Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ask RC: Is a Christian school a better or worse choice than homeschooling?

I am, and have been for decades, a strong advocate of homeschooling. The key reason for that is my conviction no child can be properly educated unless they are taught day in and day out the Lordship of Christ over all things. This, of course, is not possible in the public schools that are by law and conviction secular, no matter how many godly teachers and administrators a local school might have.

I have a friend who is rather well know in classical Christian school circles. His conviction is that homeschooling is the best choice for those who don’t have access to a classical Christian school. When one gentlemen sought to get my friend and me into a scuffle over that conviction I told my friend, “When we can get Christian children out of the public schools (roughly eighty percent of evangelical parents send their children to the secular public schools) then we can have a fight over homeschooling versus Christian schooling.” In short, the real issue is the secular perspective of the public schools, more than the methodology of homeschooling versus Christian schooling. I am in favor of, I happily support any educational approach wherein the name of Jesus can be proclaimed at all times.

Within that broad paradigm, unlike my friend in the classical, Christian school movement, however, I am persuaded that homeschooling is the better choice. Not the only possible or proper choice, but the better choice. Here are three simple reasons:

First, God commands that parents teach their children the things of God “when they lie down, when they rise up, when the walk by the way” Deuteronomy 6). When God gives me a job to do I’m not comfortable delegating it to someone else. God could have said, “See to it that someone talks to them of these things…” but He didn’t. I suspect He may have told us to do it because one thing you can’t delegate is learning. Parents learn a great deal through the process of teaching. We, the parents, more faithfully remember the Lordship of Christ as we more faithfully teach the same to our children.

Second, schools tend to promote peer identity. By having children segregated all day every day by age we encourage our children to see themselves not as servants of the King, not as members of their families, but as part of a particular demographic group, with its own dialect, music, style, even ethic. When God mentions age groups He calls for them to come together, not to be separated (see Titus.) Some Christian schools combat this tendency better than others, and no doubt some homeschooling families fall into the same temptation. Overall, however, this problem is far more likely to rear its ugly head in a school setting.

Third, homeschooling allows for far greater liberty. While I might be able to find a Christian school that shares many of my convictions, when I am the teacher I can teach my children all that I believe the Bible teaches. In addition, as a homeschooler my schedule is not set by a larger institution that must take into account the wants and needs of multiple families.

Finally, one bonus reason- we just love doing this. My children delight to have their mom and dad as their teachers, and we delight to have them as our students, to disciple them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We love to be with them, and they with us. We are having way yonder too much fun.


David said...

We love to be with them, and they with us. We are having way yonder too much fun.

thefourprincesses said...
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Beth said...

Thanks for your thoughtful answer to this question. The second point about segregating ages in school was one I had never considered.

Anonymous said...

I once heard a lecture by Doug Phillips where he pointed out that the "age segregation" mindset comes directly from evolutionary thought. After listening to him on the matter I believe he is right. I'd never thought of that before.