I have always liked the IDEA of homeschooling. I have good friends who homeschool. My own sister home-schools. I discipled some amazing college students who were homeschooled. But, if homeschooling was brought up anytime AFTER I started having kids, you would find me in cold sweats.
I could not wait for Kenneth to go to pre-school. You could make the case that Kenneth needed the socialization and structure that pre-school provided for him. But, really and truly, it was for my sanity. (Year three and I don’t get along very well.)
Fast forward a few years: Kenneth is in Kindergarten. We have him in public school. The public vs. private school conversation lasted about ten seconds. (Homeschooling didn’t even come up as an option!) With Chris in seminary, private school is just about impossible for us. But even if it was a possibility, I don’t think we would have looked into it, for a few reasons.
See, there is this thing called The Christian Bubble. This “the world is dirty, and it is going to ruin our pretty dresses” mentality. This bubble is a place where we fill our lives with church activities, and where our relationships are solely ones with others in this bubble. Anything outside of the bubble is a contaminant.
Years ago, I had a sweet church lady come up to me one day and ask me if Chris and I were looking to buy a house. She and her husband had their house up for sale and she told me that it was a great neighborhood, full of great Christian people. “I would just hate for the house to go to someone who was not a Christian.” I can’t remember what I said, but (by the grace of God) it wasn’t much. I was shocked. Shocked at this mindset that a non-Christian homeowner would make that neighborhood dirty, instead of seeing a great opportunity for the Lord to bring the mission field to their doorsteps.
As parents we can have a similar mindset with our children. A desire to keep them from “being defiled” that trumps any opportunities to show Jesus to a hurting world. I realize this is not a black and white issue, and that we must be careful that the world is not influencing us or our children towards sin, and I do think we must take appropriate steps to protect our children from unnecessary harm. What I am referring to here is an overemphasis on the fear of non-believers messing things up, instead of being driven by a genuine concern for those same lost souls who desperately need a Savior.
Another big factor for us in choosing public school is that our kids are “PKs”, preacher’s kids. They are in church at least three times a week. We don’t want to facilitate this bubble effect in their lives. I want my kids to have non-believing friends. I don’t want to be so afraid of how the other kids are going to “stain” my kids that I try to keep them away from the filth. Maybe I’ll change my mind when Kenneth comes home saying the F-word, or has been bullied, but this is where we landed in our decision this past fall to put Kenneth in public school.
So, what does all this have to do with homeschooling?