Should you send your kids to public school, private school, or home school?

Pastor J.D. talks about some key advantages and disadvantages to each type of schooling and how Scripture guides our decision-making.

A glimpse inside this episode:

My friend Joby Martin says if you want some entertainment, get a home-school mama and a public school mama together and ask what the best educational approach is and then just get some popcorn and sit back and prepare for a UFC bout.

  • Home-school mom be like: Sure, you can send your kid to the place where they outlaw prayer like in the times of Nebuchadnezzar and teach your kid that he came from monkeys and where he might get stabbed in the face by a gang member… that’s fine … but we love our son and want him to develop a biblical worldview so we homeschool. Statistically they are more likely to walk with Jesus if you do that, so clearly homeschooling is the godly choice.”
  • Public-school mom: Yeah, that’s cool. We just want our kids to have things like…  social skills. We think it’s cool that Timmy can churn his own butter and make his own clothes but we want our son to know things like … math. And we think our kids need to learn how to deal with the temptation of the world and not just run from it. After all, Jesus promised he would protect us in the world, not to vacate from it—and if all the Christians flee the public school, where is that going to leave society? How can we be salt and light to the world if we vacate it? Keeping our kids in public school is an act of love for our neighbor.

First, Romans 14. Chapter 14 and the first half of 15 are one extended discussion about how to get along with people in the church who disagree with you on something you feel passionate about.

Second: We’ve done all three: private school, home school, and public school and saw advantages in each.

  • 3 in private now, 1 in public
  • (Veronica says she couldn’t homeschool all 4 at once because the Bible clearly says Thou shalt not murder. And my wife would’ve killed my kids if they were home-schooled.)

Third, I’ll say: It really is ‘by kid.’

  • There haven’t been a lot of studies on this, but those that are out there indicate that there’s not a significant difference in homeschool and public regarding whether the child adopts the faith if the parent is involved.  “The data also suggest that family climate, especially faithful religious devotion by both parents, delivered in a context of loving nurture, is far more important than where a child goes to school.”
  • Parental involvement is more key than school choice.
  • That’s similar to the studies on how much doing devotions impacts a kid. It is the quality of the relationship more than the amount of the teaching that makes the difference. Here it is: Sociologist Vern Bengston says in his book Families and Faith that studies conclusively show that the quality of the child’s relationship to the father is the single-most important factor in whether the child adopts the faith of the parents.

What are advantages to private/home schooling?

  • Studies show that both homeschooled kids and private school kids usually do slightly better on standardized testing than public school students.
  • Private school students may get more intentionally-tailored Bible teaching and Christian curriculum (takes some pressure off), and homeschool parents have all the freedom they want to disciple their kids and teach them the Bible as a part of everyday school.
  • Homeschooling (and private schooling to some extent) allows you the opportunity to tailor your child’s education to that child.
  • If in a public school, it can be difficult to control what they’re exposed to at an early age.
  • Public school curriculum can be notoriously harsh to Christianity–you’ve got to do due diligence. We had our older kids read apologetics books for that purpose.

What are disadvantages to private/home schooling?

  • Social interaction (not just a joke) if you’re not careful when homeschooling.
    • Church is a great place to build the kind of community that can compensate for this, by the way, along with things like sports, extracurricular clubs, etc.
  • Exposing them to world. We wanted to have them come home every night and process with us the hard discussions, the temptations, before college.
  • Missional element: be careful with this one. That’s your calling not theirs yet.
  • Private school is really expensive. 
    • It’s a privileged person who even gets to ask a question like this. I understand that. Private schools are really expensive, and not only does that make it impossible for some people … it’s also something that Christians might want to consider even if they can afford it. Do you want your child to only interact with other kids who can afford that kind of school? Or do you want them to have friends from other walks of life, other socio-economic statuses?
  • Homeschooling can be really tough.
    • Sometimes it’s nice to have some help shouldering the load of teaching your kids — especially when it comes to subjects that might be out of your comfort zone (which, for me, would come embarrassingly early in the process).

Every kid is different.

The sponsor for this week’s episode:

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