I am a Christian who is also a public school teacher, and I have to say I'm having difficulty reading some of these posts/comments. First of all, I feel a bit attacked by the comment about the devil being on the rampage in our public school system. The devil has his hand in all places, even in some of our churches! How is sending your children to public school any different than letting them join an organized sport or playing with the neighborhood children. I went to a Christian college with MANY other women and men who earned education degrees and are now teaching in public schools. You really have no idea how many Christian public school teachers there are out there. If your children aren't in public school anyways, how do you know if there is something wrong with it? Did you go to public school - were there problems that you had with it then? I'm sure that you spent time thinking about your options before deciding to home school, but I just hope that the first reason was not because you didn't want them going to public school and that you had some positive reasons for wanting to do it. It seems like you are a bit TOO concerned with what is taught in public schools. In reality, if you are being the parent you should be, you should have no worry that your children are going to be discerning with what they see in the world around them. If they are raised right, and something evil crosses their path, they will come to you. Do you worry that they will not?
I have a Bachelor's degree in education, and I'm almost finished with my Master's degree in Reading and Literacy. Still, I would never feel adequate to educate my own children in every aspect that they would possibly need from kindergarten through high school. What if your child had a learning disability and needed special education services in order to reach his or HER potential? What if they needed speech services, or a remedial reading program? You would deny him/her of that? Would you even know how to identify some of these issues? And what if your child had a mental disability - I have an autistic student this year who is able to do everything my regular education students can do academically - he only struggles socially. The way that he learned his academic skills was nowhere near the same as regular education students. If you had a child like this, what would you do? Would you still home school? Without any expertise in the area, how would you even know how to teach him?
I agree with what you say about how our first calling should be "going into all the world," but how are your daughters going to do that if they are not encouraged to go to college or some other form of life outside of the church and home. We are the salt of the earth, and as my pastor says, "the salt isn't doing any good while it's still in the salt shaker." It is true that some could refuse the call to missions in order to go to college, but isn't it true that for MOST of us the world around us IS our mission field? What if a female is called to go to college in order to be a lighthouse to others there?
I think it is important that we teach our children what the bible says, but that we give them chances to practice it. Be sure you are not living a life of separatism. I went to school with some people who came from home schooled homes and MOST of them knew what they believed, but couldn't put into words WHY they believed it. How can they spread the word of God when they aren't experiencing those first young opportunities to tell others about God? Later in life whenever they encounter resistance, they won't know what to do because they've never experienced that before. Do your children know any other children that are not from Christian homes? If not, how are they getting their first experiences spreading the good news?
I agree that the devil is at work all around us - as you have said. Unfortunately he has a stronghold in many homes, schools, and churches. You are right that any time we let our children go anywhere or do anything there is a chance that they will be exposed to something unbecoming.
I, too, went to a Christian college where many men and women were trained to be educators. And, I have a lot of respect for teachers! As a homeschool mom, I have an even greater respect for teachers! Never before did I know what planning and forethough went into lesson plans! And, I cannot begin to imagine how you can keep order in such a large classroom - sometimes I struggle with just a few kids (*winks*). I cannot answer for my other readers, but my husband and I both went to public school. Though we do not judge all schools by our own experiences, we certainly do tremble at some of what we went through and some of what we were taught. I BY NO MEANS think that public school is all evil all the time. There are a lot of good things about public schools: organized sports, choirs and bands, highly educated teachers, state of the art equipment, well-stocked libraries and more. However, a Christian parent does well to consider what is being taught in the classes their children are attending (or could attend). I do not think that a parent can be "too concerned with what is being taught." I think it is our duty as parents to guard our childrens' hearts (Proverbs 4:23), because they are too young to do it for themselves. However, we know that we cannot shelter our children from sin, and we hope to train our children in such a way that prepares them for fighting their own battles in the future. Also, when you think about how many hours the children are at school - compared to being at home - then it becomes even more valuable to know what they are being taught. (And, please know again, that I am not saying that everything a public school teaches is bad.) Kids are in school most of the day, and then come home to do homework, eat, play, and go to bed. If a Christian parent chooses to educate their children in the public schools, then I hope they are very committed to spending the evening hours with their children. Otherwise, it is almost as though the school is bringing up the child and training him... not the parent. What I mean to say is that a child will most likely be taught by the person/people they spend the most time with.
In response to the amount of education that a homeschool parent has... I think I speak for just about everyone when I say that we all feel inadequate. And, I do think that there are some parents who are too undisciplined and poorly educated to do it well on their own. But, there are so many available resources in these days that it is amazing! There are all kinds of books written on home education (many by highly educated individuals like yourself, who came out of a public school teaching situation), blogs, web sites, and more to help a parent. (Not to mention the hundreds of fantastic Christian curriculums to choose from!) Also, there are homeschool associations where mothers and fathers collaborate to teach each others' children. For example, I might teach lessons in music, some one else can teach some lessons in art, another can facilitate P.E. (And, of course, field trips, speech classes, and play time.)
As for learning disabilities... Homeschooling a "normal" child is a daunting task, and I will be the first to admit that educating a struggling learner is even harder. BUT, most homeschool parents feel grateful to be able to care for these special needs on their own. The benefits of this situation would be that: 1) I know the child very well, 2) I have all day every day to work with him/her at his level, 3) There is much more time spent one on one with the student, 4) There is less of a concern that others will make fun of the struggling student. And, again, there is SO much helpful information on the internet and in books about all types of learning and behavioral disabilities!
I hope that all Christian parents are raising their children with the intent that they will some day be a light to the lost world around them. For our family, this means training them at home until they are old enough to make positive decisions for themselves. Then, we will gradually turn them loose into the world. And, if they go on to college, we trust that they will be well prepared for the differing worldviews that they find there. We are not raising our children in a bubble, trying to shield them from all sin. Rather, we are trying to introduce them to varying worldviews through the lens of the Bible. When we talk about divorce, abortion, creation, government, mathematics, etc. we do so from a Biblical standpoint. This is the biggest reason that our family has chosen to homescool. When I teach the children to read - I have great joy in telling them that we learn to speak and write so that we can learn more about God and make Him known to others. When I teach math and science, I find great joy in sharing with the children the order that we find in the universe. We are studying the order of things laid out by an Orderly Creator. This is, in our minds, giving them a firm foundation to build upon later.
I completely agree that Christians ought to be the salt of the earth! And, that we should not lock ourselves in our homes to keep us from sin. Instead, I think we ought to spend our time at home preparing to go into the world and bring others to the Lord. BUT, it is my personal opinion that children are not ready to be little missionaries sent out into public schools.Children are not well enough equipped to stand alone in such a role. However, we are training them so that they will be ready more every day until the time comes for them to be on their own. And, though I am not in favor of being a complete separatist, set away from the world... I am in favor of doing our best to be different from the world... to be in it, but not of it. And, we are doing our best to train our children to be holy, which does of course have to it this meaning of being apart from and separate. No homeschool family is perfect! We do our best to train our children to raise them to be educated believers (knowing what they believe and why they believe it). But, ultimately we parents cannot make them be Christians. It is still a decision they have to make for themselves. (However, I do personally believe that homeschooling is a good foundation upon which to make that choice).
In regards to college education - I agree with you, that perhaps college is the best way to prepare a person for the work that God has for him/her. The Lord has certainly called to Himself doctors, teachers, presidents, and other professionals that require higher education. Even my husband, who is a mechanic, finds that he can better provide for his family if he were to go back to college and get a degree in that field.
In writing this reply, I am in no way attacking you. These conversations are always easier to have face to face! I know that you cannot hear my tone of voice or see my face, but I assure you that you would hear and see only kindliness there.
Furthermore, I have a lot of Christian friends who are "called" to teach in the public school. I will NOT question what you feel is the Lord's calling on your life. Likewise, may of use here are "called" to homeschool. We ALL need to be careful how we address one another when we talk about these issues.
Thanks for your comment. If you have any other questions or comments you are more than welcome to e-mail me. I love talking about why we homeschool. (I just love talking *winks*).