Note from Elihu: I had originally planned to share this post on Monday, but in the aftermath of Sunday’s tragedy, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Vegas weighed heavy on my heart.
I wrote this article for The Courage last week and watched the comments pile up on Kirk Cameron’s Facebook post—many of which confirmed the problematic attitudes I speak about in the article below. Some people went so far as to say that the Bible mandated homeschooling and anyone who said otherwise (i.e. me) was only spouting erroneous opinions. I agree that the Bible mandates training your children, but the “how” of that training is left to the discretion of the parent. There are training opportunities in every situation if we are intentional about taking them.
To be clear, I LOVE homeschooling, but for a whole host of personal reasons (and after months of prayer), we are trying a year of public-schooling with our children. I’ve had a variety of responses to our choice and it has opened my eyes ever-wider to the impact of our words and actions as brothers and sisters in Christ. We should definitely be discerning when it comes to raising our children, but that discernment ought to be coupled with immense humility.
As I always try to express in my posts, I’m just a human and my words are not gospel. Always always always do your own search of the scripture. You may disagree with my take on this issue (and apparently many people did!), but I urge you that as we make judgments we take great care to communicate them with love and humility. Many people have left the church because of arrogant opinions and cliques.
It is my prayer that this post will encourage greater humility and compassion among my brothers and sisters in Christ. May the Lord guide you in your walk.
I didn’t start out as a homeschooler. In fact, home-educating wasn’t even on my radar. After my spouse went into Law Enforcement, we were sent to a small desert town with a failing school district. Although we had three years before school started, we decided we would take the homeschool plunge.
With three children close in age, one of whom has a disorder, homeschooling has been one of the most challenging undertakings in my life. Each year, as I planned our curriculum, I would sit down and write out my goals for the year and then settle down to the tedious task of laying out our daily schedule. Implementation was a greater challenge than planning! Each day demanded the discipline to hunker down and tackle the work.
That being said, this is not a clarion call to homeschool. I’ve seen plenty of failure in homeschooling, just as there is plenty of failure in the public school system. Sometimes parents and kids clash to the detriment of their relationship. Some parents don’t want to teach academics. Some kids resist doing the work altogether.
Not everyone should homeschool. Not everyone should put their kids in public or private school.
So what is the best education?
There isn’t a single educational model consistently producing a certain type of adult. Results are mixed. I’ve seen good kids come from bad homes and bad kids come from good homes. Your educational decision – whatever it is – should be made with heaps of humility and mountains of prayer.
The most insidious problem is the growing clique-ishness among Christian parents. Often, I read (or hear) homeschoolers or private-schoolers make a veiled reference to “those parents” who blindly send their children to “institutions of liberal indoctrination.” Public-schoolers make offhand comments about “those overly-protective” homeschool or private school parents.
This should give us pause.
Division—even on a superficial level—damages the church