A blogger friend, Pam, recently published a post about homeschooling. Many people commented on it, and I would have, but I didn't want to hog her space! So I decided to dedicate an entire post of my own to this hot topic.
First of all, I believe that the responsibility for the education rests solely on the parents. This doesn't mean that the parents themselves must educate, just that they must make wise decisions and remain informed and involved, no matter what decision is reached. Each type of school has pros and cons.
Homeschooling has the pros of maximum parental control/involvement, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, among others. But it also carries cons which I believe should be carefully examined. Children have limited social involvement, even if they meet occasionally with homeschool groups. There is often no opportunity for things like athletics, choir, shop class, band, debate, and others as simple as class discussion or group projects. While these things alone do not make up education in its entirety, I do believe--from experience--that they are extremely valuable opportunities. Also, many parents unfortunately do not possess the organization, dedication, and/or ability to teach their children properly. While they are proud of their "stand against organized spiritual apathy," their children are suffering from an improper and inadequate education (also spoken from experience--not as a homeschooler, but as a teacher). Of course, many parents of homeschoolers do a fine job of preparing their kids for college and beyond. But I believe those parents are the exception rather than the rule, especially as the material gets more and more difficult. Really...how many parents out there are truly qualified to teach Trigonometry, Chemistry, and Early British Literature?
Christian schools have the pros of social interaction, structured curriculum, and (usually) high standards of education. However, whenever you put more than one child in a room, you will certainly reap peer pressure as a result. Unfortunately, many, many Christian schools serve as breeding grounds for negative peer pressure. Parents who choose to homeschool are correct in their recognition of spiritual apathy in schools. My own parents chose to homeschool me for a year, for this very reason. They did what the Lord led them to do...even though I admittedly hated it. But you'd better believe I lost touch with my buddies in that year's time. And that's exactly what I needed. Is spiritual apathy dangerous? Absolutely! The Lord said he'd rather see cold Christians than lukewarm ones! But again, it's the parents' responsibility to be involved--to know who and what's influencing little Johnny, and to talk to him about the goings-on of each day, and to be sensitive to Johnny's heart and possible changes that might be taking place.
Public schools can be a risky, treacherous place. But they differ so much! For example, a public school in rural Wyoming is a totally different world than a public school in downtown Detroit! (Hey, Detroit is a whole other world anyway!) Some public schools could be considered to be better than some Christian schools! The pros of public schools are few, if you ask me. Public schools generally offer more extracurricular opportunities (most Christian schools don't have a swim team or an equestrian club!). Also, many public schools offer a higher standard of education. That's unfortunate, but probably due mostly to a deficit in Christian school financing. Cons should be obvious--what a place of wickedness and lies! From evolution and 2nd grade sex education, to faulty philosophies and converstion all around, an impressionable kid is daily bombarded with infintely more opportunities for wrong than for right. Yes, the parents is still responsible. But the reality is that a school-age child spends 8 hours a day at school. If Mom and Dad work til 5 and Johnny goes to bed at 9, he spends only half that time with his godly parents, who must furiously try to undo what Johnny's teachers have been trying to do all day. What an opportunity for Satan to confuse and frustrate!
Our first choice would be a Christian school, then homeschooling (until junior high or thereabouts. I'll be the first to admit that I am not qualified to adequately teach all aspects of high school.) . It'd have to be a really special situation for us to place our kids in public school: a really conservative--probably smaller--school, an unusual level of involvement for me IN the school, and an exceptionally godly, strong child.
Anyway! So that's why I didn't comment on your blog, Pam! As usual, I have plenty to say! :)
What do YOU think? (All you who commented on Pam's, I read them already. Don't feel as though you need to repeat yourselves!)