On a list of my favorite quotes about homeschooling, one reader took an issue with this:
“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” ~Dr. Voddie Baucham
I do not agree with #11. I homeschool my children, but I was public-schooled. All of my Christian friends I grew up with were also public-schooled. Most of us are all following the Lord. And the few who aren’t, it had to do with familial issues, not public school. I believe children CAN be raised for the Lord even while attending public school. Homeschooling is not a safe-guard against rebellious children, in my opinion.
And I can understand this response.
In truth, I’ve never wanted my site to be a place for feeding on bitterness between the various schooling camps. (Which is why I put the disclaimer at the top of that list of quotes!)
When I write an article encouraging breastfeeding, it could unintentionally wound a mom who’s had to choose formula… or when I write an article talking about the blessing of a big family, it could hurt a wife who would love more children but has submitted to her husband (to stop at two children)… or if I talk about the beauty of marital intimacy, it could deeply hurt a wife who has a husband that continually refuses her in that area. So, please understand that my goal in writing that list was to encourage homeschooling moms, not *bash* a different method, or slam those who choose it.
But any time we choose one thing, it can’t be avoided: we are making some sort of determination about the other choices… and sometimes it IS a negative judgment. There’s no way to avoid this happening. If you attend a church for a few years, and then leave it for a non-necessary reason (i.e., not because you moved 4+ hours away), there’s no way for it to NOT be a judgment (of some kind) against that church.
So with that said, in response to this commonly-spoken idea, that–
- good kids can come from public school, too, ya know!
- homeschooling isn’t a safeguard against rebellion!
here are my thoughts:
I, too, was educated in public schools.
I am thankful for so many things I received in my small-town Texas school system:
- a love for and solid foundation in writing and language
- a love for and rich education in choral and orchestral music
- opportunities to learn a wide variety of academic subject matter (I had excellent teachers in biology, algebra, physics, and percussion)
- chances to interact with, and learn from, many Christian teachers who poured themselves out for us, year after year
- a great liberal arts foundation that prepared me for college and whatever future I desired to pursue
That said, I received other things as well.
I still fight poor training picked up there. I still fight against judging people based on their clothes, hairstyles, and “coolness,” rather than the inner heart and beauty of the inner person. There is still a “pecking order of coolness” residing in my brain (where I always come up short and feel “less than,” no matter who I’m around) that crystalized in those formative years.
I remember the fear of running in my house as fast as I could because two bullies had teased me all day in the halls, followed me home, and were banging on the front door within 60 seconds of me getting inside.
I remember being hit on and leered at by male teachers. I remember being hit on and leered at by male students– in the hallways, in the parking lot, in detention, before school, after school, constantly.
I still fight thinking that more money = more success, even though God’s Word says otherwise.
I still carry scars from the sexual ethos I adopted by continually rubbing shoulders, in that place, with sexually promiscuous peers.
No, I’m not a “Roman” and yet, I bear the marks of one who was educated by Caesar and has to work to erase those patterns, and their effects, in my life.
Yes, God has made good of even the negative things in my life.
And yet, are those things all best? Are those things wisest? Homeschooling does not remove the inner heart of rebellion- so we can not look to it to do that, and yet it does remove the external influence of foolish peers and a sexually indulgent culture of permeating the THINKING and ACTIONS of our children while they are yet young.
Surely, every child must one day grapple with the culture they are in, and yet, must they do so at such a young age, while their thinking and worldview is so very fragile? And who will be the primary influencers of their thinking while they form that worldview? Whose approval will they seek, and to what will they be aspiring?
I can’t speak for you, but for me, my (often-foolish, no matter how “intelligent” they were) peers were the primary influencers of my thinking… not my parents who loved me best of all. No, their influence I spurned and rejected.
Even in situations where my parents’ spoke up with sensible counsel and pleas that would have protected me from harm, I willfully turned away from the people who loved me best and ran after the world. My heart had been knitted to seek the approval of people who rejected me, and to turn away from even loving wisdom offered by my family.
Praise God, He is the Shepherd who seeks the wayward sheep.
For my part, though, I am not aiming for a lack of rebellion– that is a matter of the heart… and I’ve written about that before– we can not remove the flesh from our children’s hearts… and YET, we CAN be purposeful about the input they are receiving while they are under our roof. We can allow, or disallow, movies. We can allow, or disallow, foolish/wayward friends. We can allow/disallow certain activities that would become a controlling influence in their lives, etc.
I am not contending that homeschooling removes the capacity for sin and rebellion– nor would Dr. Baucham say that, I believe. In fact, he said the opposite last year.
Rather, I’m contending that homeschooling allows us to influence our children’s thinking and moderate the influences in their lives while their thinking patterns and approach to life are still being formed, so that they bear fewer scars, and might prayerfully be positioned to honor God with their lives if He calls them to be His children. (And I pray that for all of my children!)
There are no guarantees, and certainly a public schooled child can be greatly used by God. I am thankful for the way He calls out His children from every walk of life. And yet we do not commend every way of life that He calls people out from as the best possible preparation for a godward life.
As the parent, I consider: who am I giving influence in my child’s life… and for my part, primary influence will not be given away to a wicked and wayward government, its educational entities, or a herd of foolish peers who do not have their best interest at heart.
Thus, I choose homeschooling.
Thanks for your comment & interaction.