I was planning to post this after my 10 reasons to home school, and even after my 5 stupid reasons to opt out of home school in favor of public school, but I faced another problem.
What if home schooling parents started offering their opinions of what they thought were good reasons to opt out of public school and then my post came out listing their reasons as wrongheaded? That would be highly suspect and embarrassing!
My second problem is that some of these comments make a lot of sense in the right context. Their initial problem is that they take a wrong view of education but, based on the right context, these reasons are sometimes justifiable.
Therefore, here are five wrongheaded yet potentially contextually understandable and justifiable reasons to home (instead of public) school your children:
- To make them Godly. Or sometimes it looks like “grounding them in God”. Here’s the problem with this thinking: it confuses Godliness and osmosis. That which pollutes a person comes from the inside, and although bad company does corrupt good morals, it is when people decide to do right in light of evil that the hard work of character building is done. So, if you want to teach your kids Godliness, you had better be showing them how you act within the world, going ahead and struggling with the hard choices yourself; not hiding from situations to ensure that you remain holy, holy, holy.Home schooling might not expose them to more Godliness, it might actually expose them to practiced hypocrisy—something they might be spared from out of the home, and away from our daily example. Christian parents should exemplify and teach Godliness no matter which form of schooling they choose.But in the right context, it may be more prudent to keep them at home instead of sending them to any form of schooling. I mean, if part of your home schooling is working with the poor in the day time or caring for the sick it might be helpful to incorporate your children in that sort of thing. Iit takes consideration.
- Because I don’t want them exposed to evil. Or I don’t want to feed my kids to Satan. Then you had better not leave them at home. Lesson number one from the earliest chapters of the Bible: we’re all screwed up. Sure you might be separating them from a certain type of evil, but you’re secular / sacred divide has resulted in a person that thinks that when they’re alone, they’re at their very best—a lesson we all know is not true.Now there is a contextually justifiable way to allow for this one. Many schools are starting to teach, at a very young age, topics that kids aren’t ready to process. I mean, in Kindergarten they don’t have a clue how to understand the relationship between mom and dad; why teach them about having two mommies, or two daddies, at that point? Or maybe your public school is dead smack in the middle of a drug war zone. It has to be considered.
- Because I’m afraid of what is going to happen out there. I don’t think this has been outright vocalized but you do hear it as an undercurrent. Sibilant whisperings of what’s happening in schools, or in society. Fact is that most of our experiences in the future are unknown but we face the future anyway. Indeed, a Christian should understand that he faces the future with the knowledge that God knows what’s coming up and has a purpose with it—no matter how bleak or bright those moments might be.Now there are contextually justifiable reasons for actually being afraid of what’s going to happen there and perhaps choosing to homeschool because of that. My old school had weekly Friday beatings by roving gangs that would pull up in SUVs with bats. In that context it may be good to consider opting for home school, but if it’s just for fear of the unknown then it is wrongheaded.
- Because I can teach them only what I agree with. Now people won’t say it this way. They might say it like “Because I disagree with X teaching, I am convinced my kids shouldn’t learn it.” That’s all well and good until they get slammed in High School or College with everything you didn’t teach them.I say, teach them all the stuff but be honest enough to say why you disagree with it and what evidence is there against the position. If you can’t teach a subject then hire a teacher who will, stay within ear shot, and then offer your parental convictions. Frankly, you should be doing this if you send your kids to public or private school as well.Now, there is also a contextually justifiable reason to teach them only what you agree with at a certain age and then introducing them to other subjects as they get older. You know your kids, you know what they can or can’t handle at this age, and you also know what is ethically wrong to equip them with before a certain age.
- Because it is easier. If you’ve gotten into your head that you’re going to be doing less work than you would have if you sent your kids to school in the morning, not only are you mistaken but you’re robbing your kids of their education.Now there might be a contextually justifiable reason. Let’s say you’re an educator who can stay at home instead of driving down the mountain to the subpar educational institution in town: maybe it is easier to just teach from home.
So you see how difficult this post really is. Each of the reasons can be substantiated based on the right context. If these concerns haven’t been thought out then they’re ignoring the purpose of education. And yet, if the context is right, then these concerns start affecting a person’s decision. I’m not generating a sacred and secular divide here (as if you can’t do education with theology or evangelizing or being Godly—that’s absurd); I’m trying to elevate God’s gift of intelligence and education before the eyes of the people. But I want to be careful. Even though there might be some initially wrongheaded reasons to home school, these reasons might be justifiable (and clearheaded) in the right context.