Monday, July 25, 2005

Home Schooling vs. Public Schooling

This post is opening up a discussion on a topic that pertains to one of our many Christian positions that vary within our life and practice as Christians. While I usually prefer to directly discuss God's Word here, it has become obvious that other issues need to be discussed and thus we enter into the domain of opinions.
I was reading the news and came upon a link about home schooling at the NEA website. I was curious and went there and it was quite an eye opener as to the views expressed. Here is the title of the article, and link, with an excerpt:

Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs
Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds
By Dave Arnold

“There are few homeowners who can tackle every aspect of home repair. A few of us might know carpentry, plumbing and, let’s say, cementing. Others may know about electrical work, tiling and roofing. But hardly anyone can do it all.
Same goes for cars. Not many people have the skills and knowledge to perform all repairs on the family car. Even if they do, they probably don’t own the proper tools. Heck, some people have their hands full just knowing how to drive.
So, why would some parents assume they know enough about every academic subject to home-school their children? You would think that they might leave this -- the shaping of their children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!”

“(Dave Arnold, a member of the Illinois Education Association, is head custodian at Brownstown Elementary School in Southern Illinois.)
[Disclaimer at the bottom of the article:]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NEA or its affiliates.”

I took my children out of public school and put them into a Church run school because of the public school programs were aimed at “shaping the minds” of the children in a direction that I, as a Christian, did not approve. While I agree that we do shape the minds of our children as we teach them; the direction that the public school was taking their minds was too far into the world’s manner of thinking for me to accept. As a Christian, my beliefs and how they were to be lived out did not mesh with the public school’s direction to say the least.

The teachers of our Church School may not be certified by our state, but they are trained in the use of the curriculum that the school adopted. This curriculum was designed for a student to use in our school setting or in a home school setting. Some of the students work at home some days and at the school other days. The teachers organize the work for each grade level, assist the students as they proceed through the various subjects at their own pace, keep records documenting the students’ progress, and administer all tests along the way. It has worked well for the last 15 or so years and the Christian ethics of life we prefer to teach our children has also been met. While we do encourage our teachers to garner as much teaching education as they can in order to stay up to date and better prepared to teach within the church schools we have operating; our current system does work well, and those of our students that take the GED tests do very well. Having participated as a substitute teacher in our school, I know first hand that the curriculum used is well thought out and flows well through the subject at each grade level. I also realized that after 35+ years since I graduated from high school much of what they are learning is as challenging to me as to them.

I could go on and give my view of this article and the problems that I see stated in it by its author, however, I would like to use his article as a springboard into discussion on this subject if my readership is so inclined. All opinions are welcome, I only ask for respect to be accorded to all views in discussing this subject.