Public School vs. Home School
It’s back to school season! For some kids, this means waking up early, catching the bus, and heading to a classroom full of friends and peers. For others, it means pulling up a seat at the dining room table while their moms spread today’s lessons out before them. Whether a child attends public, private or home school can be a hot button issue in Christian circles. Just like bottle versus breast, cry-it-out versus attachment parenting, and a hundred other parenting issues, moms feel quite passionate about their stances.
In the last couple of weeks, I have run across more than one “best way to school your child” debate on social media. And I am all for having strong convictions about how you raise your child. What I can’t quite buy into is that there is a one-size-fits-all best practice for Christian families. Understanding what your child’s needs are and advocating for your child in the proper setting is so important.
Christian families are as diverse as the communities and school districts where they live. Some school districts still pray before athletic events. Others have banned the practice. Some districts teach alarming, enabling sex education. Others teach values-oriented sexual risk avoidance education. Some families view the schools as their mission field. Others are heavily involved in outside ministries. I firmly believe that God calls different families to different things. He calls some to foster care and others to have large biological families. He calls some to inner city ministry and others to go overseas. And while I do believe he calls some families to homeschool due to their unique family circumstances and giftings, I also believe he calls others to public schools. And that is where he currently has our family.
We are blessed to live in a district where Christian values still permeate the decision-making. Our local churches are involved in the schools, and their presence is seen and felt. One church does a prayer walk-through of the campuses each year before school begins. My kids’ public school is where I have invited teachers to church, volunteered to coach cheerleading to make sure it was wholesome and appropriate, and gotten to know unchurched kids who I could pick up on Wednesday nights. It’s also where my otherwise sheltered Caucasian children get to know kids who are fearfully and wonderfully made differently than they are. Every day they are exposed to diversity.
I have many friends and loved ones who have chosen a different route for their children. Some of them live in other districts where they don’t feel as confident about the influences. Some of them have teaching degrees and feel called and equipped to school their own children. Some of their kids have special needs, which require more one-on-one attention than a classroom setting can adequately provide. Whatever the reason my Christian friends choose to homeschool, I support them. They (and I) are part of the Body of Christ, and we have different callings and functions.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body… so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Cor. 12:17-20, 25
As different parts of the same body, let’s support one another in our prayerful, God-guided decisions and callings. After all, unity among the body is how Jesus says the world will know the Father.
May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.