There are usually several email responses following Wednesday’s articles, and I always try to answer personally. Because resolution of the last two weeks’ “Middle of the Road” topic is critical—Private Christian Schools vs. Homeschooling—you might appreciate some of the feedback so far. Nearly all the responses were in agreement with me on the homeschooling option, with one main exception. The gentleman had been a career PCS professional, but even so he presented his differences graciously while making his best case for the legitimacy and value of private schools. We exchanged, with charity, several emails and in the end “shook hands” as we agreed to let our debate rest. That discussion was too lengthy to repeat here, instead, you’ll see some of two other replies. The second also contains a relevant challenge that I’ll explore further next time. Here’s letter #1.
Dear Dr. Jones
Thank you for your articles. They have blessed and encouraged me so much. I’m a graduate of a private Christian school (20 years ago) and I totally agree with you that these schools do not seem to be producing the outcome many once thought or hoped that they would. It’s really sad for me to look at many (not all) of the friends that I went to school with and to see where they now are in their lives and what they’ve done with that “Christian” education. Pregnancies out of wed-lock, divorces, not living according to the standards of the Bible, homosexuality, not attending church at all, etc. are some of the things you’ll see among graduates of my school. And, just so you know, my school was VERY conservative and quite legalistic with extremely strict rules. So those kinds of behavior were not tolerated.
It seems as if there is an attitude among parents that says if you send your kids to a Christian school you’ve done your job in bringing them up by biblical standards. I’ll admit that when my children became school age we, too, sent them to this same Christian school I had attended. It seemed like the “right” thing to do. I am so thankful that God has brought us home to where we are now! (By the way, that school has since closed.) We have been homeschooling for 5 years and I can’t imagine life any other way. I not only love my kids, I actually like my kids and want to spend time with them. This doesn’t seem to be as true for many of our friends who have their kids in government schools. It’s really very sad.
So many people fail to realize that God gave them the exact children He intended for them to raise. These parents have something to teach their children and these same children have something to teach the parents. (A monumental truth – RJ) How sad for our society that some parents so easily push aside such a wonderful custom-made gift. This topic is so important in the lives of Christians and to our country, so if any of this that I wrote will help you get the point across, please by all means use it. God has laid a biblical worldview on my heart, and I’m reading everything about it I can get my hands on. We only get one shot at raising our kids and I want to make sure that we don’t miss the boat. Thanks for taking a stand and telling people about what is truly important.
I read and enjoyed both of your articles the last two weeks in American Vision’s daily email newsletter. As a homeschooling parent of 18 years, I agree that homeschooling is the best way to educate and disciple Christian young people. I absolutely concede that I have never yet seen a Christian private school with an atmosphere I’d be willing to leave my children in for the day.
However, the bigger danger I’ve noticed with all Christian parents, no matter where they send their children to school, is the problem of too many outside activities— particularly sports. And there are two other issues I’ve noticed. First, uninvolved (or minimally involved) fathers, and, second, inconsistent parents who don’t always follow up on correcting their children. Sometimes this is because they don’t know the Scriptures well enough themselves. I agree that homeschool is the best option to “bring up a child in the way he should go.” I was very disappointed in the Christian schools I investigated as possibilities for our oldest child, and could tell you all sorts of things that I discovered that would shock most Christian parents.
But, here’s her other point; the challenging part:
However, I must ask; what did you see in the Scriptures, as listed in your first article, leading you to believe that only the parents should and could disciple their own children? Under the banner of Christian liberty, couldn’t some parents send their children to a top rate Christian school with a clear conscience? R.C. Sproul Sr. has taught that whatever is not expressly commanded or prohibited in Scripture falls under the principle of Christian liberty. (Unless, of course, inference can be made that something is to be done or not done.) It always bothers me when anyone makes a blanket statement that something is wrong, especially when I can’t see the direct connection between the Bible verses quoted and the subject matter.)
Thanks very much to the two correspondents and their two letters. I’ll respond next week to the legitimate challenge in the second.
Here’s a just received, semi-related “thank you” note that will be of value to many of you: “Thank you very much. For the record, we appreciate what American Vision is doing. In fact, after we were becoming more and more displeased with our small public school we took the big step and began homeschooling last August. We are just finishing up our first year of home education and without a doubt, it has been one of the best decisions we could have made. Our thanks to American Vision for restoring our family’s vision of our place in time.”