Sunday, September 06, 2009

About School...

Every year when it’s time for school to start up again, I’ve noticed I start hearing and reading lots of discussion about homeschool or not all over the place. Especially this year with “Our Beloved Leader” (surely those of you who read this blog somewhat regularly can hear the sarcasm there, I hope) planning a somewhat secretive address to public school students, I’ve been hearing and reading rather stringent words about how all conservative Christians must surely now see that it is time to pull our children out of the public schools. I didn’t intend to blog about this this year, but I’m just so tired of some of the things being said that I believe I will state my opinion for a minute on my own blog, and stay out of the discussion anywhere else.

If God has called you to homeschool and you are faithfully following Him in this, bless you! And I say that sincerely. I applaud you for being obedient. I recognize that it was a decision you most likely made with much prayer and are truly committed to doing it faithfully. I have lots of friends who homeschool and do it well and find much joy in doing so.

However, please watch your rhetoric and assumptions when talking to your Christian brothers and sisters who do not homeschool. We do love our children, are concerned for our children, want the best for our children, and want to see them develop a biblical worldview also. I am not sinning by having my children in public school. I did not blindly hand them over to the government schools to allow them to be indoctrinated, as I have heard from so many, many, many committed Christian homeschoolers. My husband and I do prayerfully consider how best to educate our children. We also spend a lot of time sitting down with them and discussing worldview issues, how to think them through, how to deal with things the world believes and how to think about it biblically. We don’t blindly hand them over. We talk to them. We have dinner together as a family every night, which, by the way, means we sacrifice some of the other activities that could eat up our time as a family. We help them with their homework and we listen to them and talk to them. We also do not leave their discipleship solely up to the church to do.

We know that parenting is a high calling, and we take it seriously. Are we perfect? Absolutely not. Are there areas we need to be doing better? I know there are, and we are working toward that end. Are we making mistakes along the way? I have no doubt we are. But is our God bigger than our mistakes? Absolutely. If He changes our hearts and calls us to homeschool, I pray we will do so faithfully. If we see things happening in our local district that we believe warrant us pulling them out, may we have wisdom and discernment to do so. But, please, allow us the courtesy not to assume that we do what we do blindly. You may disagree with us and our reading of the situation, and you may disagree heartily, but please don’t assume that all of us are ignorant or unaware or sinning or blind.

I do not want to parent out of fear. I know homeschooling is the best option for a lot of families. I also know that it is an emotional hot button in Christian circles these days, and I really have no intention to debate the pros and cons here. Please don’t assume, however, that because you are completely convinced that it is right for you that there can be NO other way for all Christian families. Please don’t assume that we are lazy or that we do not care or that we are not obedient to our Lord if we do not believe it is the best option for our families at this time.

Whether any of our children, homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled come to understand and love and know God through a right relationship with Jesus Christ by faith in Him alone is a matter of grace, God’s amazing grace. Homeschooling or not is not a guarantee that our children will personalize the faith we teach them, or that they will not ever adopt the fallacies that the world teaches and believes. We all must humbly pray and seek God’s gracious favor in this. We are called to teach our children God’s precepts when we rise up, when we sit down, and when we walk along the way. Amen. All of us Christian parents have a high calling to take this seriously. More important to me than where they are schooled, however, is how well we are teaching them how the Bible is relevant to everything: anthropology, geology, origin of life, astronomy, how to live life, how to be right with God, what is truth, what is right and what is wrong, etc. Drew and I firmly believe we need to be showing them that God’s word is the ultimate standard for all truth, the ultimate standard for how to view the world and everything in it. Sure, the fact that our kids are in public school means we sometimes have to take extra measures to teach them this and to be creative, but it has also opened up great opportunities to discuss with them what we believe and why we believe it and how so many people in the world are still in bondage to the blindness of sin and not understanding the ultimate standard. It has also given us opportunities to rub shoulders with our neighbors and to meet people outside our church and Christian circle we might not have met otherwise and to hopefully be a light along the way.

And even with this thing Obama may or may not be doing, no, I don’t like it. But you’d better believe we’ll be talking to the boys about it, and, for the record, it looks like our school district has opted not to show it on Tuesday and to let parents discuss with their children and let teachers have the option of showing it later on if they think it may fit with a social studies lesson along the way. Sure the propaganda usage by this administration galls me to no end. I think all the backlash that is happening about this school message shows just how many of us fundamentally do not trust this president, and that his beliefs and policies terrify us. Absolutely we are paying attention and should the time come, I hope we’ll continue to do whatever the Lord leads us to do – if it’s to pull them out, so be it, if it is not, then may we continue to be faithful to talk to our children and listen and be aware.

So, please, understand that to broad brush us public school families as necessarily less faithful somehow or blind or….whatever, please don’t.

Thank you.


Veronica @ A Quiet Heart said...

Thank you for so clearly laying out your convictions on this topic. I have been so surprised at the reactions that this speech has generated...not just between homeschoolers/non-homeschoolers, but among the Christian community in general. The harsh words, accusations, and demands from both sides of the issue are simply stunning….and not always what I would call Christ-like, or Christ-honoring.

When the time comes, we are choosing to homeschool our daughter. But, like you, we did not make that decision lightly. It was made with much thought, prayer and counsel. And, in recent days, we have been accused of over-protecting our child, instilling fear, distrust, and modeling a rebellious and disrespectful attitude - to God and to the president. As brothers and sisters in Christ, I think we all need to be careful of broad-brushing the motives and intents of one another...especially in this area, and seek, instead, to encourage one another, as we raise our children. None of us are perfect parents. But, thankfully, God’s grace is bigger than any of our mistakes.

Your love for, and enjoyment of your children and family is evident throughout your site, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this, and for reminding all of us to behave towards one another in a way that would point others, not to a method of education, but to our Lord.


Rebekah said...

Thank you, Veronica.

Laura said...

As you may know, we've elected to pull our children out of public school to homeschool this year, but it has much more to do with our family's schedule than hard and fast convictions about the various schooling options. However, the more I engage in the homeschooling culture, the more I see the intolerance you've spoken of here. There are problems with homeschooling, just as there are problems with public schools, private schools, charter schools... you name it. But it's easy when one of those options seems to be a perfect fit for your family to begin to see it as THE perfect way, period. Thanks for the reminder to carefully guard my heart against the pride and quick judgements I am prone to!