47 thoughts on “homeschool vs. public school.

  1. I agree with all of this article, but this is making the assumption that the public schools are tolerant of ALL RELIGIONS. We've all heard the stories where the kids are taught about Ramadan in the name of diversity, but Christmas can't be mentioned. (just an example). What if your school has an administration that is intolerant? What if they don't allow them to bring their bible in for “show and tell”? I agree that the public system is best as long as it is truly tolerant of ALL religions, I just have concerns that some are becoming intolerant of one particular religion.

  2. Great article! I agree 100%. Then again, I am a public school teacher. Just this morning Nick and I were talking about how interesting it is to get students who were home-schooled up until high school and how they often have a hard time forming friendships and fitting in because they lack certain social skills and experiences. Granted, this isn't the case 100% of the time but more often than not. Just one of the benefits of public school though I also understand many of the arguments against…

  3. momar- That is all the more reason to equip our children well at home and then send them out into the public school system! Exactly BECAUSE it is trying to strangle God out completely. Soon (even NOW, actually) we have generations of children who are intolerant to 'God' and 'Christmas' because they will infer that they are “bad words” from their experience at school.

    Kids don't need the permission of school directors to live attractive lives of hope that will draw others to ask them why they seem “different”. They don't need to bring their bibles to school to show their friends the love of God.

    They just need to be equipped with compassion and kindness and the JOY that comes from hope not of this world, and they need to have opportunities to SHARE it… and yes, even hardships to REFINE it.

  4. My son is only 5 months old but I've already begun to think about home schooling vs. public school. Growing up my family tried all the different forms of education – home school, public school, and private school (I guess we missed charter.). Anyway, my mom chose which schools for her children based our our unique personalities. I think her strategy was great.

    I home schooled for 1 year and then went to public school for the rest. B/C my sister had a difficult time learning to read she was home schooled for a few years, then when to private Christian school, and then transition to public school for high school.

    I completely agree with this article. We can't hide ourselves away and live in a Christian bubble. And we need to teach our children how to be witnesses for Christ as a young age. However, if there education is going to be jeopardized b/c of big class rooms or lack of individual attention then by all means home school.

    It is a child-by-child decision.

  5. I found that article to be really sad. God does not call our children to be salt and light, he calls US to be salt and light. I teach my children about Christ and His love every day, but I am not so naive to believe that they are yet saved. And if they are not, they do not have the Holy Spirit. I will protect my children and shelter them as I would a tender young plant in a winter storm. When they are firmly rooted, then they will be sent out, fully equipped to do God's work. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    This article was just as judgmental as *some* home schooling parents can be.

  6. I agree with this article from the religious perspective. We are called to GO into the world. However, the main reason I am considering homeschooling isn't because I am afraid of the public school system “indoctrinating” my children or “ruining” their spiritual beliefs. The main reason I am considering it is that I think I can give them a better education. The school system here in California is getting cut and cut and cut. A lot of my teacher friends are frustrated that they can't provide basic supplies for their students. There are no field trips. It's all about teaching to the tests so that they don't get taken over by “No Child Left Behind” legislation. I want my children to love learning and foster lifelong interest in inquiry. My sister-in-law is very much of the same mindset on this and I love what she is doing with her girls. Life science isn't just diagrams, words in a textbook and learning how to answer test quesitons… It's drawing pictures, caring for caterpillars then watching them turn into butterflies, going to a museum with a huge butterfly pavilion with several different species to observe flying around and landing on you, it's experiments, etc… However, as a previous commenter suggested, I also think this is something to consider on a child by child basis. Some kids just do better in a classroom environment with lots of other kids, while other need more individul attention.

  7. Lisa- I completely agree.
    I also agree a LOT with what the article says even though we home school.

    We just started homeschooling our 5 year old, because our only other choice is the inner-city school we are zoned for, where last year, a particular kindergartener was frisked daily for weapons. No thanks.

    We won't do this forever, but for her tiny years, it's the right choice for us.

    Neither of us was ready to be separated for 7 hours a day. I'm sure by 1st or 2nd grade that's much more doable, but at 5, I felt she wasn't ready for that kind of stress.

    An added benefit is that she gets to do 1st grade math as a 5 year old (which is even a little too easy for her) and I get to WATCH her learn. It's amazing.

    We used to fight, she used to act out all the time, I used to cry and feel guilty for not knowing how to interact or play with her, and since we've begun school at home, there has been a HUGE change in our house.

    I love it. I love her. I almost cry thinking about how we get to spend these moments together.
    Anyway, it's NOT the right choice for everyone, and there are valid points to each side.

    We don't do it to remain in a bubble, or because I'm scared of what the schools are teaching. (Honestly, I'm more afraid of what Christian school teaches)
    I know her little brain, and it breaks my heart to imagine that being stifled, or her becoming bored and losing that eagerness to learn.

    Also, this may be tooting my own horn a bit, but I feel like most socially awkward homeschoolers have socially awkward parents.
    I guess I feel like we're not that way, and our kids are gonna be who they are regardless of where they learn.

    We have SO many opportunities to be IN our challenging urban neighborhood. We get to volunteer as a family in all kinds of situations and I love that my girls are exposed to, and living in such a diverse neighborhood.

    I don't feel like they have to be at school at this time in their lives to achieve that.

    But again, different for everyone:)

  8. very interesting point, anony-non. I respect that stance, but view it differently in my own home.

    I'm not going to call my son to share the love of God if he doesn't already know it himself. Of course. But, if a child has chosen to follow God, I don't believe there is any discrepency between that child's status in faith and mine. He's just as much a 'Christian' as I am. He is JUST as much salt & light as I am. There are no junior-christians.

    I don't believe God calls us to shelter our kids until we think they are “ready” to share their faith, either. I believe we need to walk through the reality of life with our kids– to talk them through the hardships and point them to God & kindness & compassion in the midst of them.

    Public School is OBVIOUSLY not the only place that we can do this, but it is the most likely place they will find themselves surrounded by peers who need such compassion & kindness & hope… without us breathing down their necks about exactly how they should share it.

    I believe we are quick to over-shelter our kids today in america… and that it takes a lot of power and charcter-forming opportunities away from them at a crucial point in their lives.

    I also don't think we should send our kids to school (at home or away) based on decisions of fear. It seems like a lot of christians today are choosing to keep their kids close because they fear the alternative. And I think we need to re-evaluate such motivations… to compare them to what god says in his word.

  9. The “vs.” in your title is what's sad to me. Why does it have to be a comparison, a debate? You've put your son in public school because it's right for your family. I home school my children because it's what is right for my family. Assuming that I'm home schooling because I fear the alternative, or because I am over-sheltering my children, or any other wrong motive, is just as wrong as my assuming that you're too lazy to home school. You don't know my motives any more than I know yours. It would be really nice if we as Christians would support and honor each other's decisions rather than belittle and criticize them.

  10. Lisa & Flo- Good for you guys. I love this perspective, and I love that you know your children well enough to know what suits their little minds best. That's why it's so important for parents of public school kids to be majorly involved… so they have opportunities to see how their kids are doing in those environments, and so they can supplement what their kids are learning at school while at home with them.

    Even for public school kids, including public schools that are 'sub-par' by educational standards, most of the real learning needs to be happening at home- around the dinner table and in conversations with those who love them. Public school parents can not afford to be 'hands off' when it comes to their kid's education. It has been proven time and time again that kids whose parents are involved and concerned with their learning do MUCH better overall… whether it be homeschool or public school or private school.

  11. lift up your hearts- i'm not assuming anything about you personally, at all! I'm just saying those of us who ARE homeschooling out of fear should re-evaluate that motive. that's all.

    also, the vs. in the title is not meant as an attack or a “i'm better than you” statement. it implies the contents of the article- a man stating why he chose public school versus homeschool for his children. that's all.

  12. I have to disagree with you, Emery. It is not a matter of being “ready” to share their faith. It's a matter of whether or not they have saving faith. I am not going to say that children cannot be saved, because I believe they can. But I think it's more often that children want to please their parents, who are very delighted at any sign of conversion. Assuming your child is saved because they've said a prayer is naive. It's a step in the right direction (having a heart soft towards God), but it's not true salvation.

    We cannot know their hearts. I want more than anything to believe my children are saved. But they are not old enough to count the cost of walking with the Lord. God tells us that not every one who says to Him, “Lord, Lord”, is saved. I think it's wiser to wait till they are old enough to have considered what it means to accept the gift of salvation, and are bearing fruit to consider them truly saved. Then, they can be responsible for being salt and light, and are properly equipped by the Holy Spirit.

    Anyway, I am not trying to dissuade you from sending your son to school. I am simply trying to let you know where us “shelter-er's” are coming from, so that maybe we can stop being judged too. No one likes feeling like they are less spiritual, when we are all trying to do what God is calling us to do for our families.

  13. I really like hearing this debate on both ends. Very eye opening. I would like to say however, one observation. When a homeschooled child (pre-k up to high school) starts their freshman year and they have a “difficult” time making friends and adjusting..that DOES NOT make them socially awkward! First off, all the kids previously enrolled have known each other since grammar school, so they are familiar with each other, the routine, multiple teachers, etc. Second, whenever there is a new/transfer student, they (more often than not) take time to adjust as well…yet we just assume that is normal…but for a homeschooler we label them.. that's wrong!

    Also, I agree that public school parents need to be heavily involved in school, at home in all areas of their young childs life. Obviously, you don't abandon your child in school and just trust the school district to raise your child academically and morally.. what a mess! On the other hand, I agree with the person who talked about protecting the baby plant from the storm…and being salt and light..We need to train our children well. Doesn't mean there won't be heartache, we need to teach them TRUTH so when in school they will be armed with it and know falshoods and be able to represent the gospel in love and honesty!

  14. “I believe we are quick to over-shelter our kids today in america… and that it takes a lot of power and charcter-forming opportunities away from them at a crucial point in their lives.”

    ….I couldn't dissagree more actually! I think most American's obviously don't shelter their children. We are quick to turst our very young children with new friends at schoold and their parents whom we don't know, but just assume they're responsible. Do you know the statistics for young (12 and 13 year olds) starting to have sex, smoke marajuana and cigarettes, drink their parents liquor, etc in the sixth grade. Each year, the statistics get higher and the age gets younger! So in regards to the American families being “quick to overshelter”, I whole heartedly dissagree!

    There are plenty of powerful character building instances daily at home between your children. Your baby is young. Wait a couple of years until they can argue, wrestle maybe even fight! The character building moments will come running through your door. You will see anger you didn't know a little child could have, jealousy, bitterness, maybe hate, selfless and sacrificial giving and love, compassion, etc. You don't need to put your kids in schooled to get those lessons! (not that I'm apposed to public school)

    I do I agree with each family being led to differrent schooling. I don't believe in cookie cutter results and lifestyles. No one size fits all.

  15. It's totally fine if you disagree! I am not naive enough to believe that everyone will agree on this topic. We're not all clones. I appreciate different perspectives.

    I simply believe that God can use my children in ways I will never even fully understand, no matter how young they are. He already has proven this in my kid's lives. I don't expect my kids to be leading masses to salvation at the age of 5, of course, but they can still be a LIGHT in a dark environment. And I personally don't believe that a child has to be bearing fruit before he can be trusted to function in society with his or her peers. We just don't see eye to eye on that, and that's totally fine!

  16. anonn who disagrees with over-sheltering–

    This is a double sided issue, I think. We don't abandon our kids to the world and it's troubles, we safely guide them through it with love… teaching them how to walk more and more independently as they grow. Like training wheels on a bike.

    There are parents out there who drop their kids off at school and that is the extent of their involvement. That's not okay at all. That's abandoning your kid in a world that is too big for them. That's not the kind of independence that I'm talking about.

    All of this is why parent involvement in school is of UTMOST importance.

    And I loved what you said about character building at home– SO TRUE!

  17. >
    This is a double sided issue, I think. We don't abandon our kids to the world and it's troubles, we safely guide them through it with love… teaching them how to walk more and more independently as they grow. Like training wheels on a bike.

    This is exactly how I feel, and why I am home schooling.

  18. Emery-TOTALLY agree with your comments about acting out of fear.
    This is why I have a huge problem with the fact that a “Christian Music Genre” exists.
    We try to make things so safe for ourselves, myself included-when that has never been “our calling”.

    I have to admit even if we had the best public schools here, Sera probably wouldn't go because at the root of it, we disagree with the mainstream philosophy of education. Whether it is Christian, OR public, we're not huge fans of the entire system-standardized tests, etc.

    In my dreams, all schools would be public, classical with a Montessori influence and pull from every people group-whether we are talking about race, class, orientation, etc.

    There are a couple of schools like that around here, but you have to get in by the lottery.

    Also, I think it's REAL important whether you home school or not (but especially if you do) to be INVOLVED in your local school.
    If anyone wants ideas, just call the school you are zoned for and see if a teacher needs paperwork stapled, papers looked over, etc.

    It makes a HUGE difference.
    Also, you can go and read to kids at your local school. I have seen this make quite a difference in the urban, inner city schools around us.

    I think it's an amazing way to help work toward a change..especially if you live in a horrible district you don't feel comfortable sending your kid into. YOU can still go make a difference.

  19. Lift Up Your Hearts- Good for you! This is also why I am walking through the world with my sons – making sure I am involved and teaching them how to deal with this gnarly world we live in through the situations that arise along the way!

    Flo- EXCELLENT point. Chris and I were just talking about how sad it is when families pull their kids out of certain schools, just because they aren't shiny and nice, and how much the school and it's surrounding community suffer when so many people do that. GREAT reminder that we can still give back and meet needs in our school communities, even if our kids are schooled at home!

  20. And I personally don't believe that a child has to be bearing fruit before he can be trusted to function in society with his or her peers. We just don't see eye to eye on that, and that's totally fine!
    ***********************************

    My point is being taken out of context here.

    My point is that until I feel my children are old enough to know what being a Christian is truly about, and bear fruit as a result of that, *then* will I feel it is safe to consider that they have the Holy Spirit, helping them to be salt and light.

    Being salt and light is very, very, different than simply being able to function amongst peers.

    And I simply cannot see how my children, without the power of the Holy Spirit, are ready to be salt and light

  21. LOL about being involved in your local school if you are a homeschooling family. When, exactly, between schooling my many children should I do that? And where should I leave them while I'm gone stapling papers and reading books? It's a nice thought, but NOT feasible for most families.

    But rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities for community service in our home school co-op.

  22. anon- i see your point there, for sure. (sorry if i took it out of context.)

    but i do personally believe that my kids can be used by god at a young age- even if it is simply by being kind and compassionate and befriending other kids who don't have a support system like he does. I'm personally not going to wait until I'm sure Ezra has the Holy Spirit in him before I allow him to go to school, because… even if God uses Ezra to bring hurting kids to my husband & I's attention, to our prayers, even if we meet other families at the school and get opportunities to show god's love to them, that is still light being shed in dark places. I believe God can use our kids, in mysterious ways, no matter how old they are.

  23. I won't repeat my feelings on this subject because Flo stated them and probably more articulately than I could in both of her comments.
    I'm a little perplexed by anon's comments.
    Flo's suggestions of getting involved seem to me ways that the entire family can be involved. If you want to volunteer to read to a public school class for example why wouldn't you bring your children with you?
    I also happen to think Emery that what you are doing is building trust. Trust that your children are not your own. They are God's. You have been gifted with their care but with charting the status of their salvation? I'm not comfortable making that judgment call on anyone else, not even my own children. I pray my children will grow to be truth seeking, loving individuals who see the value and logic in following Christ but ultimately all I can do is model that and pray.

  24. whew! I'm exhausted, there are great minds at work here in this debate. I agree when you said …

    I believe we are quick to over-shelter our kids today in america… and that it takes a lot of power and charcter-forming opportunities away from them at a crucial point in their lives.

    I was guilty of this, probably less for you than for your brothers, I believe because you were the third and you were SO BRAVE and SO SOCIABLE, I did not worry as much about you. I have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight on this one.

  25. Anon-
    I don't quite know why a “LOL” was appropriate for a suggestion on how to be involved in the community..?
    If you don't have time, no one is judging I was just listing out examples of how we can home school without secluding ourselves and creating a bubble.
    I would definitely take my kids to read at the school, or do other things there. What a great home school opportunity!

    We are a homeschooling family. We also are part of a church that believes strongly in living IN community with our neighbors.

    A part of a “church group” we have done the stapling, the volunteering for the local school.

    There is also a group of homeschooling moms that is trying to head up a babysitting rotation so we as a group can accomplish these things.

    We can get all legalistic on every side of everything, but that wasn't my intention. For our family, we have found a balance that includes being IN the community as well as home schooled. All I'm sayin.

  26. Hehehe…

    I've been reading your blog “secretly” for the past year and simply *love* your heart, Emery Jo! I guess you finally hit on a topic I couldn't resist commenting on.

    What a fabulous discussion! As a public school teacher at a middle school in Los Angeles, this topic is of great interest to me. It is so encouraging to have parent helpers (they all seem to fall off the face of the planet come middle school though!). It is a ministry to be prayed for by the “Christian” parents of my students. And, it is a huge blessing to pray over every desk with a few other teachers every September (and throughout the year, as needed).

    God has a calling on all of our lives no matter how old we are or where in the community we serve. Thanks for the *great* discussion. (-:

  27. I respect your opinion, and I think it's great that this works for your family.

    My husband's parents are both retired public school teachers. My mom teaches methods classes (so she teaches teachers how to teach), and as a third career she's studying to be a high school english teacher.

    That said, when my older son was just 10 months old, God placed the conviction in our hearts (my husband's and mine at the same time) that we should homeschool our children. It was seriously one moment where we knew what God was asking us to do without a shadow of a doubt. Since then we have started homeschooling our oldest (our youngest is too young) and it is amazing. I love that he gets exactly the instruction he needs. He is growing by leaps and bounds. I also think that I see God using my children in unique and special ways while they are homeschooled.

    And to Flo (I think it was Flo), that is so awesome that you help in the public schools!

  28. all i really care about is that arabella has the BEST education and that i combine that with being awesome for her at home.

    for example i could NEVER give her what her preschool does and i dont pretend or wouldn't for one second that i could. i dont exactly get how some parents think they can do a better job than a REALLY good school. but also public school isn't really good enough for me, for her. i opt for private but NOT christian. i HATE christian school that's for sure.

    although i'm not gonna teach my kids to be christians, i get the perspective you have about public school and i respect it. sheltering is never healthy.

    but… everyone should have the choice to school their children how they wish.

  29. I guess I'm late to the party, but after reading “Aftermath” I thought this would be really heated. It wasn't. Nicely done everyone!
    I think I take the perspective of Anonymous (the main Anon who homeschools and seemed to have contributed several times). We are homeschooling, starting with preschool right now and that's what works for us. I'm not against public schools, or preschool, it's just a matter of what we think is best for our family.
    Also, one side note. I get the impression that everyone seems to think it's only Christians who homeschool. Actually homeschooling is a growing trend and my closest homeschooling compainion is not a Christian. I also know of homeschool groups that are not religous but are made up of families who have chosen this route. So by following His leading and being a part of this group, I have the opportunity to be salt and light to a group of people that Christians in the public school never would.
    As far as wondering how anyone could think they can educate their children better than a school, I'd like to point out that public school is a very new invention in human history. Yet somehow we've managed to achieve progress through the last few millenia. My husband and I have sixteen + years of university study between us and I'm not finished with my own education yet! Degrees don't mean everything, but if we're going to compare credentials, well then there you go. There is no one on the planet who cares more about my children's future than us. So for as long as it seems good for our children, we will homeschool them. We are taking it on a year by year, child by child basis.
    Anyhoo, thanks for letting me chime in Emery. Good for you for taking on hard topics. As always you've done with grace and patience. Blessings to you!

  30. skylana- wow. Hate is a strong word.

    ummm… i guess that i am a day late to the discussion here also, but i just wanted to say that now i am more torn and confused than ever! we have been exploring homeschooling vs public school (with not much time left to decide mind you) and most recently came to the decision to homeschool. emery, you said that you feel judged that you don't homeschool and i know that i will be judged if i do. each and everyone of you have made excellent points, which has left me more mixed up, but also caused me to just pray about it and ask that Jesus lead me to the right decision for us.

    i also wanted to say, based off of the 1st two comments, that if there is a school system that is intolerant of our faith it is not our sweet little child's battle. that is our job people!! whether you choose to put your child into that system or not, you should… we should, fight for the beliefs of the other children (or children to be).

    hunnybee-loved your comment! thanks for pointing out that school is not the only place for us to be salt and light. and just your over all easy breasy attitude about the whole thing, brings a little peace to my heart.

  31. Jenny Moon does point out a practical point about continuing education and 'graduating' from homeschooling. That is definitely something to keep in mind, though in all fairness I've read articles about Ivy League schools accepting homeschoolers quite happily. There are always pros and cons that have to weighed out. I think JM made a very good point, though and I'm sorry for her rotten experience.

  32. I'm the anonymous who left two posts about my children not yet being called to salt and light status as I'm fairly sure they aren't saved. My oldest might be, but I'm not sure.

    I have to be anonymous for now because I logged out of my google account a few days ago and can't remember the password to get back in. But my name is Jessica and I have four girls that I home school. So now I'm less anony-non, as EJ put it :0) Anyway, I just wanted to clear up who I am because I don't want to hide behind anonymity.

    And yes, Emery, I do agree that they can show kindness to other children with or without the HS's guiding, but I'd rather they do it in a more controlled setting. Like in their extra curricular activities, or even at church, where there are plenty of people who are not saved and come from very sad situations. To me, it fits in more with your illustration of the training wheels on the bike.

    Skylana, my husbands family would agree with you. And they are afraid that my children will turn out strange, but I'm not worried. A lot of public school children are strange, too, although I prefer to call it “quirky”. But along with what Hunnybee was saying, there is a motivation and a love for your own children that no teacher or school can match. If home schooling isn't for you, no biggie. But statistics show that it works for a great many students.

    My best to you all, as we all strive to do the very best to steward the children that God has lent us.

  33. Oh Emery I could go on for HOURS on this topic. I always went to public school, as did all of my uber smart friends who now hold degrees with fancy words in them. They have masters and BA's and omg they went to public school.

    Here is my beef. My cousin always attended private school. I'll never understand why, but even though she had two younger brothers our family decided she needed to go to private school. After school she argued with me about how much of a better education she got then me, how much smarter she was then a public school person. I laughed since my best friend Ginger was doing college level advance calculus whatever her junior year. She said private schools earn degrees. She however has none. My close public school frineds have them and oddly with their public school education are now grossing triple what her fancy private school diploma got her. Her and I now do similar work, have similar knowledge and holy moly I didn't go to private school.

    This is my biggest issue though. She now has a daughter, who she has said no matter what will go to private school. This year she is paying $7000.00 to send her daughter to kindergarten. While I stood there stunned she replied, “well you pay that at pre scool.” Yes, yes I do, because there is no public free preschool, but you bet your ass next year when Brandon starts school he will be going to Brown school just like I did for FREE. The worst part is, she isn't well off financially wise. She has a hard time making her mortgage, doesn't always have grocery money, and is worried about so many money things. I'm thinking damn, $7,000.00 could sure buy a lot of groceries huh. Her tax refund will always go to this and any savings. The kicker, is she has always always ALWAYS wanted more then one kid because she had two brothers. But now, because she can't afford to send both to public school she simply shut off her heart and biological clock and decided a private school education was better then the bond of siblings.

    I am stunned. I feel like a kid gets out of school what they want to. I wouldn't have learned any more going to Manouge, I would only learn what I wanted to no matter where I was. Had Katie gone to a private school, she would have done just the same things because to Katie, have a degree and GPA and a fancy title on her job name was more important to anything.

    I am happy that I've now cleared up all of my debt but instead of worrying about tuition I can buy school clothes, family trips, lots of groceries to pack the raddest lunch etc. I couldn't get your article to load, but I saw the topic and i just had to weigh in.
    No matter what school it is, school is what YOU make of it. I can say this much a teacher at Manogue was not going to make me like algebra any better then a teacher at Galena.

  34. okay so page loaded. um what on earth does religion have to do with school. religion is personal, it is in your heart and your home and if your faith or beliefs are strong enough who cares what you hear at school. It was the same as Galena teaching us about Darwin. If you ever had Mr. Hausers class you know he was a total fan of Darwin, but Emery I know that never in a million years would that change how you feel, and most likely you would have just humored him, done the work and then let it go. All that matters at the end of the day is what is in your heart, not what they tell you should be in your heart.

    I would love for a day to come when people stopped forcing their beliefs on everything on people and realize we can all totally co-exist even if we are all a little different, you know, kind of like the Pilgrems and indians…what simple lovely times…especially lovely because of all the food!
    I think the world needs more wine and good meals then arguments about this stuff huh.

  35. Misguided momma- I totally get what you're saying about private school. If I lived in a smaller city or I could find a school that was public that didn't scare the crap out of me, I'd be totally great with that. But the la county school system is no prize… You know? Back in San Luis public would be no problem to me and maybe well move back there for that….

    As far as religion and school I also agree. It bthers me that people want to bring any religion into school so bad, and even if that happens I feel like it should ALL be educational and should include every religion. No prayer days. That never made sense to me. It bothers me personally that people make their kids feel like they have this responsibilty to show people god and be whatever for other kids. I think that's too much pressure. Just teach them to love, be tolerant and treat people well…. And then let them just e children with no religion or politics getting in the way o their childhood. I understand teaching kids about your religion but I think it's odd to teach them to treat people well at public school because they need to show who god is. Teach them to treat people well because that's what's good for them and others, period.

    I am a very strong believer in that good schooling, religion, character, they are all things that depend on what is taught at home in the end. I want my daughters to be in a really good school, and by that I mean one where they're safe and the teachers are involved and not completely overwhelmed. That depends on me too. Arabellas preschool is more expensive than most but hey spend ALOT more time with hands on learning and actual lessons than any of the other schools I looked into around here. Thyre cleaner, more organized, more enthusiastic abit teaching these kids and the classes are smaller. That's what I'm paying extra for and I can see how worth it is. Without that Arabella would still be smart but I think she has even more of a chance at her best by being at this amazing school.

    Anyway I rambled a bit and if my spelling is messed up it's cause I'm on my iPhone… Sorry!!!!

  36. skylana & shannon-

    This is a super interesting topic for me to think about and talk about, and I completely agree with pretty much everything you're saying about kids and religion and school– WHEN they are so young and/or have not made their own decisions about God. (It's not so much a 'religion in the schools' thing for me as it is a 'living a life of faith no matter where you are' thing.)

    The guy in the article had daughters that were a bit older and knew what they believed and could articulate those things. I would NEVER expect a child as young as ezra to be 'leading people to salvation' per se, but I still think he can be LIGHT in a school setting by showing mercy/compassion/hope/tolerance to children who don't see much of it anywhere else… simply because he's been taught those things at home and has seen them modeled in his own family.

    If, when ezra gets older, he chooses to follow God, I can think of nothing wrong with desiring him to live a life of faith and hope in his school setting, and then being able to share why he believes what he believes with his friends. This is what I mean by equipping my son and having him bring God into schools that are intolerant of 'Christmas' or anything having to do with God.

    It is definitely NOT (and never should have been) the school's job to be “teaching” God to the students. That is ONLY the responsibility of those who have chosen to follow God and desire to share His love.

    For us personally, as a christian family, we desperately desire to see our sons become strong enough in their own faiths to lead others to God by the attractiveness of their lives. And public school is an awesome place for them to learn to cling to their faith even when the majority of their peers live differently than they do… it's a place for them to SEE (with their own eyes!) what their friends are struggling with, to develop compassion and empathy for those who are broken and hurting, and to learn to extend to them the hope & love they have found in God.

  37. Late to this, since I was on vacation, but I did read the article before I left, and I think it's brilliant.

    Not everyone has the option to homeschool, as some families require two incomes to function. (as mine does)

    But given the option, I would choose against homeschooling for Gwen. I could list off various examples of real life families I've known where it was a complete disaster, as well as those where it really worked.

    But for me, I think so much of a kid's education at school is about inter-personal relationships, classroom etiquette, and independent choices. There is education just in being at school (without parents) that goes far beyond what they learn there.

    We have Gwen in a non-religious, private preschool right now. And if we can afford it, I would continue down that road, mostly for these reasons:

    1. I don't trust a religious organization to teach my child the truth about who God is. (And I say this as a Sunday School/Christian school survivor who spent years trying to deprogram myself from the outright lies I was told about God my whole life.)

    2. Private school has fewer kids per teacher and more to offer because of budget and a lack of gov't bureaucracy.

    3. I'm not a teacher.

    And that third point is something I think a lot of parents considering homeschool should think about first.

    Not everyone has the skills to be a teacher. It's a specialized field, and one that I have the upmost respect for. It takes patience and creativity and an understanding of the different stages of a child's mind and capacity to learn.

    For someone to say, “Anyone can teach school,” is, at best, an insult to education professionals everywhere, and at worst, an over-inflated ego that leads to a sub-par education for their children.

    While I know and love many, many of the teachers in our area, I'm completely underwhelmed with the school district as a whole, which is why we'd choose private, if we have the funds.

    If not, we'll supplement Gwen's education with advanced education workbooks at home and field trips/art exposure at night and on weekends.

    Great topic, and fantastic article!!

  38. Wow I know I am late here, but I am so impressed with your attitude here! This is a very touchy subject, and many people have commented angrily and judgmentally, yet you have remained positive and kind. I respect that =) I do not understand why people want everyone to make all the same decisions as them … how boring!

  39. I know this isn't exactly an active discussion anymore (I am slowly reading through the archives) but I just wanted to make a few comments.

    First, thanks to emery for posting this article. I thought it was very well-written & I agree with much of the content. My hubs and I have already been discussing public school vs. home-school, since I was the former and he was the latter.

    And speaking of that, I'd like to thank HWPetty for saying that not all people can be teaching. I went to school for special education and that is an entirely true statement. I see it played out in my husband's life: he didn't receive the best math instruction, and it affected his later education. My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman, but is she equipped to teach algebra? I'm afraid not.

    I think that public-schooled children need to have a strong home-base, someplace they can feel safe when things at school are scary or confusing. That way, like others have said, they are seeing examples of faith at home, and learning how to live it out in public. (Such an important skill!)

    Kudos to all for an interesting discussion!

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