaningful ways.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      As a rule I read comments that are longer than the post itself, last.

      • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

        Ok, so I like your input, and am grateful for it here, but I’d caution that one word is a bit strong in your opinion voiced here: “I think it is the duty of Christian parents to remove their children from the public education system as soon as possible” The word I’m taking issue with is “duty”. This implies that if a Christian parent opts to use the public school system, they are neglecting their duty as a parent. I’d humbly disagree and point out that there are ways of fulfilling your duty to teach your children, protect them, and love them while in the public school system, even if it is viciously anti-God system (as some missionary families have to deal with in Europe, for example).

        • http://parkingspace23.com/ Matt Tarr

          Clint, thank you for your post – I thought it was one of the most helpful and fair assessments on the subject. It was honest, biblical, and fair. AND I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I have to say, I also disagree with Dwight for the same reason as you noted, referring to the “duty” of Christian parents to “remove” their students… I myself have worked for a Christian school, and for a home-school co-op. As a student, I attended both a Christian school and public (spending the majority of my education at my public school). I have four quick responses for Dwight.

          The first is most simple. I am unconvinced that you can use such strong language without the direct support of Scripture. It’s the point me to the verse in context principle. Second, Dwight’s statement that “rare is the child” that can make it through the public system unscathed is an observation made through colored lenses. Where is the data to prove this? I also know MANY who were homeschooled their entire lives, only to completely forsake the faith as soon as they leave their parents household. This brings me to my third point… that this shows there’s actually another problem. It’s not the homeschooling that’s the major tool God uses to bring children to salvation. It’s the God-honoring family unit. Parents can fail at discipleship in any education environment. Fourth, Dwight’s view also has a misunderstanding of man’s sinful nature. If a student sins and becomes rebellious (in whatever environment, and the FACT is, it happens in all three), it’s not because another kid made him/her that way. Sure they can be influenced, but ultimately it shows that the child is only fulfilling what was already in his or her heart. They need repentance and salvation. They need a heart change… not an external conformity to moral behavior (otherwise known as being Pharisaical). Children who are regenerate will not be tempted beyond what they are able.

          This is important: parents in all three educational environments MUST be proactive in teaching their children. There are strengths and weaknesses to all three. The danger for homeschool students is that they grow up in such a protected environment while not being taught WHY they obey. So as soon as they graduate and enter the secular workforce, they are overwhelmed by the immorality that might not have been actively trained to deal with. The danger for Christian school students, is that they grow up with a false assurance of salvation, OR that the Christian school is a substitute for the church. Therefore, when they get older, and they watch their “Christian” school friends engage in sinful behavior, they are enticed to follow suite and never establish themselves in a church. Public school children, yes, as we all know, will be influenced by unregenerate children and a secular world system. These parents must be proactive in teaching their children self-control and how to be a light in a dark world. Establishing your testimony goes a long way here. When students know you represent Christ, it helps keep you accountable.

  • Michael

    Clint, your three points are right on and very helpful regarding parents who make use of the public schools.

    However, regarding the comment about expecting schools to teach our kids the Bible, we must be careful not to think education is neutral. All education assumes a certain worldview, whether that worldview is explicitly stated or not. Therefore, a school system which does not base certain presuppositions on the existence of a Creator or the Bible must still have a foundation underneath their teaching. This may or may not be a problem for Christian parents, but I think too many assume that public schools are simply a neutral place of learning with no philosophical or religious presuppositions.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      You make a really good point.

  • John Koopman

    Dear Clint, Your argument is based on the false premise that education can be neutral. The reality is that every educator or educational institution operates under certain world view assumptions whether explicitly stated or not. Here, by and large, the public institution is a secular humanistic institution. Therefore it isn’t a matter of discovering ‘the mistake’ in the curriculum. One area I do agree with you is that parents must be involved in the education of their children. If you are interested in any articles on education I’d gladly send you a collection I’ve put together. Just let me know.

    John

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      I certainly agree that no education is truly neutral. But I’d contend that it is possible for a parent to seize the opportunity to filter biased education through Scripture, and thus teach the child to do the same, which could prove valuable later in life.

      • John Koopman

        It is possible if you sat in the classroom with your son or daughter. The reality is that our children don’t have the insight to even recognize the bias of the teaching. I do agree that we need to teach our children to be discerning – particularly as they enter the dialectic & rhetoric stage of learning. However, young children are best presented with the facts without being challenged by error.

        • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

          Depends on the child, I’m sure you agree.

          • John Koopman

            Few if any children would have the insight necessary to be discerning before 12-13 years old. The development of a child is such that the ability to understand abstract concepts doesn’t occur until about that age – which does vary by child. Children must be taught to be discerning – and this doesn’t happen automatically. We don’t let our children ride their bicycles down the highway until they are trained to be aware of the dangers. Intellectually the same principle applies meaning we only place them in environments they have been trained to handle.

          • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

            I’ve read “A Trained Mind” too, but to say that the ability to understand abstract concepts “doesn’t vary by child” is simply not true. Each parent is responsible for guarding and teaching their own child and we can’t make rules that apply to everyone. (BTW, in Germany homeschooling is not legal, and the Christians there are also able to somehow obey God). Now, I agree with you that the younger the child, the more protection hey need, and the older they get the more they need to be exposed to thinking for themselves.

          • John Koopman

            Dear Clint, I have not read ‘A Trained Mind’ and am unaware of this book. Nor am I arguing for homeschooling at all. While we have homeschooled some of our children in the earlier grades all of them have attended school. I have also written articles critical of the homeschooling ‘movement’ as an insider. Nor am I saying that the discernment of children doesn’t vary – but what I am saying is that we must train our children before they are exposed to teaching & world views which are antithetical to the Word of God. I think that there are limits to this forum for discussion. Again, I’d gladly share a series of papers including FAQ about the education of our children. Just send me your email and I’d be glad to share them with you. It also has a statement that we as a church made summarizing our view of the education of our children.

  • Mark

    Thanks for the article, Clint. Raising children is a challenge, regardless of your schooling situation. If you public school, you have to deal with the secular influences. If you homeschool, it’s the “pharisees” you have to contend with. It can definitely affect a church, when parents start to balkanize based on their schooling preferences, and it’s sad when it happens.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      You get the prize for the most concise-while-insightful comment!

  • Tina

    I must begin with a bit of my “credentials”. I am the mother/homeschool teacher of my three, now adult, children. Experiencing but two years of college, my mastery of the difficult subjects was limited. Yet we ventured into the homeschooling realm when my oldest entered 7th grade. Having participated in the public school systems and more than one private school, we have a range of experience with schooling. That said, I hoped to address a couple of your points drawing on my experience. Yes, if I chose to send my children to the public school to learn chemistry, mathematics and english grammar with the certainty that this goal would be achieved without indoctrination, it would not be a great issue. However, public schools have every intention of teaching my children far more than these subjects. Promoting an anti-Biblical worldview is definitely in mind. Why would I desire to spend all of our limited time together “un-teaching” what was taught to my child during the many hours spent in the classroom. In addition, as an ill equipped teacher of the difficult subjects, my responsibility to is completely review the public school text books to identify the errors?? I must then communicate to my child that the authority in the classroom, to whom he is to give honor and respect, is giving false information. How does the child know when the teacher is to be believed and when not?
    From our experience, my children learned far more negative information on the playground at both the public and private schools than I care to recall. Much of this was heartbreaking. So once again, we spent more time attempting to undo damage than to impart the gospel message as we could and should have been doing.
    To date, I have two college graduates, both employed married operating their own households. Also, the third child is entering college with a full scholarship, commuting from home. All three desire to homeschool their own children and say that no other route would even be considered.
    I know that I sound strong and very certain of my opinion, but I have experienced the gamut which produced this emphatic stance. I realize that many will disagree but, if my experience provides any benefit to others, it has accomplished the goal.
    Thank you for allowing me to strongly disagree.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      I respect your view. Thanks for sharing it. If I were to play devil’s advocate, I’d hone in one question you asked: “Why would I desire to spend all of our limited time together “un-teaching” what was taught to my child during the many hours spent in the classroom.” The advocate’s answer could be: “a) It’s not all your time together. b) it’s an invaluable type of time together because… c) your child will be faced with opposing views their whole adult life, so this time is spent equipping them for that.” But I also feel like pumping my kid full of truth is more efficient than bailing out error. So, I appreciate your input greatly.

  • Melissa Collins

    I am going to have to agree with the posts that remind us that the public school system does have an agenda not consistent with Biblical principles – if only their goal was honestly to teach our children the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic as it were – but unfortunately, especially here in California, the agenda is clearly NOT that. My son and his wife choose to homeschool their five children for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is basic values and morals. Homeschooled children are not entirely protected from the evils of the world – that would be impossible unless they were never allowed outside the home! They certainly know and see what goes on around them. I am pleased that my son and daughter-in-law have chosen to sacrifice much to school their children at home. But they believe they only have these children for a short time before they set them off into the world, and they want them fully equipped to follow Christ and be in the world but not of the world. They are, in fact, raising children toward eternity. Success by the world’s standards, is NOT success by Christ’s standard.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Amen to your closing statement. This is a very important truth to keep in mind. But you should also concede that there are Christian parents in the world who were not able to complete high school themselves, and may have low IQ’s and yet have a child with great educational potential, which they feel inadequate to stimulate. These parents may feel that their kids are better served by secular education combined with intense parental scrutiny. Just saying.

      • Melissa Collins

        In fact I completely agree with your reply to mine. I thought after I had posted that I should have absolutely said that. Not everyone has the confidence or needed skills to homeschool and they should NOT be made to feel guilty in the least. I believe that Christ knows our hearts and our abilities and can be honored in any way we choose to educate our children provided we are firmly teaching them at home, how to follow Christ. Thanks for holding me accountable to that issue. :-)

        • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

          Well said. Thanks.

  • matthew reed

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been teaching public school for 17 years and plan on sending my son, too. I like what you said in “Spot the Mistake”. One hint for parents- many school districts don’t have the money to give each child their own textbook. But, if you scan the bar code of your child’s textbook with a smart phone (or google the number), you can often find a used copy for sale for only a couple dollars. I plan on having a complete set of my son’s textbooks at home to go over with him and to use as a teaching tool. He will always live in a sin-cursed world while on here on earth; he’ll need to learn how to spot error (a skill needed in the Christian schools, too- bad theology is everywhere).

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Excellent. Thanks for this help.

  • jrod

    Thanks for the post. I especially appreciated, “The way some proponents of the various views air their opinions, one
    would think they’re helping you to choose whether to send your child to
    Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell.” This is definitely a sacred cow that needs a Biblical perspective rather than only staunch opinions. thanks.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Opinions are fun, but I agree we need to approach the topic objectively where possible. Thanks.

  • busdriver4jesus

    LOL!!! Great take from a “side-switcher”!

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      They still call me “turn-coat” in the faculty lounge.

  • Mama B

    My husband is in the Army; we have 4 kids and have moved 14 times in 22 years (both in the U.S. and overseas). Each time we moved we looked at all the educational options available and determined what would be best for that location. We have done public schools, Christian schools, homeschool, and Department of Defense schools. There have been times when some of our kids were doing one option and some another, because that seemed to be best for that location. I can tell you that none of the options are perfect; each has its strengths and weaknesses. Whatever schools we were involved in outside of home, I volunteered in on at least a weekly basis. I never met a teacher who wasn’t thrilled to have committed volunteers, and that buys you a lot of insight into what is going on in the schools as well as the ability to influence it. I have seen godly kids come out of each of these options and I have seen kids with shipwrecked faith come out of each as well. There will never be a time when all Christian families unanimously choose one option; instead of criticizing one another and telling other parents what they should do, we should work to strengthen and support one another and have a godly influence in our children’s lives and in the lives of their friends, no matter where they go to school.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      This is a very helpful comment. Thanks for sharing it.

  • terrymengle

    Many christian parents, contrary to the teaching of Scripture, are abdicating their parental obligation to teach their children the difference between right and wrong. They have given public schools a blank slate that will be written on by whomever wishes. Secular thinking, liberal sex-ed, Darwinian evolution, liberal worldview, are all taught for several hours each day of the school year. Add peer pressure into this deathly diet puts the icing on this deceptive desert. Christian parents that think they can deprogram their children after this massive attack on Christian character are deceived and usually find little time for moral tutoring themselves. Most seem to think the Church should do that teaching for one or two hours a week.
    Parents who are not particularly Christian are deluded if they think their children are getting a good educaltion. By any standard, our public schools are a long way from providing world class education. Drop out rates of 25 to 50% in our schools mean that one fourth to half of our students fail. If you were a company that provided a product that failed that often you would not be in business long. Teachers are giving passing grades to failing students just to get them on the conveyer belt to graduation.
    So if you wish to have poorly educated morally confused children, by all means, keep them in public education and keep on paying an ever higher price for a substandard public education. Your children will pay an even higher price ultimately.

    • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

      As one commenter noted above, I think you are underestimating the power of the God. While some of your statistics may be true as a whole, what does it look like for parents that are Christians who have their children in public school?

  • rstarke

    Clint – your gentle answers have been helpful in turning away my own anger at the uncharitable and frankly unteachable attitude of many in the homeschooling community.Their selective railing against a selective subset of sins in a particular worldview, while being oblivious to the sins of their own, is a perfect modern example of the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18.

    I have dear friends who have kids in public school for all manner of financial, circumstantial reasons, even Christian conviction. That people here would consign their children to inevitable educational and spiritual ruin says far more about their incomplete, inaccurate theology than my friends’ trust in God’s sovereignty over His direction of their faithful choice.

    I apologize if this comes across as angry. It’s meant as a lament, not a diatribe.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Thanks for sharing. It helps me to think of people who are convinced their view is right for everyone, as people who have not travelled. Some of our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries would be quite confused about what they are expected to do if these people are right.

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    For all that many “Christians” want to rail against public school, the truth is that for many families, it just is the only option. For example, what would you say to the single, low-income mom? I work in one of the most impoverished counties in the USA, so I see how public school is the only option for so many. So when someone says, “Homeschool or Christian private school is God’s way,” you immediately judge, marginalize, and cut off a significant segment of the population. It’s not as simple as they make it out to be.

    Additionally, I have seen firsthand the HUGE impact had by Christians who work in public schools.

    At one point, we were involved with all 3 education options simultaneously: we homeschool, I taught for a while at a private school, and I worked for the local public school district. If I learned anything, it’s that (for the most part) education is what you make of it.

    I could say more, but I’ll like to a post I had (http://differentway4kids.blogspot.com/2012/01/summary-education-options-for-your.html), which is composed of links of other articles. My favorite are the 3 interviews I had with friends of ours, each of whom (in good conscience) who have chosen different education systems for their kids.

    Thanks for this post. Will be sharing it.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Helpful, thanks Joey.

  • Adam Metcalf

    Clint, phenomenal post! To those who have essentially insinuated or blatantly stated that you have sealed your child’s eternal fate by sending them to public school, I would humbly suggest that you keep the Sovereignty of God in mind. In Romans 9, Paul lays out a clear case for God’s election trumping all other circumstances. I am personally very hesitant to suggest that because a person goes to public school, they are far less likely to be a recipient of God’s saving grace. Though a Christian school or home school may be preferable in certain circumstances, it certainly isn’t the factor that will determine salvation. If you try to make that case, you no longer believe in grace, but works.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Mmm, so we need to apply our theology to our lives? Interesting. ;)

  • bondservant

    The problem isn’t school inside or outside of the home, or taught by parents verses others. The problem is school run by the government, with the ability and/or for the purpose of promoting its point of view (not the parents), funded by forced taxation, and compulsory in nature. In a free market system, the parents would ultimately make the choice based on curriculum, quality of teachers, safety, budget, religious/political slant, etc. The teachers would compete for jobs, and be paid accordingly. Those who could not afford education would have support from private individuals and charities. And children would have the ability to thrive when options are not mostly “one-size-fits-all.”

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Gotta love Capitalism.

  • Bill

    Clint,
    Warning, public school product chiming in. What would you make of these two quotes from times gone by? I believe that the student becomes just like his teacher, seems to me I’ve read that before.

    “Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school? “Why, that they may be fit to live in the world.” In which world do you mean, — this or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last for ever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little
    better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours tothis or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will
    last for ever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours toinstruct a small number of children in religion and learning together.”- John Wesley
    “I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour inexplaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them on the hearts of youth. I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution in which men and women are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt. “of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them on the hearts of youth. I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution in which men and women are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt. “ngly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt. “- Martin Luther
    Thanks
    Bill

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      I’m a fan of the good doctor Luther but he’s saying what I said, only better, and in German. This line sums it up for me: I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them on the hearts of youth”

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  • Gerry Andersen

    Seems to me that we have missed the biggest reason why Christian would choose to send their child to a public school…because there a lot of people who need to know about Jesus. Regardless of the age, I’ve found there is an enormous opportunity to help children and families come to know Christ.

    • Anony

      Thank you, I was thinking the same thing. Imagine what schools would be like if all the Christian teachers and students bailed out…still, I understand that this view makes it more of a mission field, and not everyone is called to that. I “survived” public school and maintained a godly lifestyle and worldview because my parents were involved in my life, and ultimately because God is in control! Some of the kids in my youth group who went to private school got out and completely rebelled and walked away from their faith. It’s a decision for every family to pray about and follow through with what they feel The Lord is calling them to do.

  • Ben

    There are popular homeschool leaders telling their followers that unless you homeschool your children, you are not qualified to be an elder at your church. There are other homeschool leaders telling their followers, “May it never be said again of any of those who name the name of Christ that they rendered unto Caesar the things that are God’s—his covenant children.” (RC Sproul Jr., When You Rise Up, p. 139) Spiritualized meaning: that if I send my kids to public school I am rendering to Caesar the things (my kids) that are God’s. I prefer the literal meaning.
    The influence of these homeschool leaders has permeated every church. If we are not careful we will fall into works righteousness. It’s subtle. The militant would say we are saved by grace, but then add the burden of their law upon another’s shoulders. There are web sites for “recovering Christian homeschoolers.” It’s that bad out there. It’s the new Party of the Circumcision.