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.