Sin For Not Homeschooling?

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sitdownicantsee

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi all - I have a dilemma approaching in one year and need the help from my reformed friends; I have a four year old boy, twin 2.5 year old girls. I am having a lot anxiety over sending my kids to public schools, my wife is unwilling to homeschool - her opinion differs of mine, but she holds to the idea that our children need to be taught by those trained in teaching. Private Christian schooling around here is tremendously expensive, which would be $7,000+ per year, per child - so that option is out. The next option would be to move one town over and be in the more rural public school system our church resides in. Where our kids would be under the eyes of members and other children of the church. I am fearful of our kids being instructed most of their young lives by anti-Christian/atheistic agendas (not of our churchmembers, of course), some 14,000 hours by grade 12. I fear that I am committing a deliberate sin by not homeschooling our kids and sending them to public school-- what sayeth the Scriptures concerning this? What sayest the brethren? Opinions and guidance is most appreciated, friends..
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
You are in a difficult situation. If your wife does not want to homeschool your kids I wonder if she would be willing to move to the rural part of town. If she would do this willing and with a glad heart this may your only option to ease your conscience. I have run into a few "problems" with my wife when we disagree on similar issues. To put it mildly I am the one that usually "gives in" knowing that I did my part in giving a sound reason why I disagree with her. To set you at ease love her, and realize that this love covers a multitude of sin...both ways if I may add as my wife would attest by her sticking with me.
 

KevinInReno

Puritan Board Freshman
I would say this... it is not sinful to send your kids to public school. My wife and I personally home school, but it's not to entirely shelter my children from the world, etc. I'm not running a monastery in my home. I think far too often in certain circles it's made out to be a litmus test....

However, a large reason why we decided to do it is... we probably will never go to Africa on a mission project. We might never visit a remote tribe in the amazon rain forest and share the Gospel... but the Lord has been gracious enough to deliver 3 children into our home and I can share the Gospel with them daily. It's the most important evangelism my wife and I will likely ever undertake in our lifetime and we felt we could better manage that awesome responsibility by homeschooling.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
There's usually some sin in most big choices we make. But it is NOT automatically a sin to have someone else help educate your kids.

How you approach it, your reasons for making the decision you arrive at, your priorities in spending money and time and other family resources, your involvement in whatever education you choose, your general diligence in protecting and training your kids and loving your wife... these are things to keep examining for sin. Consider all the factors and the temptations associated with each of these. Then order your life, including educational decisions, according to what seems most pleasing to God. It isn't a sin/no-sin deal based simply on where your kids go to school, and it won't be the same for everyone. Your situation and your temptations differ from those of other believers.

My kids are in a Christian school but my wife and I have at times considered both home schooling and public school for one or both of them, taking into account all the factors I mentioned plus the particular schools, teachers, principals and level of parental involvement possible. They've also attended public school for a half a day each week to use the gym, computer lab, library, etc. All that is to say that I'm open to the idea that some kids in some Christian families can best thrive in some public schools. It's your decision to make and it's not a simple one. Consider all the factors, with much prayer and consultation with godly friends, and don't let anyone (including yourself) lay a guilt trip on you for your eventual choice.

And relax. I know that's hard when your kids are young and you're trying so hard to do the right thing. But you will make mistakes along the way and most of those can be rectified if you're paying attention. If you try one sort of schooling and it starts going badly, it's no shame to re-evaluate and make some changes.
 

O'GodHowGreatThouArt

Puritan Board Sophomore
At the end of the day, the only possibility of sin is through failure to be directly involved in their education through teaching, clarification, and correction. Whether you decide to send your children off to private school, public school, or home school, you are still responsible for their education at the end of the day and should take all steps necessary to be as active as possible in what your children are learning and are being taught.
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
Is your church willing or able to help offset the cost of private school?

(off topic, but: I think churches are missing a great opportunity to serve families when they are unwilling to help with this expense. But, that's just my opinion.)
 

KevinInReno

Puritan Board Freshman
Is your church willing or able to help offset the cost of private school?

(off topic, but: I think churches are missing a great opportunity to serve families when they are unwilling to help with this expense. But, that's just my opinion.)
Also not just your home church, but also consider sitting down and meeting with the school itself. I know my brother and his wife did something like this. They could only afford 25% of the tuition costs of the school. They decided to ask the school if that would be enough, and the school gave their daughter a scholarship for the remaining amount.
 

TexanRose

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, whatever you choose for the first year, you are not locked in to that decision for the next twelve years. Your wife might change her mind at some point, or your financial situation might change.

Have you and your wife considered video school? That way, the children are being taught by certified teachers, but in your home. It would be more expensive than other homeschooling options, but less expensive than a private school.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Have you and your wife considered video school? That way, the children are being taught by certified teachers, but in your home. It would be more expensive than other homeschooling options, but less expensive than a private school.
This is a good point. I would duck and dodge every way I could before I sent my children into the arms of public education, and what Sharon wrote above is a great option #3. :up:
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I will echo Sharon's comment, there are satellite schools, with streaming instruction, work graded by certified teachers, etc. I know Bob Jones does it, and if you search "satellite schools" or "distance Christian learning" or some such phrases, I think you will find more.

Also may I say it is a sin for your wife to refuse? It's a hard saying. But you are not asking her to sin. So she should do it, unless there are very serious reasons to keep her from it like extreme health hardships or illiteracy or something.

I don't suggest you should drop an edict like "Do it know and don't fuss about it!" In other words, I think you should be supportive and take it easy and find a tutor helper or a satellite system or teach the math when you get home or whatever. But, I think she should be confronted about her refusal. And I am a wife so it's ok for me to say!
 

tlharvey7

Puritan Board Freshman
my kids and I daily discuss what they are picking up in public school. both from teachers and students.
they are being subjected and bombarded by every type of wordview and belief system under the sun.
I LOVE IT!!!!
my daughter even came home about 2 weeks ago and told me that her teacher during a world religions class said that christians believe they go to heaven by being good and folllowing the bible. she was all over that! i have never been so proud as when she told that teacher and her class about grace and mercy.
i would love to homeschool my kids, and as a single dad i wish i could... but at the same time, they are getting a crash course in apologetics and will not be shell shocked when they go into the real world
 

Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
Also may I say it is a sin for your wife to refuse? It's a hard saying. But you are not asking her to sin. So she should do it, unless there are very serious reasons to keep her from it like extreme health hardships or illiteracy or something.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Since it's not a sin issue and you (as the husband) feel strongly led in this area, then as a submissive wife, she should follow your guidance. It's not that she can't have an opinion about it, but when a married couple disagrees, someone needs to have the final say; and the Bible tells us that person is the husband. The role of a submissive Christian wife has been negatively affected by our culture, and the Church needs to help bring that role back into the marriage.

Homeschooling is very rewarding, but also very challenging at times. There are some days that I want to quit (but generally, those days happened earlier in our homeschool journey). I remember looking at bus routes on the computer one day for an unnamed boy in our family. My husband just happened to call right at that moment. When he found out what I was doing, he took off work, came home, and handled the situation. Because of his continual support and prayers, overall, our homeschool has been very successful and blessed.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
As others have said, there are other options out there. There are online courses, home-school coops, and private christian schools that often have tuition assistance. If public school is the only option, you will have to counter the school influence with an equal amount or more of home correction and re-alignment. Also, be wary, for if they diagnose your child as ADHD, you will need to comply with medication or else you run the risk of child services bringing you up on charges of abuse/neglect. This does happen.

Personally, I would almost rather send my wife to work to bring home the money, and do the homeschooling myself, if she refused to do it. If you're worried about whether or not you are giving them a quality education, you can take a state test at the end of the year, by which you can measure their achievement level. You can try it for one year and see if you are successful . Later, when you run into a course that is too challenging, you can sub-contract that out to a private tutor or an online course. I just did this for a family. Their daughter was taking higher math, and the mom bought the homeschool material for it. I just tutored her along the way as she needed help. She was accepted to, and will be attending, Roanoke University next year.

Here is a good read to consider: http://www.amazon.com/Harsh-Truth-A...1-1&keywords=harsh+truth+about+public+schools

Blessings and prayers!
 

TexanRose

Puritan Board Sophomore
...Also, be wary, for if they diagnose your child as ADHD, you will need to comply with medication or else you run the risk of child services bringing you up on charges of abuse/neglect. This does happen...
Yikes! I hadn't heard this before. I have a son who would probably be labeled ADHD in a school setting, so this is good to know.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
If I were in your shoes, I'd check your state's mandatory starting age for schooling, and minimum home school requirements. Use this information to keep them at home for the first few years. (If it's any reassurance, Finland has some of the top test scores in the world and does not start formal education before age 8 and prefers parents not to have started on their own.)

Those first few years are so critical spiritually, developmentally, and morally. For education, they are also the most flexible. My husband and I think that no matter what schooling option you choose, a child should ideally not be out of the home before the age of 7, and if entering the public schools, should already be reading and have some ability to find and evaluate information for himself (though obviously at an immature level).

Don't worry much about lessons at this early age aside from letter formation and basic phonics (after getting the letters=sounds idea started and teaching the vowels, there are plenty of games out there that do a good job). Our six-year-old has had no "formal" education but is reading well for his age, has an extensive vocabulary, and is well ahead of what's expected for numeracy. I don't think he's necessarily exceptional, but he has been "reading" the morning paper with me since he was an infant, hears lots of reading, and has unlimited access to books, magazines etc. When I hear something is lacking, I make a point of drawing it out of everyday situations.

And as Sharon emphasized, you are not locked into your beginning plans. (Although, I should mention that some states make it harder than others to withdraw students from public schools to teach at home.)
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
One of the huge weaknesses with homeschool is that often it is a (tremendous!) burden almost entirely shouldered by the mom -- who is also trying to run the house and keep up with many other responsibilities and aspects of nurturing and caring for her family. And it is true that sometimes we simply aren't qualified (no reflection on general intelligence) for specialised areas of teaching. If your wife does not feel up for that, it's perfectly understandable. Sharon mentioned video school and that is certainly less expensive than a Christian school -- I was homeschooled largely on A Beka's video school program. I have known children do both very poorly and very well in homeschool, Christian school, and public school -- academically and spiritually. You could certainly confront your wife in this area -- it's true that we ladies ought to submit. But even though technically you'd be in your rights, I'm not sure that would be a dwelling with her according to knowledge, or the best way to help her over the hurdles she is facing? If your wife isn't personally convicted about homeschooling, she will probably not be able to cope with the demandingness of it very well.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
...Also, be wary, for if they diagnose your child as ADHD, you will need to comply with medication or else you run the risk of child services bringing you up on charges of abuse/neglect. This does happen...
Yikes! I hadn't heard this before. I have a son who would probably be labeled ADHD in a school setting, so this is good to know.
The real threat is mainly to the parents who want special ed services, have their child tested, and then refuse medication if they diagnose it to be necessary. Just avoid the special accomodations department altogether if you're going the public school route and want to avoid the issue entirely.

Australia appears to be getting worse, however: Children with ADHD are "Forced" to Take ADHD Drugs

Blessings!
 

Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
One of the huge weaknesses with homeschool is that often it is a (tremendous!) burden almost entirely shouldered by the mom -- who is also trying to run the house and keep up with many other responsibilities and aspects of nurturing and caring for her family. And it is true that sometimes we simply aren't qualified (no reflection on general intelligence) for specialised areas of teaching. If your wife does not feel up for that, it's perfectly understandable. Sharon mentioned video school and that is certainly less expensive than a Christian school -- I was homeschooled largely on A Beka's video school program. I have known children do both very poorly and very well in homeschool, Christian school, and public school -- academically and spiritually. You could certainly confront your wife in this area -- it's true that we ladies ought to submit. But even though technically you'd be in your rights, I'm not sure that would be a dwelling with her according to knowledge, or the best way to help her over the hurdles she is facing? If your wife isn't personally convicted about homeschooling, she will probably not be able to cope with the demandingness of it very well.
Dear Heidi,

I'm not singling you out, but I'm just trying to address the widespread acceptance of your statement in both Christian and secular circles.

I think that in our feminist society, it's very common to fall back on the wife's perceived needs of personal conviction and/or the ability to cope. However, our sovereign God has put us together as man and wife with strengths and weaknesses to build each other up. If Brian has the Holy Spirit leading him to homeschool, and his wife refuses (regardless of the excuse), then she is causing him to sin (James 4:17).

I don't feel adequate to homeschool which is a very good thing. Otherwise, I would mess a lot of things up with my pride. I pray daily for wisdom and guidance. I study things ahead of time. The Holy Spirit and my husband help in areas that I'm weak. As mentioned, there are innumerable on-line programs.

In areas that do not involve sin, after honest discussion and evaluation, wives (myself included) should joyfully follow their husbands' leading. This is an unpopular concept even in the Church today, but it's scriptural. Paul appeals to the creation order many times in his epistles; therefore, it's important that those of us who uphold the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible to obey its commands even when we don't like it.

I also want to add that I would feel this same way if the husband felt the Holy Spirit's leading to send his children to public school. The means is not the issue, the obedience is.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Here's my two cents, sorry as I have not read all the posts if I am being redundant or off topic now.

I went to public school and the schools I attended were top notch. Doesn't proverbs say train up your kid the correct way and he won't depart? It's a principle rather than law of nature but, it seems to work. I questioned every thing (for the most part) that I have learned. Don't these liberal/atheistic teachers tell kids do that? Of course! But instead I questioned their teachings in light of what I knew about the Bible and favored the Bible every time.
No matter what you choose teach your kids to that their are those out their who want them to question their faith, instead, tell them to turn it around and question their teachers. They'll find answers from godly men and women on the journey.
If you decide to homeschool, then what about college? Having them go to a Christian college won't guarantee anything in light of some of them trying to fit in with mainstream academia who will teach positions on the Bible that directly come from a presupposed atheistic world view. The above advice worked for me. I just graduated from a community college and I had some liberal professors with an rabidly atheistic world view and I can honestly say I have probably come out stronger and more conservative than I was before, as oppose to some I have heard come out more liberal because they savored their professor's words like the gospel. They didn't have the right authority to look to but, a fallible human being.

VERITAS VULNERE VIRET or truth under attack in strengthened.

So that's my two cents, hope I didn't come off as offensive or anything.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Of course, dear Bethel. I agree entirely and I honor you for saying that.

It is just that I think the other person's responsibilities are rarely helpful to focus on in a conflict of any sort. If Mrs. ____ had come to us for counsel, we would advise her to submit to her husband (I hope!). But there is a responsibility on the other side to dwell with her according to knowledge, to think about leading her gently, understanding her fears and her point of view, shouldering through the rough parts of the way, accommodating to her needs to help her wherever possible -- making it easy and desirable for her to follow as much as may be, and not just by corralling and jerking a subordinate along through something that is tremendously difficult (I have done this with a special needs foster child: it destroyed what little health I had at the time, and for many months afterwards; and I had a lot of support from my kind husband. Our former foster child can now read and add -- which he couldn't do before, at age 11: it was worth it, of course. But this *is* an incredible 'extra' thing to ask of a woman, and I think it might only make things more difficult to approach it by confrontation?)

I appreciate your words also, in that I too believe it is easy to get convictions about homeschooling or other kinds of schooling or many issues out of proportion with other convictions. It is certainly not a sin not to homeschool. Nowhere in the list of things that are the obligations of a wife is her responsibility laid down in scripture to teach the children academically. I don't think the mother our Lord 'homeschooled' him :). It is though a sin for us women to be unsubmissive to our head -- and it is a sin not to tenderly lead a wife and lay down one's life for her, as Christ cared for the church.
 

littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
I went to public school, and I think I'm a pretty sharp apologist because of it. Daniel studied in the Babylonian court, and I don't think this was sin for him. So deliberate sin? No
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
I've not read every word here, brothers and sisters, but I want to support Heidi's points.

My wife and I have both Christian-schooled and home-schooled. The latter is a good deal of responsibility: a great blessing in many ways, but no small undertaking.

I do not think that this is simply a matter of submission, simpliciter. Here's why: the husband asking his reluctant wife to do this is asking her to do something that is not part of her ordinary biblical duties with respect to her children. Neither parent is tasked with teaching their children the academic subjects that society currently deems necessary. Parents biblically are to teach the fear of God, courteous and kind behavior, basic life skills, and whatever else they may be gifted to do. Many folk are not gifted to teach math, language, music, etc., all of which are valuable and make up an education. A parent is under obligation to train in the nurture and admonition of the Lord but not in the scholastic disciplines and it is perfectly proper for them to want to engage others to do this for them.

Given my own training, I took quite an active role in my children's education (some part of language, music, theology, science, literature, history, and philosophy). That has nothing to do with anyone else. I did not teach them technical automotive or home-building skills, lacking those myself. But we can get them for those desirous of such.

I am quite reluctant for folk to denominate as sin that which is not clearly such. It's easy for Dad to say "let's do this" and expect Mom to do it and it all falls on her. I think rather than people here simply declaring something arguable to be sin, it is better to take this matter to your local pastor and elders and see what they have to say. Mom and Dad both must do their job, but I don't see where the Bible defines that as teaching our children their academic subjects.

Peace,
Alan
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
It is so important not to label as "sin" that which Scripture does not call "sin."

With that said, we are told to raise up our children in the way they should go.

If we can keep that commandment while sending them to our local public school, then so be it. But that is what each parent, particularly each Father, has to consider. I live in San Francisco, and the only way I could send my children to our local public school would be if the government made it illegal not to do so. It is that bad. I won't go into details.

Maybe in other school districts it is better.

As a side note, I have never liked using Daniel as an example of why it is ok to send children to any sort of spiritual enemy for education. They were in captivity and were slaves. No parent made the decision to send Daniel and his friends to Babylon for school.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think the OP was concerned with academics so much as environment, in sending his young children to gov't schools. I think he has serious concerns about the effect gov't schools might have upon bringing his kids up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

And I think his concerns are justified, esp when his children are very young. I can honestly see how he may feel that sending his children into the maw of gov't schools IS sin. If we could send our kids to gov't schools for simple academics(2+2=4, CAT spells cat, sprouting seeds, etc), we'd not be having the dilemmas in our families.

But you get the whole ball of wax(academics, culture, philosophy) with the gov't schools. And frankly, a lot of the academics are very poorly taught.
 

JStone

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi all - I have a dilemma approaching in one year and need the help from my reformed friends; I have a four year old boy, twin 2.5 year old girls. I am having a lot anxiety over sending my kids to public schools, my wife is unwilling to homeschool - her opinion differs of mine, but she holds to the idea that our children need to be taught by those trained in teaching. Private Christian schooling around here is tremendously expensive, which would be $7,000+ per year, per child - so that option is out. The next option would be to move one town over and be in the more rural public school system our church resides in. Where our kids would be under the eyes of members and other children of the church. I am fearful of our kids being instructed most of their young lives by anti-Christian/atheistic agendas (not of our churchmembers, of course), some 14,000 hours by grade 12. I fear that I am committing a deliberate sin by not homeschooling our kids and sending them to public school-- what sayeth the Scriptures concerning this? What sayest the brethren? Opinions and guidance is most appreciated, friends..
If sending your children to public school violates your conscience based on your understanding of Scripture, then it is a sin to send them there.

Please note what I am NOT saying. I am not saying sending kids to public school is a sin universally. I am saying it is a sin to those who do so in violation of their conscience. Just like drinking, eating, etc., for whatsoever is not done from faith is sin.

Just something to keep in mind.

Blessings,
Justin
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Thank you, Dr. Strange. I always appreciate your posts; and you are able to speak so much more wisely and to the point.

I ought to clarify Brian, that I was not intending to cast any poor light on you by pointing to what I can't help but think would be a more helpful course in this circumstance than treating this like a sin issue in a wife, and hope I did not come across as doing so.

One thing to consider in pointing people to the responsibilities of others in a situation like this, which does involve some complex considerations, is that we can wind up very publicly criticising a person whom we have not met, and of whose circumstances we know only a fractional amount.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I checked the HSLDA website for NC; your children must be in school:
“Between the ages of seven and 16 years.” General Statutes of
North Carolina §115C-378.
So you don't have to make an immediate decision. Whatever you end up doing, may I encourage you to consider keeping your children home during those tender years of 4-6?
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Good interchanges here, brothers and sisters.

It should be noted that I believe thoroughly in Christian education. My wife and I never considered public school as an option. I agree, Miss Marple, that the Daniel illustration is infelicitous. He was put there by a reluctant king whose subjects tricked him. We are not to put our children in lions' dens. If someone else puts them there that's another thing. I don't intend to put them there.

If you did send them to public high or even middle school, I do not think that children should go to a public elementary school unless there's no other option. That is such a crucial time and we want our five and six and seven and eight year olds taught the truth as it is in Christ. We want them all taught that, I trust, but at that age it's so important as they are developing discernment skills.

Peace,
Alan
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
There is another option- tutors!!!! I have been delighted with tutors. I have to home school due to my daughter's issues (we can afford Christian school) and it has worked out great.

I don't mean the ones in the yellowpages asking 80-90 bucks an hour to get your kid ready for the SAT. I mean what I have for example. A Christian mom with 4 kids who used to be a 5th grade teacher and does a 2.5 hour math class weekly and assigns homework for the week (asks 20 an hour). A smart girl in seminary who did English and geography and some science...also 20 an hour and she did class for 1 or 1.5 hours and had a set of homework papers each week labeled for each of the other four days. I have a college student doing AAA drivers ed this summer for me, 15 an hour. A deaf lady doing sign language twice a month-same thing, gives assignments. I know people who got latin tutors to their house, spanish, chemistry, all sorts of things, often for several kids. Many people are happy to pick up a little bit of extra money tutoring.

I would say you will end up paying at least half of local Christian school tuition. But if your wife will do say English and social studies herself and farm out science, math, language, and piano lessons, homeschooling loses its overwhelming feeling, and college students one on one often make better teachers than certified ones in a class of 25. We have found the one on one to be enormously helpful with learning. Please, look into the tutoring option and talk to your wife about the possibility.
 
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