My wife and I decided to homeschool our children several years ago, and I’m extremely grateful for the decision we made. I believe it was the right decision for our family. However, not everyone comes to the same decision. Not everyone can homeschool their children in every season of life. Why did you decide to homeschool? Why did you decide to go the public school route? Whatever your decision was, it was influenced by certain factors and ideas. We must avoid the really bad reasons that people often use for refusing to homeschool their children. Below you will see a list of homeschool myths that people use to support their decision to avoid homeschooling their children.
Homeschool Myth #1 – We can’t afford to homeschool.
This decision could be true for a certain small percentage of the population, but in reality, this is typically a statement coming from families with double incomes. In such cases, these families can’t imagine cutting back and living on one income. Such sacrifice would require downsizing life, driving lesser expensive automobiles, and cutting back on the luxuries of life. It can be done. It will require sacrifice. This excuse doesn’t hold water in most cases.
Homeschool Myth #2 – Our children will be salt and light for Christ in the public school system.
This is a popular reason that I often hear, but in reality, what child is ready to become a missionary in elementary school? What teenager is prepared to be a missionary for Christ in middle school? Would it make more sense to train them and raise them up in the gospel and then send them out into the world for Christ verses sending them out to be faithful Christians when they’ve yet to become a Christian? They’ve had limited time on earth and limited time under your gospel training, so why would we expect them to stand firm and be faithful Christians?
Voddie Baucham, in his book, Family Driven Faith writes, “70-88% of teens, who profess Christianity, walk away from their faith by the end of their freshman year of college.” In reality, most children who enter public school under this line of reasoning care very little about becoming a salt and light for Christ. Often parents find out (far too late) that the school campus did a much better job of influencing their child than their child did in influencing their school campus. Is your child a true believer? Does your child exemplify the fruit of the Spirit and demonstrate a desire to make Christ known? Does your child know how to share the gospel? Before we send our children out, we must make sure they’re ready – right?
Homeschool Myth #3 – Our children need to play sports.
Yes, we live in a culture where the god of sports is alive and well (see: “The god of Sports“). If you think that athletic competition is a determining factor in your choice of education, you’ve missed it. Your child will most likely not become a professional in his chosen athletic ventures. Elevating athletics over the spiritual wellbeing of your child is unwise and a recipe for disaster. However, if it helps you, homeschooled children are allowed to be involved in school related sports in most states and can tryout for their teams. Have you done any research on this in your local school district?
Homeschool Myth #4 – We are not capable of educating our children properly.
This type of reasoning is understandable on many levels, but we live in a day of such information technology and advancements that it’s very difficult to make that statement with a straight face. Lesser educated parents are still able to provide a solid education with the use of good resources and co-ops such as Classical Conversations. Furthermore, before we fret and worry over school curriculum, we should make sure that our children have a firm theological foundation. Algebra and history should all be taught through a gospel lens. Don’t throw in the white towel before you do your research properly.
Homeschool Myth #5 – Our children will be…you know…weird, isolated, and socially awkward.
First of all, if your child is a bit socially awkward in life and that’s the worst thing that happens to your child – you have hit the jackpot. However, to be brutally honest, I know some really socially awkward people who don’t know how to thrive in the adult world and enjoy adult relationships. Guess where they went to school? They’re the product of the public school system from kindergarten to college. That social experiment has failed.
Often the social development of the children is based on the family life and activities and relationships that the entire family enjoys on a regular basis. To avoid homeschooling your child because you’re worried about isolation problems – you will likely find yourself fighting the isolation problems through the world of technology rather than homeschooling years after you decided to kick homeschooling to the curb.
Homeschool Myth #6 – Our children need to build good friendships.
Friendships are important in life, and they’re really important during the developmental stages of a child’s life. However, would it make more sense to base your friendships and your child’s friendships in the life of the local church verses the local school? Many people attend church, but their real friendships are elsewhere. They find deeper friendships in their workplace, ball leagues, or in their neighborhoods. As Christians, we must strive and battle against the anonymity of life that isolates us from the local church. Our deepest friendships should be in the local church, and when this takes place, our children will follow in our footsteps.
Homeschool Myth #7 – Homeschooling will shelter our children from the real world.
Where do we want our children to learn about sex – the science classroom or in our home and further developed through a Christian worldview that’s reinforced within the local church? The public school filter may be different than what you want for your children, and you can’t control the peers that will converse with them on campus. There is a danger in isolating children from the realities of pain, death, and the fallen world in which we live. However, let’s be honest, it’s quite possible to pull back the veil of reality for children to see our culture and then properly instruct them to look at our dark world through the gospel lens. That is something that will not happen, and increasingly so, on the public school campus. Outside of solid Christian teachers (and they’re greatly limited), the children are inundated with theories and slanted ideas that have an agenda to undermine Christianity.
Just recently a person approached me about a problem they were experiencing at the local school’s annual book fair. They were selling books in the fair that teach children to normalize homosexuality. That’s just the tip of the massive iceberg that sits silently below the surface. I agree that we should not isolate our children from reality, but there’s a difference between isolating them and bombarding them with thoughts, ideas, opinions, theories, and a multiplicity of other things that have absolutely zero benefit to their development.
Homeschool Myth #8 – I will waste my college education on my children.
To homeschool does require a sacrifice. I will not minimize that reality. My wife got her education and worked hard in the health and wellness field while I was in seminary. After our first child was born, she quit her job and started her journey as a stay-at-home mother and home educator. I have worked behind the scenes to support her, but she has carried much of the load. At times we’ve discussed her past feelings of inadequacy due to her career choice (and believe me, it is a career choice). Today, she doesn’t battle with those feelings and is happy as a homemaker, mother, and home educator.
Did she waste her college degree? No! She is able to use it in her teaching and it provided her with a great balance that she is able to bring to the table in her time with our children. It wasn’t a waste. We would gladly trade her salary for the opportunities we’ve enjoyed in influencing and educating our children with the basic truths in education – all through a gospel lens.
Before you send me hate mail, please – I’m not out to crucify every parent and every family that chooses to send their children to public school. However, I would ask you to think honestly about your reasoning for avoiding homeschooling your children. Think biblically about your God ordained responsibility to educate and disciple your children. Think logically about the United States government and the Department of Education. Can we depend upon the government to educate our children? Name one good thing the government manages (healthcare, mail system, IRS). How can we expect the government to properly manage public education?
No matter what you decide for your family, you do have the responsibility to educate and disciple your children in the gospel. Don’t avoid this responsibility. Take it seriously. You only get one shot at preparing your children for life and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not a video game and there will be no reset button to press when things go in a bad direction.
Homeschooling is not the magic answer to the human depravity within your children. Many homeschooled children have turned out to be rebels. We must trust in our sovereign God to extend sovereign grace as we seek to faithfully disciple our children under the banner of the gospel.