This post is likely going to draw some criticism so let me say from the outset that this is not a post against those who home school and it is not bashing homeschooling as “lesser schooling” in any manner.
It’s simply a request that we find our unity in Christ Jesus, not the way in which we choose to educate children. It’s simply saying “yes, homeschooling is a valid way but not *the* valid way”
1.) Assumptions hurt
I was raised in a single-mother household so homeschooling wasn’t really an option. Thus, I spent all 12 years from kindergarten through senior year of high school in public school. Several times in my Christian walk, I have come across very grace-less assumptions and statements about not only my intelligence but about my person as a whole simply because I was schooled in a public school. Now, many public schoolers also say mean things about homeschoolers, remarking about their social awkwardness or sheltered notions or antiquated methods. That’s not right either. But I’ve also heard remarks about the quality of education, the heathenish tendencies, and even the authenticity and facets of a person’s salvation and Christian life because the person in question attended public school.
It hurts. A lot. Not only was it not an option in my family, but also when I hear thoughtless remarks like this it serves to further alienate me (and many others) from a Christian world we already often feel like we have to fight to belong in (because we don’t belong to the inner circle of local homeschoolers or “the right youth group”). That’s not cool and more importantly, that’s not Christlike. God calls people regardless of location or education, let alone “location of education.”
Know that there are many ears listening to what you perceive as “necessary” for the Gospel or what you perceive as the “right” way of doing things. If a single mom overhears that women in your church think homeschooling is “the only right way” you may turn her away for good because she thinks “I can’t do what they expect me to do because I work so much.”
Beware becoming a stumbling block to the Gospel simply because of your own preferences (Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 10).
2.) Public School has Its Advantages
There are some advantages to public school. There’s a larger opportunity to witness a lot of the time and less room for the prideful mindset that “my family’s way of doing things is the only way to do things” to set in because students are exposed to so many different people and ways of doing things. These advantages don’t mean that students can’t witness to other homeschoolers or that, with careful guidance on the parents’ part, avoid the pitfall of pride. But public school often provides a wider base to do these things well than home school does.
However, as a public school student, I acknowledge its faults as well. Public school can be expensive in some areas and trying to keep up with the drama that naturally flows between students, teachers, and staff in school systems is exhausting (and, quite frankly, rather annoying).
So public school isn’t perfect but home school isn’t either. However, neither will produce perfect Christians nor produce salvation.
3.) In Christ Alone Is His Body Unified
A message given earlier this year by Jesse Barrington, a pastor in Dallas, Texas entitled “Preserving Unity Through Love” was greatly comforting to me. Here’s an excerpt in which he encourages finding our unity in the body in Christ alone and not in secondary issues:
“The church of Jesus Christ is united together supernaturally. We are not called in Scripture to create unity. We are called in Scripture to maintain and preserve the unity that God Himself has created in us. Maintaining our unity in Christ is vitally important because maintaining the church’s unity is a living witness to the lost world about the saving and uniting power of Jesus Christ.”
He goes on to say that when we find our unity in homeschooling (or anything, really) we have begun to take away from seeing ourselves as unified members of one body.
Conclusion: It’s a secondary issue and should be treated as such, with much care and compassion. It ought not separate or cause us to cast a critical eye. Personally, if I have children, I will likely end up blending home school and public school, given that our (my husband + me) incomes and lifestyles provide for that option.
Whatever happens, God is faithful and able to bring even from the rocks children for Abraham so how much more assuredly is He able to call students from both home and public schools into His marvelous light?
with encouragement to recall what is necessary and what is secondary,