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homeschoolers and public/private schoolers

     In the Sept. 2/9, 2006, issue of World Magazine, Joel Belz had an article entitled Monday morning Rx about speaking at the opening convocation for the new academic year at 1,900-student Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, AL, part of the 4,000-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church, but noted that not everyone at the church is part of or committed to the school, because a significant number of families are energetic homeschoolers and another group is involved in a variety of public schools. Therefore, after the gathering, the church's minister, Harry Reeder, asked all the faculty and staff of the school to come forward and stand in a row. Then he asked everyone who was otherwise involved in the education of young people–homeschoolers and teachers in other schools to stand in another row. Finally, he asked everyone in the two lines to get acquainted with the person standing just opposite and suggested that every single employee of Briarwood school agree to pray at least once a week for some homeschooler or public school teacher. Belz thought that it was an incredibly simple answer to a problem that we've all witnessed but seldom addressed. Far be it from me to be critical of this or to doubt the power of friendship and prayer in creating goodwill between homeschoolers and private or public school families. However, it seems to me that it presupposes that maybe homeschooling families have some degree of ill will toward others. In my experience, that is simply not the case. Oh, maybe there is a homeschooler somewhere who thinks that he is “holier than thou,” but that is very, very rare. Also, it may be that the warnings which we sound, often in response to attacks on us, of the dangers that we have seen in public and even private schools may sound to some (perhaps as a result of their own defensiveness) as if we think that they are in sin and must repent, but if so, that is usually a huge misunderstanding too. Mostly, we just want to be left alone and not be constantly told how our children will be ruined due to lack of socialization and fail in their responsibilities to be “salt and light”–especially when there is absolutely no evidence that this is happening among homeschoolers. I will not argue with those families who choose either public or private schools for their children, but will allow them their choice of educational alternatives, even as I ask that they allow me my choice of homeschooling. However, talking about evidence, since the statistics show that some 80% or so of children from Bible believing families who go to public schools lose their faith, I still have to wonder what is going on. The Old Testament prophets who warned the people of Israel regarding their wrong direction were often rejected by the majority and even stoned, but they kept on warning!

3 thoughts on “homeschoolers and public/private schoolers

  1. Interesting post. Your experience is far different from mine. I have come across many, many homeschoolers who have a “holier than thou” attitude toward public schoolers and private Christian schoolers – and even homeschoolers of the wrong stripe (“what curriculum do you use?”) There is a church in a town nearby (Christian) that will not allow a family membership if their children are in public school. They may attend, but they are not considered full participants in the Body if they use the public schools.

    Of course there are plenty of snobbery opportunities to go around; public and private have their own against each other and against homeschoolers.

    Of course we also agree that this shouldn’t be so. Sad to say, in my experience at least, it is.

  2. Of course, the homeschool mom of 2 is correct that there are some “holier than thou” homeschoolers, which I acknowledged. I have met some of them too, but I have, as I said, found them to be much in the minority. But then, even concerning those who do seem to be that way, people have the right to their own opinion even if I don’t happen to agree with it, so I will support their homeschooling and try to work with them when we can on issues of mutual concern. My opinion is that a lot of people, especially who do not homeschool, often take our enthusiasm for and promotion of homeschooling as meaning that we think that we are better than they are, and that is generally not true. At the same time, my personal opinion is that I have trouble seeing how people who call themselves Christians can send their children to the public schools knowing what is going on in them and the influence that they are having on young people, especially since the Bible says, “Come out from among them and be separate.” However, I also realize that these are personal judgments and each family must be free to make its own decisions, so I will not stand by and point fingers. I simply ask that others who make different choices not stand and point fingers at me.

  3. Pointing fingures never convinced anyone of anything. I have been told that it is because when you point a finger at someone else, there are three others pointing back at yourself!


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