Saturday, March 12, 2005

enough with the debate already

This post is in response to the seemingly endless (and in my opinion fruitless) debate about homeschooling/public schooling/private schooling in general and specifically to a recent post on 'my three pennies' on this subject. I do not believe that one is more 'righteous' than another. We are very pro-homeschool, we also support our local community school. We homeschool some and others are in public school. We have friends who do the same. We have friends who homeschool only. We have friends who public school only. We have friends who send their kids to a private school. And believe it or not, we ALL love each other and get along. We have a friend who has been a principal and is now in a place in the provincial school system where he sees every imaginable type of school you could name and readily agrees that for training your children, if you are able and willing, homeschooling is the way to go. With that said, read on...

We are planning to homeschool our two older boys in the fall, we are currently working out a program with our local school where we will cooperatively school our 6 year old who is having great emotional/behavioural difficulties. We have enrolled our daughter in French Immersion for the fall and would like to see her graduate with her bi-lingual diploma. The Lord has not yet made it clear how He would have us educate our two younger sons. We have been in a place in our life where homeschooling would most likely have been detrimental to our existence as a family and to my own personal emotional/physical health. We have completely enjoyed our homeschooling experience and will be returning there. We have also fully appreciated the input that our local school has put into our children and how they have supported us as a family. I have no idea what the American public school system is like other than what is portrayed by the media (it doesn't look good). While the Canadian public school system is far from perfect I must say a word in defence of it and in particular our local community school here in Caswell (which is a 'core' community school - read inner-city). They have set up a nutrition program where they serve breakfast and lunch to kids who need it. They have a clothing depot and watch for kids who are missing jackets, shoes and other appropriate attire. The teachers obviously genuinely care about students and stay involved with them beyond the classroom. (Our pre-school teacher is a fine example of that.) They are working hard at literacy and have a goal of reading 14,000 books this year, they just celebrated their over half way there mark.

In Canada public school is by far the norm across the board. Access to public school extends from the top of the government down to the most impoverished. Private schools are not prolific in our province particularly, and I don't think they are that common in other parts of our country either, though they do exist. We also have a separate school system that is run by the Catholic school board that all the public has access too as well. The French Immersion school that we're sending our daughter to is affliated with that particular system and is not costing us anything more than our regular tax dollars. We are very thankful that our daughter has the opportunity to become bi-lingual and that opportunity exists for ALL Canadians.

The bottom line is that you are not mindlessly educating your children! Not just sending them blindly into any situation but seeking the Lord as to what He wants for each child. Saying that your child CANNOT be salt and light in a public school leads me to wonder what you are teaching your children. What foundation are you laying and why do you expect so little of them? Our son is not reading apologetics in his spare time, he does, however, read his Bible regularly and we actively seek out teaching moments at all times. He's not an 'out there' kind of kid but he is wise and discerning. While he may not be preaching in the hallway he is obviously making a difference since the principal let us know that he is very happy to have our son in his school because he is a good leader and influences the atmosphere of the classroom. He is 8. Many of our church families have put their kids into this particular school. Our son sees several other church kids in school every day. What would happen if they were all suddenly pulled out? The light would be gone, the saltiness would disappear, that school would become an increasingly darker place. We have seen this when our friends needed to enroll their son in another inner-city school where there were no other Christian families - it was very dark and they were glad to get him out as soon as he could - (he has some learning disablities, was very young at the time, easily influenced and homeschooling was not an option for them).

I have been a children's pastor and I have seen and led the children I work with into times of intercession, worship and listening to the Lord that many adults never sniff at. There are children around the world that go on their faces before the Lord crying out for the lost and making a huge impact on their communities. I am all for protecting our children from worldly influences. We carefully monitor activities, friends, books, movies, they don't watch TV, radio and all of the rest of the media influences. We are not sinful or evil for having sent and continuing to send our kids into the arena of public school. We must, as parents be vigilant in our watchcare and training of our children. We have definately been concerned at times as to some of the things that go on in our school, but we are also concerned about some of the things that happen on a Sunday morning in that teaching environment. At all times, and in all ways, we must train and pray so that our kids are ready to stand against what comes at them. In my opinion the whole debate needs to stop. It is pointless and fruitless. Do what is right for your children in the eyes of the Lord.

11 comments:

tonia/sparrow said...

I have to agree with you here. We spent a wonderful 5 years in an American public school. We homeschool now, for varying reasons, but those years in p.s. were so beneficial to us. My children learned an amazing awareness and compassion for others that I think is just as necessary for life as a christian as a strong Biblical foundation. Eventually they will be living "in the world" and I don't want them to have an antagonistic or fearful attitude about people. Families are so different, it is wrong to say that there is only one way to educate. As you said, we need to pray for each child, each year and determine what God is leading us to. This is a great post, and what you are saying needs to be said.

CWG said...

Wow what is this????? Could this be a new flower popping up in Lani's flower garden? :) Well articulated and pointed.....way to bring it down to the roots.... to the heart of God. (No further question your honor).

Nathan said...

Great post, Lani. We're still considering a move to home-schooling. With my shift as it is, it seems I'm seeing the boys less all the time. If we home-schooled, Kris and I could be doing it together during the day. It's looking more and more like the most viable option at this point.

CWGJR said...

WOW!!!! Lani,
What a great blog responce all I can say is wow.....

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! Lani,
What a great blog responce all I can say is wow.....
cwgs wife

Loni said...

Very well written, Lani. The MOST important thing is no matter what, parents are involved with their children. If it is p.s. then, be involved - know the teacher, know the child's friends. The same goes for youth groups. Some parents just dump their children off, and think someone else will teach their children the moral values and the Christian walk.

We do and always have homeschooled our 10 children. In our area, for us, public school is not even a choice. We have friends that are teachers, they themselves HS.

But because we HS it also does not mean things will go perfect, and our children are so sheltered they will walk a perfect life. We thought we had our children sheltered from much of the outside world. Our 2nd oldest son (16) died in December because of something he learned about "breath play" and ended up hanging himself. We were blown away from where he learned this - he was homeschooled, we go to a church that does not have a youth group as such, but does a lot of family things together, he worked for a Christian couple. Yet, Satan got a hold of him - and we are now thinking he saw something on TV, as we found nothing either on our computer, and numerous people told us it was on TV. (you can read more about Matthew at: http://www.iserv.net/~normstel/MATTHEW.html)

I guess what I am trying to say is first PRAY PRAY PRAY for your children - be involved in their complete lives no matter WHERE they are schooled - yes even at home. The choices we make regarding schooling is very personal, and we need to do as God convicts US - not someone else's convictions!
~~Loni

flowerlady said...

Nathan, Kelly's schedule is a large part of the reason we're homeschooling the boys in fall. His schedule is pretty opposite of theirs and we believe boys need their dads!!

CWG - maybe the 'bees' are buzzing in my garden!! (as in a 'bee in my bonnet') which is what prompted the post!

Loni - I am so sorry about your son. I can't agree with you more, praying for our children is vital. And the truth is we do the best we can and they are in God's hands, we can't always take responsibility for the choices they make, but we can pray, and pray and pray!

RANDI said...

Hi!

I found your blog today-it's great!

I have homeschooled for 11 years now and I have seen a lot of division within Christian circles over the issue-honestly I have probably been a part of some, too. Over time I have learned that homeschooling is not for everyone. Some people cannot manage it academically, physically, mentally or financially, and for those people, school is the answer. Now, I do think that sending your kids to school provides a greater challenge as a parent because you cannot deny that the child will be exposed to more-even in Christian school. But I have met many people who have risen to that challenge and their kids have done well.

IN MY OPINION, homeschooling is best, but I have learned to be gracious and to let God lead others on their own path.

By the way, I have 5 children too, and I am usually greeted with a big WOW when people find out! I love it!

krista said...

Hi Lani, I enjoyed reading this post, and the comments that followed. Thanks.

Anne said...

quote from Loni(mom):
I guess what I am trying to say is first PRAY PRAY PRAY for your children - be involved in their complete lives no matter WHERE they are schooled - yes even at home
------------------------------
Wow- I read your story and I'm so sorry about what happened to your son! I've been praying for you and your family.

I think you make such a good point. No matter what we do- homeschool, shelter, filter, etc., we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. We are ALL sinful and imperfect. We can't totally rely on these "things" and think they will keep us completely "safe." (Not that they aren't worth doing at all or anthing!)

We can only rely on God and trust that He is in control, even when we don't like or understand the circumstances. And wow- what you say about not just doing something because of what you read or hear about others convictions! So important. It's so vital to truly seek what God wants for us and our situation.

Brad the Dad said...

Great post. God has been speaking to me of homeschooling for a few years, but the last few months he has been asking me to put Feshya (our 5 year old) into grade 1 at the public school next year. To obey this is a process of letting go, and trusting him. I have felt since as though I was walking in a 'no-mans-land'. If I told public school attentands I was putting her in next year I got the look that gave me the approval that I wasn't 'one of those' anymore. When I told those homeschooling that I we are changing to the p.s next year, I would get ALOT of condemnation. It seemed like another prime example of how the bride can tear and pull at our wedding gown, instead of building each one up into intimacy with Christ. He is the one who created our children, and for myself, I am actively choosing to live out the fact that he can see the big picture of my childs life. If I only take the time to ask him what path I need to take in raising them, he is more than willing to show me. So, I trust!
Brad's wife Cristal (you might remember us, we went to the Saskatoon Vineyard with you many years ago)