Why Homeschoolers Don’t Understand “Missional”

As expected, homeschool advocates have turned out in force to defend and justify their decision to homeschool in response to my (provocatively titled) post, “Death to Homeschooling!

Therein, I argued,

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.

That thinking garnered comments like this one, from 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.

What Wendy and other commenters don’t seem to understand is that, when I use the term “missional,” I don’t mean “sharing Jesus.” At least, I don’t mean it like she means it. I’m not talking about evangelism.

Missional does not mean evangelism. Missional means showing Christlike compassion to other human beings and to all of creation. Here are the two biblical passages that bring me to my definition of missional:

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. (Matthew 5:13)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

Missional means being the salt seasoning in the world, and you cannot be that seasoning (no matter your age) if you withdraw from society.

P.S., read this comment from a Christian college prof if you want some more evidence that homeschooling doesn’t do what its advocates say it’s doing.

  • Michelle

    The flaw in your argument is that homeschooling does not equal withdrawing from society, it means only withdrawing from the local public school. You’re painting with brushstrokes that are far too broad.

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

      Well said. I wish I could have said it that succinctly.

      Choosing to use private, instead of public, transportation doesn’t mean you’re withdrawing from society. It just means you’re choosing to trust your own car instead of the city’s.

    • Lance

      Thanks Michelle! I agree.

      Tony, I love reading your posts and the way you challenge people to think. But, regretfully, I think your approach is a little too narrow-minded and either-or on this subject. I enjoy the way you are normally open-minded and stretch people to think more broadly. Thus, I am sad to see you swing the other direction here. I would appreciate you, as a critical and missional thinker, to consider ways in which home-schooling parents, such as my wife and I, can use this mode of education to equip our children to be more missional without saying unequivocally that they “must” be in a public school to do so (and approaching it so abrasively). There are other ways to nurture missional values and practices besides making our kids attend a public school.

    • MB@Hope

      Stop using reason, let those go and use your feelings. Then you will agree…
      [maybe if they taught this in homeschooling curriculum he would be for it!]

  • http://markvans.info Mark Van Steenwyk

    I disagree. My son Jonas isn’t five yet, so we haven’t started school. Amy and I have decided to put him in public school (though probably at a charter school). However, we have discussed homeschooling–a lot. And, I believe, purely for missional reasons. The thing is, we are radically minded folks. We want Jonas to learn that stuff so that he can be equipped to do justice in the world. For us, homeschooling would not be anti-missional because, after all, we live in an intentional community that does hospitality and has people constantly moving through our space.

    Granted, most folks don’t live the way we do. But I can conceive of homeschoolers in all kinds of living arrangements who do it in a way that engages society and participates in the mission of God.

    • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

      Mark, I’m quite sure you didn’t mean to say this: “We want Jonas to learn that stuff so that he can be equipped to do justice in the world.” in such a way that implies he wouldn’t be able to learn “that stuff” in other circumstances.

      I’ve homeschooled my children for going on 11 years now and the constant refrain I hear from people about them is how generous, inclusive and concerned they are. And virtually all of their friends are not Christian. We have almost no Christian friends in our network. So they are not doing the easy things … they have learned in the crucible of the world how to love others … even some very gnarly others.

      Tony has (as usual) been talking with his head in his nether regions about a subject with which he has had little direct knowledge or experience and is conflating home schooling with isolationism. People can send their children to public school and be isolationist … trust me, I know plenty who are like that. People can home school and be devoted to living with open hands (and an open door).

      • http://www.markvans.info Mark Van Steenwyk

        Sonja…thanks for the gentle push back. Of course, I didn’t mean to be quite that narrow. We’re just trying to figure out how best to do that with the options at hand. We have always been willing to consider the homeschooling option. In an ideal world, we would send Jonas to school part time and handle some of the other stuff ourselves…kind of a best of both worlds. We’d supplement some of the classroom time with a mix of homeschooling and some organized alternative education with other parents who share our convictions. There is a group called EXCO in the Twin Cities that does alternative schooling for adults (things like the history of Anarchism, how to build a bicycle, learning local plantlife, traditional herbal medicine, etc). I’ve always like the idea of extending that to more family-centered learning. But, life being what it is, we have to balance work schedules and resources. And, thankfully, since we live in an urban intentional community, Jonas is already starting to learn how to mill grain, garden, can food, make yogurt, and has been at more protests than most adults.

  • http://djword.blogspot.com Rick Bennett

    I would use the word “immersion” to describe what it means to be missional vs. evangelistic. It is easy to be evangelistic without immersing ourselves in a world (see short term mission trips, knocking on doors or a neighborhood we don’t live in). I am not going to knock people that do that.

    However, the homeschoolers that are up in arms need to understand that to be missional, once needs to be immersed. Knocking on doors and short term trips are all fine and dandy, but they aren’t immersion. To be missional to one’s neighborhood and school, one needs to be immersed in the life of that neighborhood.

    That said, I don’t have a strong opinion on home schooling. Whatever floats your boat is your prerogative. My family is not immersed in our neighborhood’s school because I am not happy with the education in our local elementary. I chose a magnet school a few miles away. I would rather immerse myself in that environment, as difficult as it is instead of my neighborhood because I also want my kids to get the best education I (as a public school person by choice and finances) they can.

    That said, if I were in a city with horrible public education, I would consider home schooling if there was no option for private.

    • Brian

      I have to agree with Michelle, one does not necessarily equal the other.

      In my experience working with youth (and I’m sure a far smaller sample size than the prof whose comment you linked to above) but I’ve seen home-schooled kids that are afraid of their own shadow, withdrawn and fearful etc. BUT, I’ve also seen home-schooled kids who are far more mature than their peers and more capable in interacting with people of all ages…which leads me to conclude the issue isn’t homeschooling itself, but how and *why* a parent chooses to homeschool.

      Many parents do choose to homeschool to protect their kids from the big bad evil world and join cohorts, groups etc. that support this mentality. Many others choose to homeschool because they believe they can give their kids a better all-around education…including what it means to be missional and involved in the community.

  • Frank

    Of course it’s impossible to be missional without sharing why we live this way, which of ourse is because of Christ. So it’s possible to be evangelistic without being missional but it’s impossible to be missional without being evangelistic.

  • Keith Rowley

    I love your definition of Missional.

    Most homeschoolers I know don’t want to withdraw from society, some do this is true, but most simply want some more controll over their interactions with society.

    Also a lot of homeschoolers choose this path for academic reasons. We view our duty to our kids as being more important than our duty to society or our call to be missional and have chosen what seems after much consideration to be the best educational choice available for our specific kids in our specific situation.

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

    Why Homeschoolers Don’t Understand “Missional”

    Another out of touch, arrogant, and unnecessarily hostile title to a post. This is becoming a disturbing trend related to this topic.

    I will ask again, are you trying to engage people in a genuine conversation here? If you are trying to engage homeschoolers at all, you’re failing miserably, as the last comment chain ought to demonstrate to you. “Death to ‘what you think and hold dear and invest countless hours of time into’” isn’t a thoughtful way to engage a group of people with whom you disagree.

    Let me turn it around to an issue that’s also very “provocative.”

    How would you feel about a conservative blogger who titled a post, “Death to homosexuality!”

    (Rightly) You and hundreds of thousands of others would be enraged.

    My guess, though, is that you aren’t interested in a real conversation here. Being “provocative” is a great way to generate page views, or so I hear.

    I was homeschooled, and while I don’t think I would ever homeschool my own children, I’m not prideful enough to think that I know how every Christian parent in the world ought to raise his/her children. Who am I to say? I don’t know their situations.

    I don’t know the needs of their children (what if they have learning disabilities, or something more severe, like autism, and their kids needs hours of one-on-one attention?). I don’t know the specifics of their school district (what if the school system is failing children? What if the schools are full of violence, and keeping kids home is a way to protect them?).

    Again, these posts are written from a point of incredible ignorance and arrogance.

    “Why I won’t homeschool my kids” would be a great way to have a conversation, especially if it were transparent about your situation (like your school district, the needs of your children, etc.).

    “Death to homeschooling!” is arrogant hogwash that is not designed to solicit a conversation. It’s a way to be controversial.

    P.S., read this comment from a Christian college prof if you want some more evidence that homeschooling doesn’t do what its advocates say it’s doing.

    Evidence? Are you being serious? This is a personal anecdote. The only reason you’re giving it more weight than the other anecdotes in the previous thread is because you happen to agree with this one.

    Ironically, I have lots of experiences like the one this prof is describing. I don’t doubt the legitimacy of the stories. But for goodness’ sake, can’t we be honest and admit that our personal experiences aren’t all encompassing and representative of everyone and everything else in the world?

    • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

      I totally agree. I actually removed from my own comments some statements about the nature of conversation and tone here that bothers me. Since you already said it, I would like to also say that I find it disturbing that an advocate of the “emerging conversation” falls prey to the same tactics FOX news and others use to get ratings. Unfortunately Tony can sit back and laugh because we’re having this conversation on his blog, but it lowers my esteem of the good doctor a few notches. It seems even those who claim to want dialogue in this country don’t know how to do it well. This could also be a product fo being in the academy too long where you are only rewarded for being cynical and disagreeing with everyone (I have many friends that seem to prove this case).

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

      If this comes across as angry, well, that’s because it is. But in all honesty, I believe this is the tone Tony’s posts have set. “Death to ___________” is a great way to disrespect and tick off a bunch of people who hold __________ as something important.

    • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

      This is such a great reply. I wish that it mattered. Tony has posted his “Death to Homeschooling” post three times over the years, as far as I can tell. And at no point has he seemed interested in listening to or engaging with homeschoolers. The Emergent Church is all about dialogue and not privileging one perspective to the exclusion of others, but somehow that doesn’t seem to apply to this topic – at least not the way that Tony has handled it.

  • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

    You seem to have a particular type of homeschooling and homeschooler in mind with your posts, but not all homeschoolers are created equal. My wife and I have decided to unschool our kids at home, but we end up rubbing shoulders with the kind of fundamentalist, anti-culture homeschoolers you seem to be attacking. We also spend a lot of our time with unitarians that both homeschool and unschool. It’s unfortunate to just be lumped in to one “homeschool” category.

    It also seems that you are allowing the public education system to dictate how and when you engage with the world, if choosing not to go to public school somehow means you’re not missional (whatever we can agree that word means, which I agree is not proselytizing). In other words, there is a whole world outside of the public school system in which I can engage missionally. It’s like saying I have to engage in the military, global capitalism or retirement plans just because that’s the way the world is. Saying the only way to be missional is to put your kids in public school shows a serious lack of imagination. You can certainly disagree with particular ways of homeschooling, but blanket statements like this are boring and not helpful.

    We live in a very diverse neighborhood in Waco, TX and my kids get to engage a diverse group of people and ideas. There are pros and cons to opting out of public schools, but it’s a non sequitur that homeschooling = NOT missional. We as a family wrestle with the fact that homeschooling/unschooling is an option for us as privileged people, but I don’t think that necessarily means we shouldn’t do it. It does mean we should be aware of that fact.

    • Michelle

      “In other words, there is a whole world outside of the public school system in which I can engage missionally.”

      This, exactly.

  • Ryan

    Agreeing to use the term ‘missional’ as you define—which I agree with anyway—I still take issue with the idea that my 6 and 8-year old are going to be missional in school. For our family, the choice to homeschool is more about the philosophy of education and the type of work that younger and younger kids are being asked to produce. For me, this has little to do with a Christian worldview or morality. In fact, as our kids grow up we will actively encourage our kids to go to real universities, and not some Christian college.

    My disagreement with Tony’s view of homeschooling is that he appears to use the term ‘missional’ as a rhetorical ploy to persuade others that it is the Christian thing to do, when really he seems to be saying that it is the right ‘American’ thing to do. There are many ways in which Christians can be ‘missional’—but from my perspective, Tony cedes too much to the American ethos and refuses to be inclusive to the idea that Christians can hold to alternative modes of education.

  • http://www.peacenerds.com Melissa Anderson-Hinn

    Hi Tony. I disagree (I am sure) with the majority of commenters to your blog post, but I also disagree with you in your article. Maybe not so much disagree with you as want to challenge both the premise that sending kids to public school is “missional” living and that simply having your kids in public school without truly substantive and innovative qualifies as missional living. For the majority of homeschooling parents, especially Christians, the drive is to protect children from the evils of public school and society (in general) and the lack of funds to pay for private schools. But what about those of us who are, by no means, faith-based homeschoolers and actually choose to educate our children in a home- based manner because we realize it is the only way to truly expose them to the world and to their true selves and full individual potential. My kids are still pretty young, in fact the third is just a newborn, but I started homeschooling (for lack of a better word) my kids from birth. We want our kids to travel the world, become immersed in various cultures, learn to speak multiple languages in their early childhood years, understand the complexity of the world’s problems more progressively at each developmental stage, know their selves and their unique potentials to impact the world, learn to value and utilize divergent, innovative thinking, and solidify a deeply profound, narrative
    worldview that is cultivated from the start of life. The most important job any parent has is to be a parent. Parenting is not a side job or a privilege – it is a lifelong commitment and nothing that you do in life is more important – not being a pastor or a doctor or a President. Nothing is more important. My kids will likely never go to public school but they will know the world, be able to immerse themselves anywhere within it, and grow up with a profound presence in their own San Francisco neighborhood and deep understanding of their individual social-global responsibilities and the work of global peacemaking-and-building. We will go into the world to experience history and the presence, to learn to solve problems and build relationships, to become better citizens and neighbors. Perhaps, we should call it something other than homeschooling but I guarantee you that there is no greater “Missional” lifestyle available to us than what we are cultivating. As for the second point, you are not truly missional
    By just sending your kids to public school just as most of your commenters are NOT missional by withdrawing from public schools because they want to protect their kids from reality. I believe it is impossible to be missional without also being intentionally and passionately transformative. Most public schools really suck and the entire pedagogical paradigm on which our education system is based….. Is horrifyingly oppressive to both our children and our teachers. what are you doing to transform the system because, honestly, I am growing far more frustrated with the people preaching from an incomplete platform of “Missional living” than I am the crazy conservatives who think they can or SHOULD protect their kids from society and be better “Christians” by homeschooling. I am not saying that you aren’t transforming the schools and the education system, I am saying…. ARE YOU?

  • Stephen

    Tony, I am not sure you should be painting with such broad strokes. Your choice in schooling does not determine if you are missional, or not. I know many children in public schools who are not missional. They simply hang out with other Christians or look down in judgement on others. I know many who are not impacting the world they live in, but simply follow what everyone else is doing.

    I also many homeschool kids who are very missional. There are those who take karate, play soccer, participate in community theater, volunteer weekly at a soup kitchen, and have friends who are Christians as well as friends who are not. In some ways these kids are more missional that someone in public school who follow the crowd.

    Homeschooling is not better or worse (missional or not missional) than public school. Homeschooling is a choice dealing with one area of a persons life. How you approach homeschooling determines if one is missional or not. There are kids who are homeschooled who are missional and there there as some who are not. Just as there are kids in public school who are missional as well as some who are not.

    I think this discussion is an important one to have. When you make generalizations like this, especially when they are not supported by facts but what appears to be a personal bias, it does not help the discussion. What if we talked about how homeschooled kids can be missional rather than making a blanket statement that no homeschool child is missional. If you want to make a statement like like with integrity you woul have know every single one of the 1.5 million+ homeschooled children in the US.

  • http://www.peacenerds.com Melissa Anderson-Hinn

    Sorry, typing on an iphone while laying down nursing a newborn allowed for many typos: pasting a corrected version of my comment here:

    Hi Tony. I disagree (I am sure) with the majority of commenters to your blog post, but I also disagree with you in your article. The first article made me really frustrated and angry at you but I have calmed and would rather engage your thinking and perhaps expand your scope a bit. I don’t so much disagree with your critique of a stereotype as with the fact that you allowed only a single stereotype to infiltrate your thinking and thus spoke from a platform of authority that oppresses and discredits a large community of people. I want to challenge both the premise that sending kids to public school is “missional” living and that simply having your kids in public school without truly substantive and innovative efforts to transform the system, qualifies as missional living.

    For the majority of homeschooling parents (maybe), especially Christians, the drive is to protect children from the evils of public school and society (in general) and the lack of funds to pay for private schools. But what about those of us who are, by no means, faith-based homeschoolers and actually choose to educate our children in a home- based manner because we realize it is the ONLY way to truly expose them to the world and to their true selves and full individual potential. My kids are still pretty young, in fact the third is just a newborn, but I started homeschooling (for lack of a better word) my kids from birth. We want our kids to travel the world, become immersed in various cultures, learn to speak multiple languages in their early childhood years, understand the complexity of the world’s problems more progressively at each developmental stage, know their selves and their unique potentials to impact the world, learn to value and utilize divergent, innovative thinking, and solidify a deeply profound, narrative
    worldview that is cultivated from the start of life. We are their parents and we want to show them the world and help them become exactly who they are created to be – their true selves, each one as an individual and a profound component of a global human narrative.

    The most important job any parent has is to be a parent. Parenting is not a side job or a privilege – it is a lifelong commitment and nothing that you do in life is more important – not being a pastor or a doctor or an activist or a President. Nothing is more important. My kids will likely never go to public school but they will know the world, be able to immerse themselves anywhere within it, and grow up with a profound presence in their own San Francisco neighborhood and deep understanding of their individual social-global responsibilities and the work of global peacemaking-and-building. We will go into the world to experience history and the presence, to learn to solve problems and build relationships across any cultural divide, to become better citizens and neighbors. Perhaps, we should call it something other than homeschooling but I guarantee you that there is no greater “Missional” lifestyle available to us, and our kids, than what we are cultivating. As for the second point, you are not truly missional by just sending your kids to public school just as most of your commenters are NOT missional by withdrawing from public schools because they want to protect their kids from reality. I believe it is impossible to be missional without also being intentionally and passionately transformative in any setting or system. Most public schools really suck and the entire pedagogical paradigm on which our education system is based….. IS HORRIFYINGLY OPPRESSIVE to our children and our teachers. what are you doing to transform the system because, honestly, I am growing far more frustrated with the people preaching from an incomplete platform of “Missional living” than I am the crazy conservatives who think they can or SHOULD protect their kids from society and be better “Christians” by homeschooling. I am not saying that you aren’t transforming the schools and the education system, I am saying…. ARE YOU?

  • Phil Miller

    I think the phrase “withdrawn from society” can mean so many things. I attended public school, but even in doing so, I was pretty withdrawn from most of the kids I went to school with. Part of it was that I was in a rather rural school district, so there were very few kids I attended school with who were actually within walking or biking distance from my house. Probably a larger factor, though, was that my father was a pastor, and our lives really revolved around the church more than anything. Participating in extra-curricular activities was not something I did much of, and I really can’t say I exhibited the qualities of salt and light that Tony is pointing to.

    I just think that every situation is quite different. I have met kids who fit into the stereotype of a homeschooler, but I’ve also met homechooled kids who are very outgoing, open to new things, etc. It really has more to do with the attitude of the parent than anything. One can be completely withdrawn in a public school setting as well.

  • nathan

    If I still lived in LA now that I have kids, you couldn’t pay me in gold bars to put my kids in one of those LAUSD schools. We’d have to homeschool by necessity…cuz, like, I want my kids to, like, be able to…spell. And not say “like” every 3rd word. (I am overstating for effect…)

    And I’ve seen a lot of homeschoolers over the last 15-20 years in ministry,
    some are “homers”–scary themselves, fear driven, insecure, teaching a posture of victimization and hostile assumptions about the way the world works, Sarah Palin is hero, etc.–

    and some people who “do SCHOOL at home”–they all come from a variety of political/social values and they all are creatively customizing the education experience for their kids, accessing public resources they’ve paid for in taxes when needed, and turning out kids that are smart, well adjusted, love God, and a real joy to be around.

    I think you have to do what works for the academic/formational needs of your child…but I wholesale reject any choice for homeschooling if it’s based on snotty, pious, religious radio orthodoxy paranoia. and sadly, that’s where homeschooling gets it’s bad P.R. cuz the “homer” voices are the loudest.

  • TicklishMeerkat

    The only moral homeschooling is MY homeschooling.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      That’s right, TM. Other homeschoolers suck, but I do it for the right reasons.

  • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

    Friends, here’s my point: Every time a Christian disengages from a civic institution — drops out of the public school, decides not to vote or run for office — that institution suffers. It becomes weaker.

    We are called to missional engagement in our civic institutions, and we cannot do that by withdrawing from them.

    • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

      No … your point (very pedestrian though it is) is that homeschooling is a withdrawal from civic institutions. And you could not be more wrong.

      • andy

        actually, homeschooling is, by definition, a withdrawal from a civic institution. not all of them for sure, but definitely one of them.

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

      Tony, you said, “We are called to missional engagement in our civic institutions.” How exactly are “we” called? What kind of engagement? Says who? And who decides for “we”?

      You then said, “and we cannot do that by withdrawing from them.” Of course “we” can. Though your statement begs the question: why not, and how not?

      I also agree with many of the commenters here. You paint in overly broad strokes. And even though you finally clarified what you mean by “missional” . . .

      >>> “Missional means showing Christlike compassion to other human beings and to all of creation. Missional means being the salt seasoning in the world, and you cannot be that seasoning (no matter your age) if you withdraw from society. <<<

      . . . your definition doesn't fit your argument that homeschooling is anti-missional. Because homeschooling is NOT withdrawing from society. And you have yet to offer any substance to qualify your argument on that point.

      Moreover, to title this post "Why Homeschoolers Don't Understand 'Missional'" (as well as this page's HTML meta title "Homeschooling Is Not Missional") is divisive and unnecessarily deprecating of your fellow Christians who 1) choose to homeschool, and 2) don't see things as you do on the subject.

      I was a public school kid who hung out daily with homeschool kids (NJ, 1980's). One of my closest friends in PA, now an adult, was homeschooled all the way through high school. I'd say his family may have been protective, but certainly not socially reclusive.

      Albeit I have only a handful of direct personal examples, I would argue that my friends' homeschooling may have in fact been an ENHANCEMENT of Christian "mission" inasmuch as my association with them positively impacted my faith experience, and even contributed pivotally to the evolution I have reached in my emergent faith today.

      Overall, I support public education, when it is valuable and safe. I also support homeschooling, when it is likewise valuable and safe.

      • Papaleguas

        Pearson, I am not sure you should be painting with such broad strokes. Your choice in schooling does not determine if you are missional, or not. I know many children in public schools who are not missional. They simply hang out with other Christians or look down in judgement on others. I know many who are not impacting the world they live in, but simply follow what everyone else is doing.

        I also know many homeschool kids who are very missional. There are those who take karate, play soccer, participate in community theater, volunteer weekly at a soup kitchen, and have friends who are Christians as well as friends who are not. In some ways these kids are more missional that someone in public school who follow the crowd.

        Homeschooling is not better or worse (missional or not missional) than public school. Homeschooling is a choice dealing with one area of a persons life. How you approach homeschooling determines if one is missional or not. There are kids who are homeschooled who are missional and there there as some who are not. Just as there are kids in public school who are missional as well as some who are not.

        I think this discussion is an important one to have. When you make generalizations like this, especially when they are not supported by facts but what appears to be a personal bias, it does not help the discussion. What if we talked about how homeschooled kids can be missional rather than making a blanket statement that no homeschool child is missional. If you want to make a statement like like with integrity you woul have know every single one of the 1.5 million+ homeschooled children in the US.

    • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

      So every Christian must run for office? Every Christian must serve in the military? You’re really not making sense. You’re using Christianity as a legalistic bludgeon just as much as right-wingers sometimes do. And you’re doing it from a position of privilege, too, which makes your unwillingness to listen to anyone else incredibly frustrating (cherry-picking an anecdote that supports your bias is not listening, by the way). I both homeschool and have children in public school. I’ve seen the good and the bad in both. For you to suggest that homeschoolers, en masse, are – without – missional and therefore not “showing Christlike compassion to other human beings and to all of creation” (your definition) is breathtakingly arrogant.

      Ever been a foster parent? Ever adopted a child with special needs? I just made that the new measure of missional immersion. Did you pass the test? I did. Isn’t that awesome for me!

      And since you seem to lacking in nuance on this subject, let me point out that I’m not being serious with that last bit.

      • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

        should say “for you to suggest that homeschoolers, en masse, are – without exception- NOT missional”….

    • vandelay

      Not all civic institutions deserve to survive. We already live in a broken world, why should we subject our children to a broken educational system if we have the means to provide them with a superior education at home, or elsewhere?
      Your argument is so incredibly fallacious.

    • http://sunniemomsblog.wordpress.com Susan Raber

      So, Mr. Jones- are you employed by the public school system? Are you on the school board? Have you run for public office? How long did you serve in the military?

      I don’t think ‘homeschooling’ means what you think it means. We do more in our communities as homeschoolers than we ever did when our kids were in school because we have something that families with kids in PS don’t have- TIME and FREEDOM.

      As for “one man’s opinion”, the idea that homeschooling by and large results in socially awkward young people while public school doesn’t… I mean, have you EVER seen a John Hughes movie?

      It’s too bad you didn’t think this one through, or bother to present a logical, well-supported argument for your premise.

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

      Tony,
      It is fascinating to see a you attempt to defend saying “Death to Homeschooling.” Personally I consider it provocative to the point of being stupid, and stupid to the point of concluding that there is no point reading what you have to say anymore. I leave it to you to find your way back to reasonability.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.

  • Keith Rowley

    Nathan,
    I am going to be uncharitable here and realize that however I am going to say this anyway.
    Might our schools and society be better if the fear based radical type homeschoolers don’t put their kids in public school?
    I guess my point is that if you agree with Tony about missional = being salt and light is it possible some “Christians” are anti-missional (as in the opposite of) and our schools and society are better if they do withdraw from them?

    • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

      Keith … I don’t think our society would be any better off, but I certainly think our isolationist churches would be better off if people (read, parents) had to face their fear of the boogeyman in public schools. On the other hand … maybe not, because we humans have the unique ability to have experiences that conform to our pre-conceived ideas, rather than the reverse.

  • Keith Rowley

    Tony, I think a lot of us homeschoolers hear and actually agree with what you are saying about not withdrawing from society.

    However, we feel our calling to love and raise our kids to be Godly intelligent productive “missional” members of society is more important than our calling to be missional within one particular civic institution, namely the public school system.

    Not to say both things are not possible in some situations, but that both are not alwasy possible and if I have to make a choice between my family and society I am going to put the good of my family first. I don’t know if that makes me less Christlike or not, I just know it makes me human.

  • Keith Rowley

    Tony, putting these two together is the perfect example “drops out of the public school, decides not to vote or run for office”.

    Not every Christian is called to run for public office and not every Christian is called to participate in the public school system. We are all called to engage with society and be salt and light, but where each of us is called to do so will differ.

    • Michelle

      Yes!

  • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

    If I understand you correctly, Tony, you’re also saying the opposite, that it is the duty of Christians to strengthen civic institutions. I’m not sure where it says that or the basis for your argument. There are some valid Christian arguments for not voting or abstaining from participation in public office, but that does not imply disengagement from public life or the common good as you seem to imply. Again, you are limiting the possibilities for engagement based on the existing infrastructure of public institutions. The absence of participation in any of these institutions does not constitute some sort of abandonment of the common good or civil society.

    I hear you saying that “missional engagement” = “participation in civic institutions”. Is that really true? Is the whole world subsumed by your “civic institutions”? Seems very limiting and narrow. I’m not saying I am opposed to people participating in civic institutions as faithful people, even if I don’t agree or wouldn’t do it myself. But you’re advocating the opposite construct now that I am only considered “missional” if I engage particular institutions and perhaps only in the way you think i should engage them. For example, I would consider myself engaged in the institution of democracy by actively choosing note to vote, rather than passively forgetting to vote or ignoring politics.

    Your comment that “Other homeschoolers suck, but I do it for the right reasons” is dismissive and condescending of thoughtful people who disagree with your very sweeping statements (which is becoming the tone I am expecting more and more from you).

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Lucas, the quote you’re referring to was meant satirically, based on other comments. I was agreeing with TM. Lots of homeschool advocates here want to make sure that we know they’re not like THOSE OTHER homeschoolers.

      • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

        Your fleeting comments don’t seem to engage the actual conversation happening. I’d be more interested in hearing your thoughtful response to some of the points being made. I appreciate your clarification of what your real point is, but don’t hear you engaging thoughtfully what others are saying. I don’t really hear people saying what you and TM are saying. Sounds like yet another caricature.

        Another post perhaps or more comments. Do as you wish, it’s your blog. I’m just disappointed.

      • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

        So. Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. If a homeschoolers posts and reinforces your stereotype – that’s a point for you. If they reject you’re stereotype than they’re just trying to prove that “they’re not like THOSE OTHER homeschoolers” – that’s a point for you, and you get to be snarky about it. If they define missional in evangelistic terms and say they’re kids ARE sharing the gospel – they’ve gotten the definition wrong – that’s a point for you. If they define missional as you do, and say their kids are immersed in the community in others ways – that doesn’t fit your perimeters and you’re the authority defining the terms – point for you. You’ve sewn this up pretty tightly, I must say! Nicely done, and an example of the kind of religious dogmatism and authoritarianism that attracted me to your writing several years ago – back when you were calling it out, that is, rather than embodying it.

      • Brian

        C’mon Tony…to deny there are differences amongst people who homeschool is akin to denying there are differences between Episcopalians and Fundamentalists. No need for a “progressive” portal here…we’re all Christians after all, right?

  • http://www.postyesterdaychurch.blogspot.com Josh Rowley

    It seems to me that homeschooling–because it is a strategy of withdrawal–is not missional; however, it doesn’t follow that homeschooled children are unable to be missional in other ways.

    • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

      It is only necessary to define homeschooling as a strategy of withdrawal if you take the modern public system as your starting point. Prior to the relatively recent invention of the public school system “homeschooling” was the norm. We have very short memories as human beings. Neuroscience and evolutionary biology are literally proving this. Not everyone agrees that public school should be the measure by which we define withdrawal from society. In fact busing kids all over town to go to schools often creates a disconnect from their neighborhood and community in which they physically live. I’m not saying these are simple issues, just that I don’t accept the constraints placed on the conversation by the assumption of the current arrangement as the starting point by which we measure things.

  • Theresa Coleman

    I understand what Tony is saying – and for the most part I have agreed. I lived in a neighborhood where my children were the racial minority; I encouraged them in befriending those who were significantly different culturally than we were. I chose to homeschool and remove them for a multitude of reasons including: 1) severe and life-threatening illness of one child 2) bullying 3) the lack of academic excellence 4) gang violence. I was a strong advocate for keeping them in school until I felt that I was forced to remove them – I felt I had no alternative, as we could not afford anything else.

    They are both back in public schools having benefited from the experience and it has made me reflect that truly there is a time and a season for all things. Just because I was wanting to make a statement about inclusivity and what Tony calls “living missionally” did not mean my children were prepared to do so, nor was it in their best interest at the time. For everything there is a season.

    Even Jesus withdrew for periods of time in the wilderness.

    2 cents.

  • http://djword.blogspot.com Rick Bennett

    Anti-homeschooling posts bring out almost as much of the crazy as anti-gun posts.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Or anti-spanking posts.

    • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

      Show me the crazy, Rick. Seriously. Cut and paste the comments that strike you as particularly outrageous.

      • Curtis

        Comparing public schools to sexual slavery was my unfavoriate. From Tina H. on
        September 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm.

        • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

          I’m talking about THIS post – this comment stream.

          I agree with you that such a comparison is unhelpful, inflammatory, uncalled for. But I’ve just read through over 50 comments on THIS post and I haven’t see anything of the kind.

          • Curtis

            I think Rick was referring to Tony’s blog in general.

          • http://strangefigures.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

            Curtis,
            I think when Rick (or Tony) attacks people as a group, he should have to answer for it. Apparently he (and Tony) think hit and run slurs are fine. Nice of you to try to explain him, though.

          • Curtis

            Keep reading updates to this thread. You will find examples of what Rick is referring to.

      • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

        Thank you, Sharon … I agree …

  • Keith Rowley

    Lucas,
    Tony makes a point of not editing his posts after the fact and of letting the comment conversation primarily proceed without very much input from him. (Tony, correct me if I am wrong.) These are purposeful choices on his part, so his not responding much to comments is not personal but is his standard practice.

    • http://wwje.wordpress.com Lucas Land

      Ok, I can understand that. I didn’t know that was his policy. Still, the trend seems to be to poke the nest and then run away which seems kind of boring to me. The titles and topics seem intentionally controversial without actually creating good dialogue. So, I probably won’t participate much. This topic just caught my eye and thought it would be worth some good dialogue. The internet continues to disappoint me as well.

  • Tony

    Tony – Great job in creating a frenzy and attention to your blog. You get an “A+”
    Creating an environment of inclusion and contributing to the discourse that can help heal the “us v. them” dichotomies? You get an “F.”

    For the record, my children have been home schooled, have attended public school, and we have considered private school. Each year we have the discussion as responsible parents to answer the question, “how do we provide for the best education for our children.” How we can be missional within that chosen context, then comes naturally.

    Regardless of the learning context for my children, as a well informed tax payer, I can choose to be involved in my civic institutions whenever I choose and fulfill the missional call to be the “salt” of the earth. Just because I homeschool or not, I am not prohibited from running for school board, volunteering with the local PTA, etc.

    Let’s hope the next post from Mr. Jones about educational choice, provides a way to bridge the discussion in a more inclusive manner.

  • Matt

    I’m not a homeschooler or homeschooling advocate (in fact, I was a public school teacher before going to grad school), and I don’t have a personal stake in this matter. I just have to agree with the general run of complaints against Mr. Jones here–the thinking is overly simplistic. You clearly picked the comment from your previous post that most supported your general impression of homeschoolers as reactionary extremists, dismissed any other type of comment admitting some degree of nuance as self-denial, and didn’t engage with legitimate criticisms of your position.

    This opens up into the broader question of the difference between a missional living as part of civil society (“being in the world,” to bring up an old canard) and a missionally embodied/incarnated lifestyle that serves to critique social institutions which are so often intertwined with systems of oppression. I don’t have an easy answer, but your response surely isn’t it either.

  • Justin F

    Apparently there are a lot of people who tie their identity to homeschooling.

  • F Justin

    Somewhere, above the din, a hipster is rolling his eyes saying, “Apparently there are a lot of people who tie their identity to Christianity.”

  • Keith Rowley

    I find it interesting to consider the Chicago teacher strike in the context on this conversation. I am NOT anti union in general, but it seems to me the demands of the teachers union, not for fair pay or safe conditions but for stuff having to do with tenure and teacher assessments, who the schools can hire and how they can evaluate teachers, shows why so many of us have given up on public schools. Here is an example where the mayor is TRYING so hard to make the schools better and change the system and even he is having to fight like crazy for this. If even the mayor can’t get past the inherent resistance to change built into this bureaucratic system, then an ordinary parent doesn’t stand a chance.

  • ME

    Are children supposed to be the seasoning or adults?

  • B Watson

    I find this all a little funny. I mean, I’ve by and large pulled out of institutional Christianity to throw my weight behind alternative forms of church, all in order to affect change for what I hope to be the better. Some of my family and friends see my actions as rejecting church altogether—throwing my vote away, so to speak—allowing the institution to worsen by my absence. But I think I have done nothing of the sort. But here—unlike anything else emergent—I’m to hold fast to a traditional institution as the sole means of being missional in this, the sphere of education. Ironic!

  • Shawna

    I think homeschooling represents a kind of Christian that you don’t like, and a type of theology and worldview that you don’t appreciate. I find that frequently there is this kind of tension between “emergents” and more “traditional” Christians.

  • http://uneditedravings.blogspot.com Nathan

    I just accidently deleted my entire comment. [fail]

    Below is a blog post of mine highlighting my first homeschooling conference experience earlier this year. It sums up a lot of what I’d said (and then subsequently flushed) and why I don’t agree with your view. It’s not because I’m a homeschooling fan-boy… it’s just a little disappointing to see you paint so many people with the same, broad brush strokes. We are deeply rooted in our community and have been both in and out of the local school with all of our kids- initially for a very practical reason.

    For your consideration: http://uneditedravings.blogspot.com/2012/02/thanks-but-no-thanks.html

  • Scott Gay

    Public school teacher for 35 years here. This follow-up to the first post about homeschooling is smoke and mirrors. It’s not about missional, emotionalism ala guns or spanking, or Tony Jones tweaking Wendy’s comment. The issue is about creating an environment where a child can learn and blossom their being OR one where a role is given them. Either can happen for a child in either setting. No time here to develop enabling human traits that lend to either, or to show how some public, private, or home schools can be either, either.
    Insensitivity to suffereing and injustice being taken for granted, being lost and lonely, cynicism, mental hygiene and psychiatric counseling increase, personal insignificance compensated by egregious group egoism, a flat secularism and self-sufficiency, a blunted sense of relatedness to the creative depths of personality, existence, and meaning- these are the results of dysfunctional childhood,. As this increases, the burden to change can’t be placed on families alone. We are in the middle of something that we don’t understand. Education of children needs as much of an emergence, as many progressive people feel the church needs.

    • LMC

      “We are in the middle of something that we don’t understand. Education of children needs as much of an emergence, as many progressive people feel the church needs.” – I found this interesting. It just might be that the way in which change occurs will be just as varied as the emerging church movement. It may be more within the question of how change happens – and it seems it is not within one single view or formula.

  • vandelay

    I’ll say again, Children are not your missional tools.
    If you want to live a missional life of civic engagement, then great, go ahead and do that. I’m not sure why it is your children’s responsibility to do that for you.

  • vandelay

    A question about this from your previous post:

    “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.”

    Are you saying paying taxes is missional, or that attending public school should be mandatory, like paying taxes?

    • vandelay

      public “education” that is

  • Pingback: Homeschooling and the Social Contract | Strange Figures

  • PS Mom

    Your premise is simplistic and flawed from the outset, as public school is not synonymous with society, the world, or the earth. Community exists outside of school walls, and homeschoolers live, work, and play there just as public school families do. Homeschoolers and private schoolers (who would also fail to meet your curiously exclusive definition of society) are not withdrawing from society—they’re simply choosing a different educational path for their kids. Your posts about homeschooling display a surprising amount of bigotry for one who claims to be progressive and open-minded.

    • vandelay

      Doesn’t matter to Jones. He hates Conservatives, and conservatives like homescholling, and so therefore, he hates homeschooling. That’s the level of reasoning you’re dealing with.

  • Jeff

    Although I agree with the pushback you’re getting, that “Homeschool = Not Missional” is simplistic and off-base, I’d like to respond from a different angle. Our kids are currently in public school, but we homeschooled for several years, and probably will again, and the reason is simple: the expectations in the public education system are just not high enough. We live in a good school district, and our kids aren’t child geniuses, but they’re being asked to do work that is far, far below what they’re capable of. And although I agree with others that that the dichotomy you’ve created is false, if it were correct, and if I had to choose between my kids pursuing excellence and their being missional, I’d choose excellence every time. First, because pursuing excellence and maximizing your potential honors God and respects the gifts and talents He has entrusted to you to nourish and cultivate. Second, because being excellent is actually a better way to be missional. You can do much more for people when you relentlessly pursue excellence; you’re more likely to achieve successes that can benefit people, and more likely to inspire someone to strive to be excellent themselves, which lifts them up far more than does wallowing in mediocrity alongside them. Allowing my kids to settle for the low expectations that are endemic to the public education system does them no favor, and may result in them having far less impact on the world in the long run.

  • Pingback: Missional Without The Church?

  • Betsy

    I didn’t want to comment on your blog. It seems like you are purposefully being provocative and simplistic in an attempt to create more hits on your blog. Fine, it’s your blog and that’s your prerogative. But your blanket statement of “homeschoolers don’t understand missional” has continued to bother me. I’m not sure if you care to be enlightened (your lack of thoughtful engagement suggests as much) but an increasing number of parents who have children with special needs are homeschooling their children. Schools cater to the average student. I think teachers perform a Herculean task in teaching 25+ students of varying capabilities, many with IEP’s. My daughter has autism and cannot function in a class without an aide. But like many school districts, ours can’t afford to give her one. And if we had the means to seek legal advocacy to push for an aide, we’d probably get one but some other child would probably lose some support. So do you suggest that those parents whom homeschool their special needs children are misunderstanding missional when we do it out of compassion for their well-being? Seems like it certainly fits your definition of missional – “showing Christlike compassion to human beings of all creation” – unless, of course, our own children are excluded from those parameters. Our family lives and breathes autism – it impacts our daily lives, our finances, our ability to go out – you name it. But we are doing all we can, homeschooling included, to try and help our daughter to maybe one day become independent. We do it out of compassion and love, not to withdraw from the evils of society. I don’t say this as a martyr because I adore my daughter and I’m happy to do it but it is a life of sacrifice, a life I wouldn’t have chosen. So for you to suggest that because of the simple fact we educate my daughter at home we don’t understand “missional” is not only grossly ignorant, it is insulting.

  • Pingback: Homeschooled and Missional? Absolutely!

  • Angie

    This is more a faulty reasoning that a good course in logic could solve. Jones is arguing a straw-man i.e. home schooling = withdrawing from society.

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

    Oh, and to top it all off, you cherry-picked comments to prove your point! So classy!

  • annie

    Eee gads, Tony! Stats recently presented at the college where I teach show that kids retain 5% of what they hear, 10% of what they read. In other words, if you tested seniors in high school on all the collective material on which they’ve ever been tested—history, science, math, literature, geology, composition, they would only remember 5-15 percent of what they’d been taught. That includes math and English, which seem to stick as kindred to the human spirit. This is a *very* expensive party.

    I’m calling it a party, yes. Your kid is just hitting the age (12, I think?). I’ve got a 15-year-old. It seems to be off your grid what they turn into. We homeschooled until ours was 12, so I’m one of the people who gets to compare.

    Were you prepared to sit down with your daughter at the age of 9 and explain to her about sex? Because if not, kids on the playground beat you to it.

    Do you want her to hate math? When was the last time you ever heard a kid ages 10 or older say, “Wow! I can’t wait to get to math today!”

    Do you want her to be a novelist, working 4-5 hours a day on the same plot and substance? Prepare to wait until she’s out of school to even start on that pursuit because therein, they’re “trained” for a bell to go off every 50 minutes, and what does that tell them about the value of long-term concentration?

    Are you strong enough in your daughter’s mind that if you tell her never to smoke pot, and you tell her weekly, ages 9-14, you feel she will stand up to a tidal wave?

    If you’ve told her that drinking is illegal and she’ll ruin her college record, is your opinion monolithic enough that she will say “no” when the 9th kid down the line passes her the bottle of Boons Farm?

    I don’t know what it is that makes home school kids more able to remove themselves from peer pressure. It’s not weirdness. Maybe it’s self-centeredness, tsk, tsk.

    Nobody in our neighborhood was allowing their teenagers to have birthday parties. I couldn’t figure out why. We gave Annie 30 invites and told her there would be a plain clothes cop at the door, tho no one needed to know that. We closed the thing down at 10:30, cheerleaders, football players, honor students, AP students jumping the fence in the back yard, until we had 75 and somebody lit a joint in the bathroom. We confiscated 40 bottles of Bud Light out of the woods and somebody probably got laid on the futon in the guest room while I was counting heads in the living room. This from a mom who smoked refer at Atlantic City Raceway in 1974 with 25,000 other fools as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young played on: THESE KIDS ARE NUTS. YOU’RE NUTS, if you think she’s going to be sitting in math class dreaming about math.

    John Dewey?? We have now an anti-intellectual, stamped, numbered, ordered, dumbed down, neutralized, highly socialistic, hot-bed of mediocrity, where families serve the school rather than the school serving the family. Hear it from a mom of a kid who loved math and wrote engaging novellas at age 10: It is less “missional” than sacrificing your kid at the altar of Zeus (and by the way, “missional” is not a word and is making me nuts).

  • Pingback: Getting Ready for Advent – Its Time to Start Preparing. « Godspace

  • Wendy

    First, let me say that I don’t read Tony Jones’ blog because I feel that he is poses as a Biblical Christian, but is not.

    I read the initial post called “Death to Homeschooling” because it came across on a homeschooling facebook page.

    I am only responding now because Tony chose to reference my post to “Death to Homeschooling.”

    I believe Tony Jones makes many mistakes in reasoning – logical fallacies:

    Tony Jones says in this post that homeschooling is withdrawing from society and that homeschoolers can’t be showing “Christlike compassion to other human beings and to all of creation.”

    This is the logical fallacy of missing the point! Homeschooling does not equal isolation and lack of compassion! We were very engaged in our neighborhood. Our van was filled with kids who wanted to go to VBS each summer. Two of those girls ended up going to church with us every Sunday. We drove one of my neighbors to her chemo treatments 1 hour each way for many months. Another neighbor came to my door for prayer when she found out she was dying of cancer (that wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t know I cared for her). For years, we visited a local medical center that housed people who’d been permanently disabled by disease or accident. These folks would never be able to get out to church to worship, so we brought worship to them. My 8th grade homeschooled daughter takes time out of her very busy schedule (ballet training with the PA Ballet) to voluntarily teach ballet to little girls in our community. We have participated in various ‘clean up the environment’ activities. My girls have gone on many missions trips and helped out the needy.

    I could go on and on, but I think you get my point – Tony Jones’ point makes no sense! Homeschoolers do not withdraw from society. In fact, I find homeschoolers to be among the most involved with the world around them and to be some of the most giving people I know. At the same time, we take the education of our children very seriously – especially teaching what God wants our children to know.

    As far as the comment by the “Christian” professor – again, I believe he is making the logical fallacy of hasty generalization. Perhaps he has seen a homeschooler that is not socially comfortable. I could show you 10 times more public schooled kids that are socially uncomfortable!

    Tony Jones, if you want to send your kids to public school – go ahead! But don’t try to go after homeschoolers to assuage any guilt about it.

  • Michael

    Tony old son just HOW did you ever come up with the idea that turning one’s children (a Trust from G_d) over to the paid agents of the Moloch State is in any way an act of Chrisitian parenting?

  • Tim

    So, I’m not sure why you have your hate on for homeschoolers, but you obviously know very little of homeschoolers and are retorting on stereotypes rather than knowledge which is what many attempting to be “missional” do. (FYI one prof with an opinion doesn’t equate proof positive evidence. You don’t have to be public schooled to know that)
    They feel guilty because they aren’t or haven’t been “missional” and so the best thing to do is put the hate on for others they think aren’t doing mission worse than they aren’t doing mission.
    Also, there is just as much “evidence” to the contrary. But the brush is too broad my friend. You can’t live your missional life by proxy through your children. That’s not responsible let alone fair to your children. But I don’t suppose (judging by the tone of this blog post) that you would listen to reason. You are much more like your stereotypes than you might want to admit. Here’s some reading for your consideration: http://www.churchleaders.com/mobile/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/162927-is-homeschooling-really-anti-missional.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=clnewsletter&utm_content=CL+Daily+20120928

  • Tim

    So, I’m not sure why you have your hate on for homeschoolers, but you obviously know very little of homeschoolers and are retorting on stereotypes rather than knowledge which is what many attempting to be “missional” do. (FYI one prof with an opinion doesn’t equate proof positive evidence. You don’t have to be public schooled to know that)
    They feel guilty because they aren’t or haven’t been “missional” and so the best thing to do is put the hate on for others they think aren’t doing mission worse than they aren’t doing mission.
    Also, there is just as much “evidence” to the contrary. But the brush is too broad my friend. You can’t live your missional life by proxy through your children. That’s not responsible let alone fair to your children. But I don’t suppose (judging by the tone of this blog post) that you would listen to reason. You are much more like your stereotypes than you might want to admit.

  • nate shoemaker

    this is hardly an apples to apples comparison…

    while i agree that ‘being missional’ means engaging society, it does not and should not mean participating in all that society has set up. i think in that way, engagement with your context should ebb and flow based on the varying contexts in which we find Xian communities. if your primary local mission/vision involves participation with local schools, then don’t homeschool… but if your primary mission/vision for your ‘family on mission’ is something else, then homeschool or not, you decide the best way to support that mission.

    ultimately, it can’t be a blanket application whether or not to homeschool because we have a responsibility to train up our children in the way they should go.

  • nate shoemaker

    honestly, Tony, I can hardly understand why you’d post a follow-up that merely seems to ‘stick it’ to those who disagreed in your previous post…

    but, moving on, for many people the schools are so terrible but so assumed that many in the local community have no other options, or think they have no other options. in fact, given how awful the local schools are in some contexts, it isn’t that different than entire communities who are seemingly destined to be drug-dealers, thugs, prostitutes, dancers (not the ‘with the stars’ kind), car thieves, etc. your line of logic would suggest that if that is the local ‘society’ we find ourselves in, then that should be, not only the life we lead, but also the life we teach and indoctrinate our children to. After all, what better way to engage a drug-dealer than to deal for him, with him or buy from him? Or break down, piece out and sell stolen cars for the local thief? Certainly you shouldn’t find a job that might be outside the community because that would remove you from that society and you could have no impact within it… right?

    now, you did say that your original post was from 2005, when you were thinking about schooling options for your own child. is it possible that you come to the correct, God led, conclusion for your missional context, but then wrote the post (and this subsequent follow-up) for the Church because you misunderstood the intent of applicability? if that is the case, i’m hoping you have the courage to own up… however, if that isn’t the case, then i can safely say, “i think you’ve got this wrong.”

  • Pingback: Homeschooler Says He Didn't Learn about Plagiarism

  • KJQ

    Tony. I think what you are missing is that our primary calling as Christians in the world is to our own families and not to the world. I am first a husband, second a father, and then everything else. The education of children is the God given responsibility of parents in general, and the father in particular. The primary focus of the education of children is teaching them about God and His Word. We can choose to delegate some of the responsibility for the education of our children, but we must do so with discernment. For most of their education children are learning, not teaching (witnessing). Would you send your children into the overseas mission field? Into a physical war? Into a winter storm undressed? Sending our children to public school is sending lambs to the slaughter. Look at the statistics regarding disbelief, loss of faith, and walking away from the church. The only identifiable group where the majority do not lose their faith are the home educated. Again, our primary duty as parents is to raise our own children in the faith, not to reach others who are lost at the expense of our own children’s faith. Why would you want to send your children into an environment where the focus is on indoctrination (i.e. what to think) and not education (how to think). Lie upon lie is taught there (e.g. There are places where God is not allowed/present. Evolution is a fact not a hypothesis. What the bible teaches about morality is really bigotry and on and on and on it goes). I’m with Douglas Wilson who says that Christians who send their children to public school are in willful sin. Strong words, but would you really trade your own child’s soul for the potential of saving anothers?

  • Pingback: Homeschoolers, the Social Contract, and Identity

  • Lisa

    I have been homeschooling for 4 years, for the purpose of having the freedome to explore the world with my children and to NOT isolate them from society. Sitting inside the same building with the same kids and the same teacher for years on end instead of being free to explore the world? No, thanks. We do not homeschool for religious reasons and I think people often forget that there are people like us out there. My kids can go to museums, nursing homes, homeless shelters, the mall, tend a garden, play instruments, travel the world if we can afford it–real life has so many opportunities to learn and connect with others and real experiences. Those who are biased toward homeschooling simply don’t understand the possibilities and wonders of learning in freedom and the successful, confident, and happy adults that many homeschooled children grow to become.

  • lynn

    Today is 12-14- 2012 us homeschooled parents don’t seem that paranoid???? Seeing what happened in Conn??? Pray for the families

  • Pingback: A Humanist Feminist on Homeschooling

  • Pingback: Homeschooling and The Social Contract « At Home&School

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com forgedimagination

    Wow– as a life-long homeschool product, what you’ve been writing here really resonated with me. And I loved how you referenced being salt of the earth– the thing I’ve always loved about that metaphor is that for “salt” to work in that context, if salt is going to preserve something, it has to be literally beaten into it. Salt has to be rubbed and rubbed into meat in order for it to preserve it. It can’t just be a flimsly coating on top.

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

    I am worried that you have drunk the Koolaid. You have fallen prey to the notion that homeschoolers are somehow cloistered, when actually, we spend more time out in the world than most public school kids chained to school desks all day ever do. My kids are with adults, and children of various ages in our town, at enrichment classes, at the store, at outreaches, and more not to mention with all their public school friends.

    I am a child of the public school system and I can tell you that I was rarely salt and light at school. I was salt and light in the relational settings of my own neighborhood where people knew me and my character. It is the place of my greatest impact as I led neighbor children and friends to Jesus. I would have to disagree with the notion that being missional is only being salt, as the second verse you quoted actually says that we are ministers of reconciliation. Not sure how you can separate the missional from the evangelistic in that verse. Instead of trying to think that merely being in a particular setting, say the public school, can make you salt or missional, I would rather suggest that you seek to be relational. Reach out to those in your path: the waitress at your favorite restaurant; your neighbor across the street; your coaching partner at Little League. I think a great book that addresses the concept of being missional best is The Tangible Kingdom. You might want to give it a read.

  • Joy_F

    Excellent explanation I was unfortunately homeschooled for a couple years in high school during which I lost all contact with non-Christian friends. It took years to undo the damage. I thought of people as projects to be saved and not people made by God who might have different views about him.

    Christians need to get involved in Public Education and be a part of it. Not hide from the world in their little closets. I think too – parents overestimate their ability to teach their children. By nature, kids want to please their parents so will be much less likely to speak when they don’t understand something. Learning from others is missional behavior I believe. It teaches us humility and how to be wrong graciously.

  • Pingback: online pharmacy cialis


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X