The timing of the article couldn’t have been better. On this blog, we had just finished a series on education options for children, including perspectives from families who have chosen home, private, and public schooling. Each family explained why that option was best for their own family, and how they have seen God work in it for His glory.
Then, within a few days of concluding our series, I saw this post on another blog: A Case for Homeschooling: Is There A "Biblical Model" for Education?
I was interested not only because we had just finished our own series where a balanced view was presented, but also because we ourselves have homeschooled our own children.
The author starts out by saying that while she sees a strong Biblical support for homeschooling, she is not saying that other options are sin. She then goes on to explain how homeschooling lines up with some Biblical principles, especially on the need to shepherd and protect the hearts of our children. Additionally, she equates homeschooling to a traditional, Hebrew mindset, and public school to a Greek approach to education.
In a number of points that the author brings up, I agree wholeheartedly. I do feel like one can make a case that homeschooling lines up with some core biblical principles. However, I have a number of objections to the author’s rationale. I addressed some of these in the comments section on that post, but will elaborate more here:
|image courtesy of ba1969 via sxc.hu|
- Be careful of Bible references used out of context. Yes, the principles that are brought up in the verses presented are true. But in none of these passages is the writer (inspired by God) saying, “This principle is true. Therefore, you should home school your child.” Deuteronomy 6 and Proverbs 1, for example, are passages about worship, not education.
- We need a better definition for “home school.” Going along with the above point, I would make the case that those passages and principles apply no matter what schooling option is chosen. In truth, we all “home school.” We all need to be equipping our children with life lessons. But this is true regardless of who teaches a child reading, writing, and arithmetic.
- We all need to engage our children. I’ve heard this before (and saw it especially in the comments section on that post), that people tend to equate public school with “throwing your kids in the wilderness and hoping they survive.” This is true if the parent is not continually engaging and equipping the child. But I would defend certain families that I know who have their kids in public school, who have wonderful opportunities to talk about their days in the context of the gospel and God’s kingdom. In fact, I am a little envious of their opportunities, and I applaud their efforts.
- Neglect can occur in any education system. God does not want us to “throw our kids in the wilderness” of public school, but I have seen this happen a lot. But I have also seen parents use private “Christian” school as a crutch or substitute. And I have even known neglectful homeschooling parents, who give the kids some worksheets and videos every day, but don’t really educate their children.
- Traditional does not always mean biblical. The author says that Hebrew families homeschooled (Yay!), whereas the Greek philosophy incorporated public school (Boo!). Hey, I love (almost) all things Jewish, but let’s not equate tradition with Bible-certified. That’s one of the issues I have with the parenting resource Parenting by the Book.
Don’t get me wrong; I am a fan of homeschooling. I am just not a fan of someone saying something to the tune of, “The Bible says Christians should homeschool.” Even more relevant to this article, I think it's worse to say, "The Bible says that Christians should not send their children to public schools."