I am pretty blunt. Sometimes to a fault. Trust me when I say that every time I write one of these blogs that I sit with my stomach churning, knowing that the likely result is that someone is offended. I also debated where the appropriate place to address this was because, a dear friend, is who actually inspired this blog and it is my deepest desire that I mend any hurt feelings that I cause. I do feel at this point it is something I need to address because I am a vocal proponent of Christians homeschooling their children and I just can't seem to keep quiet about it! And inevitably, I hurt feelings, which is, believe me, not my intentions, but is instead an unfortunate result of differing convictions.
So where to start? Let me say that I believe there are many things in which the Bible gives us freedom. One example would be modesty. I think there are clear lines as to what is not acceptable, but I also believe that we have freedom to reasonably decide what is modest for us. I am the same way with music. As long as it clearly praises God and isn't simply based on an emotional response, that we can worship with many types of music. However, I believe there are clear and biblically defined standards for raising our children and based on my study of these standards I believe that public school can not be an option for our Christian children.
Let me take a side road quickly and say, I never post a blog link, a quote, or a statistic with a particular person in mind. It is never personal. I have tried to temper the stronger quotes with a disclaimer that I know there are good parents who love their children and send them to public school, I know that there are good teachers and principals ( I happen to know one!) that are solid Christians who went into the public system wanting to make a difference. I know there are good kids that do great things through the power of Christ in the public school system. I do know this and I appreciate and praise God that He is able to take any situation and turn it into something that glorifies Him! Let me also say that I do believe there are certain situations in which there are no other options such as when a husband is not on board, or during financially difficult seasons, or in places where homeschooling is illegal. I also do not believe the homeschooling is the magic salvation wand that one waves over their family to ensure a ticket to heaven. Homeschoolers are still as much in need of redemption as the rest of the world.
I love lists so that's what we will go with for this. Here are the reasons I will continue to be vocal about my stance on public school:
1. Because, I do not post specifically to offend. Though sometimes I do realize that it will happen, I only post things that truly speak to me, convict me, or are just statistical facts. I don't think to myself , "Oh, Jessica sends her kids to public school (she doesn't but I thought she was easiest to use as an example) this article will really get under her skin". No, I just post what I like. The truth is that it offends because it is different and I understand that. I see posts all the time praising the school system, talking about what a great activity or teacher their child has and so on. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON goes on there and posts about how offended they are that someone would post about public school. In fact most go on and praise it. That is fine, that is great, but why do those posts not offend? Because they aren't different, because most people can relate to them. I believe that my posts offend because they challenge the tradition thought that public schooling is the best option.
2. Because I believe there is a very clear biblical standard for raising our children and that public school can not meet that standard. In fact, I believe the system to be a sinking ship and it is my heart that all of the children who are in that sinking ship are pulled to safety. I post because I care and because I believe that the public school can not meet the biblical standard for how to raise our children. That for every good Christian influence there are hundreds more bad ones. That bad company corrupts good morals. That parents should be the main influences, teachers, trainers, in their child's life and that can not happen when a child is away from them for 6 hours a day in a secular system that by nature hates God.
3. I post because I have an unyielding conviction to post. Sometimes, people come to me and tell me that they want to homeschool but never could. Neither can I. I can't do this alone. I have to have God's grace and mercy and guidance or I would go crazy! Sometimes, I post because it encourages another parent who is on the edge that, all things are possible through Christ. Sometimes, I post because it encourages me to see that others struggle!
4. Because iron sharpens iron. We are called to challenge each other so that our walks with Christ are the best they can be. We are not called to be compliant, we are called to be different, to search the scripture and to discuss, challenge and encourage each other to make biblical choices.
5. Because everywhere I go I am challenged by others. I am told that my decisions are bad, that I couldn't possibly be a good enough teacher for my children, how will I teach algebra, "don't you know that the homeschooling family I know is...". My kids are quizzed by strangers, my motives are questioned, we are told we are going to turn out weird, that we won't be able to get into college, that I am overprotective, that the kids won't be able to get jobs, and while most of this is ignorance (and I mean that in a lack of information kind of way), I am discouraged. My blog and my facebook pages are my forums. The places I go to gain encouragement and to speak my mind.
So before someone says it, I don't think I have corner on the market of what is biblical, but I can tell you that I have a strong, vocal conviction about the public school system and I can not shut up about it. I hope that all of my friends know that I don't choose to be friends with someone based on their educational choices for their children. I love and care deeply for each of them and their children. I pray for them and I am happy for them when they make the honor roll, or get to go field day or find a good friend. You are special and important to me, even when we don't agree.