In the past couple of decades, home schooling has risen from the ranks of being considered the bizarre behavior of an obscure group of fringe extremists to being one of the major trends of our society. And is it any wonder? By now, most of us are at least casually familiar with the frequent reports of poor academic performance by public school children. And who can miss the appalling headlines of shootings, drug trafficking, and seedy affairs between teachers and students?
The apostle Paul wrote that he marveled that the Christians in Galatia had so soon turned from grace to another gospel, the bondage of legalism. I marvel at how quickly Christian home educators are turning from the freedoms they have won over the past couple of decades back to the bondage of government control. As the patriarch of a family that began homeschooling in the 1980s, perhaps I’ve earned the right to look with a critical eye on younger parents who take for granted their freedom to teach their children 1) at home and 2) without government interference. Keep in mind that there are two freedoms—two birthrights—involved here. Parents who believe they have made a shrewd deal that allows them to retain the first while bargaining away the second for a pottage of textbooks and other “benefits” have indeed been deluded. And make no mistake about it, being deluded necessitates a deluder. In this case, it is the education establishment wielding the bait of government funding.
This letter is written to Christian mothers of home-educated children, both veterans and new comers such as myself. My purpose in writing is two-fold, to offer an apology, which comes from a repentant heart and to encourage families to educate their children within the private sector. (i.e. Christian private schools and private home schools.)
Dear sisters in Christ Jesus,
I have four beautiful children ages: 5, 3, 2 and 9 weeks. My husband and I decided that we would school our children at home five years ago when our oldest child was not yet born. We had wonderful role models within our home church and we asked many questions of them. Last year was the first year that we attended a conference. We came away spiritually refreshed, renewed and recommitted to the goal of a godly education for our children in their home environment. I had confidence that I could be successful as a home school mom. I also knew that I would benefit from the support and guidance of godly women. One wonderful sister took me by the hand and introduced me to many great curriculums and bookstores. She encouraged me to establish a private school for our family.
This article, by Roy Hanson, director of Family Protection Ministries, appeared in The Home School Court Report, vol. xviii, No. 1, January/February 2002. It warns of a specific issue involving government encroachment that home educators should take seriously. But what is even more troubling, charter schools are only one concern among a growing number of similar political and social issues that ought to be a wake up call to Christians. I have written a short essay, "The Hijacking of Homeschooling," that briefly addresses these problems.—PD
In California and across the nation, we are alarmed by the growing number of Christian home schoolers who are enrolling in charter school programs. Below is a summary of most of the reasons why we are concerned. This is based upon my full-time research and advocacy work in behalf of private home educators in California for the last 15 years.
The battle over home schooling in America for the last 20 years has been shifting from eradication of home education to growing attempts to control home educators and recapture them for public school programs (such as charter schools) where they are under the authority and supervision of public school officials. Nothing less than the future of home schooling and the freedom of parents to train their own children in God’s ways are at stake.