5 Stupid Reasons Not To Home School (and Do Public School Instead)

In defensive discussions justifying my parental rights and educational choices for my children, I often find myself repeating my lists of reasons.  I have 10 solid reasons why we home-school, which I was going to post today, but then I had an internal struggle.

What if people (as they sometimes do) started offering some responses which tied into some incomprehensibly stupid reasons to opt out of home-schooling and send my kids to school? I mean, they’d see this post and think I was spring boarding off of their incomprehensibly stupid comments. I am therefore ethically required to post this first!

My second struggle is that this post can only exist if people understand my number one reason for home-schooling: I can’t afford private school. I really can’t. I’m trying to save for retirement and the college education of three kids; it’s impossible to pay private school tuition right now.

With conscience assuaged, and the number one reason listed to my reader (that’s you), all struggles are rested. I can unapologetically offer five undeniably and incomprehensibly stupid reasons to opt-out of home school and send kids to school:

  1. To get them to socialize. If you’re sending your kids to school to socialize then you’re sending them for the wrong reason. My kids are part of a library group, a soccer team, a group thing at the YMCA, a kids club at church and a Sunday school at another church. You can get them to socialize, but without a proper education, all you’ve taught them is which hands to grease.
  2. To let them learn how to struggle. This, unfortunately, has nothing to do with educational struggle but everything to do with societal struggles. What the person invariably means is “how to deal with bad teachers” or  “how to deal with bullies” which are both two sides of the same coin. One set of bullies uses his fists; the other set of bullies uses his or her power. But I can’t see a morally justifiable reason to inflict bullying on anyone.  The lesson usually winds up being (1) become faster, (2) become stronger, (3) learn how to cheat the system. If those are the invaluable lessons, thanks…we’ll pass.
  3. Because I can’t handle it. Once again, the reason to send kids to school is to get them educated, not so that you have a public funded baby-sitting service. If you truly believe that the Public School is great education wise, by all means, send your kids. But if you’re sending them because you can’t handle it then you’re selling both your kids, and yourself, short.
  4. Because everyone else is doing it. If your main reason for sending your kids to public school is because you fear being scorned by friends and family, welcome to being a pushover to the whims of peer pressure. If you want to teach your kids not to submit to bullying, address this area before all others.
  5. To get them to preach the Gospel to fellow unbelievers. Or, in other words, being salt and light (Matthew 5).Just because you’re a Christian that has raised your children in that environment doesn’t mean that your Children are Christians. Even if they are Christians it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily strong Christians. More often than not, a kid sent to school to evangelize is going to wind up a product of whoever he is evangelizing; not vice versa.

Hopefully your mental facilities haven’t been irreparably damaged by suffering under such incomprehensibly stupid reasoning: good thing neither of us employs it. I do plan to make it up to you with my 10 reasons for opting for homeschooling over other forms of schooling.

10 responses to “5 Stupid Reasons Not To Home School (and Do Public School Instead)”

  1. Excellent! We have homeschooled our five boys, and it’s not a choice for the faint of heart, to be sure. It takes a serious level of commitment to get it done properly, but the rewards are outta sight.

    We are convinced that we know our kids and their learning styles better than anyone ever could or ever will. Also, because we’ve had them at home, we have relationship ties with our kids that I think a lot of folks miss out on.

    I always love the “socialization” argument. Like you, my kids are involved in many activities with their peers. Another aspect I see to this topic is, why would I think that my 9 year old sitting in a class with 20 other 9 year olds is helpful to his growing in maturity? All of our kids are very comfortable around adults: they are polite and even conversant.

    I have observed the other end of the spectrum, where a family homeschools for one reason only: to keep their kids out of public school, because public school is “evil.” This has been a disaster for them, because the parents had no commitment to really teach their children anything. These same kids are now IN public school, learning how to read and trying to catch up.

    Again, homeschooling is not for the faint of heart, but it is sooooo worth it. We wouldn’t trade our experience for anything.

  2. Very good prelude.

    I once heard the “salt and light” argument from a pastor (no less!) who used said argument as one of the justifications for rejecting homeschooling. I asked him how many of his children were baptized, and none were. When I asked why, he replied that baptism ought to follow a credible profession of faith. I put the inconsistencies of those two ideas before him, the first that he didn’t want to baptize his kids until he was certain they were actually Christians, and the second that he justified sending them to public school to share the gospel, but he didn’t see the inconsistency of such a thing.

    Good posts.

  3. Daniel, that’s pretty funny because I can easily imagine the same thing happening in the circles I’m part of!

  4. Hi, great series on homeschooling, i’ve been enjoying it. About the socialization thing, that is often the biggest argument for public school that I have heard. however, just going from my own experience, i went to about 46 years of public school and i was not “socialized”, if anything public school just made me really misanthropic. and i know i am not the only one either.

  5. I know what you mean anna. I personally don’t know any people that have become “socialized” by being placed in a social environment.

  6. #3 is contextually-dependent. If you’ve got a kid who needs full-time focus from a single person all day to get any education done and for safety reasons, then it’s physically impossible to homeschool if you’ve got other kids, especially if one of the others is also special-needs. We simply couldn’t homeschool unless the government paid us enough money to live on, and we’d need to get the local school system to supply the special education services anyway. It’s hard enough to get one kid to do homework who not just won’t but can’t do it unless you stand over him helping him to focus while the other parent tries to keep the other kids occupied given that one wants to distract the one doing the homework, one is a baby with constant need for supervision, and the third needs constant watch for safety reasons. If the other kids had to be educated too at the same time, it would be impossible without another adult or two, and there wouldn’t be time for earning any income. So it’s literally true that we couldn’t handle homeschooling.

  7. Yeah, someone else gave me a good contextually dependent reason for 3 combined with 1. They’re missionaries in Belgium and they’re trying to incorporate the kids into the culture. If they keep them at home they’re not getting the kids to become part of the culture there by keeping them within their own American Culture. It winds up being literally true that they can’t handle homeschooling and they can only get them to socialize within that culture by sending them to public school.

  8. I am a former private school/homeschooler (that never attended public school at all,) and I briefly homeschooled my oldest son. I think that the day will come when we return to it, but for now, God has something different for my family, and he has been faithful in so many ways as I navigate this foreign “culture.” That being said, my heart is burdened by the knowledge that I have to make certain decisions for fiscal reasons. I am (again) a full time student, persuing my degree in education, and in fact, found your blog researching my Argumentation/Persuasion paper. My topic? You guessed it – homeschooling :-) It is not for everyone, but should at least cross the mind of a parent who has a child struggling at school, no matter the reason. I pray that I will be able to teach at a private Christian school when I graduate, thereby reducing the cost of tuition. Until then, I am seeking God’s all consuming grace to help me “train up my kids in the way they need to go,” and I thank you for your encouraging words.
    God bless you and yours.