Death to Homeschooling!

I originally wrote this post in 2005, but it somehow didn’t make the migration from Blogspot to Beliefnet to WordPress to Patheos.

Like many people who have their first child approaching kindergarten age, I have been thinking about all of our options for next year: neighborhood public school, public French immersion, charter school, private school, homeschool.

But it seems to me that if I am truly committed to living a missional life, then I must enroll my kids in the public school. That is, I am committed to living a life fully invested in what I might call the “Jesus Ethic” or the “Kingdom of God Ethic,” and also fully invested in the society — in fact, you might say that I live according to the Kingdom of God for the sake of society.

In his seminal work on education, Democracy and Education (1916), John Dewey made this point. In an increasingly industrial/technological society, Dewey argued, we learn in order that we may be able to learn. In earlier times, one could learn what it means to be a blacksmith, for instance, by apprenticing under a blacksmith; by the end of the apprenticeship, one had learned pretty much all there is to know about making the metal glow red hot, pounding it into a horseshoe, and sticking it into the water (remember seeing that on an elementary school field trip?).

But things change too fast now for that kind of result-oriented education. Now we must learn how to learn so that we can adapt to our ever-changing environment (ever tried to teach your parent or grandparent to use a computer or an iPod?).

Similarly, formal education was formerly for the societal elite. But in a democracy, education is for all, with the understanding that the more educated we all become, the more humane we will be toward one another (this, of course, is open to debate).

So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from public education is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society — like I can’t just choose to withhold my taxes. We give our children all those vaccinations when they’re young not necessarily to protect themfrom polio (since the chances of any one of my children getting it is exceedingly small) but because we live in a society, and part of the contract within the society is that we will never again let polio gain a foothold.

So I can’t think, “I’ll just pull my kids out of the public schools — what difference will one less follower of Jesus make in a school full of hundreds of kids?” I don’t, as a Christian, have the option to “opt out” of the societal contract. Instead, I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.

And one more thing. Dewey argues strongly that it is in the social environment that a child learns to learn. Here are the brilliant words of one of Dewey’s successors, George Albert Coe,

What education does is, in a word, to bring the child and society together. It increases one’s participation in the common life. It puts the child into possession of the tools of social intercourse, such as language and numbers; opens his eyes to treasures of literature, art, and science that society has gradually accumulated through generations; causes him to appreciate such social organizations as the state, and develops habits appropriate thereto; prepares him to be a producer in some socially valuable field of labor, and evokes an inner control whereby he may judge and guide himself in the interest of social well being.”

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  • Jennifer Cole

    Wow, there are just so many things wrong with this way of thinking I hardly know where to start! Just two points: One of the main concerns non-home schooling parents express is that the children won’t have social interactions. As all home schooling families know, this is so far from the truth. In fact, instead of being prepared to be social with 27 other kids exactly the same age, the home schooled child learns socialization from a wide range of ages, including elderly, adults, older and younger students. Point two: This article implies that the home schooled child is not learning how to learn. Need I say anything at all about this? Enough for now!

    • http://thinktheology.org/ disableme

      “One of the main concerns non-home schooling parents express is that the children won’t have social interactions. As all home schooling families know, this is so far from the truth. In fact, instead of being prepared to be social with 27 other kids exactly the same age, the home schooled child learns socialization from a wide range of ages, including elderly, adults, older and younger students.”

      How does one void creating a vacuum for your child’s mental, emotional spiritual, physical and volitional growth in a controlled environment. I think people are more concerned with the absence of uncontrolled influence on Christian non-public school children in regards to being missional.

      • seth c

        How is it not a void that you are creating in the school system when you place your child not in a realistic situation but in an environment surrounded with people not of differing ages and wisdom but with the exact same age?

        • Dan

          Very good question. I don’t really have a dog in this fight per se because I understand the merits of both the pro-homeschool and anti homeschool position. I do wonder whether or not sending your children to public school so that they can be conformed to the image that the school system which is increasinly secular is actually an expression of missional living. (I would add as a side note,that isnt really a side note that the posts on this blog would confirm the fears of many homeschool parents.) My mild challenge to my anti homeschool friends is this; Are you actually sending your children to public schools to be evangelists or in order to fit in to what society tells you is right? Are you actually leveraging your children for the advance of the Gospel or are you wanting to prove that you are not like your more traditional sisters and brothers in Christ?

          DK

  • Sung

    I think when we post sometimes we need to make clarifications like having a perfectly normal child that can operate in any of the 4 environments you just mentioned. And if that is the case where all options are equal, then it makes sense to choose the environment where you believe your family is called to place your child. I think public school allows for a cross-section of society to meet where normally perhaps they wouldn’t. However, for many parents with children with special needs, the public school environment is actually restrictive. They teach a curriculum. They don’t necessarily teach a child to think for him/herself. I currently have my son enrolled in public school in a special needs classroom, but if they should fail to help him learn and to achieve his potential, or if the environment becomes hostile, I would homeschool him in a heartbeat.

    • Betsy

      Agreeing with Sung. My daughter has special needs and getting the services she needs to function adequately in a classroom setting is impossible. Death to homeschooling? Really? I never intended to homeschool but I can say that I’m immensely thankful I have the freedom to educate her in an environment that isn’t harmful to her emotional health. I may be convicted live missionally but it’s a lot to ask of my 5yo with autism.

      • Eric

        We also have child with special needs and it quickly became apparent that the only way to get the public school to comply with federal law and meet the medical needs of my daughter (not to educate her but simply ensure her medical safety) was to file a lawsuit. We couldn’t afford a lawyer or a private special school, so the only option to keep her ALIVE let alone educate her was to homeschool. Part of being missional is protecting those who can’t protect themselves, in fact I would say you can’t be missional if you fail to do this. So, Tony, while you usual think things through I believe you have totally missed the boat on this one and lumped all homeschoolers under the umbrella of those who are trying to live in a christian bubble. Like most topics people’s motivations are diverse even if the have chosen a similar path.

        • T. J.

          We are in the same boat: a child w/ special and severe medical needs. There is no way the local public school can adequately meet our child’s needs. I taught for 5 years in the public schools. I read Dewey in college. I believe in the value of providing an opportunity for all children to learn, and develop community, but I must also protect and nourish the life of my child. I also believe God provides His faithful the opportunity to participate with Him in the work of the gospel, even apart from attending a public school. Quite frankly, it seems self-righteous to assume otherwise.

          • SPED Mommy4Life

            ERIC! You are so right…as a SpEd teacher I am absolutely sick over what happens–what REALLY happens–when parents aren’t around or just don’t know HOW to fight for their child. Oh, and how hard I have worked to earn a Master’s Degree in Special Ed, and wouldn’t you know it? My own son is diagnosed with a major anxiety disorder and YES, the only way to make a public school follow the law is to file a huge suit, make a fuss, etc…why bother? I am extremely superqualified, so I am rolling with it! Should anyone homeschool? No. Should some goofball do it on the grounds that they hate some teacher or disagree politically with someone? No way. Should I, with a teaching license and a graduate degree? YEP. I hate the thought of our life not being like it was “supposed” to be. Oh well! Life outside the box is GREAT!!!

      • Amanda Rogers

        Eric, you are exactly correct. If the parent has a missional mindset, that does not mean that the child does. After all, how can one be light if the Light of the World is not inside him/her. I would find it more appropriate for the parent to become a teacher or coach if God has so stirred his heart to be missional at a public school. By the way, the homeschool community is not comprised solely of those choosing homeschool for religious reasons, it is every bit of a missional environment than public schools except the parent has a deeper position of authority and influence in the homeschool community.

  • http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com Michael Belote

    Tony, I think you’ve stretched logic a bit far here. By this logic it becomes a Christian necessity to participate in any publicly offered service. So it’s therefore being a bad Christian if you don’t serve in the military, or you must go to a public clinic for childcare instead of a more expensive private doctor, or you must choose a job where you work in public instead of at home, or your kids must play sports to be around non Christians, etc etc.

    Just because society offers a service that would put us around others does not obligate us to take part in it in orders be a witness. I see your point but you stretch it too far by implying it is somehow a moral obligation.

    • Mary

      To take Michael’s a bit farther, you may live in an excellent public school system with infinite resources, but in districts with 40 students to an elementary class and teachers who are overwhelmed, shouldn’t we parents who can lift some of the burden by educating our kids ourselves or affording private school still contribute to this system through taxes and perhaps service, but choose to educate our kids elsewhere in order that children who need it can have the best possible education and more resources? Perhaps if more of us who can educate at home, do educate at home, those kids who really need the public school education can have a better shot at getting a great education, instead of an adequate one.

      Also, while I totally believe in the social contract and bettering the whole system for the least of these, I do not believe that, in any way, obligates me to sacrifice my child on the altar of a failing system.

      • ali

        Yes, this.

  • http://oneanotherdaily.blogspot.ca/ Greg Gamble

    Tony
    We’ve been homeschooling 4 kids for 20 yrs, always mindful to remember that we are all salt and light in our generation. This is part of a larger strategy, that being that they must engage their culture with their faith, but they must also be empowered and prepared to do so.
    Each child is uniquely different, and will respond to the Lord in humility, honesty and surrender at different times and for different reasons, but always by being led to Christ by example.
    Education, at school or home or elsewhere is just part of that development, and the environment where learning occurs should be determined by parents as best fits the development of each child’s character. That character can be seen early in life, and can and will be either developed or damaged by choices made.
    We look at each of our children individually, looking them to exhibit leanings toward purposefulness as opposed to willfulness, teachable-ness rather than simply wanting to have knowledge and a clear understanding that God requires them to be responsible for what they know.
    We give them the choice to go to school when they are capable of making that choice, using those innate qualities. Its our responsibility to get them to that point,
    Our oldest was ready when she was college age and chose to go to do so, obtaining her MA.
    Our second was ready when she was also college age, but chose to wait until last year at age 20 to go to College.
    Our two boys are 17 and 13, and each chose independently this year to go, and started public high school yesterday. They have many friends in schools and among a variety of homeschoolers, who are both committed christians and some are clearly unregenerate.
    They are lights and salt to all, not judgmental or didactic and have become magnets to many looking for love, truth and kindness.
    They are all strong and well prepared to excel in learning, and I dare say, in any environment, because we have worked together with each child since they were very young, talking of a day when they would have our respect and blessing to take over their own destiny.
    That was the carrot that impelled them to choose eggs for their money, as it were, and two were quite a challenge for several years. Our oldest girl and third (boy) were the most easily influenced by peers and we had to be quite creative to get them past their own weaknesses. We actually gave up a lucrative business and moved to a new town in order to find the right environment for our third child. Within one year, he was no longer sneaking out at night to see a girl but was submitted to us and beginning to be drawn by the Lord in his heart, and is today a remarkable young man, quietly but purposefully following the Lord, mentoring his younger brother and enjoying his own new found inner peace.
    We have seen many good children shipwrecked, often because they were doing the right thing at the wrong time.
    With regard to John Dewey and school, you may be interested in John Taylor Gatto’s books. He was New York city and state teacher of the year several times, and finally abandoned teaching in schools. His historical research is extensive, and he has a lot to say about Dewey and others.
    His URL is http://www.johntaylorgatto.com
    blessings
    Greg

  • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

    The premise of your piece is problematic: “If I am truly committed to living a missional life, then I must enroll my kids in the public school.”

    Your “if committed/must enroll” approach is narrow to a fault, particularly in that it presumes that homeschooling your child 1) wouldn’t reflect your commitment to a missional life, and 2) offers less or even no value to society over public education.

    And that brings up the other problem in your piece: you fail to point out any negatives of homeschooling in any substantive way (in fact, in any way at all). This reduces your piece to a promotional essay of sorts, and removes it from being an actual argument. You don’t tell us why “death to homeschooling.” (And it cannot be left to the reader to presume the negatives of homeschooling merely from reading your positives on public education; the reader mustn’t be burdened with finishing your argument for you).

    And Dewey’s statement that “we learn in order that we may be able to learn” doesn’t seem to fit your premise, and you don’t really do a great job of tying his maxim in to your essay.

    Finally, you go into a good deal of discussion on the value of public education in a modern democratic society, the benefits of the social environment in learning, etc. But you don’t explain well enough how this relates to your missional life, or your “Jesus Ethic/Kingdom of God Ethic.” You did not define your ethic, which was at the heart of your premise. You furthermore do not explain why this ethic doesn’t let you “opt out” of what you refer to as the “societal contract.”

    I should also note that you don’t define this “societal contract” and how it relates to your undefined Jesus Ethic/Kingdom of God Ethic.

    And you don’t expound upon the “mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.”

    You start with a faith-based premise, but the rest of your piece is really just sociology.

    • Cherie

      R. Jay Pearson, A beautiful analysis of drivel and balderdash. Well done.

  • Mac

    This blog post is logically incoherent. I don’t plan on homeschooling my kids. But I respect the choice of those who do.

    • Kalynn

      Thank you.

  • http://www.expectinghope.com/ Suzanne

    Too few Christians are publicly defending the choice to enroll their children in public school. My experience has been overwhelmingly negative when I share our schooling choices with others, particularly those who homeschool. I pretty much just decide to avoid the topic altogether. I would maybe have preferred this be less inflammatory, but I still want to offer my thanks for sharing your reasons.

  • Stephen Hood

    Yesterday, I visited a Christian school in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Birmingham. The founders of the school made a commitment 20 years ago to build a school for the children in a neighborhood were the local business community and government had given up on. They have built a school of excellence in the midst of extreme poverty and societal degradation. And it made me angry. It angered me because the social contract has been abandoned by people like me. I’ve moved to the comfort and safety of the suburbs where the schools are well funded and the rent is high enough to protect my children from children whose parents have fallen through the safety net. The public schools in the low rent parts of town have been abandoned and left to wallow in corruption while the children in these areas receive a marginal education if at all. I get Tony’s point and I agree that public schools are necessary to a civil society. Yet, I am unwilling to abandon my own children to the failure of the Birmingham and Jefferson County school systems nor do I have an extra $14000-24000 per year to fund a good private education. In the abandoned community of Fairfield the church is stepping in to provide what the community is unwilling or incapable of providing. Committed Christians are going where the believe Jesus would go and attempting to correct in their own small way, the inequities and injustices of a failed social contract. Although I am complicit in the problem, I may be able to become a part of the solution.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Stephen, I think your feelings of complicity in the “abandonment of the social contract,” and the anger that comes of it, may be unfounded. For starters, what is “the social contract?” How is it defined? And by who?

      The first duty of a parent is to their children, as you obviously know. Some of us would say that by making a choice to move to the suburbs for the sake of your children, you fulfilled your role as a responsible father. And doing so may have actually been part of the solution on the broader scale.

      To invoke the Biblical narrative, even Mary and Joseph, to protect Jesus, escaped their society and fled to the distant safety of Egypt.

      Sometimes removing our children from the dangers of society today may reap as yet unseen benefits for society tomorrow.

      • asmallcontempt

        What about people who are unable to do so? You talk about moving to the suburbs as if that is a choice that ALL parents can conceivably make. It’s just not the reality.

        For starters, WE – the royal WE – establish a social contract. Together, though not always unanimous and rarely explicitly taught. It is a social contract that we refrain from invading others personal space, for example, because it is a logical extension of our desire for bodily autonomy. The “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins” thing.

        Are parents who are unable to move to more expensive districts uncaring? Well, gee, I mean, they should just call their parents for a loan if they need it and stop being lazy and get “real” jobs! There is a stench of classism to your post in lumping parents that are ABLE to move with, for the sake of Pete, with the Biblical narrative of Mary and Joseph (funny, I don’t remember them making that trip so Jesus could get into a good school – always thought it had something to do with that census).

        How about if Christians redirected all their energies of taking kids out of schools and creating “acceptable” environments and instead poured it into improving their public schools? What if they helped out science teachers by helping stock the lab, or the English room with books? What if they offered support and compassion to over-worked and underpaid teachers (particularly in struggling districts!). It seems that homeschooling of a certain persuasion is just an easy way out and a way to ignore and absolve responsibility to solve problems in the real world.

        • http://penstruck.blogspot.com pennee Struckman

          I agree. Christians are the ‘light’ of the world. And while homeschooling may be an answer for a special needs child or a child who is ill, I beleive that many Christians homeschool to protect their children from the poor education and moral corruption that is permeating the school systems today. In John 17:15 Jesus prays “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
          The farther Christians withdraw, the easier it is for darkness to devour society. homeschooling is just one way Christians hid their light.
          I would encourage beleivers to be braver than this. Train children in the ways of the Lord, work within the public school systems as PTA members, room mothers, after school tutors, and any other function that can be found. Shine that light through help and good works.

          • Mykids’mom

            Interesting. Where do you think the evil one targets his prey? Are you prepared to hand over your child for the approximate 17,380 hours of instruction in a godless and even God-hating environment? We prefer to take a more active role in our children’s education during their formative years. They are learning to be salt and light as they mature as are we all. Of course, I would never tell parents what to do as each circumstance and each child’s needs are different. I think the original article was both arrogant and foolish.

            • Ebeneezer Schopenhauer

              Even if the child is untouched by the Godlessness, they are still likely to be turned away from wisdom, a result of (approx) 17,380 hours spent absorbing mostly useless facts in an incoherent and mind-numbingly boring fashion. (which in itself is hardly Godly)

              As for Dewey, I haven’t read much, but my early impressions are that he has some very good ideas about learning. For example he described a situation where you could teach kids to sew some clothing, and at the same time teach them where the fabric came from, and how it got to them, and so on. I didn’t see much of that creative and coherent method in my day, and for the most part I suspect things are now worse.

              But Dewey had questionable views on the individual, and even more questionable views on the authority of the state in “molding” that said individual. But I don’t blame Dewey that things turned out as they did, as that kind of thinking was widespread at the time.

          • Theo

            Wow, penee, unbelievable that you and others of your persuasion see your little children as “missionaries” to places where you yourselves would not dare to go unarmed! It is the ADULT’S responsibility to affect and fix societal ills, not the children’s. Anybody ever look at the fact that Jesus was a full grown man before He started his mission? How hard is that to understand? It may seem very noble and all to send your children out to “make a difference” in a society corrupted by adults, but look how well the “Children’s Crusade” worked in the middle ages. Jesus, the very son of God, wasn’t sent out as a child! Do any of you even read or understand the Bible? There is absolutely no teaching whatsoever of sending children out to be salt and light! I suppose if someone broke into your home, you’d send your child down to render the criminal powerless? That’s just how foolish the logic of sending children out to be salt and light is, when they haven’t had a chance to learn and grow. Stop using your children as your tokens to false holiness. Send them to public school after you, the adult, have made it a decent place to go…and good luck with THAT; adults have only let public shools become a social engineering experiment for the past 60 years.

            • http://gravatar.com/rfs525 Robin

              Thank you, Theo! We have handed our children to wolves, and still cannot see the immense implications it has caused; both societal and familial. We send our children out to be a “light,” but the majority of the time, their light is being put out. What a tragedy. Even more of a tragedy are the Christian parents that cannot seem to get it, even after the evidence that our Christian teens, in particularly, are falling by the wayside.

            • Lori

              Theo, my thoughts exactly. Thank you for saying it so well.

        • si

          I don’t think you know what “the royal we” means. It means an individual who embodies in themselves a state, ie, a sovereign ruler. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_plural) Otherwise, your point is well taken.

    • Curtis

      What would the result be if the millions of committed Christians in Alabama walked into their local public school and devoted the same level of passion, energy, and commitment, and dollars, to their local school that they are willing to give to a Christian school? What do you imagine Alabama public schools would look like then?

      Public schools are called “public” because they are of the people. Public schools are what the people make them. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      • Jess

        The problem that we encountered with our daughter in public schools is that they didn’t want mine or my husband’s input. Yes, they are public but go to any school and try to help or make suggestions. The schools want it their way or no way. We pulled our daughter from school after K and have homeschooled since because they refused to put her health and well being before that of a teacher that had already mentally checked out of her job. It is ignorant to think that only public school is the way to go. Aren’t we being selfish putting all of this pressure on our children to be “salt and light” to the world when most Christian adults struggle with it?

      • Diane

        Believe me, after teaching in 4 “christian” schools and now a public I can say that not all christian schools have such dedicated staff and parents. Two schools I taught at were great – two were horrible! Teachers just sat on computers while students worked out of books – or worse, did not work at all and bothered my hard working daughter. Bullying was common, more so that the public schools, because administration did not want to do anything to upset a student and parents and send them and their tuition $ packing. Unlicensed teachers were hired because they could not leave and get another job when they found out the truth of the inside. Isaw special needs kids just put on computer playing non educational games so the “teacher” could spend upwards of 3 hours a day on her emails and social networking. Daughter had study hall 6 days straight in algebra II class because teacher did not want to present a lesson or grade homework that week. She only finished1/2 the book that year and her standardized tests plummetted. (and this teacher was an elder’s wife!) I came in, presented a lesson each day, incorporated engaging activities and some things I know students will need later (all my students were comfortable with Excel for data organization by end of year) and guess what? I was bullied and harrassed for the last half of the year. I was reprimanded for not letting students use calculators and requiring themto thinK (something my students applauded me for the last day of school). My students thanked me for really caring if they could learn instead of just getting the right answer. But the entrenched church women who have held thejobs for years hated that they liked me and made life unbearable so Iwent to the public schools. Nice teachers there but some kids who haveno desire to learn and I and scratching my head on how to reach them when they are in and out of drug treatment, suicide watch, have no home, parents abuse them, etc.

  • Rob

    Will the same be true of healthcare when the state offers it. Will you enroll in the state plan? Do you only read books at the library or do you buy them online?? Would you live in government urban housing projects?? This argument fails on so many levels and is purely communistic drivel. Just because it is a government sponsored option, doesn’t make it more missional or helpful to society. Public schools are dying as they should. Maybe you should just drop down to the lower income level, eat off foodstamps, have medicaid, live in urban housing, read only public library books, use only government sponsored technology(library computers), ride a public transportation system, and send your kids to public school and see if that works for you. My kids may go to public school, but not because it’s the best option. Rise up schools with standards, discipline and moral teaching!

    • http://zachdorman.blogspot.com/ Zach

      Yep. This. Mr. Jones’ argument is just silly in so many ways. This response speaks to the utter vacousness of the original blog post. And yet another reason I cannot take this guy (Mr. Jones) seriously…

  • Tony

    Tony- this article is seven years old. I’d really like to hear an update from you. How has your’s and your child’s experience been? Has your choice met the missional goals you set out? What advice would you have for parents now as they make educational decisions for their children? What would you suggest if parents find themselves in districts that are clearly not meeting the educational needs of the children they are mandated to serve?

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      This is actually a great idea. Tony (Jones), I think it’d be excellent if you wrote an updated reflection on this homeschooling v. public education issue. More substantive, of course, and with actual arguments against homeschooling rather than just arguments for public education. And since it formed the basis of your original premise, what I’d personally like to see is more detail on your vision of the Jesus Ethic/Kingdom of God Ethic that you subscribe to, how it informs your SENSE of missional life, and how you see it as compatible and/or cooperative with what you see as civic responsibility in a modern democratic society.

  • Rene

    Well-considered responses to a post that should have stayed lost and saved your reputation as a thinking man Tony.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      I’m sure Tony’s reputation as a thinker remains secure.

      • http://www.curtisvillechristianchurch.org James Snapp, Jr.

        Not as far as I’m concerned. I don’t consider this sort of thinking trustworthy at all.

  • Curtis

    I have three boys in public schools in the Twin Cities. People who want to be fully involved with their child’s education, who want to create an atmosphere where their child’s individual needs will be addressed and a learning environment that will promote your family’s values, need look no further than your local public school. The schools are more than willing to take you in and allow you to contribute how ever you can.

    Maybe that is not true everywhere in the country, but in the Twin Cities I’ve never seen the need to put my kids in private schools, charter schools, or home schools. My kids get a high quality education that I have control over and can contribute to any time I want.

    I guess others don’t agree; Minnesota leads the nation in establishment of private, charter and home schools too. But I’ve always wondered why people want to re-invent something that is already there for them to take advantage of.

    • KJ

      Curtis,
      I think our desire to re-invent is what drives innovation and progress. Perhaps the best way for public schools to continue to move forward is the increase in home/private/charter education. Competition is often a key element in increased quality across the board.

      My kids have LOVED their public school experience as they did their private school in earlier years.

    • Cherie

      Curtis, The assumption that people homeschool to avoid public schools is one of the many myths and misunderstandings about homeschooling. For many homeschoolers, it is not an “us against them” scenario. Many live in areas where there are great public schools, yet they still choose to personally educate their children. The picture is much larger than the narrow view of choosing where to send kids to school. As parents, we have a mandate from God to teach our children about Him and His commands as we walk & sit with them. Hard to do that when you’re not with them. Our choice to homeschool is separate and outside of what others are doing. It is outside of ourselves. It is a directive from God. We are sharpening the arrows he has put in our quiver so they can be aimed at the world and make a difference for Him.

      • Andrea

        No, I’m sorry, you lost me when you started referring to children as weapons.

        • http://www.raisingrealmen.com Melanie

          Actually, Andrea, it’s the Word of God that refers to children as weapons. See Psalm 127, verses 3-5:

          Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
          the fruit of the womb a reward.
          Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
          are the children[a] of one’s youth.
          Blessed is the man
          who fills his quiver with them!

          • Margaret

            It also refers to them as fruit. Are you ripening them so that someone can eat them? Why not? Don’t you take scripture seriously?

            • Jason A. Schnur

              Really? Are you so unable to understand poetic metaphor? You must have gone to public school!

              • Baz

                ‘Cept that it’s only poetic metaphor until you want it to be literal – that’s the Bible for you though folks!

    • John Cooley

      Glad to hear your school is so open and responsive Curtis, but I can assure you that it is not typical and the challenge presented to the public schools by the large number of private and charter schools is, no doubt, a big part of the reason those schools are so willing to permit parents to contribute. Public schools are not run by the “public”, but by the government, an established liberal base with a very specific agenda. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are not genuine believers teaching, or even holding positions of leadership, within the public school system, but that public schools somehow reflect and respect the will of the people is a fallacy. As it concerns re-inventing something that already exists, I agree with that idea. In the Old Testament God clearly appointed parents, and fathers in particular, with the responsibility of educating their children, both spiritually and practically. Public, or secular, education, as it is in reality, is the re-invention, not by God, but by man, in opposition to God’s design of God’s a system of education that, not only existed, but worked, for thousands of years. Public education exposes kids, not only, to a system we know to be secular (without God), but a system outside our control as parents, and to influences we’re not even aware of.

      • Baz

        So in an age where very little was actually known about the world you mean?

        The world has changed massively since then and you know it – parents can’t possibly cover the breadth of subjects needed for a true education rather than just an ignorant one.

        Further your view about ‘da gubmint’ trying to indoctrinate children sound like projection – you think they’re doing it because deep down you know damn well that is what you’re doing!

  • http://whateveryouart.com David

    Tony, you are brave.
    Questioning a homeschooler is deep heresy. There are a surprising number of homeschoolers in our church community and the shock that happens for most of these kids when they inevitably make the jump into public education is hard to ignore.

    Im sure there are some benefits, but the number one motivator among homeschooling parents I have spoken to is fear – fear of how an evil world will corrupt their child (especially with issues like sexuality and science) and I have a hard time believing that something motivated by fear can be “holy”.

    • http://christandliberty.com ELeeMacFall

      You can’t possibly know enough homeschoolers to say what our “number one reason” for supporting homsechooling is. For many of us, including myself, it’s about respect. We believe that children deserve the same respect that adults do that entitles them to make important decisions about their own lives. Therefore we would not force a child to go to a school unless they wanted to, and we would also make sure that they were sufficiently informed to make that choice beforehand.

      Still, there is some just cause to the fear you mention. I went to public school and learned all the wrong things about sex at the age of *seven*. As a parent, I would want to be absolutely sure that my children were prepared for the onslaught of indoctrination that they would face in a public school setting before they went there. That does not mean that I would preempt it with my own indoctrination; rather, I would teach them in the classical method so that they learn HOW to think before they are exposed to a system that is designed to teach them WHAT to think.

      And then I would let THEM choose, because after all, their minds and their lives belong to them. Not to me, and not to “society” either.

    • weaver_67579

      We are a homeschooling family and the choice to do so was most certainly not out of fear. Our family regularly interacts with many other homeschool families and each family has a unique reason to homeschool. I don’t know any that do so because of fear. Our family chose to do so when we moved into a school system that was academically way behind the system we were in before. On top of that, the new school system made it very obvious that they didn’t want my involvement in anthing other than the class Mom brings treats sort of way. We chose to homeschool for academic reasons. The public school system did not meet the academic needs of our gifted child. Seven years later, she is thriving academically, socially and in any other measure I can think of. Our family has changed school systems again, but have decided to homeschool all of our children because it is a good fit for our family and we can tailor the academics to the level of each child in each subject. I don’t know where the author finds his homeschoolers, but my children are around other children, and people of all ages, all of the time including, but not limited to: a weekly homeschool academic co-op, community sports, a very active homeschool group with @ 70 families, various lessons, clubs and church activities. This is much more “normal” for the homeschoolers we have contact with than the ones that hide the kids at home, rarely going out. One friend calls it home based education rather than homeschooling since a lot of us are not actually at home a good portion of the time.

  • Marshall

    I think the point has been lost that the thing to do is not to SEND your kids to school but to TAKE them. Anybody with the skills and spare time to decently home-school one kid could make a real impact on a classroom of 20 (or more!) kids, and beyond that classroom to the whole community. I don’t get it when professing Christians abandon that possibility of remaking the world in favor of a nuclear separatist community. What moral lesson are the kids being educated into here?

    One quibble, Tony … :-) … you have a low view of pounding iron. There are more colors than red.

    • http://christandliberty.com ELeeMacFall

      There’s a problem with that, and it is the rabid resistance to parental involvement that many school administrations (though generally not the individual teachers) have. The school system would have to be massively reformed before that is possible – reformed to give government and administrators less control over the classroom and conversely, to give teachers more autonomy. And unfortunately, that means tackling the unions as well.

    • http://www.herbanhomestead.blogspot.com Mandi

      “Spare time”!? That is great! Please know that homeschooling isn’t a matter of having spare time. It is a sacrifice. A sacrifice that I am willing to make because the calling that God has placed on me. I must also address this notion that homeschoolers do not live missionally. Oh dear, this is so far off base. We choose to spend our days delivering meals to the elderly and the homeless. We go to parks where we make real relationships with both the parent and the children that are there. We share Jesus at skate parks in our back yard (literally) and all the way across the nation. All during the “school year”. We have broken people in our home. Our children get to not only witness all of this, but they get to partake as well.
      And please hear me on this. I am not saying that public school isn’t a worthy mission field! As a former public school teacher, and the wife of a youth pastor, I know it is! It’s just a different field. God has called some to that, and some to others. That’s it.
      Can we all just see the big picture here? God places His people where He wants them to be in the season that He wants them to be there. It shouldn’t be a war. It should a mutual respect and a chance to encourage each other in the fields that God has placed us each to be in.

      • Sarah

        AMEN!!

        Tony, the argument that you’re saying is similar to this one:

        “If you don’t become a life-time missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators to the 10-40 window, then you are a “lesser” Christian and are not “missional.” (Whatever the heck that means.)

        Which is baloney. You are a missionary WHEREVER THE LORD LEADS YOU. Let’s not cause another divide in the Christian community over stuff that matters…well, less than a hill of dung. Seriously? We are fighting over how we educate our kids? Over WHERE we are salt and light? Or how? Didn’t Jesus tell us that we are all members of the same body, and that some are eyes and some are feet?

        Let’s just sit around the campfire and sing some Kum-ba-ya, hold hands, be nice, and learn to love our own brothers and sisters before sitting in judgement upon them.

        “See the bear in his den before you judge his condition.”

        Geez…

      • Angie

        Mandi… What a great response! As someone who is sort of new to to homeschooling, I am rather taken aback by some of the statements in this article and a few of the responses which display a huge lack of respect and maturity. As a Christian, I have been completely turned off by Tony’s (and a few others) judgementalism and uneducated assumptions toward his brothers and sisters in Christ who are diligently following the Lord’s calling in their lives and making great sacrifices to do so. Tony, rather than condemn fellow believers, why not try encouraging a missional lifestyle no matter what path The Lord has directed you to follow and continue to pray that as followers as Christ, we may all have the courage to stand up for Him in whatever corner of the world He has designated for us.

  • Keith Rowley

    As long as you don’t try to make it illegal for me to do what I believe is best for my kids and homeschool them, I have no problem with your choosing to educate your kids however you want.

    It is good to see an example of someone making a decision for theological reasons as aquard as they may be.

    The problem of course is that Tony’s post assumes because this is what he feels led by God and thoughtful consideration to do with HIS kids, it must automatically be what everyone else should do with THEIR kids.

    Here is the thing, God did NOT make Tony the father of MY kids! As such it is not his place to say how my kids should be raised.

    • Curtis

      I question your assumption that everyone is an expert at educating their own kids. Kids can certainly benefit from the knowledge and experience of people outside of their family, from time to time.

      I think there are times when pooling community resources provides much better outcomes than each family trying to go it alone. Fighting wars and putting out fires are obvious examples. But certainly the full, broad, well-rounded education of a child requires more resources than an individual parent can provide.

      Not that the parent is ever excluded from education. Even in pubic schools, a childs parents are the single, most influential factor in a childs education. Public schools don’t do away with parental involvement. On the contrary, public schools only succeed when parents are tightly involved.

      I just think pooled community resources for education are much more valuable than a family trying to go it alone. So much so, that I don’t have a problem with mandating that children participate in some kind of community-based education program.

      • http://www.herbanhomestead.blogspot.com Mandi

        Curtis-
        You are so right! Our children can all benefit from a wide variety of instructors. This is one of the things I love about homeschooling! I can find true artisans and experts in fields to teach my children in areas that I do not excel! They can learn from their father who is wonderfully talented in music, mechanics, and wood work. They can learn from their papa who is a master gardener and outdoorsman. They can learn from their nana who is a vocal and piano teacher. They can learn from the sweet woman at church that has them over for knitting and sewing. I can take them to gymnastics and martial arts. They can learn writing from a homeschool mama down the road that has a masters in creative writing. I can teach them the basics and then some.
        Homeschooling offers us the chance to learn a variety of subjects from a variety of people. It is a wonderful way to experience the world!

        • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

          Hear, hear!

  • Angie

    The poor logic of comparing parental right of choice in education with state mandated taxes and shots aside…

    I can’t help but wonder if the author has any genuinely close relationships with homeschoolers or if he is working from a very skewed idea of homeschooling families and what they do.

    Can we only be missional in one context? Public school?
    Are we not missional if we take are children on foreign mission trips to volunteer to build, feed, teach, minister, etc.?
    We live rurally, but are we not missional if our children volunteer in one of our closest largest city’s Title I schools (minority populated, considered at risk because of poverty, non-English speaking, immigrant status, etc.)?
    Are we, myself and my homeschool children, not missional when we read to them? Coach them? Play with them? Do art with them? Do science projects with them? Encourage them? Speak life to them and give hope?
    Are we not missional when we volunteer for field day, give them lots of fun, and run, dance, skip, hop, slide, speak respectfully, smile at them, give snow cones, express the love of Jesus, etc.?
    Are we not missional when we help teachers in the classroom, tidy up their rooms, empty trash, run errands, provide supplies, or give an encouraging word, etc?
    Are we not missional when we volunteer one Saturday a month for years to package up boxes of food and distribute to those in need or ring the Salvation Army bell each December or collect canned goods in our area and donate to the food banks?
    Are our children not missional when they volunteer one Saturday a month and one Monday a month for years in a legally binding juvenile justice program for Class C-misdemeanor offenders and give their time either as a peer juror, peer mentor and advocate, or other courtroom attendant. Is my child not missional when he represents the state or advocates for the defendant and is assigned his or her peer mentor throughout their time in the program and stands in court to help them give his or her perspective and bring to light mitigating circumstances, if any?
    Are we not missional when as a parent we serve on the board of various non-profit organizations, assess needs, organize fundraisers, and create programs?
    Are my children not missional when volunteering at the nursing home, the library, and dozens and dozens of other venues and organizations in our community throughout their homeschool careers?
    Are we not missional on a public park soccer field since it is not a public school soccer field?
    Are we not missional at 4-H, Boy Scouts, martial arts classes, ballroom dance classes, art classes, science classes, swimming lessons, on the college campus for dual credit high school students, and all the many varied organizations, venues, and causes in which homeschoolers volunteer or participate and do all they do for the glory of God or in Jesus’ name?

    If not, then I guess, I don’t know this word missional.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      A hearty AMEN! :)

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    As a missionary and development worker living in rural Tanzania, East Africa, what is my societal contract here? Must I enroll my children in public schools? Use the overcrowded — but public — clinic when they are sick?

    To what extent must I take part in every public offering in order to be missional in my community?

    • Curtis

      By definition, isn’t a missionary in a traditional missionary setting granted a special exemption from any expectation to be missional? In my understanding, being “missional” implies non-traditional, local work for the gospel. Doing development work in Tanzania is not missional, by definition.

      You are busy enough being a missionary; I don’t think there is any expectation that you become a missional missionary! That would be an oxymoron!

  • Tina H.

    There are so many things wrong with your line of thinking, I don’t even know where to start. Additionally, I don’t want to waste much of my time and energy with your drivel in my mind. But I’ll point out just a few realities you fail to see, leaving other points to the other posters who have expressed them so well:
    1. John Dewey was a socialist who, in his own words (look them up), was bent on tearing the minds and hearts of children away from their parents and on making sure children did away with the “myth” of a belief in God. Therefore, nothing he says in regards to educating children has any validity for the Christian parent;
    2. We are Americans, but we are Christians first. Therefore, we are NOT obligated to subject our kids to the secular humanist American schools just because we live in this country (which – again, more for you to research – is a republic, not a “democracy”);
    3. We who homeschool will perhaps consider subjecting our kids to the godless environment of the public schools when YOU agree to send your kids to Saudi Arabia to be educated in a madrass (or, for your daughters, to be put into a form of sexual slavery). Of course, that’s a ludicrous idea, as your children would have no idea – young and naive as any child is – to handle the assault of a Muslim worldview on their hearts and minds, and you know it. The whole idea of children being sent to the American public schools as missionaries is just as absurd as sending them into any other hostile mission field. If you wouldn’t ship them off today to Saudi or China, then don’t think they can spiritually survive the public schools. And, in fact, data (Barna Research; look it up!) shows that 85% of kids from CHRISTIAN families who attend public school abandon the Lord by the time they graduate high school. In contrast, just 4% of homeschooled kids do the same. I don’t know about you, but I love my children too much – and know my calling to raise them for God’s glory too well – to play Russian Roulette with their souls;
    4. The ONLY person in Scripture whom God called to be educated by pagans was Moses – and that was obviously for a special reason. He was Moses, for pete’s sake! Not even Jesus was sent away from home for his education. So, though I know you want to believe your kids are special – in fact, all children are unique – but I hate to tell you that, in all honesty, there aren’t many “Moseses” out there today (see the 85% stat above);
    5. Are Christians called to be missional in the secular humanist, godless government schools? Absolutely – AS ADULTS who go in to populate the classrooms as teachers IF they don’t abdicate their own kids to the system to do so. God calls us first to our own and then beyond, not to abandon the children he entrusts to us as parents for the sake of other people’s kids. Thus, I applaud Christian men who teach in the public schools if their wives are home discipling the kids. Or, alternately, it’s fine if a husband is at home raising the children while the wife is on the mission field. Similarly, there are seasons of life; a woman without children or whose children are grown would be a great missionary to the public schools…but she is sinning against her children if she plunks them into the system in order to “please God.” Harsh? Yep. True. Absolutely.

    • Curtis

      One of the many benefits of public education is to learn not to immediately disregard alternative lines of thinking as “drivel”.

      Learning to write in short, concise paragraphs is another benefit that a proper writing teacher can provide, and beyond the skill level of most parents.

      Avoiding inflammatory and unhelpful metaphors, such as calling public schools “sexual slavery”, is another lesson that a good writing teacher can provide your children.

      Loving children sometimes means letting go of them enough, at appropriate ages, so they can form their own brain, and become the full person that God intends them to be. Even if doing so leads unsuportive parents to accuse children of “abandoning the Lord”.

      You may be surprised of the many benefits your children are missing out on by avoiding public schools. But given the tone of your writing, I doubt I will convince you.

      • Margaret

        1. Before the arrival of the internet and the short attention spans it has generated, a the idea of a two- to four-line paragraph being ideal would have been quite laughable.

        2. Perhaps you didn’t understand what he was getting at with the analogy to a Muslim school. I did, even though I don’t fully agree with him.

        3. Being able to recognize drivel as drivel is a valuable skill. Not everyone who is against homeschooling is spouting drivel; however, Terry Jones arguably is in this case.

        4. In conclusion, quit overreacting dramatically, and make your case in a less hysterical, insulting fashion, please. Given the tone of your writing, I can’t really take your remarks seriously!

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Sermonettes make christianettes!

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Standing and clapping here! Well said! Thank you!

  • http://getalonghome.com Cindy

    I think you’re getting homeschoolers confused with the Amish. Not only are we not withdrawing from society, while your kids are all lined up in rows, all learning from the same one-size-fits-all script, our kids are out interacting with the world. We do the 3 r’s, but there’s a lot more to education, and we have the versatility to add much more to our kids’ lives than a classroom environment can. Unlike kids in public schools, my kids’ teacher (that would be me) is in no danger of losing her job for discipling them for Christ, praying with them, or encouraging them to relate to others with their Christian worldview fully intact. They are learning to become part of the community as compassionate individuals, not cogs in a hyper-organized institutional machine.

    How much more missional can it get than what we did today? We went to a park to celebrate our completed work week and made a new friend. Chances are, that new friend doesn’t know much about Jesus. We’ll be seeing her and her young grandson again next week! Last week, we took a meal to a new mother instead of wasting that afternoon hour traveling home from school. The week before that we visited an ailing and lonely relative. Homeschoolers don’t stay in the basement playing violin all day. In fact, our lives are much more integrated in the real community because we have more flexibility and less time spent on buses and in lines or waiting for bells to ring.

    Vive homeschooling!

    • http://www.momsmustardseeds.com Rebecca

      Cindy, well…we do sit in our basement and play violin all day…. No, not really. Actually, we are just home from a day out…spending time with others – age…newborn to….well….I won’t share the oldest age. Like you, we share time with other people, we disciple our children in our home (reference Deuteronomy 6:7)
      and we do not follow the socialist regime of John Dewey.
      This post reminded me of Israel Wayne’s book – Full Time Parenting (ahem…that includes homeschooling…) “like John Dewey and his friends at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, int eh 1930s, knew that simply removing children form the sheltered and supervised home, where they received constant oversight from their parents, would begin the deterioriation of the family as a cultural force. Children would automatically switch their allegiance from the parents tot he peer group, thus the entire “herd” could be controlled and directed (or at least so they hoped)……..There are three teachers in any school. There is the person who stands at the front of the class and calls herself a teacher. There is the curriculum. Then there is the peer group, or fellow students. The last is the most powerful influence of the three.”

      As far as helping society…our country needs jobs…and according to this study, homeschool graduates are going into the real world and creating jobs by owning businesses: http://home-school.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_Public_School_Vs_Homeschooling

      I could go on and continue to provide other information…..more statistics….but I believe you are a very intelligent person and can do that.

      Many blessings…reading your post was very interesting….seeing a socialist referenced in a Christian – mission-minded post negating those who choose to homeschool…

  • Mary

    Here I am chiming in for the charter schools…. I taught in public schools for 15 plus years. I now teach & send my child to the same charter school in which I’m employed. I have close family members that will ONLY homeschool their children (several of them feel an unvoiced pressure to do this because of Christian duty and fear of “the things they will be exposed to” in public school). I see the issue broadly & clearly. Our son is an only child & financially we did not have the option to homeschool. Enter the charter school. An excellent choice. I have input as a parent as to the type of school I want this to be. If I do not like any aspect of my child’s experience, I an responsible for voicing my concerns (At our school, they are heard.). This is how public school SHOULD be but sadly our instant gratification society has encouraged people to leave their children at the door and made the state responsible for yet another aspect of life that should be the realm of personal responsibility.
    My son receives consistent spiritual instruction from loving parents & church family. He has friends & family who go to “regular” school and family members & friends that are home schooled. Most of the time he feels lucky that he has the charter school (except when he has more homework because of the rigorous curriculum).
    So my point: Parents become personally involved wherever your child is, in all aspects of their experience. Blame is easy. Clearly seeing your child’s needs is not… but can it be done. Focus on strong spiritual truth and your child will be able to adapt in the environment in which he/ she finds himself/ herself. Evolution is not the devil, just a theory. Connection with the community happens and home schooling does not prevent that. Neither does sending them to public school insure multiple piercings, teen pregnancy, and secular humanism.
    “In the world but not of it” refers to the child’s heart and spiritual being; and one can be that wherever you find yourself. Doesn’t this understanding fuel a missional response?? Take the needs of your community seriously- a good parent teaches this best; wherever your kid goes to school.

  • Alan

    I agree with SM a wee bit. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts now that your child is in Middle School, and getting ready for High School. What was your experience like in the public school system? Would you make the same decision/argument today? Have you read the book Going Public? Why is the sky blue? So many questions to answer!!

    I couldn’t help but notice that you used the argument with the assumption that people vaccinate their children. Have you noticed the tendency now for parents to not want their children to be vaccinated?

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  • mark rittmann

    Good luck with that argument, Tony. Too many are afraid of the public schools. An odd fear given that God is God.

    As to the mission of the people of God in society. We are to be a change agent. I am a pastor and raised 5 children, They all graduated from public schools. The people of God are called to live in a manner that gives witness by word and deed, and are to be engaged in society. If the “Salt of the Earth” remains at home it is removed from it’s function. If our children are raised in the faith and guided when they find conflict, they will be the salt the schools need. I applaud your decision.

  • Amy

    I can only speak regarding our own experiences with our 3 children. We decided to take them to public schools partially because we believed that we could help them process what they were hearing in the classrooms while they were still young. We taught them to question what they heard and not take things at face value…even what they heard in Sunday School. We taught them to think for themselves. Each of them went through some rebellion (thankfully nothing serious) and times of questioning Christianity. But as adults they are all strong in their faith in God and are missional in the way they live their lives. One of our sons and his wife are missionaries to Croatia and our daughter and her family are leaving soon to be missionaries to Chad. I’m thankful for the opportunities our children have had in their lives and that we could choose whether to send them to public school or home school them. I think this needs to be a decision each family makes for themselves and it helps to hear the experiences of others.

  • http://seldomwrong.blogspot.com SWNID

    I’m the father of two grown kids, educated in public schools, and the teacher of thousands of young adult Christians, most publicly educated but some privately or homeschooled.

    There are local reasons that make homeschooling an attractive option: local schools can be awful.

    Many of the deficits of any situation can be overcome if one does the overcoming deliberately.

    All generalizations are invalid, including those I’m making here.

    But I will say this with a measure of confidence: in Christian colleges the modal homeschooled Christian kid is less confident in social situations, less able to connect easily with people who aren’t Christians, and more inclined to see Christianity as a fortress of purity rather than a staging ground for mission. In the end, I find the modal homeschooled young-adult Christian less able to deal with doubt, more fearful that the faith will collapse when it’s challenged.

    And someday we can talk about the many Christian K-12 schools who exist in the minds of parents primarily to keep kids off drugs and un-pregnant while preparing them for entry to elite, selective colleges.

    One man’s opinion.

    • http://tonymyles.blogspot.com Tony Myles

      Speaking from my institutional experience (youth ministry, and now lead pastor), I would agree that home school students are unique… and depending on the student and family, some of what you say is certainly true.

      I’m curious if the gauge is the same with public school students, except they don’t stand out to you because they’re in the common category. Meaning, maybe you’re more aware of home school students being different, thus are skewing your findings. Perhaps the same proportion of public school students equally struggle with doubts, etc.

      I share that because I sense there are at least two types of homeschool families – there are the stereotypical ones that believe public school is evil and huddle their kids close to them in reaction. In contrast, there are other parents who are trying to bridge their kids into the world but have found that either the school district they’re in will be detrimental or their kids aren’t ready for it. This latter category is the type that is homeschooling now, but looking to integrate when the time is right.

      Another category is the e-school option that is becoming more popular. I know of at least three students in my neighborhood who do this – they take part in a “public school” online because they can’t get a bus to high school due to budget cuts in their district. Other families opt for this option voluntarily because that system offers them more than an overpopulated classroom or (again) a money-challenged district that is cutting AP courses than adding them.

      My comment is to say that there may be more going on that what you point out.

    • http://www.asowerslife.net Todd

      As a public schooled person who attended a Christian University I can completely confirm what you have stated about home schooled students. It was really easy to pick out the home schooled on campus just look for the socially awkward ones. Additionally, one could tell that those who home schooled struggled with how to relate the gospel message to the secular un-churched world.

      I’m completely against home school, yes public education has issues but I think it is our job and social responsibility to fix those issues and be an advocate for our children. I’m against home school because for the most part those who home school or for that matter private school are doing it to avoid the moral issues and filth that they don’t what their kids in (Yes, it’s a broad generalization, but a very true one I believe). Christ, did not call us to live in a bubble completely protected from every sin, wrong teaching, etc. that there is. No, instead Christ called us to live in the world and not be of it. To do this we must be present in the world confronting the issues and teaching our children how to handle the secularism and immorality from a Christ perspective do so is the only way to properly prepare our kids to live as a Christian in the real world.

      • http://turquoisegates.com Genevieve Thul @ Turquoise Gates

        “really easy to pick out the homeschooled ones, just look for the socially awkward ones.” (I corrected your grammar for you, Todd.) Did it ever occur to you that perhaps tens, hundreds even, of homeschoolers might have blended in and been missed by your judgmental eyes because they WEREN’T socially awkward? ;-) No one ever pegged me, but perhaps that was because my parents didn’t homeschool me to keep me from the world, but to give me a good education. The only way you could have guessed I was homeschooled was the fact that I started college 2 years ahead of schedule and tested out of most of my general classes, I guess.

      • weaver_67579

        Hmmmm. Funny, but your description of the homeschoolers describes me when I started college and I attended public school from head start (age 4) through graduation. My homeschooled children are far more social than I ever was. Maybe you just noticed the stereotypical ones since you seemed to be looking for them or are just overlooking the shy public schoolers.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Jesus sent His mature disciples out two by two. Who goes in to the dangerous, God-less environment of the government school with a vulnerable little child?

  • Jim Folsom

    The tie between committment to missional life and public school only exists in theory. The simplest review of the different kinds of schools will reveal missional people in all of them. Homeschooling is decidedly more taxing on parents’ time and often on resources than other forms of education. The people who homeschool often have a deep sense of mission, committment, and follow through that carries over into everything they do. I have meaningful experience with kids who have homeschooled over time and find that they are often able to move about society, interacting with all age groups and social strata, better than many of their peers. Our family has homeschooled for 18 years. Our kids are engaged in mission in the world because they joined us in engaging the broken and homeless. Most homeschool parents are not fearful people, in my experience. Some are trying to raise champions and some are trying to keep any contaminate from their perfectly pure lives, but most are engaging their kids and taking responsibility for them at great personal cost. The question for missional people is not whether or not their kids will be discipled to engage a broken world. The question is who will do the discipling? Those early years fly by pretty quickly and homeschooling can be a great way to walk with your own kids very much the way Jesus walked with disciples for a season.

    • Cherie

      Yes, yes, and yes again. Beautifully put.

    • Kristen

      Very, very well stated. Thank you:)

    • Angie

      I am a young mom in my second year of homeschooling 3 young boys, my oldest is 6. It has not always been the desire of my heart, but I feel like regardless of my desires, this is precisely what the Lord is calling us to do. There are many hard days and articles like these can tear you down, but your comment is refreshing and inspiring. Gradually I am seeing my desires change for His purpose and realize how my children aren’t the only ones with a lot to learn over the next few years. I am thankful for the opportunity I have been blessed with and for your encouraging words!!

  • http://achurchlessfaith.blogspot.com Chris

    Tony, I think you are right.

    Home schooling isn’t big in Australia but send your kid to a private Christian school is very common. After moving into out area my wife dealt with kids in the local primary school who had been bullied. I met some staff at the local high school who told the group I was with not to use PowerPoint slide with writing on it for the 16 yr old high school students because “they don’t really read”. I now work nights packing shelves so my kids can go to a private school with better educational outcomes. It was a hard choice, I’m a big believer in public education and in mission an I can see the link between the two. But for us we couldn’t sacrifice our child’s education and happiness on the alter of our way of doing mission. We looked at moving to a different suburb so we could send our kids to a better public school but we couldn’t afford it. I feel very disconnected from the people in my suburb – the school is really the only communal area. It hurt to make the decision but in the end even if I knew God was going to disapprove of the decision I still would have done it.

  • Karin Gianforti

    “So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from public education is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society…”

    Or sending my kids to a God-less public school does not play my (God-given) role as a mother raising/educating/equipping Godly children based on HIS WORD then sending them to handle a God-less society.

  • Hannah

    Tony,

    Here in California, a new law was passed in July that takes effect starting Jan 2013, where gays/lesbians/transgenders/sex change/cross dressing must be taught as a positive lifestyle, this is mandated curriculum from K-12 and there is NO parent opt-out. It’s naive to think that the public school system is spiritually neutral ground – it is not. The public school system is opposed to Biblical principles, there is another agenda here other than education, it’s a fight for the minds and hearts of our children. Yes, Christians are to be salt and light, but sacrificing my children to the world’s agenda is NOT the way to do it.

    • Sheri

      I could not agree more!!!

    • Cherie

      Ditto :)

    • http://www.curtisvillechristianchurch.org James Snapp, Jr.

      Exactamente!

    • aolson

      Trans people are 12 times more likely to be murdered compared to the average person. I think it’s great that children will learn about trans people and possibly even intersexed people considering that their parents never learned about the biological variations in gender and sexuality which have resulted in some of the most vulnerable people in society.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Tony is down with the new law, Hannah.

  • Mrs. Warde

    This article was written in 2005, so your (Mr. Jones’) child has been in public school for 7 years then. How has that worked out for you and your child? How effective has your child been in winning souls for Christ? Has it been worth it?

  • Shawna

    “So much so, that I don’t have a problem with mandating that children participate in some kind of community-based education program.”

    Oh wrong, wrong, wrong!! My participation is already “mandated.” I pay taxes for a system that my own children do not use. And unless there is a tax credit for homeschooling, don’t accuse homeschoolers of “opting out.” Requiring my children to “participate” requires that I submit my children to what I consider false teaching, in direct conflict to our faith. Which the Bible forbids me to do. And yet, you would “mandate” that?

    And by “mandated”, what exactly to you mean? Does that mean at the point of a gun? What would happen if a family failed to “participate?” Should they be fined? Jailed? Should their children be taken away?

    This is a dangerously slippery slope.

  • Keith Rowley

    Amen Shawna! This kind of thinking that you should mandate not just that I don’t abuse my kids but how I raise my kids is WRONG!

  • Keith Rowley

    I find it interesting that people assume being missional in the way of Jesus requires being fully involved with society when Jesus spent much of his ministry outside of the cities and town and main social structures of his time, out in the wilderness making people come to him.

    • Cherie

      Yes, and if we look to the Bible, we’ll see that it was the pagan nations whose children were educated by the government for the purpose of training them to become better subjects (a method successfully employed in Nazi Germany). The Israelites were educated by the church. Who is the church of today? The body of Christ.

  • Nate Harrup

    It seems odd to quote John Dewey when commenting on the religious implications of choosing either homeschool or public school. Not only was Dewey not a Christian per se; he was a proud humanist and one of the signers of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto (which can be read online if anyone is curious). Dewey unapologetically elevated science over religion and felt that worship of God was incompatible with rational thinking. He might have been a formidable thinker, but his views were considered liberal even by liberal standards. Neither he nor Coe has much credibility in a religious debate on school choices in today’s society.

    But more to the point, I take issue with the idea of public schooling for one’s children being the “missional” Christian choice. Tony’s thesis is necessarily premised on two wrong ideas, (1) that the average child has the awareness and sophistication of thinking to not only identify but be able to interact with and refute false ideas commonly passed off as fact in public school, and (2) that homeschooling is not a missional choice. Common sense tells us the first premise is obviously weak. The second premise is pure nonsense. We homeschool in order to prepare our children intellectually, morally, and emotionally for a lifetime of service to the Kingdom of God in whatever careers they may choose, not to steer them away from their missional responsibility as Christians. And we happen to feel the Christian character development we intentionally build into their curriculum at home gives them a far better preparation for the missional life than does the confusing, overwhelming inculturation of a government-mandated school. Others may disagree on that point, and that’s fine. But to suggest homeschooling is not a missionally-minded choice for Christians is absurd.

    One more problem with the post is this idea that we “owe” it to society to enroll our children in government-run schools. There may or may not be a societal contract, depending on your philosophy. But if there is, submitting one’s children to curriculum that conflicts with my values and beliefs is not part of the contract and never has been. (Given that my taxes, which I pay faithfully, help to compensate teachers I am not even using as a homeschool parent, I should think society is already getting quite a bargain in this exchange.) If a Christian chooses to opt out of sending his or her child to be “socialized” for eight hours a day because the potential harms outweigh the vague, unquantifiable benefits of said socialization, and because a God-centered education just plain makes sense to that parent, he or she is not cheating society so much as simply being obedient to the conviction that a child’s heart and mind are precious things that should me molded by God-fearing influences.

    P.S. As a missionary’s kid I did spend one year in public French school. Unfortunately, it was a miserable year. But that’s another story…

    • Kristen

      Amen!

  • Wendy

    That’s a ridiculous article. I have homeschooled for 20 years (26, 24, and 13yr old girls). You DO NOT need to be in the public school to be a witness for Jesus Christ. My girls affected everyone they came into contact with in the neighborhood, township sports, etc. They unashamedly shared Jesus. If you think your kids will have a great influence IN the public schools, think again as your elementary school child has to put a condom on a banana (as the public schooled kids in our neighborhood did). Meanwhile, at home my girls were being given a Godly education – they understand God’s Word, they understand worldviews, they read GOOD books. Invaluable! If you don’t give that to your kids, you will be sorry. I have seen plenty of Christians who think like you do, and their kids are not in a good place now with the Lord. I seriously don’t think you know what you are talking about.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Tony doesn’t know what he’s talking about!

  • vandelay

    Children are not missional tools. Your role as a missional member of society is just that, YOUR role. Don’t make your children play it for you. And your interpretation of the Social Contract is, frankly, terrifying. How far do you stretch that theory in your everyday life?

    • http://samann1121.blogspot.com Jessie

      Yes, this exactly! Setting aside all the quantifiable academic benefits of homeschooling, what gives you the right to turn a FIVE year old into a spiritual soldier? And what makes you think he or she will be effective? If you are so burdened for the spiritual state of the public school system, perhaps you should become a public school teacher.

  • http://late-emerger.blogspot.com Andrew Martin

    Wow! You’ve touched a nerve there. Where did all these commenters come from?

    Your argument seems sound and unsurprising to me.

    • Christian_Winicki

      Wow, you are stupid there.

      Sorry, it had to be said.
      CWW, 13

    • Geniene

      “Seems” is the operative word here. He needs to do his homework on this subject. Google John Taylor Gatto to find out a little history on why America made the shift to compulsory schooling and how the system is disturbingly flawed because of it. Then ask yourself why public school would be a benefit to anyone whether Christian or not.

      Secondly, “community” does not take place in school. Five-year olds are hardly equipped to be lights to their peers without the support of other Christian influences. They are more typically a flickering candle that is extinguished before their education is completed. My children and I consistently shine our lights together, however, as we serve our neighbors and shut-ins on a weekly basis.

      Personally, I homeschool because my husband and I cannot fulfill Deuteronomy 6:7 if my children are sent away for the majority of the day to be instructed by a random person to whom they have randomly been assigned. Furthermore, a customized, personal education is far superior to the pedagogical nonsense that is found in the public school system.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Bravo!

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  • T. Webb

    Dr. Jones,

    Yes, because of your diatribe, I should submit my children to public schooling, so that they can become morons like their father (that’s me) is. I’m sorry, but you can NEVER get back a bad education like the one I got in my public school. It’s like I’m crippled. I’ve done the best to educate myself, but at best, I’m years behind the average person. Of course, not all have had my experience, and surely some can get a good education, despite the statistics that show how terrible American education is.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially the mind of your child, to make a point. There are all sorts of ways to be missional, heck, just turn off the fucking TV & video games and get out front of your house and play with your kids & others from the neighborhood. How about that for missional?

    FYI, I send my kids to a private school, but I’m sure you’ll condemn that too for the same reasons. I have many friends who homeschool, in fact they have a homeschool coop, and those kids are getting an excellent education. It gives a fucking moron like me hope for the future of others.

  • Sander J. Adams

    I’m still trying to understand how a child sitting in a classroom with 25 kids his own age and only one adult is a superior social experience to the rich diversity of ages from younger to elderly and everything in between that my kids experience through the week.

    Wait… Do people still really think that homeschoolers stay cooped up in their homes all day?

    LOL. The stereotypes are laughable. Yes, we lock them in closets and feed them bread and water!

    • http://christandliberty.com ELeeMacFall

      You feed them bread?! How you pamper them!

  • http://www.brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

    Preface: I was homeschooled for a big chunk of my life, because of the religious persuasions of my parents. I also attended public school in high school, because my parents were wise enough to realize that they and their group of other like-minded homeschooling parents weren’t well enough equipped to teach certain things (like lab sciences, for example, and languages).

    Preface 2: I just finished writing this post and feel the need to say that it’s coming from a place of intense frustration with Tony and this post. Rather than edit it down and use tame language, I’m just going to put it out there as is. I’m passionate about this topic (more so than most because of my experience), and I think that should come through.

    Those out of the way, there are three big problems I see in this post.

    First, is this very bizarre assumption, which is the linchpin of the argument:

    So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from public education is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society — like I can’t just choose to withhold my taxes.

    I, too, strive to be on mission as a member of God’s Kingdom. I believe in civic participation, too. I pay my taxes, I vote, I stay informed about my city, state, country, the world, etc. I get it.

    But that doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to participate in every single part of society in order to be missional.

    How silly would it be to write a post entitled, “Death to private transportation!”

    So it seems to me that to withdraw myself from public transportation is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society — like I can’t just choose to withhold my taxes.

    Same exact logic, just a different public/private issue and topic. The assumption you’ve made here, Tony, is fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, it’s not one you apply equally to all aspects of public life.

    I don’t, as a Christian, have the option to “opt out” of the societal contract. Instead, I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.

    If you’re not taking public transit to work (or any other number of fill in the blanks here) so that you can engage your neighbors, you’re being amazingly hypocritical.

    The second problems is a fundamental ignorance of the possibilities that exist for homeschooling parents and children, in terms of social and societal engagement.

    Did you know that in many states homeschooled children are legally allowed and do participate in extracurricular activities offered by public schools? By law, schools must accept homeschooled children into those programs. Many parents take advantage of this.

    And this is on top of the myriad of opportunities that exist within networks of homeschooled families. Of which there are plenty, some local, some statewide, and some national.

    Maybe the ignorance is due to the fact that this was written years ago, but yikes is it obvious.

    Third,”Death to homeschooling” is unnecessarily combative and intensely arrogant.

    Who do you think you’re convincing with this kind of language? Do you honestly believe that anyone who homeschools their kids will be persuaded by this kind of hostility? Would you?

    Furthermore, having personal convicitions is all well and good. If you believe that your theology compels you to enroll your kids in public school, more power to you (as long as you’re being consistent with that belief by educating them on what it means to be a missional Christian in a public school as a kid).

    But not every personal “ought” is a public “ought.”

    It’s not crystal clear to me which of these you’re arguing here. The post itself seems to be the former, but the post title and pictures seems to strongly imply the latter. If you are implying the latter, shame on you. Who are you to dictate how other parents should raise their children?

    • http://www.brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

      Perhaps more succinctly:

      “Why I would never homeschool my children”

      Presents some of this content in a very different, more constructive, and infinitely more helpful way than,

      “Death to homeschooling!”

      does.

      The latter just makes you come across like an ignorant, pompous jerk (which I don’t think you are, and I’m guessing you don’t want to project as) to those of us with a different experience of homeschooling than you.

    • Joy_F

      In all honesty, I agree with the “public transportation” replacement just as much as I do the “Death to Homeschooling” I think that American worship of individualism has led much of the breakdown of societal trust and that taking public transportation often does make strides in rebuilding that trust. I am speaking as someone who has spent ten years in Asia however, most of which have been without a car. But I digress…..

      My concerns about homeschooling – and I like you was formerly homeschooled – is the lack of standards for the education and the incredible disadvantage students (myself included) are put at when their parents are not as wise as yours were to realize they should not be chemistry and Physics when they know neither subject. If their was a standardized exam I would likely be less passionate about it – but there is not.

      Why punish the children for the (often well intended but misguided) beliefs of the parents? And yet that is what often happens especially when homeschooling is encouraged by churches and some of those parents do not have the ability (some not a single college course nor even high school themselves) to discern that this may be an incredibly damaging thing to their family.

      When poor or uneducated families homeschool a variety of problems develop – because they do not have the resources to give their children adequate education homeschooling cements their place at the bottom of society. What is great (?) for the middle class can be incredibly destructive to the poor when they try something hoping for the same results – and the damage can result in taking another generation or two to set right.

      • Patti Sawyer

        Where in the history of public education have you seen standardized testing raise students’ performance? Why do people keep trying to apply failed government initiatives to a movement that statistically is already working?
        Kids can have good/bad experiences no matter the educational setting, but anecdotes don’t make policy. How about the teachers coming out of colleges today that don’t have mastery over their subject areas? I know of a local high school who will not be able to offer math beyond Pre-Cal next year because they don’t have any teachers qualified to teach it (or any candidates for the position)
        There is no perfect answer and sorry your initial experience was bad, but until the stats prove otherwise, home schooling is working the majority of the time and by a larger majority than the public school system. .

        • Joy_F

          The goal of standardized testing isn’t to raise students performance. Where did you get that idea? It’s to ensure that students are receiving equally adequate education and address the problem areas when they arise due to the tests. They need to have a better intercultural understanding, but they are still useful gauges in determining the quality of students education. It’s how we know how much the US has slipped in the ranks in education. 17th in the world and slipping – that is something that needs to be kept in perspective.

          As for why well this is why; http://hsinvisiblechildren.org/ read the stories on Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Standardized testing would help to catch some of this. If the parents are doing a good job and honestly have nothing to hide, why should they fear the tests? The kids will have to take standardized exams to go to college anyway. It’s good practice.

          The teacher shortage is a testament to America’s shifting priorities not an indictment of Public Education. If more American’s wouldn’t shie away from the harder subjects like math and science in favor of useless easier degrees you wouldn’t see such a shortage. Also perhaps rather than condemning the public school system and running from it, maybe its time for Americans to get involved and improve it.

          Failed government is Congo. Most of our government is working just fine – you can get in your little car, drive to the store, not eat poisoned food, come home have a glass f non-toxic water from the tap, cook dinner set your house on fire and the dear old government will send a fire truck to put it out. Nice alternative to hunting through the jungle for food with no path, and drawing water from a cholera and croc infested river and watching the village burn from your cooking fire isn’t it? Free education is a blessing: we far too easily take our privilege for granted and believe our special snowflakes are being treated badly because a teacher doesn’t bend to our every will.

          • Teresa Janelle

            Without getting into the rest of this discussion, I want to make a comment on standardized testing. The desire to implement stadardized tests for homeschoolers comes out of a misunderstanding about homeschooling. I am completing a Master’s degree currently an am a homeschool alumna, for context. We did not learn the formal curriculum. Standardized testing is to evaluate what the teachers are teaching, and rank schools; NOT to evaluate students’ performance. When you’re not learning standardized curriculum, but rather following your interests and what makes sense to learn that year (e.g. we spent a year learning Canadian history in-depth and then spent 2 months travelling across the country, seeing it live!), standardized testing is setting children up to fail…even though they’re learning rich and valuable information. Children don’t need to have CONTENT dictated to them – there is too much content in the world to learn it all. They need to learn how to learn. School can teach that; so can homeschool; but standardized testing leads almost invariably to “teaching to the test”. We can have accountability without standardized testing.

            One last comment: it’s unfair to say that just becuase we live in a privileged part of the world, we should be so grateful to the government for providing schooling that we do not seek to better the situation (however that looks for an individual family: homeschooling, volunteering in their children’s school, lobbying for school policy reforms, etc). yes, we have a responsibility to society. No, there is not a single method to achieve that. And no, homeschooling is not denying that free public schooling is a wonderful thing for society to have. I do not need nor do I partake in welfar; but I think we need to have the system! I did not need, nor did I partake in (except for part-time in highschool, out of interest) public schooling, but I think we need to have the system in place.

  • Maria Mitchell

    John Dewey was a Progressive moron who worshipped at the altar of the almighty collectivist State. Apparently, the author worships John Dewey and puts his words on the same level as the Bible, because he offered essentially zero Biblical evidence for his beliefs and all kinds of statist schlock like the invisible “social contract” touted by so many collectivist liberals today.

    I’m not one of those people that are saying it’s a sin to send your children to public school. As a Christian, I think you should do what God has called you to do and given you the ability to carry out. I have known people who sent there children to public school because they felt that that’s what God called them to do. Things turned out well for them. They lived in an upper middle class area with a “good” school system, the mother stayed home, and they were both very involved in the school. However, they didn’t do it because some guy promoting the civic relgion of collectivism and the “greater good” said it was the right thing to do.

    http://mises.org/daily/2225

  • Angela

    I can see the point that (I think) you are trying to make: that for your family, public school is the best way to allow your children to serve as missionaries to the world. It is a noble ambition, and a Biblical one. However, you are implying that families who choose to homeschool are NOT reaching out to the world. This is where you are mistaken. Many, many homeschool families are involved in “public” groups such as soccer, music groups, boy scouts, etc. that are made up primarily of non-Christians. Many are also reaching out to those in nursing homes, or helping at their church with ministries such as Bible Clubs or Awana, where the children come to learn about Christ. So the issue is not whether homeschool families are ABLE to reach out to the world. It’s whether they choose to. And this is the same for public- school children. It’s about whether they choose to reach out to their friends while they are there. My personal view is that (for my family), it is important to use those formative years primarily for educating my children in both academics and faith, so they will be fully prepared to go out into the world as young adults and make a difference for the Lord. Keeping them from some of the harmful influences of the world is NOT a mistake. It’s a privilege. And my children understand the importance of sharing the Gospel, as evidenced by their excitement every time they invite a non-Christian child to our Awana clubs.

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  • Stu

    This article reeks of liberal Christian (oxymoron) thinking. To quote the progressive John Dewey is absurd given his association with the Humanist Manifesto. Hmm…what or whom do I choose to believe – Dewey or the Bible? Doesn’t the Bible say that parents are responsible for training their children and that we are not to be like the world? But I guess some would rather put their trust in the infallible Dewey instead. I also speak from experience as all of my children were home schooled – my oldest child recently graduated summa cum laude from college and attending graduate school, my second child is majoring in engineering, and my third is still home schooled. BTW I am most proud that they have character, are considerate human beings and get along well with other people.

    • http://www.curtisvillechristianchurch.org James Snapp, Jr.

      Stu – Well, what do you expect? The man plainly said that he pursues the kingdom of God for the sake of society. Here I thought we were supposed to be pursuing the kingdom of God for the sake of God.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Exactly, there is no such thing as a liberal Christian!

  • Sheri

    I just have a simple question. Who are you to determine what is right for different children and different families? I know that many Christian families are homeschooling because they feel that is what the Lord wants for their particular family. Are you saying that they didn’t actually hear from the Lord? That this is what the Lord would want for all families? That’s a pretty dangerous position to take if you ask me. Arrogant as well.

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  • David L.

    Who is Tony Jones and why should I care what he thinks?

    • MB@Hope

      Because he has a very low view of Scripture, absolute truth, etc AND he (and his emergent, mystical friends) actively seeks to undermine the truth (Gen 3:1).

      • David L.

        Him and about 5 billion other people. So?

        Twenty or thirty years ago, this dude’s opinions *might* have gained a hearing at his local church, at most. Now, because of the Internet, his and everybody else’s opinions suddenly become my concern? I don’t care about his erroneous beliefs and neither should anyone else here. If you think he’s wrong, just ignore him. He has no power to make anyone do anything–or stop doing anything. Our business is between us and God alone.

        • MB@Hope

          I believe we have a responsibility to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3 ; Phil 1:27-28) and “expose” (Eph 5:11) and “refute” his attacks on truth and to warn others (Jas 5:19-20)

          • David L.

            Sure, but a) you could spend all your life sitting at the computer arguing with idiots on the Internet–and, as the saying goes, if you’re arguing on the Internet, you’ve already lost. We all have other (e.g., family) responsibilities to attend to, and we have to choose our battles. Redeem the time, don’t waste it. B) Don’t answer a fool according to his folly. The more attention people like this receive, the more inflated their egos get. They love the titillation of online controversy because it’s all they have. Seriously, I have never heard of this guy and will live the rest of my life very happily without ever reading his opinions. Don’t feed him. Furthermore, I’m not responsible to God for the gullible suckers who buy this kind of garbage with its trendy, hipster packaging. I’m responsible for myself and my family and maybe a few others besides.

          • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

            Amen!

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      You shouldn’t care about what Tony Jones thinks, because he is an anti-Christ. None of us should.

  • Pingback: What's Wrong with the "Homeschooling Isn't Missional" Argument | Joy in this Journey()

  • https://twitter.com/JoelBLK Joel

    Just saw your tweet saying that you were still waiting for an objective rebuttal to your homeschooling comments. I haven’t read all the comments but I will share my two-cents here. This were the first thoughts I had when I read about your comments from others on Facebook etc.

    Homeschooling and being missional are not necessarily antithetical.

    Here in Canada, many teachers and public school boards step over boundaries and begin acting like parents to my children. They believe it is their job to teach my children how to behave and instill in them a certain morality. They tell us how to discipline our children and what we are doing wrong. Some of these teachers do not even have children of their own. They force me to begin teaching my child about sexual intercourse before I feel they are ready; they decide which Disney movies are appropriate to show in the classroom; they teach my children what tolerance means; insist that my daughter get vaccinated for HPV; and, they don’t believe me when I tell them I know my child better than they do. And my only course of action is to join the Parents Association. This is not a bad option and any parent serious about being missional would do well to join this association.

    However, there are times when the best thing for my children is to remove them from school where the ratio is one teacher to 25 children and homeschool them with a 1:1 ratio. In Canada, there are many homeschool organizations you can join. Not all are “Christian”. In my city here, we have openly atheist homeschool organizations. (Now, there’s a missional opportunity if I ever heard of one!)

    It is entirely possible to homeschool your children and still live incarnationally in your neighbourhood. The issues is not homeschooling, but probably the reason why you choose to homeschool.

    I don’t homeschool and I was not homeschooled.

  • http://www.the-lifeartist.com Erika @ The Life Artist

    This is a really hurtful and unproductive article. I can feel my dander rising . . . deep breathes, deep breathes, deep breathes . . . Ok, I’m good. :) There are so many flaws with generalizations, one of them being: not one person on God’s green earth was made to fit a mold – rather, I believe we are all called to intuit through our relationships to the Holy Spirit how it is that God wants us to create our own family rhythms, based in who each family member uniquely IS and how those kingdom gifting s can be best communicated to a broken world.

    Secondly, attending public school does not make a person “missional” by default. Being missional is a posture of an individual’s heart, which I believe is most effectively nurtured by the parent – no matter what school experience is chosen in the home.

    Thirdly, here is a story of how my HOMESCHOOL children are changing the world around them: http://deeperstory.com/jesus-had-blue-eyes-or-plus-one/

  • Eric E

    Tony,

    I saw your call on twitter for non-homeschoolers to weigh in on this. For the record, I wasn’t homeschooled at all and I never plan on homeschooling my children. I will point out, also, that while you focus on homeschooling, the way your argument is worded, it applies equally to private or religious schools, too.

    The main issue I had with your argument is that there is no societal contract to participate in the public school system. There are a number of options besides standard public schooling – religious schools, for-profit schools, charter schools, homeschooling – that our society has said are acceptable paths for educating our children. To choose one of these other options does not mean a parent is withdrawing from society because these are legitimate options in our society. And in general, to have a strict no-opting-out rule as you seem to be suggesting here would be horrible for missional-minded Christians because sometimes the way to show Christ-like compassion for others and creation is to not participate.

    Withdrawing from society completely? I agree… one can’t be missional and do that. But withdrawing from parts of society for a time for good reasons is compatible with being missional. I think the best you can say about home schooling is that if parents are choosing homeschooling to avoid having to interact with non-Christians or with ideas that are different than their own or to shelter their children from drugs, sex, etc. or anything of that nature, then your argument kind of makes sense. To be missional is to not run from these sorts of things. But there are many other reasons people choose homeschooling which are totally compatible with being missional.

    • Cherie

      I really wish the phrase “withdrawing from society” was not part of the discourse when it comes to discussion of homeschooling. That is so misguided. With their father’s and my guidance and participation, my homeschooled kids are extremely immersed in society. Our home is a place of rest and rejuvenation.

      • Jason

        I agree with Cherie. There are LOTS of reasons to homeschool. I think there has been a traditional reason in the past for Christians to homeschool in order to shelter, but that is nowhere close to many of the other reasons to homeschool. We actually UNschool our children and it has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with understanding child development. There are plenty of opportunities to get our kids involved with other kids. Much of what is written about childhood attachment says that kids are attaching to peers too often and not enough to adults. We aren’t a Christian family. Christian family homeschooling that has taken place certainly has its faults for the reasoning of sheltering and protecting kids. This never works because at some point, those kids have to live in the world, and they need healthy adults to guide them through those transitions. Obviously there are tons of great Christian parents homeschooling their kids and not sheltering them, but the fear in actually being the salt of the earth keeps many kids and many families from being what you call missional.

        • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

          My young daughter was bullied in the dangerous environment of government schools for years, unbeknownst to me. When she felt secure enough to tell her mother, whose claws come quickly out in protection of her, she was at the point where she wanted to end her own life due to the daily onslaught from one particularly evil boy. She awakened each morning dreading having to go to school. The last straw for her was when she was bullied, in summer driving class, by an entire group of nasty boys who accused my precious daughter of the vilest offenses. Her heart was devastated, she cried all afternoon, evening and night about how she could never go back to that school, and she may as well end her miserable life. She was only 14! When I went the next morning to address the issue with the principals, they did nothing! Why, oh why would I ever send her back to such a desolate, godless place??? I didn’t! Fortunately, over time and with heaps of Christ-like love, my daughter healed from such ruination, and has become a missionary for the pro-life movement. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!

          • Baz

            Maybe you should have tried teaching her some resilience so that she didn’t want to kill herself over being teased? Hard to see how you’re not just teaching her to run away from anything that upsets her in life rather than letting her deal with it herself AFTER teaching her the tools to do so on her own terms. How much more confident would she be in life if she knew that she could handle what it threw at her rather than having to hide behind her mother’s apron and be taken out of school and away from all the mean people?

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  • http://nathancreitz.net Nathan Creitz

    Probably would’ve been good if this post hadn’t made the migration.

    1. Being public schooled doesn’t automatically make one a missional family.
    2. Being home schooled might free up more time for family mission trips, service projects, investment in other civic and community organizations, etc.
    3. You may be missional but your children might not be. Your role is to be missional and to teach your children to be missional where they are. Where you put your kids in school doesn’t teach them that. That’s your role not theirs. They’ll catch missional from you and then they will be missional in whatever setting they find themselves in.
    4. What your children are learning in school has nothing to do with making disciples. Instead, the patterns of this world are reinforced daily.
    5. Being taught to learn might happen even better in a home environment where you can spend extra time on a subject rather than learning to take a standardized test.
    6. This post is a prejudicial and grossly ignorant take on the value of homeschooling in our society.

    Due to the controversial nature of this post you’ve undoubtedly brought a lot of attention your way. Unfortunately, however, you’ve simply shown that your understanding of missional and of homeschooling are severely lacking. I don’t have time to read through the other comments but I’d be surprised to find many reasonable home schooled, public schooled, or private schooled children or parents agreeing with your assumptions.

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  • http://turquoisegates.com Genevieve Thul @ Turquoise Gates

    Tony, when I was reading your posts from Sri Lanka I was thinking we could be friends (I am “real” friends with Joy Bennett)! Now, I’m afraid you’d probably want to keep away from me. I am “breaking the societal contract” all over the place. My children have a metabolic disorder that precludes vaccinations and almost stole our youngest daughter from us due to vaccine-related encephalitis at age 3. I still have to argue and sign waivers and bring notes all over the place whenever I enroll her in anything. Because of her high-functioning special needs status post encephalitis and the fact that our school district has a special ed classroom population of 5 and no integrated classroom time, our children are homeschooled. We also live in a rural area where they would board the bus at 6:15 a.m. and return to us at 4:30 p.m. (unless we could afford the gas money to make the 20 mile trek back and forth every day). We use the time instead to visit the elderly, engage with their peers in various large homeschool group classes and activities (P.E., art classes, etc.), and do many other activities in the community that ensure we are a very active and vibrant participatory family not at all eschewing the social contract but instead finding alternative ways to fulfill it.

    Your arguments in this three articles are unfortunately leaky as a sieve. While you have made the choice that you feel convicted to make for your family, you have failed to prove that homeschooling in an anti- or unmissional manner in which to raise our children. I, for one, think your position is shaky at best. Just because, when asked about taxes, Jesus replied “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” does not mean that I should not engage in a perfectly legal “Caesar” approved alternative method of education. Nor does have you offered any real proof that such a choice is not missional.

  • michele

    Proverbs says “my son hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother” I never read anywhere to enroll them in public schools run by a secular government that does not even mention the existence of a God, and whose quality of teaching is marginal at best, lest you be a brilliant student by nature and then they teach themselves do they not?! If social skills are what you question, the child need only to step outside their respective doors to interact with their peers and family as well as the many extracuricular activities their imaginations can muster………

    • http://penstruck.blogspot.com Pennee Struckman

      Christians are the ‘light’ of the world. And while homeschooling may be an answer for a special needs child or a child who is ill, I beleive that many Christians homeschool to protect their children from the poor education and moral corruption that is permeating the school systems today. In John 17:15 Jesus prays “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
      The farther Christians withdraw, the easier it is for darkness to devour society. homeschooling is just one way Christians hid their light.
      I would encourage beleivers to be braver than this. Train children in the ways of the Lord, work within the public school systems as PTA members, room mothers, after school tutors, and any other function that can be found. Shine that light through help and good works.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Sending one’s children to ungodly government schools is akin to sending them among ravenous wolves!

        • Jessica

          My reason for hoping to homeschool my son when we get our finances together, he is special needs and needs extra help, is that I would like to grow as a parent and be able to give him what he needs. I feel like putting my child in school prevents me from really knowing him and becoming the parent I should be. It seems to weaken me as a parent. My husband agrees.
          Also, special needs programs seem pretty negative to me, based on my experience the last few years. They do not encourage my son to have wonderful self-esteem and he is always being tested, poked and prodded to see how he is doing. I really do not like that. They have hindered some things we were working on our son with as well: potty training and obedience. They cannot do what we can to teach him to respect authorities. When I was in school, I never received much training except to fit with the status quo and hopefully stand out as the best in some area, which I never did. There was always someone prettier, smarter, and more athletic than me.

        • Baz

          That sounds like you don’t have much faith in god to protect them.

    • Baz

      Never heard of ‘render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s’?

      Providing at least a minimum standard of education free from religious indoctrination is part of the business of government – failure to do so can be seen in the rise of religious homeschooling presaging the appearance of increasingly large segments of the population who combine having a vote with being extremely under educated in matters outside of whatever their church thought was best for them to be taught. Failing to learn what science is in the process of discovering means a country unable to respond to the challenges of the future or even understand them.

      In short democracy requires that we have an educated public in order to flourish rather than become a crazed theocracy. While some well educated people might be able to have a decent stab at home schooling, they are not the majority of those who do attempt it.

  • Taylor

    This article is a load of crap. Not worth my time or energy to point out all that’s wrong with it.

  • Fernando Villegas

    I certainly respect the thought Mr. Jones put into making this decision. But is there really only one way to be missional? Can’t others put equal thought into this issue, come to a different conclusion, and still play their God-given missional role in society? I don’t want to assume that he believes sending your kids to public school is the only way to be missional, but the article certainly gives off that vibe!

  • Leigh-Ann Brann

    This saddens me. I can’t believe someone in your position having negative words for homeschoolers. Especially with all the explicit anti-Christian curriculum circulating public education today. We will pray for God to remove the scales from your eyes.

  • David Terry

    You get at least two penalty flags for trying to use broad, vauge, missional positions to try and cover up the nakedness of your argument. We were all still mooned. Get some clothes on bro.

    You are talking about a Christian parent’s worldview on education. What about Gods Word? What sayeth the scriptures?…. not once, but twice we are given one of the giants of humanism, John Dewey, to bolster a Christian position? Ouch. But to then dump a second pile of sand to stand on by referencing another humanist, George Albert Coe, as a colaborating witness?!?… It was all i could do to keep my Pepsi from going up through my nose. And not a hint of irony.

    This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind Eph 4:17 In their day Dewey and Coe took silver and bronze in the “futility of their mind” event.

    “So it seems to me…” “but it seems to me….” Lean not on your own (or Deweys) understanding….

    “should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
    Isaiah 8:19-20

    As a streaker you get a 8….As a man of Gods word -2

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  • Jim

    If you’re quoting Dewey, you are absolutely correct…. You don’t possess the greymatter let alone the critical thinking skills yourself to be in charge of your children’s education! Thank the heavens there is at least public education for you and your ilk.

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  • Sis

    I went to public and parochial schools. At the parochial school students from multiple backgrounds attended (including Muslim and gasp atheist families) in the Detroit/Dearborn area. It was great because it allowed students to think and debate topics which are forbidden in public schools. Kids were far more integrated there than at the public schools … and this is coming from a kid from the wrong side of the tracks economically! At the public schools students self-segregated. This was very disappointing to the kid from a majority minority city. My neighborhood in Detroit where my family still lives was far more integrated than any place I’ve been in the US or abroad. We went to a not perfect parochial school but at least our classmates were t shooting at each other. My local public high school made national news for a lunch hour shooting way before Columbine. I believe that families are capable to determine what is best for their families, and their commitment to community service is not dependent on they choose public, private or homeschool education. Who knows whether your child’s involvement in the public school system will benefit society or not. Maybe a different environment would be better suited to their talents? If knew for certain that sending your kid to x type school would lead them to cure cancer or end war for all time, would you still choose public school at any cost? My point is you don’t know.

    BTW we live in a democratic republic not a democracy, right?

    • Kristen

      “BTW we live in a democratic republic not a democracy, right?”

      You caught that too? :D

  • http://ourseasonsofjoy.com Annette

    Wait– Knowing nothing of this blog and just clicking in, I assumed this was satire. Is it not? I have a hard time taking seriously anyone who quotes John Dewey and not Scripture when pontificating on what everyone must do in order to be a true Christian.

    • Kristen

      Gosh, I sure hope so! I thought it was at first when I read the title… who speaks out against the choice to homeschool anymore?

      • Joy_F

        Those of us who had the misfortune to be homeschooled.

        • Joe Smith

          Was it homeschool, or was it your parents? Because if it was your parents, I can tell you your childhood would have stank even if you were in public school.

          • Joy_F

            Thank you for prejudging my parents. They are good people, with good intentions who got caught up in the church’s knee-jerk reaction in the eighties against public schooling. Also, while in public school, life was actually pretty good.

            My parents hadn’t homeschooled themselves, and the church was very reactionary at that time. There were a lot of unintended consequences (only socializing with other church/Christian kids for example and only socializing with non-Christians when we were “ministering” to them) that caused major issues later on. It affected the way we viewed other people, reinforced tribalism, and created a worldview that was very legalistic even though that was not how my parents thought nor who they are. The social circles that one has to enter in order to homeschool are damaging even if you have good parents. The materials were likely a large culprit as well. My friends and I found ourselves very ill-prepared for real world scenarios.

            Homeschooling seemed okay in the midst of it, and even a few years into college. Now it seems to be a handicap. I am in my thirties now, saying this as I look back.

            • tosha5252

              You were not merely being homeschooled…you were in a cult…there is a difference.

              • Alex

                Lol. Well I’m glad I can home school. I would not have close to as good of an education through public school. I have been in public school, private, and home school; and as a senior I’m finishing my high school career home schooling. I have to say when went back to my old school to see some friends, they were the most immature people I have seen! The thing is I didn’t even notice when I was going to school with them everyday.

                • Baz

                  So it separated you from your peers and made you unable to deal with them while at the same time giving you a false sense of superiority?

                  Note sure this is a good argument for home schooling.

                  • mememe

                    It is a very good argument for homeschooling. Public schools breed monkeys and useful idiots. Not to mention venereal disease and drugs.

                • Larry N. Scartz

                  Your grammar, sentence structure, and word choices are not very good. My grandson has been home schooled through his freshman year and his writing looks the same as yours (meaning he write like he speaks). I have two grandchildren both girls that attend public schools. They are much more advanced in languages, math and science. I have three older grandchildren that were also homeschooled. All passed their GED’s, but none completed more than two years of college. I wish you much sucess in the future education. Public school was a part of my life that I still cherish very much. I went to my 50th high school reunion 5 years ago. I am sorry that this is something that you cannot do.

                  • mememe

                    Larry Scartz, you incorrectly placed a comma before “and” in your first sentence, but failed to do in your 2nd and 4th sentences. You failed to place a needed comma after the word “grandchildren”. You should have used the word “whom” for them (your grandchildren), instead of “that”. You did not double space after periods. Sad testament to Public schooling of 50 years ago, even sadder testament to what it is like now!
                    Well, it’s quite apparent that your Public School indoctrination taught you how to deliver a nasty guilt trip, and feel smug in your ignorance.

            • mememe

              You make homeschooling sound identical to Judaism.

    • dartmom

      I wish there was a like button for your comment, Annette.

  • Jen Crotty

    The author needs to read John Taylor Gatto to understand that schools do NOT want our children learning HOW to learn. So that argument is irrelevant. Don’t even get me started on the social aspects of public school.

    • Morton

      Oddly enough, our 3 children thrived in public school. All of them are now extremely well adjusted, happy, successful Christian adults. Go figure.

      • Jocelyn Pooler

        Children can thrive in public school. Children can thrive in the homeschool environment as well as a private school environment. The issue I take with this article is that the author makes the bold assertion that the only way to be living one’s Christian life the way Christ calls us, is to send our kids to public school. Much of a child’s success or failure comes from a parent’s involvement in whatever educational environment chosen.

        • jennifer

          I love your reply. Its all about parent’s involvement! Thank you. I’m tired of hearing “my kids are better then your kids because they’re homeschooled.” I have seen some messed up homeschooled kids and public schooled kids.

          • Jason A. Schnur

            Well, the sad truth is that my kids are better than your kids because they were homeschooled. ;)

  • Bob Cooper

    Yikes….I echo s many of the sentiments above. Where are any scripture references? Dewey? Are you serious? How is this possible, oh it must be in the name of “progressive” yeah a progressive slippery slope straight in to the hands of athesistic teachers who prey on young minds. This really cannot be reflective of a part of the body of Christ, really?!!? Oh and by the way, “Bad company [still] corrupts good character.”

  • http://amberdover.wordpress.com Amber Dover

    I have no desire to debate with you or anyone. I just wanted to put my voice out here because I am one of those homeschooling parents. My son and I had a lovely day today helping out at the nursing home which we do on most Mondays. We’ve also had the privilege of helping at a women’s shelter with our homeschool group. It’s crazy how we’ve met such a diversity of people just within our homeschool group (Muslims, Mormons, Atheists). Though I don’t believe my son is old enough to debate theology with anyone yet and if he was in public school I doubt he would talk about it at all. I went to public school and it wasn’t until Highschool that I got a clear missional attitude. I did reach out to kids but most of the good was done outside of school through volunteer work. Still my son does talk about Jesus sometimes when he meets someone on the playground or in the different activities he does like Karate & church activities (so many “church” kids need to know Jesus. It’ll surprise you.) My son is young and is not as active in the community (but way more than I was at his age) as he will be (Lord willing) when he gets older. But I know older homeschool kids who are very active in their community. When I was growing up some of the most social kids I knew were homeschooled. I knew them from community theater but they also came to public school their senior year. They were the most popular and the most well mannered. Knowing them and other homeschoolers influenced me to want to homeschool. I don’t want to keep my son from the public. In fact we are around the public every day. A big reason I homeschool is because I don’t want my son to be taught evolution or a secular world view. He is not old enough to discern on his own. I was very influenced as a kid though I went to church. I have many other reasons. Every parent must decide for themselves. I’m not going to judge those who do go to public school. To each his own. This is the way God has for my family and it works. We spend a lot of time with the public & my son spends time with many age groups. It’s been a beautiful thing. Each child is different and I believe parents should pray and ask God what he wants them to do. If you feel it’s public school then great but please don’t push it on others. God clearly told me before I had my son and before I was even married (I was in Highschool) that I was to homeschool. God bless & may all of you parents follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your own life. :)

    PS: the notion that all kids at “Christian” schools or even in Christian homeschool groups are actually Christian isn’t true at all. There are so many unbelievers in these places. Many claim Christianity but don’t actually know Jesus and their life shows no fruit. Unbelievers are everywhere not just in the public school. If you get out in the public at all (& all the homeschoolers I know do very often) you will run into an unbeliever. The difference in these schools and groups is the curriculum. Just a thought ;)

  • Bob

    Tony isn’t worth wasting more than a sentence on.

  • David Terry

    “Now the Lord sent you on a mission…” I Sam 15:18

    Dietrich Bonhoeffe…” So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from the Hitler Youth is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society”

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn… I don’t as a Christian have the option to “opt out” of the societal contract. Instead I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional member of society that I can be. Therefore I am not a dissident or activist trying to raise global awareness of the gulags….

    King Saul….”But Samuel If I am truly committed to living a missional life, then I must spare the best of the sheep and the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have utterly destroyed. In fact you might say I live according to the Kingdom of God for the sake of Society.”

    Samuel…”18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission….. Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?…. “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,As in obeying the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,And to heed than the fat of rams.
    1 Sam 15:18-22

    Ok, Only the Samuel quote is accurate, though shortened. To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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  • minecraft_mamma

    So let me get this straight.

    So YOU can be missional, you should send your kids to public school?

    My parents made the same mistake with my sister and I, way back when.

    They chanted the same mantra, that Christians should support public education, and plant children within the ‘system’ that are light and salt.

    Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? I get the logic behind it, I really do. I even applaud families that do it, and do it well.

    But what if those children haven’t chosen Jesus? What if they aren’t light and salt? What happens to your master plan then?

    It seems to me that the logic of placing your children into public schools, so YOU can be missional, has some kind of misplaced purpose.

    Surely as a parent your job, is to seek the heart of God for YOUR children first, be missional to YOUR children first.

    And then above and beyond that, seek opportunities with every circles you find yourself in, to fulfil that missional calling, yourself, not through your children.

    As a home educator I find myself rarely in the company of other Christians. In fact, I find myself often times surrounded by (if you like labels) gays, lesbians, pagans, muslims, hindu’s, new agers, nature lovers, reiki masters. Not only do I find myself surrounded by, but forced to interact with, because our children do things together, within a community. Why? Because ‘I’ choose to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds and NOT shelter myself away.

    Mission is as mission does, and my responsibility to be missional has nothing to do with my children, and where they go to school (or don’t) but how seriously I take that mandate.

    Just a thought.

  • Tim

    Yawn…you people who think that you have the corner on missional just love stereotypes. FYI…coddling stereotypes doesn’t make you “relevant.” And also missional isn’t as neat and clean as you make it. It is different in every context. You have such a small view of the world and of mission. Your broad-brushing prejudice doesn’t help people be more missional but rather it boxes missional in and causes most people to think so small. Help believers be missional, don’t attack people because they don’t do it like you do. Oh, and using the word missional does mean that you are.

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  • Karissa Vieth

    While I believe this article is good-hearted and I admire the reasons underneath it, there are a couple supposition behind the reasoning that I would like to push back against.
    First; this article assumes that homeschooling will withdraw children from society. I disagree. I believe that the school is a false society; children learn to interact in a “made-up” environment that is far removed from the “real world” of adults. A homeschooled child (depending on what choices the parents makes, of course) has the opportunity to interact with REAL society, which consists of people of all ages and levels of ability, not just same age kids from the same neighborhood.
    Second; it is assuming that children have the same missional ability as adults. I think this is unfair. We don’t expect children to work like an adult; why should we expect them to carry the same social responsibilities? I think children should be exposed to service to others through the protective filter of parents or other trusted adults. They can then learn by watching and helping their parents serve while not being exposed to the risks of, say, bullying, when their own self-concept is too unformed to know how to respond.
    Just a humble response. From a 27 year old product of homeschooling who now works in full-time ministry serving the needy in her city’s ethnically and religiously diverse population.

  • http://www.corneliaseigneur.com Cornelia Becker Seigneur

    Great title!! Very interesting blog- great post and thoughts- We too have our kids in public school and felt called to do so- but got some pushback from a few of our homeschool friends- I do not like to be judged for feeling called to put our kids in public school…God is the one who has to lead.

  • Samuel Didman

    “If I am truly committed to living a missional life, then I must enroll my kids in the public school.”

    You sound like the father who forces his kid to play football so the father can live out his own unfulfilled desires through the kid. You are going to put your child in a possibly less than optimal environment because you are committed to being “missional”? Sounds abusive to me.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      It sounds abusive because it IS abusive!

      • Baz

        Yeah – saying your kids should go out into the world rather than educating them entirely themselves in house like creepy, hyper religious, shut ins is definitely abusive!

  • B

    What a strange post. I’ve heard a lot of arguments for and against homeschooling but this is REALLY out there. Kids connect to society outside of school, too. School isn’t the only way to connect with society. In fact, when kids are in school, they should be focused on learning, not socializing. I think the social factor is one of the worst aspects of public school, to be honest. Too many kids get sucked so far into socializing that they don’t focus on school as much as they should, and THAT should be their primary focus *when at school*. It’s like when you go to work. Who gets the raises, the promotions, and the overtime? Is it the person who stands by the water cooler all day, socializing when they should be working? Or is the person who works HARD and saves socialization for appropriate times? Is it the person who has learned to be kind to everyone, or is it the one who has learned to be popular even if it means tearing some other people down along the way? When done right, both public schooling and homeschooling can raise well-adjusted, well-educated, hard-working, productive, kind members of society. GOD isn’t the one commanding you not to homeschool. That’s bizarre. Jesus was homeschooled.

    You think you are doing better for your kidst hen God did for his own son? You think God is telling you NOT to do for your kids what Jesus’ earth-bound parents did for him? You don’t have to homeschool, but there really is no point bringing God into this. God isn’t anti-homeschooling.

  • Kristine77

    Wow! This is such an ignorant article.

    You cannot thrust your children into the world for over 40 hours a week and expect to remain their primary influence. Some interesting statistics were shared at a recent homeschooling convention: 90% of students receiving their educations in secular public schools LOSE their Christian values, whereas 95% of homeschooled children RETAIN them. Statistics like this speak for themselves. The world is a threshing machine.

    At home, my kids are receiving a Christ-centered education based upon the classical philosophy. They are getting exposed to great literature and participate in more social interaction than their schooled peers thanks to community based initiatives in well-supervised, God honouring environments. They are obtaining a SOLID basis in their faith that will in turn permit them to truly be salt and light in the world. We do not insulate them. But we do provide them with *guided* exposure to the world, in incremetal stages.

    The reasons you claim to deplore homeschooling are trite and ill-thought out. Do you think that thrusting your kids into the world, armed only with a few devotions and Sunday school every week, will equip them sufficiently to maintain a strong walk with the Lord? If the government insisted that a mark be placed on your children the purpose of easy, foolproof identification- “for the greater good of society”, would you automatically follow suit?

    Perhaps your objections are rooted in guilt. Maybe you chose *not* to homeschool your children (it is an intensive journey that requires a great deal of parental participation)- and part of you knows that doing so would have been a better choice. Let’s face it: it is very easy to rationalize and justify poor decisions.

    Whatever the case may be, you should not be condemning and discouraging those who choose to train up their children to walk closely with the Lord, for it is *those* children who will truly be salt and light in our society, for they will be like trees firmly rooted, drawing up the love and light of Scripture on a regular basis, as opposed to the polluted streams offered up in the halls of public school.

    I think public education is a boon to society. But I think the majority of children are too easily influenced for public school to be a positive environment for them. During their formative years, children require the influence, support and guidance of their parents, and those who truly care for them spiritually, as opposed to the approval of their secular peers. Their brains are wired to be adaptable and to soak up influences… Why allow the world a greater foothold than it already has, before they are truly equipped to deal with it?

    I would not be willing to offer up my children to Moloch just because an unbelieving system determines “it’s better for society at large”. Why, then, should I thrust them into the threshing machine of public education at a tender age, just because a secular pedagogy insists it is for “their benefit”? Thanks, but no thanks. I know better, and you should too.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Tony inevitably has convoluted thinking because he is not afforded Jesus’ guiding wisdom and right thinking, due to his mental Willness, rejecting Jesus, and living in narcissistic moral rebellion and pride.

    • Baz

      To summarize: You want to home school them so they will believe exactly what you do and that you can remain the primary influence on them.

      AND

      You’re not teaching them anything new about the world since we know SO much more than when classical philosophy and scripture was written.

      If there is indeed a god, why don’t you trust him to know what is right rather than trying to go against his purpose? Surely if we have discovered all these things it’s because he allowed it, surely if public education is the norm it’s because he has allowed it. Surely if you’re a christian, he’ll protect your children in any case from “Moloch” and other demons. (also wizards, unicorns, pixies but NOT leprechauns – they’re on their own there)

  • Tim

    I’m sure you don’t really believe what you wrote. I’m guessing you’re just fishing for responses, but just in case this presumption is wrong…I think it irresponsible to expect my child to be missional when they haven’t even been baptized yet, or at the most, a very new, young believer. And to think that I, as a parent, can be missional at public school only if my children attend, is absurd.

    If you want to be a missionary in China or Turkey, you go about it a certain way. Same way with the public school system. You take an approach that works. But to place your kids in a humanistic-teaching school for 18 years, and expect them (your kids) to be the primary influencers and come out unscathed, is fanciful at best.

    I think it is very obvious that having Christian kids attending public school for missional purposes hasn’t really helped the schools in the last 50 years.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two. Who is sent in with a vulnerable child when he enters the unsafe government school environment?

  • mpowrd1

    I loved the title of this post. Pokes the proverbial hornets nest :)
    I don’t think Tony meant that our right to school our children as we choose should be taken away (and if he did, I’ll have words for him on that). That said, I think the logic is a little simplistic. Maybe in his situation, it really is that simple. Great. Not the same here. My parents started homeschooling me in 1986 at a time when it was common for neighbors to call the school district and report you to the truancy officer (we had several visits). They continued to homeschool until my 10th grade year when my brother decided he wanted to play high school football and my mom decided it was the perfect way to escape having to deal with him all day everyday and signed him up for classes at the local high school. This happened the year after the intervention my mom held for me when I announced that I wanted to go to college and wanted ONE school on my transcript and wanted to take higher math and science that I didn’t think I would get taught properly in our home school. (I was 12 when I asserted my future plans; yes, and I graduated high school at age 16).
    I ended up having 5 high schools listed on my transcripts and when I showed up to my newly-appointed advisors’ office, freshman year of college, the dry, organic chemist that he was stared me down from over his bifocals and told me I “didn’t have the educational background that pre-med classes took” and “should consider changing your (my) major to English or Communications or just general Liberal Arts.” I hold a doctorate degree in a health care field. I overcame the difficulties of a less than par education from homeschooling (had to take College Algebra FOUR times ).

    Did I forget to mention that a major component of my homeschooling experience was ISOLATION and ABUSE?

    Well it was.

    The majority of homeschooling families are not like that, in my adult experience, but ours was. And the trauma and abuse I experienced is topic for another blog… one I’ll start when I’m healthy enough to handle the critique and criticism that comes with sharing one’s heart.

    Now that said, I **have** schooled my child/ren at home; my eldest son when he was in 1st grade (he didn’t get the lottery for the charter school and the local public school has 8 year olds bringing weapons to school and kids who think lighting a classmate’s pants on fire is the way to deal with differences); and now my middle son who is in 1st grade (he was insistent on being homeschooled after kindergarted at a Christian school and I was competent enough to listen to the deeper need). We have homeschooled, cyber schooled, charter schooled, and Christian schooled. God has led our family to make the decisions we have and I trust Him to continue to guide us each coming year.

    It’s like a pastor said to me (who, coincidentally, in the beginning of his ministry pastored a congregation of whom the majority of members were staunch homeschoolers then went on to send his progeny to public school for the same reasons as Tony but then, when it *got so bad* he pulled some of them out and started cyber schooling at home) when I was feeling the effects of the spiritual abuse inflicted mostly during my homeschooling years:

    There are absolute Truths, Spirit-led convictions, and personal preferences. Absolute truths are indisputably supported throughout Scripture. Spirit-led convictions are basically the stuff a Christian feels led to do or not do in order to keep Jesus on the throne of his/her life and grow into spiritual maturity. Personal preferences are self-explanatory. It’s when someone puts THEIR Spirit-led convictions or personal preferences into the ABSOLUTE TRUTH camp that problems start.

    I didn’t think Tony was doing either. He was stating his views and I appreciate them, even though my experience and the Spirit of God has led me otherwise.

    This being the first year we have been involved on the “public” scene through a public charter school, I feel the need to talk about God more and involve my kids in discussions about Scripture more and PRAY FOR THEM MORE that I didn’t when I homeschooled and sent them to Christian school. To me, that was a huge flag. Homeschooling and sending them to Christian school was a comfort zone and I recognize it (for me) as places I was comfortable with not putting God first. Now that I know I send my third grader (and next year my kindergarten-er, second and fourth graders) out into the world where HE IS THE LIGHT… I take it much more seriously in terms of prayer and preparing him with God’s Word.

    Just my piles of two cents.

    • http://piejesu.org/ Emmie

      mpowrd1,
      I love your spirit and the very thoughtful response. I wanted to respond to this rather than the article, because I am so impressed with the way you respectfully told your story. Very different than most. You are setting a great example in your humility.

  • June Anguiano

    I would really love to get the bible references that support your claims.

  • Aric

    I was homeschooled from grade 2 to grade 12, by born-again Christian parents who went through a fundamentalist phase in the 1980s (for example, they threw away all my “Masters of the Universe” action figures and voted for Ronald Reagan within the same calendar year).

    As an adult, I am not a Christian myself, but I am willing to lay aside my differences in spiritual or religious beliefs to say that you have made a sound argument against homeschooling. Even though I do not share your beliefs in Christianity and the associated proselytizing, your main point—that homeschooling removes children from society to detrimental effect —is inarguable. For whatever reasons the parents may have, homeschooling breaks a social contract and promotes antisocial behavior, akin to parents who refuse vaccines for their children (which is then, by extension, a form of abuse).

    So, thank you, sir, for making an argument so sound, that even a person with a differing worldview can see the truth in it.

    • Elena

      “that homeschooling removes children from society to detrimental effect —is inarguable”

      Inarguable, really? Where exactly are those children removed? Does someone lock them up in a cellar and never shows them to a society? If anything, regular schooling removes children from a society! My little girl will not even be full 5 years old when she will be required by the law of our state to attend school from 7:40 to 3:30 5 times a week! She will be required to follow their artificial schedule, learn what someone else decided she needs to learn, and interact with the same group of 15-20 children and 2-5 adults for years and years and years. Talk about removing children from society and locking them up! Very arguable indeed!

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Well said!

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      You and Tony share the same worldview.

  • Elena

    It is very strange to hear such words from a person who claims to be a follower of Christ! And what a sad testimony to the modern understanding of parenthood and God’s role in our lives.
    God is most certainly bigger than one size fits all! Some parents are clearly called to homeschool their children. Other parents, no doubt, are called (or forced, whatever the case might be) to send their children to a public or a private school. God is calling them to follow different directions. How hard is that to comprehend?
    I grew up in the Soviet Union and I know that is what a socialist society must do to survive: force every parent to relinquish his right to choose the education path for his child. God, on the contrary, wants us to be different and unique, just to show how awesome and diverse His creation truly is. The claim that ALL Christian children must attend public schools or be vaccinated for the good of some society is absolutely anti Christian and reprehensible. God gave me two most wonderful, talented children. If God calls me to homeschool them, I most certainly will, since I am the one responsible for deciding what to teach them and when, not some clueless, godless bureaucrat removed from me in space, time and moral values.

  • susan .t

    Well if YOU want to be missionary in this world, YOU should go out and do it yourself, not you child , who is still in their formative years. How can they give, that which they haven’t received ?

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  • Jane

    Um, so I haven’t read such an overtly rebellious and ignorant statement in quite awhile! I see Tony hasn’t had the nads to comment on any of these comments either! Where is the heart of this man (and his wife) to raise his children up in the Lord, discipling them in truth and wisdom? ONLY found by “educating” them and immersing them in the Word, surrounding them with wise, Godly people, protecting them from the agenda/lies/brainwashing of the world and OUR ENEMY, and thanking God for the freedom in this country recognizing PARENTS as the best teachers of their children. Oh, and I’m wondering what you’re doing quoting John Dewey, atheist and known to attack God, His Word, and His people. Grow up Tony, and don’t let your children be trained in the enemy’s camp. What do you think that will produce? NOT rocket science.

  • Mike

    You are ignorant.

    • Becca

      No….you are ignorant for saying that. I was home schooled through middle school and at that point my mother felt that she didn’t know all the things that she felt it was in my best interest to learn. While she was apprehensive about sending me to a public school, she realized that she had hit her apex of what she could teach me at home. I took all of the tests required of me and had a 4.0 gpa for my entire time in public school. I give my mother credit for teaching me( not everything I needed to know but) how to be a good STUDENT!!!! Religion was in no way tied into the reasons I was kept at home and I am ashamed and appalled that everyone assumes that this is the only reason people home school their children. FYI…..I dropped out of college to get married and ten years after high-school I decided to go into nursing. I had to test into college, as everyone does, and even at this late date in my life I tested out of English and Reading requirements and don’t have to take them. I believe that is because my mother was an amazing women who put time into me and my education and didn’t pawn me off of the local school teacher who doesn’t get paid NEARLY enough to do what they do on a day to day basis.

      • Jason A. Schnur

        So…is Mike ignorant because he disagrees with the author, or because you don’t know he’s disagreeing? And what is your point? It seems you are defending public school by saying that you only succeeded because of the efforts of your homeschooling mom? A little confused.

  • Lori

    Perhaps an argument against home schooling is not about the missional aspect as much as it’s about community and control.

    Although homeschoolers have a lot of community among themselves, it is still a ghetto that fails to influence wider society for good. (To be fair, a lot of Christian schools produce this same problem.)

    Further, as an educator with a decade of classroom experience in (private) middle and high school, I’ve taught a lot of formerly-homeschooled kids. Many of those parents chose to homeschool so they could maintain high levels of control over their kids and their education. A lot is driven by fear–mostly unfounded. And now none of those parents have any vested interest in making the public system any better. The life boat is big enough for only one family….isn’t that the point if homeschooling?

    In many ways, I think the explosion of homeschooling among evangelicals has led that segment of Christianity into the social and political paranoia that drove Republicans to failure in this fall’s election. It’s all the same impulse toward fear, isolationism, and hyper-control.

    • Shelly

      I don’t even know where to begin with this article or statements such as yours.

      I am in a homeschooling group with over 200 families as members. Members of our group are very active in scouting, 4-H and other activities and volunteer on a regular basis. Last summer, my teenage son volunteered as a reading mentor for underprivileged kids. We have served at food banks, soup kitchens and the Salvation Army.

      Jesus didn’t begin his ministry until he was 30 and my children, one of which is special needs, certainly were not ready to begin a ministry at age 5. You don’t put a tender plant in the ground until it has been nurtured inside. You wait until it is primed for planting. And I have far greater opportunity to minister to the kids in my neighborhood or the homeschooling families that aren’t Christian (Yes, there are many. You would be surprised.) than I ever would at a PTA meeting because we have time to actually get to know them and spend time with them.

      There is no one-size-fits-all box for educating children. The Montessori classroom most closely resembles homeschooling in that learning is hands-on and interest driven based on the individual child. Have you looked at the test scores and consistently downward graphs of what children are actually learning and retaining at public school? My kids can learn (and retain) more than public school kids and do it in half of the time. Leaving the rest of the time to volunteer, take music lessons, go on field trips or most important of all–just have free play and be kids.

      Talk about hyper-control. All public school curriculum is mandated and tests are standardized. Homeschoolers can CHOOSE from a large variety of curricula–secular, Christian (or other religion) or a combination of both. They can dual-enroll at colleges. There are no limits and no cookie-cutter production results.

      No life boats are not the point of homeschooling. It is to let children soar without being bullied because of differences. It is to give them high self-esteem and a love for learning. It is to let them explore their strengths and give them extra one-one-one attention to overcome their weaknesses. It is to help them discover who they were meant to be.

      Have you read Fahrenheit 451? Clarisse McClellan was homeschooled. Government schools were producing robots and she wanted to see and feel nature and other people. She was considered anti-social. Yet she was more social than anyone else in the book. Do you see the irony?

    • http://piejesu.org/ Emmie

      I have taught in private and public schools for more than 20 years and have an MA in education. I do not currently home school, but am considering it for my youngest. There is a large homeschooling community in the rural-ish area that we live in and many of the families in that group are non-believers. Very few are homeschooling for religious reasons. Interacting with these folks who are extremely involved in shaping our community in lots of meaningful ways has shifted my thinking and shattered some stereotypes. I am not sure why we feel it is necessary to cling to our unhelpful ideas of whole groups of folks…fear, I guess?

  • Adri

    I know the only “must” is to be obedient to God. Love others as you love yourself a.k.a. respect other’s decisions as you would want them to respect yours. To homeschool is a very big and difficult decision. I want to homeschool, but we aren’t going to because my husband decided it’s best for our children to go to school. My only “must” to submit to my husband and his love. For this reason I trust that the Lord will guide my husband when it comes to these big decisions.

    If I can ask one thing from everyone – homeschoolers and non – respect eachothers decisions, because when it comes to our kids I’m sure we all try our very best. We judge ourselves so harshly, why judge eachother.

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  • freedomtochoose

    I cannot believe you actually took the time to create such article filled with judgement and hate and expect others to be followers of that! You will not rise. Sit down and humble yourself and if not I’m sure God will humble you in many ways if not by now. What was your purpose? Do you actually think you have the power to ban a practice that many parents do out of need, desire and love for their child? Who do you thnk you are? God? I plan to homeschool my child wholeheartedly where she will recieve not only the required education needed but will wake with each day praising God and thanking Him instead of being bullied or sitting in a cold desk looking at how others are dressed or seeing her friend show her a sexting message she got from a boy. Bullying is REAL. It happened to me and many friends I know. The sad fact is that society is filled with kids that are brought up by unGodly parents or who have not time to show their kids the path toward God. Do you think I want to feel obligated to throw my child in the mix of that? If she isnt homeschooled she will go to a private Christian school but more than likely she will experience the same. My last word to you. Thank goodness I’ve only seen your name once on the internet. Homefully you can offer an apology to all the people out there you offended.

  • http://www.jankern.com Jan Kern

    My husband and I homeschooled our children from Kindergarten all the way through high school. It was a prayer matter for us and a choice–year by year. We didn’t believe putting them in other educational settings would be wrong, but we chose this route.

    Our children were very active socially and in the community–in all kinds of situations and settings with different people and belief systems. One summer, when they were in the middle-elementary years, we took a six-week trip around the United States. I remember visiting relatives who had been skeptical of our choice to homeschool. They admitted that they expected backward children who wouldn’t know how to communicate with others. Instead they found these home schooled children were individuals who easily and intelligently communicated with other children and with adults.

    Our children went on to college and excelled in their classes and majors, receiving top honors, but even more importantly they are now contributing adults with their own families in communities where they are strong, steady, and missional in the places where God has placed them.

    We allowed room for them to wrestle with their faith and spirituality, to ask hard questions. Just like any parent, we taught our values, but we didn’t push, control, or “brainwash.” We listened and let them think, respecting and allowing room for different ideas and opinions. We didn’t do it perfectly–not at all–but we feel blessed to see where they are today.

    Home school is a choice. Certainly not the only choice, but it’s not a bad choice. Not at all.

  • lynn

    How sad you feel this way:( I’ve worked in public schools and that is why I chose HS. Kids are sexually developing at a faster rate, and I believe it’s because our children learn about sex at school before they get out of 1st grade. The days of children acting their age is gone. And how sad for them. I will put my son is high school (private) but the school systems around our area has low rest scores, already 1 school shooting, and infested with trashy kids. And no I don’t through my kids out on mission field…they are kids…God can defend himself a young child is the parent’s responsibility. There’s a reason why teachers are homeschooling in a faster rate

    • Baz

      So much worse than when we teach them nothing about even how their own bodies work!

      Of course it may be the reason why those raised in religious environments that don’t teach them these things end up having more teen pregnancies but hey – why worry?

      Or the fact that it allows predatory adults a much better chance of being able to get away with molesting children since they haven’t been taught the language and concepts that would allow them to raise a fuss and make sure the perpetrator is caught?

      Oh – and if you think your son hasn’t cottoned on to at least a vague idea of sex regardless of how you school him then you’re in fact crazy. It’s making sure it’s taught properly rather than learned from other children that is the issue.

  • lynn

    I will add this last thought>>>> the child I didn’t homeschool, my oldest daughter, has more social problems compared to the one I did homeschool.
    And this salt in light quote doesn’t mean throw your kids in compromising influences. One of my pastors quotes “salt &light” when referring to homeschool, his kids are in their 20s and don’t follow God anymore. I’ve seen HS kids turn out bad as well, but it’s fare and few, maybe 2 out 8. Let’s not forget…
    Tim Tebow was homeschooled:)

  • DC

    Too bad you don’t quote a single verse in your article. My guess is because there is no such idea as a “Christian-societal contract” in Scripture. Instead, you quote Dewey, an outspoken Atheist who signed the Humanist Manifesto, which claimed man was the only hope for mankind. Your argumentation is extremely poorly formed.

  • Mark

    I can only say that the writer of this article is feeling guilty about not homeschooling his children, but since he claims to be Christian, he is contorting himself to try and appear as if he fits the term by which he calls himself. He tries desperately to find “missional” reasons to put his kids in the public school system to not only absolve his guilt, but make himself look like a really devoted Christian, too! The writer ought to be ashamed-he’s looking for ways to cast off the difficult responsibility of “raising his child in the way he sould go” so he can enjoy the status of being a so-called “missional Christian”. Put your own self in harm’s way, put yourself in line for persecution, torment and bullying if you think you’re so “missional”; don’t throw your kids out there to do it for you! You’re excuses are appalling.

  • Theo

    No way this guy is a true follower of Christ; he’s a poser who is only fooling himself. Unless he changes, his poor kids are in for a hell of a life. What kind of parent uses his kids to do his “mission” work?

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Bingo!

  • cheweka

    Wow this is DUMB

  • Mary Robin

    It is interesting to hear you quote Dewey so much. He is the founder of modern education, but also was an atheist and based many of his precepts upon Prussian ideals of creating a “working class” that would serve the nation in indefinite servitude through factory work and other repetitive task based occupations. He felt the masses needed to be corralled less they contribute to society too much as independent minds, rather should be institutionalized into group think, lacking independent reasoning that might disturb a class working culture. And it has worked, we are a god-less class based nation of workers coming out of our high schools (and not even colleges). The ruling class continues to depend on older models of learning for their children offered in the most elite private schools where independent thinking, and not the Dewey progressive model, of education is enjoined. Also, we are not responsible to make our 5 year olds little missionaries on the battle field of life, rather, we as a family unit, the parents as the present the children as the future-imitating the parents leadership and modeling, called into the world as missionaries. Children are often thrown into public school so the parents feel they are being missional, when in fact, the parents are giving away the fruit of their ministry, that is their children, to be raised and one day model, secular educators and peer oriented culture of fickle fads.

  • Tnic

    Sorry, that’s a load of crock. Like really, “death to homeschooling”?? Death to people’s freedom of choice. Sheesh some people are boneheads.

  • Judy Lissette

    Hi, I understand what you are saying, however, the most beautiful human being and most incredible family I have had the honor to have known was homeschooled.

    I have a 12 year old daughter and she is not homeschooled. I see what children go thru. Christian schools also have corruption running thru them. If I could go back in time, if I had the right resources as well, I would homeschool my daughter.

    I cannot even begin to explain what a difference I see in homeschooled and school going kids. We need more homeschooling.

  • A heart at home

    I don’t know if you’ve heard, but you aren’t allowed to say GOD in schools (charter public) – but that’s okay because you aren’t allowed to say WAR either. Pulling my children out wasn’t a ‘Christian’ decision – so boo for you thinking that all homeschoolers are on a mission! Also, ridiculous for you to think that such an influence can take place in a school environment during those young years. Where they are needed most are in the colleges that are so completely atheistic! And I DO mean THAT’S a huge, awful problem and I am seeing it, up close and personal!

    As far as our decision to homeschool? The burn out caused in my oldest son by the riggers of school all day, homework all night – and total exhaustion – isn’t even discussed (my boy graduated 3 years ago and will never walk into a school again. He is learning in the real environment that he wasn’t prepared for – called life, but has no idea who he is or what he wants. I will not let this happen to my remaining 4 children!) Come on! The argument above is sincerely without merit. Until the school system isn’t about conforming children to be zombies in the corporate world and seek to sit at a desk in a cubicle for EVER … and until it is designed not to be insulting, but geared toward forming our children with respect to what their interests are – and until it is able to conceed that a person’s age doesn’t not necessarily represent what grade they should be in – then you don’t have anything but a prison sentence for children. I should know, I’m one of its victims! I humbly suggest that homeschooling is about letting children discover who they are, how to play, how to read write and do math, all the while building a foundation for a life of learning rather than an ‘end game’ to learning … life is too short to have to figure out who you are years after you’ve graduated from the hampster wheel of life that ends usually at age 18 unless you are lucky enough to have the desire to go to college. And that starts at home. Pretty much like life! My kids are going to have a childhood because life will enter, full force, soon enough – and when it does, they will be ready for it.

  • anicklas

    My only problem with people thinking that children learn “better” in public schools is the fact that our children are taught to a state or federally mandated test. Those tests are not there to help our children at all! They are there to see if that school will get more funding. I worked in the public school system before I started homeschooling my children. Some of the things that I saw there made me go home at night and cry! God is TOTALLY taken out of school and our children know nothing of Him unless they are taught about him at home. Also the teachers are helpless when it comes to protecting our children. My son was bullied all through elementary school to the point that he hated going to school and withdrew from all of his “friends” and activities. My daughter was bullied so brutally that at one point she was body slammed in the lunch room by a high school girl! She was in the 4th grade! Nothing happened to this girl or any of the others that bullied my daughter! She is now considered a special needs child because of the mental and emotional trauma that public school put her through! I am not saying all public schools are bad but to generalize all homeschoolers and call us bad is just uneducated drivel! I never read this and never will again. I choose to read more educated articles. Good day and God bless you all!

  • Vickie Baker

    First I was a public school teacher for 18 years, 8 of them at kindergarten and hold a Masters in Early Childhood. I paid taxes in my life, more money than most will see in their regular income. When my child as 18 months after her shots, she stopped talking and interacting with me and other people. For 2 years after I worked with other people’s children and my child suffered for that. I quit my job to stay at home with her to have hope that one day she could be a taxpayer also. I will never see her first day of school even though I watched other parents for 18 years to have theirs. I have seen schools from the inside. Special needs children will have a different education than others. I am not blaming schools or teachers. I always dreamed of helping my child with homework or attending school plays and concerts and even having her walk to my classroom after school to wait for me for a ride home. What happened to her American Dream? We collect no disabilities and support ourselves. We have not shut out society, it shut us out. Give thanks that your child has that first day, get on your knees everyday that your life is different. Hope that your child will one day be proud of you and your actions and remember others are hurting in their world. They don’t need any more burden. Are your knees on the floor yet? Remember your child is watching and will learn from your actions.

  • J

    I see two unstated assumptions in your post which I believe are mistaken, and third in your citation.

    You correctly land on the idea the critical core of the modern educational need is the skill of ‘learning to learn’. But your subsequent transition implicitly assumes that public school teaches that skill. Judging by both statistical and anecdotal evidence, this is not the case. Further, modern schools programs and curricula are structurally (if not topically) identical to the education in the ‘industrial’ age. In other words, irrespective of ‘what’ the school is teaching, the ‘how’ of their teaching is still ‘blacksmithing’ and not ‘learning to learn’. Judging by results, homeschooling appears to be much more effective at ‘teaching how to learn’ than public school.

    Secondly, you seem to assume that because you are a committed Christian that your children are sufficiently equipped emotionally, theologically, and with the necessary maturity to be an extension of –>your<– missional call in their school. That may be accurate for your children (congratulations!). Given the rates at which children educated in the public school systems fall away from their parent's faith, and the rate at which Christian children are *not* converting their peers, I think your assumption is fatally flawed when laid out as a general recommendation for Christian parents.

    Lastly, the quote about value of education is dead on. Your treatment and placement of it in your blog carries with it the idea that those benefits can only be reaped from an 'organized' schooling context. This is, again empirically, dead wrong. The humor of this particular mistake is that many of the classics that are read in order to become educated were written by men who were 'homeschooled' before that was even a term of art.

  • Greg

    Societal contract is your standard socialist/communist argument. No substance just an obvious attempt to stir discussion. The give-away clue is advocating for Public School where religion has been banned.

  • JR

    Oh, goodness. I am sure the author of the original post will not have taken the time to read all the way through to my comment, but let me share this with you…

    Chances are great that even if you plant a flower in a weed-bed, the weeds will take over the flower…not the flower taking over the weeds.

    The vacuum of spirituality and emotion is no where MORE exemplified than in a government school situation!

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Children are rational free actors with volition. Flowers are not. I therefore reject your bad analogy.

      • Jason A. Schnur

        Children have very little volition. I am thirsty for an update. How has your experiment gone? You wrote this eight years ago, so I assume your little one(s?) must be in at least seventh grade by now. Are they little pillars of salt and light? How many children have they converted? What have they “learned” from the public indoctrination machine? I am dying to know.

        • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

          Tony Jones is NOT a true believer. He is, in fact, a heretic.

  • Skeptic

    My suggestion to you is to watch the documentary ‘IndoctriNation’. http://www.visionforum.com/browse/product/indoctrination-public-schools-and-the-decline/default.aspx

  • Caity

    I have to say, I disagree vehemently with the title and premise behind this article. Today’s educational system in our country is more corrupt than ever with a liberal agenda they wish to shove down our children’s throats; not to mention bullying or the horrible habits, misguided values and irreverent attitudes they are likely to pick up from other children. I think it’s worse for children and society to run our kids thru the liberal mill, conform them to the world (its ways should not be our ways and the Bible tells us to detach ourselves from it no matter how different that makes us or no matter what people will think about us) and desensitize them to all the negative lies and behaviors public school will expose them to. We need a generation of new, young, well-rounded and properly catechized people, with good moral values and upbringing. You can still be a missionary Christian with your children in how you interact with every day people, i.e. at the grocery store, in their sporting teams, at church and in your family, and in your neighborhood community in general. If you want your kids to be taught liberal network television values of relativism and “anything goes,” to not be allowed to pray or learn about God or read the Bible in school as religion unless under the context of it being simply “literature,” then be my guest. As for me and my household, we will serve The Lord by educating our children ourselves, and inviting God into their education as well. In this way they can become better examples to society, and ultimately become saints. Let us not forget that our primary role as parents is to serve God and help our children return to him, help them get to Heaven. Not teach them how to serve and conform to society.

  • http://Www.snoopygirlmusings.blogspot.com Lisa V.

    I find it interesting that the author feels the only way to be missional is to place your child in public school. As a Homeschooler, my Christian kids and I have had missional opportunities in in a secular homeschool group, in out reaches our church does in a local trailer park, at playgrounds, the zoo and elsewhere. While I respect your heart, I think your perspective doesn’t seem to be based on a lot of research.

    Unlike many, who may homeschool for religious reasons, I don’t. While I am a born again believer, I choose to homeschool for other reasons. I homeschool predominantly because the public school system is broken and does not indeed teach children to learn. Rather, it spoon feeds them predigested bites of sterile information giving them little opportunity to learn more about a subject let alone camp put on a topic of interest. They are taught how to think and corrected when they choose to think outside the box or, God forbid, do the math problem a different way.

    What the public school does so well is to make clones of themselves while often robbing all joy from self discovery. While I know not all teachers are bad, we have left them with the impossible task of educating students of all levels of ability, let alone learning styles while maintaining a schedule as to finish the curriculum by the end of the year. Few children excel in this environment. And many find their dreams crushed as well as their innate creativity and curiosity.

    Another thing I hate about the public school system is how it paves the way for bullying and forces children to grow up before they ever have a chance to enjoy their childhood. I love looking at my kids and seeing the freedom they have to be themselves. I love that they can act like kids and play with dolls or toys and not feel stupid because someone is calling them a baby. For me, homeschool is freedom, and the opportunity for my children to become lifelong lovers of learning. But don’t take my word for it, read Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education by Clark Aldrich. You may also want to watch the famous Sir Ken Robinson talk on TED. It is so eye-opening, coming from a professor.

    Just remember, you don’t need to be a public schooler to be missional, just be a good neighbor, coach, friend, customer, or wherever the Lord or your path may lead you.

    • CL

      Wow! I love what Lisa V. wrote.

    • dartmom

      Thanks, Lisa,you said it so well. Sending kids into government school as missionaries is so cruel because they aren’t equipped to deal with what goes on there. I don’t think Dewey is a positive authority on education but Interestingly the quote the author uses from Dewey is about education not government education.

    • Baz

      So in other words you keep your children from having to deal with the real world for themselves, keep them as childish as possible and yet you insist that this is a good thing?

      Further all information coming to them is basically filtered through one point of view rather than that of many, many people.

      Seems to me that when you then throw religion into the mix, it’s a perfect mixture to lead to close minded, childish fanatics.

      • Hairazor

        I just have to interject and remind you that not all people homeschool for religious reasons. I am a Christian but the main reason I homeschool is because I want my kids to have a
        life! I don’t call sitting in a building being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it 7hrs a day an education. They couldn’t even explore the woods that surrounded their school during recess, talk about sheltering kids!! Now that my kids are homeschooled
        they are learning what interests them so learning is exciting. They are making real friends and not just friends exactly their age with the same demographics.Their classroom is the woods ,the museum, the library, their home, a friends home or a business.
        Homeschoolers do tend to be religious but not all Christian. They are now free to talk about their beliefs so my kids have learned more about other religions and customs from their friends than they ever could from a classroom. Homeschooling is exploding
        for a reason. If you want to believe it is because we are all religious fanatics who want to shelter our kids from life then you are very niave. It’s time to stop defending the public school system and start trying to fix it for the kids who don’t have other options.

        • Baz

          Firstly you should note that I was responding to an earlier post, not accusing all people who home school their children of behaving a certain way.

          That said – as a child I managed to go to school AND run around exploring the woods, visiting museums, libraries as well as visit friends (both my own age, older and younger) and businesses. My parents both helped to further educate me and greatly encouraged independent learning outside of a school setting BUT they also saw the value of formal schooling.

          For one thing it is a better way to achieve at least a minimum level of understanding of a wider level of topics than home schooling is likely to actually impart since most parents aren’t exactly polymaths nor do they have the time to actually spent to systematically teach within a wide ranging curriculum. It’s also likely to achieve higher levels of specialist knowledge in those subjects which your child chooses to pursue for much the same reason.

          The other issue is that homeschooling rarely measures up to standards in education – now you personally may be an exception and I’m not judging you, however I’ve met many home schooled children who are for all practical purposes illiterate, innumerate and who have a range of life experiences to which the world sheltered doesn’t even begin to do justice.

          Yes I’ve met a few home schooled children who are articulate, well read and otherwise well educated but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Further most of those kids that are still academically capable are those who are likely to (a) gain those skills given even the slightest opportunity (b) would have gained the most from selective schooling for those with good mathematical, scientific or other academic ability. I’ve met some of them later in life who felt that they had to struggle through, and in several cases, repeat subjects at university because they had gaps in their knowledge which they’d never have missed out on had they been properly schooled.

          I’m not saying you shouldn’t teach your children as much as you can, rather I’m saying that you shouldn’t be entirely responsible for all aspects of your children’s education and that formal schooling is an important part of their education. The public school system has its’ flaws certainly but it can be improved and one need only look at how much of a difference it has made historically in terms of literacy, numeracy and access to higher education to see just how beneficial it has been. Further have a look at the many nations which don’t have public schooling, compare the educational levels and you’ll see what I’m saying.

          • Jason A. Schnur

            It is so plain that you have no experience with homeschooling, or if you do it is far from representative. As well, you seem to have little experience with the realities of modern public schooling. It seems as if you simply saw an opportunity to bag on the “religious” and hopped on in. Get some information.

      • Jason A. Schnur

        I believe she may be saying she allows her children to mature at their own pace, rather than forcing them into some societal mold. Also, it seems that the information coming to them will actually be filtered through many, many lenses, as the children will go to museums, parks, libraries, and they still have to follow a curriculum, with books written by various authors.
        Your bias against religion is unfortunate. It makes you seem a close (sic) minded, childish fanatic. I am sure you don’t mean that, especially as this woman made it clear that religion has no place in her decision making process.

  • Education is love

    Sacrificing your child’s education for the good of the cause… is that love or is that Leninism?

    • mememe

      One can tell how stupid the products of Public Education are simply by the likes of this Orwellian comment. Pity. Public Education IS Leninism. DUH!

  • Kate

    Dude, you’re just simply an arrogant dick! Nothing has to be grammatically fancy to convey this message. – A home school mom, who believes that it is people like you, that cause parents to homeschool!! You and your’e intellectual, self righteous stupidity.! Thank God, I have the freedom to protect my children from growing up, in a legalistic world, like yours.

  • Kate

    Wow! You’re a christian too? Really? Um, did God tell you, that you were him, and you have this right to tell everyone what their mission is? O my gosh, the arrogance!

  • Karen

    I must agree with Eric above. I am a huge believer in the public schools and have had two children successfully and well educated there, although both will tell you that most of their “socialization” was full of negative social experiences. Then came our 3rd child….ADHD/LD who was literally cast out socially by all of his peers and a few teachers too. In the end we were backed into a corner with no choices but to file a lawsuit or pull our son out of school. My mission as a Christian mother was to save my son. A son that I’m pretty sure would have been bullied to death by now, would have gone crazy or sooner or later would have brought a weapon to school in response to the pent up anger and hatred he was learning from school. For the past two years, I have spent much time and effort giving my son positive social experiences and teaching others the difference between positive and negative socialization. While I understand that we should all be accepting of one another and help each other out as Christians in the greater society, it is also our duty as Christians to save those who aren’t fitting in and guide them on the right path before it is too late. Sir, that is exactly what I have done as a Christian parent. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, the toughest job I’ll ever love and I commend all those with LD children who have recognized the problem and pulled their children out of public school.

    • Jessica

      I went to public school through eighth grade and found it to be a terrible experience. I had a lot of anxiety problems and was not very accepted by the kids at my school. I had friends in early elementary school but when I moved up North to Michigan from Florida the kids did not like me at all because I laughed and smiled too much and for other reasons I do not comprehend. I did great academically. I got the best grades in elementary school. In middle school I became very depressed at some point and felt like my life was meaningless and that I did not matter. My self-esteem was really low because of my anxiety and as a result of being overweight, almost obese, during childhood. It was after I attempted suicide when I was 14 that my parents decided to homeschool me. I was homeschooled from 8th to 12th grade, and while things were not perfect with me. They were improved. I don’t think mental health treatment was as available as it should have been when I was in school. It would have saved me and my parents a lot of grief. I have found a combination of natural therapies helps me most with my issues with depression anxiety as well as being in a loving marriage and having a wonderful son. I am married now with a son and am quite happy. I am committed to never attempt suicide again even if things are bad for me in the future. I am not sure how I would have turned out if my parents had not chosen to homeschool me. Of course, I was the firstborn, so my parents had no other experience when I came along so they made all of their mistakes with me. My other sisters have not had similar issues.
      And the whole idea of Christian kids being missionaries is ridiculous. I cannot remember ever telling people about Jesus at school and I got saved at a Christian camp at 8-10 years old. If your child has never wanted a personal relationship with Jesus there is no way they can be a missionary. It takes a mature child to do that. My sisters never were missionaries either. I think I was more the mission field than the missionary at public school.

  • http://gravatar.com/wkb2texans WOB

    Always interesting to watch those who are convicted about a specific direction in their personal lives (that their children should not be home schooled) try to impose that belief/conviction on others. I remember, as a teen, listening to an associate pastor telling folks that we shouldn’t have tee vees in our homes. That he didn’t have one and that a “true Christian” wouldn’t have one, either. Seriously.

  • Sharon

    Its obvious You know no nothing about homeschooling… And questionable whether you truly understand what it means to be part of society. Homeschoolers don’t put their child in “voids” in fact, statistics say that homeschooled children (during childhood as well as adulthood) are more active in community projects and politics than schooled children. Those are facts. Your article is nothing but weak assumptions… So why don’t you do society a favor, and get the facts before trying to mislead the population with your nonsense.

    • Ravi Wells

      thanks sharon, you about said it all very succinctly….

  • http://colourmetwice.com colourmetwice

    I totally understand your religious points here, but don’t forget that this is also about your child’s education, not sheltering them from devilish exposures or the rest of the world from their prayers. Its about their academic needs being met-that’s the whole point of education. So whether you do that in the system or at your home or a hybrid of both (yes, that’s possible in some areas!), make sure the Spirit guides you, and continues to do so. :)

  • Heather Erickson

    I agree that this article, “argument” is faulty on so many levels. First, while an adult might be a missionary ready to stand upright in society, children should not be expected to do the same. Children are impressionable, and I have seen MANY lose their faith even in Christian schools. Even the Bible acknowledges this by stating that we should “train up a child in the way they should go”, even scripture acknowledges that it is a crucial time of teaching. Teaching a child to serve as a missionary is all well and fine, but goodness, don’t just feed them straight to the lions. I don’t want a public school teacher being the one to “train up my child” for 30 some hours a week 9+ months of the year. You’re giving away a lot of precious time with a child, to learn in a non-Christian environment. Do you really think this is a wise way to “train up your child”? This is foolish.

    Did you know that 94% of homeschooled children continue in their faith after high school? Meanwhile, a very scary 75-85% leave the faith after being raised in public schooling. This is huge and pretty much shuts down your argument altogether. But I’ll continue…

    It is the Lord’s job to work through us, and we should not play god, this is why they are called the fruits of the spirit and not the fruits of ourselves. Missionary work is not ours to take credit for, nor is it ours to provide ourselves with opportunities for. If you are concerned you’ll be missing out on missionary opportunities by keeping your children at home to educate them, you are showing a lot of doubt in the power of the Holy Spirit, who has the ability to work miracles and faith into every aspect of life, no matter where you are. You earnestly want an opportunity to serve? Good, all you need do is ask and be willing! The Lord WILL provide you an opportunity to do His work. He is not helpless if you homeschool your kids! Please! It shows a large lack of faith in the Holy Spirit to imply that you cannot reach others unless you go to public school. Um, I don’t know about your god, but mine is a lot bigger than that.

    Also, there are neighborhood and community activities every week in every neighborhood across america which you can be involved in. Public school is not the be all and end all.

    And that brings me to my next point, do you think all homeschooling children do all day is sit around at home? Because research I’ve studied actually shows that they are more socially rounded because they spend so much more time out there in the real world, associating on field trips and other outings, with people from all sorts of demographics. Homeschooled children are also HUGELY more likely to participate in community activities and politics as adults–statistics prove this.

    If I were you, I’d remove this article altogether because, not only does it show your lack of understanding regarding homeschooling, it’s misleading and just plain wrong. I think you have to know this, even if you just read a few of the comments–which are very wise for the most part!

    • Joy_F

      A lot of the statistics about homeschooling are misleading. In my 30′s now, from a family that “pioneered” in Christian homeschooling, it would be an interesting study to see what those children now think of their education and how many would choose to replicate it.

      In talking with many of my friends who formerly homeschooled, its rare to find anyone who wishes the same on their children. There are a few of course, but its rare. Success in homeschooling is also very much class and race based, which is another thing that should be discussed.

      A few statistics now show that homeschoolers in general have the worst marriages of any education system and are twice as likely to divorce as someone of similar circumstances who went through public school. This is looking at the marital stats of those pioneers now who are getting into our thirties and forties and we are well, a disaster as far as marriage goes. Probably because homeschooling creates completely unreasonable expectations and builds marriage up to be something it is not.

      The classism and racism that comes from homeschooling is another thing that serusly

      • CoralDuck

        Please keep sharing your experiences, so many people I know are being led by churches to home school, and downsides are never discussed.

    • Baz

      More likely to participate perhaps but less likely to offer anything of value.

      You’re basically raising empty headed evangelists for your cause who know nothing outside of the particular version of religion that has been crammed down their throats while all other influences are carefully censored.

      Perhaps the reason that they’re more likely to be religious is because they don’t know any better – isn’t it more important to allow your child to learn and make up their own mind than to make sure they believe the same things you do at all costs?

  • Freeman Hunt

    Unless you plan to enroll yourself in the school, how does enrolling your children count as you being missional?

  • Jason A. Schnur

    I sincerely hope you will update this post. You have had children in public school for eight years now, I assume, and I would truly like to know how this experiment in “missionalism” is faring. Are your children (child?) reaching anyone? Are they changing the environment in your school system? Are they allowed to? How are you counteracting the socialism and secularism of the public school system? I was a homeschool Dad who eventually sent my daughters back to public school and I must admit, I am not awfully impressed with what I have found. I wonder if you have a different view eight years later? I anticipate your reply with bated breath.

  • MARK ALLEN

    You’re a perfect product of a fucked up public and/or private school…you know how I know this?…because they are all fucked up. They taught you to write this, event though you have no idea what you’re saying. hahaha IDIOT!

    • Baz

      Wow. You sure are a good argument for homeschooling.

      (That’s sarcasm for those as hard of thinking as Mark Allen)

  • Alice

    Children cannot be missionaries because any faith they have is borrowed from their parents. When they are teenagers, it is then possible for them to think abstractly, weigh the arguments on both sides, and become spiritually mature.

    However, I agree that most children should go to public or private school because they will be much healthier socially. I was home-schooled K-12, and the isolation was extremely damaging to my social and emotional well-being.

    Now it is possible for parents to provide their home-schooled children with enough social opportunities, but it is extremely difficult, especially when parents have limited time and money.

  • MakeItSnappy

    I was home schooled. I think it should be heavily regulated in the US, if not outlawed.

  • Sarah Mccawley-Hankinson

    It’s interesting that you expect your children to be little missionaries before equipping them to be a missionary. As a Children’s Pastor and a home schooling parent I agree that school is a huge missions field but to send our kids with that sole intention is detrimental and dangerous to our kids. They need to be raised up, guided and prepared to be a missionary. You would not send an adult into the “missions” field without proper training! If you are called to have your kids in public school then by all means do but don’t use “missions” as a weak excuse to do so. My kids that I homeschool are serving their community, witnessing to others and growing in the Lord.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wscott.womer W Scott Womer

    I give you credit for allowing critical comments, but we don’t need to reinvent the Gospel.

  • icky

    Wow. I couldn’t disagree more. I’m completely secular (so I’m not coming at you with a jesus agenda)… I am of the opinion that teaching kids to sit in alphabetical order, shut up, and do as they’re told is probably the WORST thing we could do for our kids. According to the Department of Labor, kids today are expected to have over 20 different ‘careers’ by the time they retire. The world is changing more and more quickly every day. It is IMPOSSIBLE to teach a kid “if you learn X, Y, and Z, you’ll be just fine…”. I do agree completely that the most important thing is to teach the kids HOW to learn (not WHAT to learn).
    My wife and I just spent the last year Homeschooling our children while we travelled the lower 48 states. About 2 weeks ago they took the California Assessment Test (CAT)… My Daughter was well above average in every category, and my son actually scored a 98% !!!!! 98!!!! On top of that, neither of my kids are socially awkward or shy. They are not intimidated nor are they rude. They are sophisticated enough to know a “problem child” when they see one, and they are smart enough to know how to extricate themselves peacefully.
    One other point: As a homeschooler, I am there to see my daughter (for example) have that ‘EUREKA’ moment when she’s learning Algebra. That is PRICELESS!!!
    No job in the world is worth keeping me from that experience…
    No school in the world is worth keeping my kids from me during that experience…
    School seems to be a great way to churn out hamburger meat. Sit in your cubicle and enter this data. Get out of line and you go to the principals office. Do it again and you’re expelled (fired).
    Ain’t nobody got time for that (sic).
    Public School is dead.
    I could be wrong (it’s happened before), but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if homeschooled kids aren’t the ones hiring public (and private) schooled kids in 10 years. (BTW, the youngest fulltime professor ever hired by MIT was homeschooled… for what it’s worth).
    Nobody knows your child better than you do… and nobody is going to love them and care for them as much as you do…. especially when there’s 5 other kids in the class that are real assholes.
    Just my 2 cents.

  • Greta Piano

    This is the absolute dumbest argument I have ever read.

  • Badnews Bear

    Jurgen, Dewey is Dead. Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and the like are moving and shaking what is being passed for education these days. The methods of these fellows seem more likely to produce obedient Marines and robotic burger-flippers than scholars, and the price of this behavior modification is a huge part of childhood sacrificed to memorizing huge amounts of incoherent facts, but only long enough to score high on a test. The result is people who do what they are told without question, but don’t know sh!t. (see ‘Propaganda’ by Ellul)

    here is a blog where some teachers and academics describe the current state of education: http://atthechalkface.com/

    If you want this for your own children that is your choice, but why imply those who resist giving Gradgrind his due are not acting in a Christian way?

  • Mr Hicks

    Yes… Public school… wanna know what I learned in public school… how to fight, a whole bunch of filthy language, and in wood shop I learned how to make devices to smoke pot out of… luckily I survived and God didn’t give up His relentless pursuit of my soul. My wife and I home school all 5 of our children… and we are all on mission everyday. I do not need the public school indoctrinating my kids on sex, how cool it is to be gay, or how great obamacare is…

    • CoralDuck

      You telling me there was no way to take school more seriously and maybe get in the honors classes where you get students who genuinely wanted to learn things and go to college? Some schools are genuinely terrible, so I respect your experience, but seriously, sounds like you are grossly exaggerating. Your teachers didn’t want you to pay attention to academics at all? They were completely happy with you all goofing off all year?

  • Sally Ennes

    You are not the one in the public school. Your child is. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones and your children live in a really good school district. Congratulations. However, that is not the case for many of us. Overall, public schools are not a safe environment for education. If my child has to be terrified every day that someone will pull a knife on another child, or that their will be a mass shooting, how can I expect him to be free to learn his reading, writing, and arithmetic? In my own case, my son had health problems and the area we lived in was not good. He was sick more often than he was at school. We consulted a child psychologist and our family doctor and both agreed we should try homeschooling for his sake. We made sure he was properly socialized by participating in small groups where we could know in advance if someone was sick. Because we did not (and do not) have alot of money (medical bills kill our bank account), I had to be creative in providing social outings. I always had an open door for his friends and often, I had to be the one taking them everywhere. In my state, Missouri, we have the Kansas City, Missouri School District. They have mismanaged things so badly that they actually lost accreditation! For several years, they have been trying to get it back and can’t. I have friends in this district and they chose to homeschool and do not regret it.
    In my opinion, it is best to have my son in an environment that is more positive than negative. You become who you hang with and I want him to be someone who will continue to grow into a mature adult. I think that more time with friends who will build him up is much better than people who will tear down the things I am trying to teach. People who meet my son will tell you that he is socially more mature than his age. He knows how to form his own opinions and how to have meaningful discourse. He is a deep thinker and can articulate his viewpoints in a way that encourages and helps others to clarify their own. I am damn proud of my son and the job we did with homeschooling, and I am damn proud of the MANY other homeschool families I know who have done the same great job with their kids. Homeschooling isn’t for you and your family? Cool. Do your own thing. However, don’t try to remove my right to make a different choice.

    I had to homeschool my son because he had health problems. We do not have socialization issues because we are an active family. His doctor was originally anti-homeschool, but she has seen the movement grow and now has many patients (like my son) who are homeschooled and are well-adjusted kids and families. In addition I know of many who had to homeschool their children due to safety issues or because the school district they lived in was very bad. For instance, in the Kansas City School District (Kansas City, Missouri, USA), the accreditation was removed from the district because the district was doing such a terrible job. The level of crime in their schools is high. There are drug problems, gang problems and gun violence. They can’t get teachers to work there….they are too afraid to teach in that school district. Education for the masses can only be accomplished by public education, but right now, public education is not working very well. We are more than willing to be a one-car family who lives on a tight budget so that our son can have the education he needs and deserves, but I am very worried about the families who truly don’t have this option. Instead of attacking one of the solutions, how about attacking the problems in public education and helping us fix them? That seems to me to be a better use of your time and effort than to plather on about why homeschooling should die.

  • A B

    What is it with all these Christian parents who think public school will destroy their children! Seems to me that these parents are terrified that their offspring might form opinions and values that differ from their own. Shock horror that children be seen as autonomous persons with a right to fully integrate with society. children should only be homeschooled in exceptional circumstances such as in cases of bullying not to suit their parents religious preferences.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Bingo!

    • Joe Smith

      LOL! Yes, that is why my kids read Darwin, Hobbes, Nietzsche, and Marx in our home school. Oh the horrors, I got the vapors as I handed them these “integrating with society” books!

      I would be surprised if your children have read any of them. And I bet they haven’t read Christian philosophers like Aquinas or Ricoeur, or an intelligent design book like Signature in the Cell either. Can’t have them reading books that don’t “fully integrate them with society” now, can we?

      • Baz

        1) Not going to get much value out of these books if you can’t give them critical thinking skills;
        2) Giving them trash such as intelligent design “biology” books flat out shows that you’re not big on critical thinking.
        3) Darwin, while worth a read, is of less value that more modern texts on biology – kind of the advantage of proper schooling, it moves on from the 19th century.
        4) You seem to focus very heavily on philosophy, while it’s useful to have a broad knowledge of it there are other subjects that are at least as important and a hell of a lot more useful. Further most philosophy predates much of the knowledge that we have gained about the world through science.

        • Joe Smith

          You are ignorant of the role philosophy plays in science; I’m not going to hash it out here. Darwin was supplemental reading to their regular biology textbook (that did not mention intelligent design). One of the reasons they read it is to see the progression of evolutionary theory over time, and his basic concepts (natural selection, inherited traits) are still relevant today. The Signature in the Cell was also a supplemental text, and you are welcome to your opinion.
          We covered physics and the sciences as well. My oldest is a math major and making a 3.8 currently. With a background in logical thinking that you despise as being ‘outdated,’ I’m sure she has plenty of “useful” knowledge you lack.

          • Baz

            Not at all ignorant of the role that philosophy plays in science – you’re missing my points entirely.

            First simply reading a book with them and telling them what to think about it benefits them very little – they need the skills to figure out what they think of these ideas and to properly understand them for themselves rather than receiving predigested information. They need to be able to weigh the evidence and use reasoning to come to their own conclusions based on it. They need critical thinking skills.

            Secondly – I stand by my statement until you can show me even one thing that intelligence design ‘theory’ has added to our present understanding of any biological phenomenon rather than merely trying to claim ‘god did it’.

            Thirdly – again not saying any of these texts, with the exception of the intelligent design one, is valueless – simply that by missing out on the mainstream understanding and the development of critical thinking skills that so often goes with homeschooling they miss a vital additional element. Darwin is less useful than many other texts to acquire a good understanding of modern biology – yes it’s very useful in terms of gaining historical context as is Wallace.

            Fourthly – philosophy is important in terms of historical context as well as development of reasoning, however none of the Christian philosophers (or many of others of long ago) have as much relevance today because they really had very little knowledge of the world that stood up to any real scrutiny. If you’re teaching them critically on this they could get a lot of value in terms of scrutinizing and realizing flaws in theories and ideas, if not then it’s of less value. Unfortunately many people exposed to homeschooling or religious schooling in general aren’t exposed to any critical analysis of the text and end up with ideas that are anything but examples of logical thinking.

            Fifthly – again this is about a general approach – I accept that some people who are home schooled are raised by educated people and cover a lot of material but here’s the thing: you can do that and still not home school thereby exposing them to a wider variety than what you personally would select for them. It might also make up for gaps in your knowledge. More importantly though there are children who aren’t so lucky in their home schooling and aren’t presented with a wide range of knowledge or have education focused parents. These children will suffer greatly for not having a school education to make up the many gaps in their knowledge base.

            • Joe Smith

              You seem to have strange views of who is a Christian. Is Nietzsche a Christian philosopher? Do you think Marx is a Christian? Plato? Weber? Darwin? Xenophon?

              “Critical thinking skills” – I don’t think you understand the subjects of philosophy or critical thinking. How is teaching your child symbolic logic (a branch of philosophy) not teaching “critical thinking?” Philosophy is the analysis of arguments and the testing of their validity. Do you know the rules of inference? Existential and universal generalization/instantiation? Show me one public school teacher who teaches that to their class. It’s very easy to let a public school pick a limited range of texts and tell students what to think, either implicitly or explicitly. I saw it all the time when I was in public school. It’s harder to expose a kid to a wide variety of philosophical, historical, and scientific texts and tell him what to think.

              Analysis is more than telling students to read a book and “think for yourself,” or asking a student what he thinks about a text. Analysis is breaking down the structure and semantics of a set of arguments and testing them for validity. With works of literature, it is analyzing tropes, authorial intent, and historical background of the text. Sort of like the topics addressed by Aristotle in his Rhetoric and Poetics that are still referenced in works on literary criticism today (by the way, did you know that many of the scientific concepts used by Newton, and still in use today, like the relation between motion/time, potential/kinetic energy, matter, rotary/linear motion, continuous/discrete fields, etc. were formalized by Aristotle?)

              Your view of philosophers is provincial. Democritus came up with the initial form of atomic theory in the 4th century BC. Leibniz, a 17th century Christian philosophers you claim had very little knowledge of the world that stands up to any scrutiny, was a co-founder of calculus. You are going to have a hard time denying that is still relevant. Descartes invented the Cartesian grid and analytic geometry. Pascal, another Christian philosopher, made contributions to probability theory and invented the mechanical calculator. He had a programming language named after him. I wonder why if he was an irrelevant Christian philosopher who didn’t understand anything about the world? Ricoeur is a 20th century philosopher who died in the 21st century, and is widely respected in his field for his works on hermeneutics, structuralism, and the social sciences. You think he still thinks the sun travels around the earth? You might read up on what he had to say about an overemphasis on the “hermeneutics of suspicion,” where one’s attempt to “find flaws” overcomes one’s desire to find out what is true.

              You seem to think that people born before our time were ignorant of common facts. You should start picking up some history books (and I don’t mean history textbooks or popularized histories written for mass audiences that fit your ideological views) and start reading up on the past. You might be surprised at what you find.

              You are an example of exactly why I don’t want someone coming in to my child’s education and telling them things that aren’t true (“philosophy, calculus, and analytic geometry are irrelevant or wrong, and Christian philosophers don’t know how the world works”), giving them a curriculum that only matches your limited view of what is “relevant” and current (telling a kid not to read Darwin? Seriously?), and telling them that critical thinking means thinking about education the same way you do.

              Your notion of “gaps” in education reveals that you don’t understand what education really is. Education is not some body of knowledge you complete. There will always be gaps, no matter who the teacher is. You will never close them. I trust myself to lay the educational foundations of my children to continue learning for the rest of their life. I don’t trust the local high school that handed a diploma recently to a kid that tests showed was on a first grade reading level (not a special education student either). I think most parents can do better than that even if they half-ass it.

              • Tim McCoy

                Joe, you, you, you, your, you. Put your finger away. I am more interested in why you are so angry. I am sorry.

                • Joe Smith

                  “‘your’ finger,” “why ‘you’ are so angry.”

                  Tim, put your own finger away. Focusing on what you believe is the emotional state of the speaker just reveals that you can’t address the arguments or answer the questions. Don’t mistake going over some one else’s arguments as “anger.” If you get angry when you criticize someone’s arguments, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. An Internet forum is where individuals directly address each other; hence the use of the words “you” and “I” – just like in your own post.

                  If you don’t want your views of home schoolers critiqued, don’t offer criticisms to begin with.

  • LJ

    I agree homeschooling is a bad idea. Most seem to me to be either lazy or religious crazies. Homeschooling will eventually crash our nation. And, one of the new things is called UN-schooling. Heard of that one? Let the kids run around free and they will learn what the need? UN-god help us all…..

    The real problem is the destruction of our public education system. If one thinks the problem is the school… fix the schools. Only educating the rich and religious freaks is not the way to advance anything, let alone our general well being. This is what happens when state governments only think about abortion and god…. I’m more worried about whether or not the checkout clerk can count money! I know they don’t know proper grammar or the names of vegetables. Heaven forbid they should know that Benghazi is in Libya; or, that people did NOT live with dinosaurs!

  • Joy_F

    Thank you. I was homeschooled for several years. I know my parents had good intentions, but the results were disastrous. Many well-intending parents get drawn into this not realizing the awful magnitude of consequences it will have on their children. I would like to see it made illegal.

    Also, in reading through a lot of the comment section, I notice that just about everyone disputing this post is a homeschooling parent, not a homeschooling survivor. Now I believe my parents were trying to do what they believed to be best, and they didn’t know what a serious disadvantage they were subjecting us to, that we would be at a disadvantage socially, educationally (science, math and technology) critically (you don’t have the freedom to disagree with your parents as you do teachers; you want to please them, so often even you disagree you will pretend) spiritually, and emotionally.

    Marriages among former homeschoolers have a staggeringly high divorce rate. This has been studied in the Cardus education survey and several other places. There is dispute over why the rates are so high, and Cardus admits they don’t know, but suspect it could be because homeschoolers marry younger and younger marriage rates tend to have higher rates of divorce – so if it is anecdotal, then the problem is

    • CoralDuck

      I have friends who would completely endorse your post. I’ve seen small Christian private schooled students also get into huge trouble later on academically. I have one friend in particular who is just brilliant on one level- never had to study, great verbal SAT scores- who’s school did math-by-videotape because there was no teacher equipped to answer questions. As you can imagine, there were problems later. She is extremely smart and did just fine with math and science after spending a LONG time getting remedial help, but you bet she didn’t have kind words to say about the experience.

      Even if you have extremely capable parents, it is almost impossible to match the level of knowledge and experiences lived by, say, the 50-60 mentoring adults you come into contact with over the course of your education. Even if you have parents whose knowledge, say, really does surpass all of these hypothetical teachers in a couple specialized areas, they are not equipped to expose you to every subject you might find to be completely fascinating if taught by a person who finds it completely fascinating.

      I vehemently disagree with an outright ban on homeschooling, as there are situations in which it is absolutely the right option for some people. I know my own church growing up was pro-homeschooling in all cases, and I just wish people were more responsible in doing their homework and talking to people who were home schooled and graduates of these little independent Christian private schools before buying all of the propaganda.

  • Joy_F

    Oops that cut off the end of the comment. Oh well – my point was simply that the Cardus survey brings up a lot of concerning points that match my experience with homeschooling. Thank God, I left home and only spent four years homeschooling, but that was enough to put me at a great disadvantage that was very difficult to overcome. Previous to homeschooling I had been a star math and science student. Because those were difficult to teach outside a classroom setting (no labs etc.) my favorite subjects became the babe of my existence – especially when I started questioning the science texts!

  • CoralDuck

    Hey, I think if it wasn’t so militantly anti-homeschooling, this article has a good point. I know a lot of young adults my age who were home-schooled. About 7 out of 9 had a tough transition to adulthood. These were all people who were home-schooled by college educated parents, two families worth by science-related Ph.D. possessing parents. Extremely bright kids, all. Parents universally bragged about how they were so above school standards (although, being in honors classes in a public high school, for the most part honors kids and home-schooled kids were at the same level academically, and honors public school kids were all a LOT more academically well-rounded.)

    The problem was, all of these kids were shocked when they started to attend college. A couple were enormously gifted, dropped out of college, and have not since found their footing in life as they are not used to the loss of freedom and free time inherent in holding down most jobs. These two guys rebelled and pretty much used class time as party time. They were extremely excited to be around other people so much. Keep in mind their parents did not completely shelter them, they did have activities with other kids before, but it wasn’t sustained contact. They had no problem with the difficulty of coursework, just they did not see any reason to hand in what they thought of as busywork. All could be justified if they subsequently put a lot of work into starting their own company or whatever, but they, although they possess the knowledge to do skilled labor, have no certification for it and unfortunately will not get hired in a crowded job market. A few others just had a lot of trouble making friends and barely squeaked by in classes. A few made it and are doing awesomely.

    My parents decided on public school because they figured we were going to have to deal with society and people with differing opinions, as we should, for the rest of our lives. They didn’t want it to get dumped on us later in life when it could totally overwhelm us. This is also the reason they didn’t pick a Christian private school. I really respect this choice now, though I admit to envy when I did have a bunch of home schooled high school aged friends who had a lot more time to pursue their one or two focused interests.

    I don’t know what I will do with my own kids when I have them, but I suspect that the choice really should be made independently with the personality and needs of each kid in mind. Homeschooling could be a great option if you’ve got a student who really does need time to pursue a specific passion, or somebody who’s end goals are clearly and passionately defined (whether they decide to pursue a trade, start a business, or take up college first.) I also think that most children do thrive with mentor-like relationships with outside adults who have differing life experiences from their parents (i.e. teachers) and would want my own children to form these relationships.

    I do agree with this article that sheltering a child from society *can* produce some dramatically bad results.

    • CoralDuck

      Sorry for the long post- just one more religious note: For those who do not want their children to be around non-Christians, do you not think that it is preferable to test your faith a bit and choose to be a Christian, or do you consider it genuinely better to isolate children from as many temptations as possible? By temptations I mean anti-Christian arguments as much as I mean drugs and profanity.

      I’ve always wanted to ask that, but it seemed rude to ask friends’ parents!

      It’s a different level of knowledge, learning *about* people of other faiths or no faith as discussed in Sunday school versus having the experience of actually knowing and befriending people of other faiths or no faith. Do people genuinely not want their kids to do that? Is that a factor in choosing Christian education?

  • Carl Bobb

    Dear Mr. Jones,

    While it is noble to seek to win the lost, in fact it should be in the DNA of every Christ follower; it is also noble to serve as a fire fighter, however, my young children are not fit for the position. Similarly your small children and even many teens are not able to adequately serve as missionaries in the public square because of their lack of personal faith and clear understanding of the gospel. In fact even many adults live as if Christianity is a works based religion.

    However, I will grant you that wise and winsome Christian teachers can have an impact. I guess I could write more, but I would like recommend to you a book that deals with the broader agenda of secular humanism. Apostate, The Men who Destroyed the Christian West, by Kevin Swanson.

    I believe that sending your unbelieving children or immature Christians to do missionary work has proven over the past 50 years to be a kamikaze mission.

    Yours for the glory of God,

    Carl

  • Joe Smith

    I didn’t home school my children for religious reasons, even though I am a Southern Baptist fundamentalist. I home schooled because our area schools sucked. In the first city we lived in, the school day started with saying the pledge to the pan-African flag. Our child was not the “correct race” (neither were Hispanic kids, as immigrants found out) and we didn’t feel that sending our kindergartner in to evangelize in a racially divisive atmosphere was appropriate. It wasn’t much better in the rural area we moved to later. We planned on enrolling her in the public high school at the beginning of the next semester, until we found they had some serious educational and disciplinary issues as well.

    Also, I would take anything John Dewey says with a big grain of salt. He was a progressive socialist (nothing derogatory in saying that, he would have proudly agreed). He saw the individual as subservient to the state, and control of the masses as more important than freedom. I’ve read a number of his books, and I had the same reaction to his works that my daughter did to the middle chapters of Plato’s Republic when she read it her sophomore year in home school. She liked Plato’s epistemology and metaphysics, but she hated his political philosophy. When you are raised in a constitutional republic, you tend to recoil at explicit expressions of support for tyranny.

  • Rebecca Wells Slaughter

    I appreciate this article! It’s rare nowadays to find anything supportive of parents sending their children to public school, particularly on the web. The vast majority of blogs are by families homeschooling their children. By what I can tell, they do a lovely job and are certainly not like the strict evangelical homeschooling parents of yore. But for many, homeschooling is not an option because parents need to make money! And I truly believe that when so many wonderful, well-educated parents take their children out of the system to homeschool them, it may benefit the family, but the public schools take a big hit! It leaves behind all those children for whom homeschooling is not an option. I would love to see more of these families rallying to bring back recess to schools, insist on hands-on learning, and all the things that they are doing for their children at home. If enough parents demand it, I believe the system can change for the better.

  • Cheryl Preston

    I disagree. In public school I was abused because I tried to live for Christ. My daughter was bullied as well. Nobody was led to Christ by my being in public school. I was exposed to people so vastly different from me that I stood out like a sore thumb. My daughter is homeschooling her 3 children and I am so glad.

    • Pax Humana

      Cheryl Preston, you obviously failed at being a good witness of the Word, let alone at being able to relate to the world in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of YAHASHUA YAMASHIYAH and Paul and you did not take martial arts and/or self-defense classes, thus your reason for being abused in schools. Were you to have done those things, and were you to have found a competent enough attorney to sue the jerks that were abusing their power, I can flat out assure you that you would have never receive even so much as a paper cut from those jerks in school. Furthermore, and I know that you are thinking about this inside your mind right now, too, to say that suing someone is not a Christian act is an-anti-Christian statement in and of itself, let alone when you say that being a pacifist and saying that fighting physically is not what Christians are supposed to do in their lives. Our Savior was supposed to be this fighter and conqueror of the planet and yet He died on a cross for us and our sins. However, when the Holy Scriptures say that YAHASHUA YAMASHIYAH is supposed to be coming back with a sword and riding a horse, does THAT sound like a pacifist to you, let alone the part of the Holy Scriptures where He strikes down all of the wicked nations that go after the nation of Israel and her friends (i.e., the Messianic Jews and Christians that remain loyal to the Holy Scriptures)? The answer should be an obvious no to you, so you two need to get back into the public school system, you need to sue the jerks, and you need to learn martial arts and self-defense courses and maybe bust a few heads or worse to get the point across to these jerk weeds that you mean business and that you will not tolerate their criminal syndicate/gang/gang banging/terroristic behavior and their criminal actions, too.

      • Cheryl Preston

        I no longer tolerate bullying, and you are a bully, and not displaying the love of the Savior. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder and be full of hate and misunderstanding. As my brother in Christ, I will pray the Lord deal with you. How can you call mere children un-effective witnesses.

  • thecrazyelephantboutique

    Yes, you should be the best missionary you can be! Is your 5 year old strong enough in their faith when the adults they are spending their whole day with say otherwise? Your child will likely spend more time with their teacher and friends than with you, their spiritual head. Who is really likely to win out? We are homeschooling and it has allowed us to leave the country as missionaries. We will be leaving in the next year and homeschooling will allow our son to have something in his life stay the same but it will also allow him to be an integral part of the mission itself. Homeschooling is certainly not for everyone, but to say that the bible demands public school is rediculus.

    • Pax Humana

      Likewise, to say that the Holy Scriptures demands homeschooling is equally ridiculous, thecrazyelephantboutique. Granted, you would probably be in the best position for arguing for a strong case for homeschooling for your son because of your job, for moving around a lot, and for the often poor public educational systems in other countries, and that it is probably what works best for all of you, and that some people, particularly people that are unable to cope with society and/or have certain mental issues like autism, might love, thrive, and prefer to be homeschooled, but it is not a one size fits all routine. I have a form of high-functioning autism myself and the public educational system bored me, but so did the private and homeschooling systems. All of the systems were like six of one and a half-dozen of the other to me, so I never really felt like my education was complete from any angle. When you are in a homeschooling system, you end up maladjusted to society and you end up not being able to be good with making friends and making friends is THE key to spreading the Gospel message to a lost, dying, and increasingly corrupt, evil, and wicked world, and you end up disobeying the Great Commission. When you are in a public school system, you forsake your teachings, let alone the teachings of anything that is of any substance in (what they) favor with their subjects that pretend to teach you things but that are, in the end, essentially a polyglot of polytheistic claptrap and religious indoctrination, so, it is a Catch .22 scenario in the end. Please take it from someone who has been there in their own lives. Thank you.

  • Lisa

    I find it interesting that you won’t “pull your kids out” for the greater good. What about the greater good of your Christian faith and children? I pulled mine out, among other reasons, because of the lack of any religion freedom in schools, and because of the early indoctrination of the gay community in schools, which goes against Christian philosophy. Hmmmm.

    • Pax Humana

      I have said this before to people that have not known this and to people that do know this and that are too cowardly to do something about it and that is to learn all that you can about the legal system and its tactics, to learn all that you can about the worldly/secular system and how it operates, to NOT give into censorship and ratings systems, and to STAY in the system. Christians and Jews have a moral, ethical, legal, faith, values, and scruples-based obligation to stay into the public school system, Lisa Bowser. The Christians and Jews have historically been the trend setters, the revolutionaries, and the utmost authorities in the world and to tuck your tails in and run, to stick your heads into the sand and pretend things will just go away, and/or to simply burrow into your little mole/Hobbit holes and pretend that your isolationist ideology, rather than what REAL Christianity and Judaism taught you to do, which was to RELATE to, and NOT to retreat from, the worldly system. This does not mean that Christians and Jews should emulate the world, far from it, what this means is that they should be LEADING this world. Finally, if people get violent with you that are leading these immoral system and that are coming against you, then please quit thinking that prayers and pacifism will be your sole lines of defense because such thinking is Antichrist thinking, and so is hating people enough to murder them, too. You need to try and avoid violence and brutal crackdowns on people and politicians if you can; however, if you can not do so, then you need to learn everything that you possibly can about self-defense and that you need to treat them like the evil Lucifer worshipping gang bangers/gang members and terrorist jerks that they are and you need to go at them full bore, too, because in the armed forces of YAHWEH EL ELOHIM, He has absolutely NO room whatsoever for cowardice, indecision, and for anti-Christian philosophies as pacifism. People expected YAHASHUA YAMASHIYAH to be a warrior the first time and here you are expecting Him to be a nice guy that would not hurt a fly this time around. You all need to change your thinking and you all need to learn to fight, period.

  • kenny

    Self absorbed dumbass.

  • Craig

    Are you serious! The holes in your argument are massive, reactive and certainly not thought out logically. Dewey was writing during a time when the moral, ethical and legal foundations of this nation were primarily Christian. That is no longer the case today. We now embrace foreign gods or no god at all. In the 60′s and early 70′s I went through hell in the school system I attended. It was very progressive and liberal for that time. I stood strong but also alone – and certain that I would never put my future kids through such torture on a DAILY BASIS!

    Is it any wonder that today 85% of kids raised in christian homes, leave the faith once they leave home, most to never return. We HAVE acted under the guise of being MISSIONAL and sacrificed our precious children on the Altar of Moloch. Got to live the Christian Middle Class Ideal. Mom works, two cars, lots of things, can’t sacrifice the time or emotional stress of HOME SCHOOLING our own children – all of which are precious gifts from God, entrusted into our care, and for which we will be held into account. It your not willing to spend the time and effort to home school you’re most certainly will not be willing to do so to truly evaluate DAILY the crap being put into your kids heads at school each and every day and their heart will be turned away from you and your God and you will be broken the rest of your life as you sit alone in church, and celebrate alone our Spiritual Holidays, while your kids and grand kids will have little to do with you, because you’re one of those dangerous Christians!

    My wife and I home schooled all of our kids. Our three oldest are all in their mid 30′s and doing super. They all did great in college, graduated in top 10% of their class. One actually won appointments to West Point, Annapolis and a scholarship to VMI. By college they were able to withstand the tests of their faith, with wisdom and logic, not based on emotion but on the TRUTH of God’s Word and the gift of Wisdom from Holy Spirit. They were able to impact and influence not only their fellow students but their professors and instructors as well.

    Today they are all LEADERS, SUCCESSFUL, and skilled in living in a world of ADULTS. They resist peer pressure because they learned to do so at their parents side, when they were children and highly impressionable by those who got to input knowledge and life experiences into their beings. They are now on the cutting edge of the Church that exists outside of the church buildings, working diligently and faithfully to call our nation back to God and a backsliden church to repentance.

    DEATH TO HOMESCHOOLING? NEVER!! Death to twisted sister logic found in the ranks of Christian Believers – rank with the stench of a love for this culture, like Lot for Sodom? YES ABSOLUTELY! I have resisted such logic since 1967 when I was 15 years old and began to argue for a better education for Christian youth such as myself. My own Pastor, and the many Public School Teachers within my own family – scoffed at me, belittled my stance and used arguments that nearly mirror that found in this blog. When I was close to graduating from Highschool, I stumbled upon an article, (can’t remember by whom) on HOME SCHOOLING! Though brief, if it had only contained the words “home schooling” my heart resonated with the TRUTH it had just received.

    If their is any hope for America’s Future then it is time for Believers to Turn Their Hearts Toward Home – and give of their time, talents and treasure to raise and educated their own children in the faith. Call me vented!

    • Craig

      Upon re-reading the argument, I think Tony is absolutely RIGHT!

  • JohnHousecat

    I applaud you, Sir, as a Christian who has some common sense.

    Now while your post mentions nothing about Creationism, I do believe that the homeschoolers you’re talking about are the idiots like my ex–a woman who can’t spell worth a damn, yet pulled her “smart for her age” child out of school to homeschool her because my ex is a Born Again. I read her new blog about her “academy” for her kindergartener and was able to keep my lunch down until I read this: “Science discovery taught about God creating everything in only 6 days.”

    …I…just can’t. If this young girl was high achieving before, she’s not going to be now. She’s going to be scientifically stunted, since there is no “scientific discovery” that a guy in a beard in the sky created everything in only 6 days. Now, I ~know~ this woman–used to be sensible and anti-Creationist, but for some reason pulled a 180 and is spreading this horrible nonsense to her kids.

    THIS is the type of homeschooler the original poster is talking about. Not the ones who were smart enough to teach both Creationism and real science, and certainly not the ones who let their homeschooled kids go into public high school after grade school. Americans wonder why we rank so LOW on the scale of scientific achievement in the world? This is why. We’re the only nation in the world that has a high bunch of believers of Creationism OVER science that the rest of the world is just shaking their heads and laughing at us.

    Stop. Just…stop. it’s one thing to teach your kids the valuable moral lessons of the Bible. It’s another thing to feed them proven lies.

    • Pax Humana

      What you call “real” science is just a fairy tale and you and your ilk call Christianity as a fairy tale and please do not give me your drivel about yourself being a “Christian” because I know that your Christianity is as fake as a three dollar bill, JohnHousecat. Please do the world a favor and go hock up a hairball, okay? Thank you.

      • Baz

        People like you are what is wrong with America Pax Humana, Christian’s used to be known as people interested in knowledge and enlightenment – eager to discover everything they could about the universe. Now because it disagrees with a crazy literal interpretation of genesis you’re going to throw away all of real science for nonsense that predicts nothing and ignores evidence. Worse still you’re encouraging people to teach their children to do the same, preventing them from actually making something of themselves other than ignorant fanatics… not much different to the type that come out of some of the crazier Islamic schools in the middle east really.

        • Pax Humana

          Are you done? Good, because people like YOU are what is wrong with this country AND they are causing it to lose the very things that you proclaim that the Christians and Jews no longer promote. It is people like you that want to drag us to the eras of fundamentalist Sharia law in a repressive Communist/Socialist/Fascist/Nationalist/etc. variety.
          Now with that being said, I shockingly DO oppose home schooling because it robs people of a few important things in their lives, namely, interaction with the real world, interaction, as well as instruction as well as the opportunity to talk to, people of different backgrounds, the ability to form friendships, the ability to work together with the community at large, and the ability to get to know people beyond a superficial level in their lives as well as getting to simply understand things such as the interactions of real world live, interpersonal relationships, love, dating, and learning to not only think for oneself but to also learn to defend their faith, morals, values, ethics, laws, and scruples in their lives and with the rest of the world.
          However, aside from those things, at least the upside to it is that it can bring a better education in the other things in the lives of people due to smaller classrooms, more personalized instruction that is catered more to the individual needs of the child, and to be able to go along at their own pace. I myself was home schooled and, while my intellectual senses were challenged more as a home-schooled child, I missed my friends and the time that I could have spent growing up with them, so I made the decision to leave home schooling and I have not regretted the decision in my life.
          I am very much the forward thinking type and, in fact, I have toyed around with possibly quite possible, and actual, cures for cancer. I will not divulge on how it will happen, but, suffice it to say, it does NOT involve the scams of synthetic or prescription drugs or “medicinal marijuana” or other similar drugs. How is THAT for knowledge and enlightenment?

          • Baz

            Wow. You’re quite hate filled, insecure and defensive – definitely not a good recommendation for home schooling at all if this is what it produces. Yes I know that you disagree with it but for many of the wrong reasons – home schooled children may not be socially isolated always but there is a stronger argument that I’ll get to in a minute.

            Now on to your accusations – I won’t even call them arguments because that would give them a dignity that they lack. I’m the type of person who is as strongly against Sharia as I am against Christian fundamentalists calling the shot. Both are within the realms of religious fanaticism.

            You’ve next confused various types of government as the same thing – fortunately in this case I oppose every single one of those.

            Communism doesn’t work and produces terrible results since it’s based on a revolution to secure a poorly functioning system of economics based on out dated and debunked ideology. It utterly ignores data and this is reflected in the soviet treatment of science – one need only look at Lysenko to realize just how poorly ideologically (including religious ideology but in this case secular, albeit communist, idiocy) driven science is. Doesn’t matter whether that ideology is religious, political, hippy dippy pseudoscience or a believe in magic – it censors important ideas and tries to twist the data to fit preconceived notions.

            Socialism is too broad to mean much – but in terms of it’s original meaning I’m against that too – it’s little better than a slow transition to the idiotic policies of communism. People who pursue this on the other hand a more often just well meaning but misguided folk as compared to hard line communists. Still idiotic though.

            Facism – I have no truck with this lot at all, many of my family were killed by facists. They’re no better than the communists at their very best and at their worst they’re little better than beasts. Again this is ideology overriding concerns such as ethics, basic deceny, humanity and science – fortunately in the case of the Nazi’s their persecution of those of Jewish descent as well as censorship of politics and ideas led to most of their best scientists leaving the country and gave them a significant disadvantage in the war as a result. Idiotic and willfully destructive to boot as opposed to the more common communist idiotic and incompetent combination but there are variations in both cases of what is pared with core ideologically driven idiocy.

            Nationalist – again not a fan, same sort of relationship as socialism to communism here and again more idiocy. The common thread here again is ideology over reality based decision making/science/politics/education.

            Theocracy – perhaps the worst of all, over history many more have died at the hands of religious fanatics for the ‘crime’ of not believing their version of ideology. Further most nationalistic or fascistic governments include an element of this religious fervor. Science is stunted to the point of completely abandoning progress in biological sciences where it conflicts with religious views, scientists who questions religiously based views on cosmology or the age of the world persecuted, all things interpreted through the dominant religious lens despite clear evidence that it’s incorrect. This represents the kind of society that people like the Islamic State which to create and already with far less power than the Hitler’s or Stalin’s of history they seem at least as committed to wiping out those who don’t believe just the same as they do.

            I won’t go into your delusions of grandeur as to ‘cures for cancer’ or your comments on the state of medicine being a scam or your opinions on ‘medicinal marijuana’. That’s tin foil hat territory and you should probably go get some help pal, wild medical quackery based on home spun ‘theories’ tend to get seriously ill people killed by preventing them from taking evidence based medical approaches.

            I will instead conclude by saying that you show a distinct lack of knowledge about the basics of politics and science, it’s not just friendship you missed out on but some of the basic tools to help make sense of the world. Instead you seem to lack critical thinking skills that would be vital in having a WORTHWHILE opinion about things like religions, philosophy, politics, medicine, cancer, science or hell anything. What you put out and believe is basically just assertions dressed up as something more than that because you haven’t learned the ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy.

  • Mark Shrigley

    My wife is a former teacher who decided to stay home and homeschool our child. She knows what the public education is all about – a complete joke.

    Our child participates not only in our church programs, but non-church (secular) things such as ballet. She is part of a home school group and socializes with other children.

    She is two years ahead in math and one year in reading. She is not gifted, we just push math a little harder as well as science. She learns about creationism but also knows about evolution.

    As for me, I teach her programming and designing websites (I work in the IT field). She is currently enjoying “robot kits” where she is programming them using PBasic. Her skill set is HTML, CSS – and PHP is what she usually programs in. WordPress is her CMS. And she’s only ten!

    I’m not saying homeschooling is for everyone. We are just fortunate because we can afford to have my wife stay home and teach our daughter, one on one, education she needs to get her ready for college. I come home and teach her the techie stuff.

    She doesn’t know who Lady Ga Ga is – and I think that’s great. She’s not exposed to the crap that public schools offer. It’s better to be sheltered than bombarded.

    If someone wants to send their kid to a public school – hey, that is their right. If somone wants to send their kid to a Christian school – that’s also their right. But our family has every right to homeschool our child – period.

    btw – you heard of Tim Tebow? Yeah, sure you have. This guy is a walking testimony for Christ. He was homeschooled…

    • Pax Humana

      That is nice and all, but, to be honest, Christianity and Judaism were NEVER meant to promote being sheltered or to promote things such as ratings systems and censorship. Furthermore, despite the quote that says, “We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world,” we are supposed to be the trend setters, the innovators, and the people with revolutionary ideas and all throughout history, we have proven that to be true time and time again. A vast amount of people that have won Nobel Prizes, not to mention that have made the advances in history, archaeology, science, medicine, and numerous other fields have been Christians and Jews. Furthermore, we, according to the Great Commission and to our Creator YAHWEH EL ELOHIM, and His form in His Son YAHASHUA YAMASHIYAH, we, gasp, ARE supposed to relate to the culture at large. Even Paul mentioned this in his teachings! It is in the Holy Scriptures if you do not take me at my word, sir. We HAVE TO, SHOULD, AND MUST reach out to people that are where they are in their lives or else we are just a religious club with human made traditions that honestly mean nothing towards our salvation and towards YAHWEH EL ELOHIM and all of His forms. Oh, and Tim Tebow is a really arrogant and prideful individual and he honestly needs to repent of some sins and to humble himself in his life, so I would not model myself on someone like him, I would rather follow someone say, like Chris Peterson over at Boise State University or, outside of football, someone like Rosa Parks or Linda Brown (of the Civil Rights Era fame). By the way, I was home schooled, I went to private school, and I went to public school and the only REAL solution to schooling is private school, specifically, underground schools (and that day is coming sooner and closer than you think, sir). Home schooling is too isolationalist and it is too anti-Christian and public schooling is most certainly anti-Christian and I do believe that we could be in agreement on the reasons why it is so, too. Have a nice day, Mark Shrigley.

  • beth

    as a public school mom who goes to a large evangelical church where about half the kids are home schooled, I can can say that the home school kids (elementary and youth groups) are very much in their own clique and don’t talk much to the kids who go to public and private schools. And the home school parents are extremely closed off and hard to make friends with. I don’t look down on home schooling at all, lots of my relatives homeschool for all sorts of reasons. But I wish I could tell all my home schooling friends how bad they make home schooling look. I know they think they are hip and cool with their facebook and instagram accounts of the fun things they do all day, but they act like snobs and their kids look lazy! And they really cannot socialize well with other kids. Many of the families seem either insecure and self centered. They use church as their chance to “socialize” but then only “socialize” with other home schoolers. It makes it all look really weird. Sorry to vent here. I wish I could put it on my church’s website: dear home school families, we love you all and support you. please stop talking about homeschooling. please stop being snobs. please teach your kids to to get along better with the other kids and not be so sensitive about everything. thank you.

  • Kerrie

    LOL ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, by all means, please do. And keep us appraised of how that’s working out in about 8-10 years. LOL I was a Christian until I learned in public school all about evolution and how the Bible is just mans made up attempt to control people. There were a few kids who were Christians. Anytime they tried to speak up for their faith, they were promptly shredded by those of us more “enlightened” and better educated. They quickly learned to keep their mouths shut. Your kids will to. :) But at least you can rest in the assurance that tossing your kids in the lions den will give God a chance to protect them. Prepare to be sifted, brother.

  • Delwyn Campbell

    I have a son, whom I put in the Public school system, and home schooled. He gained nothing from the P.S. experience but the experience of fighting because he was the only black kid in a class.

    I understand that you have a doctoral degree. I really need to know where you went. I guess Curtis Mayfield was correct; it is possible to be “an educated fool from an educated school.”

  • Morton

    My wife & I raised 3 children that are now happily married, and having children of their own. We’ve heard all these arguments, and had the discussions between ourselves, as well as others. It always amazes me how people who have not raised kids can be such experts on everything from education to faith formation. I have to say that the key to any dialogue such as this is understanding and respect – two things Tony seems to be totally lacking.

  • Russell Snow

    It
    (modern philosophy) certainly exacts a surrender of all supernaturalism
    and fixed dogma and rigid institutionalism with which Christianity has
    been historically associated John Dewey

  • Rachel

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Watch the TED talk on YouTube called ‘do schools kill creativity’. Watch the documentaries: ‘the war on kids’, ‘waiting for Superman’, ‘race to nowhere’. Look up the word ‘Unschooling’, look up the book ‘dumbing us down, the hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling’ by John Taylor Gatto. Look up the author, John Holt, and some of his books like ‘how children fail’, ‘how children learn’, and ‘escape from childhood’.
    Homeschooled kids get to live in the world with real people. They are not housed in prisons all day marched around and told when to learn, eat, sit, stand, play, socialize, and go to the bathroom. School is about as far from real life and real relationship building in the real world as one can get. I can’t believe an Emergent Church thinker would ever send their kids to school. It’s a regressive move not a progressive move.

  • Ames

    There are so many things wrong with this blog. First, it reeks of holier-than-thou judgmentalism. But I won’t go there. I guess I would simply pose the obvious question…if you are so hell bent on being missional, why aren’t you in school yourself? Because I doubt that your kiddos are prepared to be tiny little missionaries among their school mates. Statistically speaking, it is far more likely that your children will be giving head on the school bus than winning their friends to Christ, and that is the truth.

  • Just Thinking

    It appears you don’t approach Mr. Dewey with the caution that scripture admonishes us to have towards “philosophies of men”…”He (Dewey) argued, for example, that belief in objective truth and authoritative notions of good and evil are harmful to students.”

    Many argue that it has been Dewey’s philosophy of education that can be tracked along with the demise of this nations educational destruction. How a couple would send a “missionary” out to defend their faith and share the Good News of Jesus Christ typically before getting genuinely saved (at 4 or 5 years of age and no more than 2 year in the faith) and without first being grounded in the Word of God appears unwise at best.

    Modern education has segued into indoctrination first and foremost and we have enough evidence to support this accusation. Based on how much of your ethos (verbiage) has been formed by books that you have read over the past decades indicates that you at this point probably aren’t grounded in Scripture enough to withstand the incessant pounding of your faith by this system that hates Christ and wants desperately to destroy the faith of weak evangelical Christians who know more unbiblical cliches’ taken from “self proclaimed experts” on how to be a christian in the world today then Bible verses.

    One simple example of what I perceive (forgive me if I am wrong) is your use of “Christ Follower” as a moniker to describe a Christian…I found myself using this cliche until I stopped and thought Biblically about this new description…I know you are saying “this is not new…Christ Follower is original”..yes those in the Gospels who followed Rabis that taught people were called “followers”; however, once the Church started, Theology in the Church within the Epistles started teaching us clearly that we are “Children” of the King of Kings, we are “in Christ who is in the Father”, we are called over and over “doulous” (slaves) and Christ over 160 times is identified as our “Kurios” (Master who has total control over all decisions). So to call oneself a “follower” is an impersonal non committal type term (remember when Jesus’s teaching got tough, most of His “followers” got up and left). Spend the next year immersing your Mind exclusively in the Word of God and look seriously at the original languages (its like HD TV compared to listening to the radio). Once your kids get genuinely born again (not just saying the words to make mom and dad happy) and you see genuine indications of true conversion such as a love and genuine hunger for the Word and the dropping off of behaviors because the Holy Spirit convicts them of things that no one around even mentions and once they can give a Biblical answer for the hope that is within them, send them on into the battlefield…they will then be able to clearly discern truth from untruth and they will clearly see the incessant pummeling on Christ and Christianity which helped to reinforce the truth of the battle that is raging here on earth between the Prince of Darkness which has deceived such men as Dewey and Russel.

  • lou

    Wow! Where’s the love in this discussion? There’s a lot of harsh name-calling. Is this how followers of Christ treat one another with opposing opinions?

  • samuel adams

    lol…This is the s-t-u-p-i-d-e-s-t rant I have EVER read… lol.

  • Kandice

    Raising 4 children as a single mother, who are now grown, I had no choice but to send them to public school. In which I went to as well. When did it become so bad to send your children to a school with certified teachers who are TRAINED to educate. I am not that fool of myself to think I could to a better job, otherwise I would be a teacher. I am a mother. I use my time teaching them about life, and enjoying our time together. Yes, schools are different now, but that blame falls on parents who are NOT teaching their children discipline. I am ashamed to be part of this generation of parents who want to “baby” these kids, cause that can’t see anything bad! Crap. You cannot handle bad situations in life, if you don’t experience them. Teach them right at home, then they can perform well in public. Keep them covered and “protected” then they will get fed to the wolves in the future. You will not live forever, our job as parents is to prepare of children for adulthood, hiding them is setting them up for failure. My opinion. But really people like this make me sick, and is the cause of all these spoiled brats in our nation.

  • Margaret

    I am a single parent who homeschooled both my daughters and then moved to a small town in Montana where they attended school and have been going ever since so I see both sides of the issue. I think some of the arguments for homeschooling are ridiculous and fear based…you can be in the world and not become like everyone else(we are in the world but not of the world). However to demonize homeschooling is just down right un-American! I no longer live in a small town in Montana,I live in a bigger city in S. California where already this year there was a teenager murdered by three other teenagers, who attended my daughters high school. We later found out that it was a gang initiation killing. My daughters high school is practically a police state. I met a father who’s son was interrogated by the police without being notified because his son’s locker buddy was suspected of having drugs in his locker. When the father asked the principal why he as a parent was not notified her response was that she answers to law enforcement first. Once your child sets foot on that bus you no longer have legal authority over them in many ways. To say that homeschooling is bad is down right ignorant. That father took his son out of that school and his son is doing well in high school home schooling program. Many children are saved by homeschooling because they are given more respect or individual attention. Many children who are bullied and want to kill themselves are saved by it. Get the facts before you make a ignorant blanket judgemental statement!

  • Scott Rosen

    I have been a homeschooling father the last 15 years and formerly served on the staff of Young Life. I have heard hundreds of these arguments in this vein. Here is my simple input, be what it may. Be it homeschooling, private or public school choice, it is the leadership of the parents in both intention and involvement in schooling and culture that determines the outcome of the child. I’ve seen incredibly missional kids come out of the public school and also out of homeschool. I’ve seen incredibly selfish and whacked out kids come out of both as well, with “Christian” parents. The question is not about our kids…its about us and our willingness to commit fully to their development, being aware of what God wants and being obedient to His voice.

  • Darnell Wesh

    This is just sad.. And horrible… And ignorant.

  • Helene

    Thank you! Finally..someone with a rational outlook! I don’t care WHAT religion people are, children need qualified teachers and even more importantly children need other children from different walks of life in order to learn. In my country, we have a saying ‘It takes a community to raise a child’. Never a truer word was said! Thank you to this author for being socially conscious and putting his children and his community’s needs before his own ego.

  • lauren koch

    home schooling can be a good or bad experience depending on how your parents do it. I was raised in a christian home and was home schooled, not for religious reasons, I hated it. I wanted more out of my education then I was getting and my mother could give me. I also wanted to interact with people that weren’t my siblings on a daily bases not just once or twice a week at church. In the eighth grade i went to charter school and I loved it for the most part. I wasn’t as smart as i thought I was and had a struggle catching up.
    The bible says to be in the world but not of it. Children need to learn the worlds view of things so they can know how to have an educational conversation about their beliefs. they also need to be able to figure out for themselves what they believe.
    School is not intended t teach children everything just like parents aren’t. It is a mixture of both that makes for a good education.

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  • Luke Breuer

    Similarly, formal education was formerly for the societal elite. But in a democracy, education is for all, with the understanding that the more educated we all become, the more humane we will be toward one another (this, of course, is open to debate).

    Is this true? Is it borne out by the evidence? From sociologist Peter Berger’s A Far Glory:

    Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (30)

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  • Rachel Collins

    Home-schooled children DO have to take standardized tests… When I was in school, we took The Iowa Test of Basic Skills nearly every year, and had to complete several other standardized tests throughout grade school….

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  • Frankly Knot

    It’s interesting that I even found this article. It’s not like I was looking for “delusional parent uses own children as worker drones to perpetuate his faith by sending them into public schools with the mandate to preach the word because all of his kids will be just like him and walk around school with a bible.”

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    The mission Christ gives His church is not a mission “shared” by the society in which we live; it is a “confrontational” mission that calls the church to confront society in its apostasy from God by calling all people to repent of their sin and unbelief. The church’s message to tell the society around us, beginning with our own children, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Therefore, we can know nothing truly, as it ought to be known, until we fear the Lord and presuppose Him and His revealed truth in all our thoughts. We must repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to begin to have an accurate knowledge of the world in which we live.” So our mission educationally is clearly not a “shared” mission with unbelieving society; it is a militant mission aimed at undermining and attacking the humanist assumptions on which secular society is built. It is only through a truly Christian education that we can equip our children for the mission we bequeath to them, which is to join us in this confrontational mission aimed at society, not “shared” with it. (I am not denying, of course, that we share certain goals for our society in common with unbelievers, such as having a safe infrastructure, an orderly society in which the law is enforced and people are protected, etc. But we do not share with unbelievers the same educational goals.) Because the church has a distinctive mission educationally, we must equip our children for this mission by teaching them God’s truth– which is all truth about everything– from a God-centered perspective, as parents were exhorted to do by Moses in the book of Deuteronomy.

    The public schools have become bastions of secular humanism, bombarding children daily with the lie that ‘life makes sense’ and a true knowledge of the world, themselves, ethics, life’s purpose, etc., is possible, whether or not God even exists. He is irrelevant to answering the “big” questions of life and to building a stable, blessed society. Christian education has the distinct aim of blasting that lie to smithereens by showing how without presupposing God’s existence, no true knowledge of anything is possible, and society is headed for ruin. Christian education involves indoctrinating students in that truth, just as secular education indoctrinates them in the lie that life can be wonderful, the world can make sense, society can be stable and blessed, and the universe comprehensible whether or not God exists. That is a lie, and any system of education that does not divest children of that lie has failed, and has left them in ignorance of themselves, the world in which they live, and the God who made them.

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