Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why religious schools aren't the ultimate answer

Not long ago, someone asked me in a comment why anyone might consider homeschooling their children if there are good, government-funded religious schools - such as in Israel - schools where a child is supposedly safe from bad influences that can be found in secular schools. I answered in the comments section, but decided this is important enough to elaborate in a separate post.

I do agree that usually, religious schools provide better spiritual environment, and are in general preferable to secular schools. However, I cannot say religious schools cancel all doubts and worries of parents who might consider homeschooling.

The first, very simple thing I must point out is that the assumption behind the question is that a religious school is automatically compatible with out spiritual values and what we would like our children to be taught - which, of course, isn't necessarily so. Certainly, there are many religious schools of all kinds in Israel, and some of them might have a program which doesn't clash with our belief system; but if you remember we live in a rather remote area - so it's not like we'd have an unlimited number of schools to choose from. In fact, I doubt parents around here can even choose between two religious schools!

Schools, by their very nature, can do little to change the problems we see with the very concept of organized school: bulky and inflexible methods of teaching directed to occupy large groups of children as quietly as possible; lack of adaptability to the individual child's needs; wasting lots of time on discipline, answering questions, reading out names, shifting between classrooms, going to and returning from breaks - all the little annoying things that prolong "formal" lesson-time and leave little time for creative exploration and spontaneous learning; isolation of the child from children who do not belong to exactly the same age group (isn't it ridiculous that if you are in third grade, you will be laughed at for making friends with someone in second grade?). The religiousness of a school does nothing to change any of the above.

A few more words about the incredible waste of time that goes on in schools. No one really plans to do anything about it, because schools, especially for younger children, aren't geared to be effective - on the contrary, the children must be occupied for a decent number of hours to get them off their mothers' hands while the mothers are out there working. I believe this is one of the reasons children are often given such boring, mind-numbing, paper-shuffling, unnecessarily time-consuming work.

And finally, a bit about the dangerous assumption that children who go to religious schools are immune to negative worldly influences - not so! Often, they are just better hidden and hushed up, especially in boarding schools, which are a common option for teenage boys. We know teenagers are especially prone to worldly temptations, and tend to go through a few turbulent years - but take a teenage boy, give him good, creative work and exercise, encourage contact and friendship with people of all ages, and it might be balanced out. Take the same boy, and put him in a place where he contacts no one but similarly impulse-driven teenage boys, without individual adult attention - and the consequences might be disastrous. If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. I know for a fact terrible things have happened in certain good religious schools for boys - precisely because of the fact that so many teenage boys were locked up together and away from their parents - such as extensive use of pornography and even fostering of homosexuality. School just couldn't provide the necessary balanced environment.

Keep in mind I'm not saying homeschooling is the one and only option. I'm simply trying to illustrate my point that a parent who considers homeschooling might easily think it's the best alternative even if religious schools are available. Ultimately, it's our responsibility to train and bring up our children, and we should plan and act accordingly.


Courtney said...

Anna- I've got something to say regarding religious schools, and maybe it is just in my area, but here we have Christian schools, going from elementary to college. Not counting the elementary and middle schools, the highshcools and colleges are known in this area for being the biggest party schools. The only reason the kids can get away with partying with the alcohol and drugs and whatnot is because they go to Christian school, therefore they cant do anything wrong. Religious schools dont do much by way of relieving social pressures unless you specifically enroll in a theology course in a university. Homeschooling to me is the only way a "religious school" would work.

Coffee Catholic said...

The main reason I want to homeschool is not acedemics but because I believe that it's *our* job as parents to teach our kids how to live their faith! No one else can do this for us. If our kids fall away from God, He is not going to excuse us for failing in our duties because we farmed our kids out to someone else!

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna, I agree with your points here. This is something we are currently considering: homeschooling or Catholic school. Unfortunately, we'd have to pay (quite a bit) to send our children to Catholic school. And with more than one or two kids, even that seems prohibitive! So, that is certainly helping us to sway in the direction of homeschooling, at least for the grammar school years. Likely, we will send our kids to single-sex middle or high schools to finish off their education.

Michelle Potter said...

My question is this: why would a religious parent send their children away to school when homeschooling is available? At home we can know for certain that our children are receiving the right academic, moral, and spiritual education.

Public or private schools should be available for those who for some reason can't -- or won't -- teach their kids, but I see homeschooling as the default, not some crazy alternative.

Anonymous said...

I agree with coffee catholic - it's *our* job. My children where given to us, and we are told in the Bible to teach them.

It's easy to send them somewhere and trust someone else to do *our* jobs and put too much trust in the institution we've placed our children in, rather than very open, honest communication.

I also detest the age-segregation thing. It makes no sense to me. Obama wants to make 0-3yo education more standard here in the USA. So, you think pre-pre K is going to teach him how to deal with younger siblings? I don't think so. My son wouldn't be learning how to flip eggs or set the table, but how to stand in a line and color between them....

Sorry for the mini-rant. The PS system is 'broken'!!!

Ashley, a gonna-be 2nd generation homeschool mama

Anonymous said...

I object to terming those who send their kids to school as 'farming' them out. Believe it or not, there are those of us who gleaned much from our school years and enthusiastically send our kids out to the school system, convinced it is a much better alternative than staying home.
I don't use such nasty terminology for labelling homeschoolers, and I expect the same respect.

I agree that religious schools are not always saintly. I just got back to teaching after a break of a few years. I teach at a religious Jewish high school for boys and a secular high school. I expected the discipline to be a disaster at the secular school and a breeze at the religious one. To my surprise, the secular students are just lovely and enthusiastic learners, while the religious boys are true hooligans. Maybe the presence of girls civilizes the class! In any case, any parent choosing a school must choose wisely.

One disadvantage you name, Anna, concerning the school system is its age separation. I agree that that's a problem; however, on the whole, the school system is more heterogenous than at home. A student may not be exposed to different ages, but s/he is exposed to different cultures, different classes of wealth, different backgrounds, and if it's a public school, different religions. That is one of the reasons I send my kids to school; I don't want them to grow up cloistered at home with only my preapproved social circle. Because let's face it, most families ultimately hang out with others of the same background, culture and social class. School, especially public school, is a chance to meet up with other sectors in the real world.

Personally, there are many matters I take issue with at my kids' schools. But I think that's also part of the lesson school teaches you: You cannot control everything (neither as parent or child). Learn to deal with the situation before you. Learn to adapt. Learn to play by others' rules even if you don't like them. Learn to excel even in a situation you did not create.

May said...

Do you consider that public schooling offers any advantages at all?

Home-schooling is definitely more flexible, and I am sure that, on average, home-schooled children learn more than enough to keep up with standardised public education, if only because most schools teach to the middle of the class, leaving the ones on either side of the divide under or over-stimulated.

It also offers the opportunity to link lessons to life, which is something that should be encouraged whether you home-school or not. For example, learning arithmetic by measuring out ingredients seems as sensible a method as copying the sums out from the blackboard and working them out on paper.

Also, provided that parents arrange for activities to be undertaken with other children, there is no reason that home-schooled children would not have enough friends or adequate opportunities to try sports or interests that a home-schooling parent could not provide, e.g. soccer or learning French.

It is clear that home-schooling offers many advantages. It does strike me though that public school does offer some benefits of its own.

First, it is a shared, common experience, even if it can sometimes be negative. That may help a child better understand and build relationships with other people because he or she can refer back to that common experience. Most people do not enjoy being regarded as "different", particularly when they are young, even if being different is no bad thing.

Secondly, even if it is sometimes a negative experience, this can be useful. People have to learn how to deal with situations that are not ideal. For example, as I have said, schools teach to the middle of the class so your child might be bored some of the time. Learning how to be bored and nevertheless behave in an appropriate and constructive way is a very useful skill and one that you certainly need later in life.

(I am being slightly facetious here of course, but fashions in child-rearing have now become so child-centred that I wonder whether children know what to do when they're bored nowadays. More and more, it looks as though boredom is not permitted and every adult should just drop everything to entertain a child. This is hardly realistic preparation for the rest of your life. Boredom (in moderation) is sometimes a good thing; it prompts you to be self-sufficient and creative).

School also teaches you that, relatively, you are not special. This is an important and valuable lesson. After all, to your parents (naturally and entirely properly) you are one of the most important people in the world. School teaches you that the rest of the world does not share that view.

It should also teach you that people differ and that this is fine because everyone is worthy of respect, irrespective of who they are or what they believe or whether they look different to you, until they demonstrate through their actions that they are not. Even if a parent teaches you this, will it have the same impact as it does when you meet someone who's different to you and you have to work out what to do whilst remaining true to who you are?

Whether your aim is to ensure that your child receives a spiritual education that is in harmony with your beliefs, or a grounding in standardised subjects as a foundation for adult life, I think that the main point though is that the school must suit your child. It should be an environment in which your child flourishes, and critically one in which he or she is encouraged and tested.

Home is (or should be) a safe place; the ultimate sanctuary and security. Can you really be truly tested there? Should you in fact? After all, disappointing a parent is so much worse than disappointing a teacher. Maybe testing someone in a more emotionally distant (but obviously nonetheless safe place) is a good idea because it builds confidence and character? You know that you're not going to get a pass because it's your mother marking the test (or conversely that the teacher isn't going to be disappointed in a way that really matters to you emotionally because you didn't perform well) so succeed or fail, you know that you earned it.

In any event, there will be parents who will be bad (or at least not particularly good) at home-schooling and indeed there are bad public schools. Not everyone is an inspiring teacher, and if there is a school (whether run at home or not) which offers you the possibility of getting that kind of teaching, you should grab the opportunity with both hands.

Ultimately, shouldn't you examine the options available and then choose on the basis of what suits a particular child? For one child, it might be home-schooling, whilst another might thrive in a particular public school that caters to his or her interests, for example, one which has plenty of organised sports or which offers debate classes.

I can see in particular that young children might be best taught at home for the first few years of schooling. In the UK, children start a form of schooling at 4, although it's not as formal or structured as school becomes later on. Some adore this but others are clearly not ready; they find the day too long, too confusing and far too tiring. Boys in particular (often being less socially able for developmental reasons than girls of the same age) find the discipline and structure difficult to deal with. Maybe they'd be better off at home for the first few years where racing around like a maniac is normal and not regarded as an act of deliberate naughtiness?

In any event, this judgment can of course change over time. Most people change schools during their school days so maybe a mixture of home-schooling and public schooling at different times, and for different reasons, is a good idea, provided that it suits that child.

Yet again, another monster comment; my apologies. I obviously found this a very stimulating topic, for which my thanks. I wish you all the best in your schooling choices for your little girl.

Candy said...

Hi Anna :)
I have to comment on this one as our son is 10 years old and from kindergarten until Grade 4 last year we had him in a "religious school"...though we called it "Christian School".
However, this year we started homeschooling.
The Christian School was better than a public school...but, I can tell you first hand that there is not a huge difference between a Christian School and Public School. Like you said, there is still wasted time (ALOT of wasted time!) And, there are MANY (a majority believe it or not) of families that are NOT Christian and do NOT even believe in God that attend a Christian school!!! So.....there is some bad influence from children raised in VERY secular families. We know this first hand as this was a main reason we chose home schooling this year. Because, we could see how much our son has been influenced at this young age already.
If only I were familiar with home schooling before the last couple years, I would have home schooled him since kindergarten (age 5).
That is my only regret with home schooling...that I didnt start sooner!
Home schooling is AWESOME!!!! If everyone knew how easy and relaxing it is, everyone would do it. It is not hard. Sure it is a bit of commitment but really its only like doing home work at home. Theres nothing at all stressful about it.
Infact, I oversee my son doing his school work in the mornings from 9am until 12 lunch time. And then we have the afternoons "free" to go for a walk, go shopping, rest, whatever. That shows you how much time is wasted at school when we can get everything done during the mornings. Some people home school differently than me though and they do every single subject every single day..which you dont have to do.
Home schooling is the best decision we have ever made. It really is easy and I love spending time with our son.
He has hockey so he has hockey friends, church friends and neighbors that he can play well as other home schooled families too.

Candy :)

Mrs. B said...

I have to agree with the observations in your post. We actually have first-hand experience with the fact that just because one pays top-dollar for education there is no guarantee that's what you'll get.
In my previous, outside-of-the-home phase we were paying $1000 per month for child care/school. (And that was more than 10 years ago!!) One year, my youngest was assigned to a room with a perfectly horrid pair of teachers. I won't go into the specifics of what happened, but even the administrator caught one of the "teachers" telling a story regarding my child which was much less than the truth (the teacher didn't realize the administrator was nearby, watching the whole episode).
People like to claim that children can bounce back from bad things that happen to them. If that is so true, why are there so many adults that have personal problems rooted in things that happened during their childhood?
I pray for the day people start realizing children aren't some kind of commodity or political issue. That they are precious souls entrusted to parents for but a little while (and it its hard to imagine how quickly the years fly by.) Until that happens, I pray that we'll continue to have to option to teach our children at home.

Mrs. B

Jaimie said...

I agree that homeschooling is a wonderful thing, and I hope to homeschool my future children. However, there are private schools that eliminate most of the problems mentioned. The one I work at (and also attended from 7th through 12th grades) only has around 45 students and uses an individualized, workbook approach (based on a Biblical worldview) where students learn at their own pace in a multi-age setting. We give lots of one on one attention, and time is used very wisely as we are on a four-day week (Friday is "homeschool" day for any students who need to get some work caught up). We also work very closely with parents, for their children's upbringing and education are ultimately their responsibility. I know many Christian and other religious schools often get a bad rap, and for good reason; I just wanted to give a different perspective to those who have only heard bad things. And I realize my experience may be more the exception than the rule!

Aelwyn said...

I taught in Christian schools for 14 years with very solid, good Christian teachers. But a school is not the parents. It can not control, completely, what types of backgrounds other students have (aka what types of influences will be on your children). As you say, Anna, the teaching methods are usually the same as in public school - not individualized to your child. I also agree with Bethany that, if one decides on a school for older children, same sex schools are the best because of the horrible temptation and distraction from study. Not to mention the inherent differences in the ways that male/female brains work. I would never want to send my child to a boarding school. To me, that is abdicating your role as a parent, unless for some reason you lived in a dangerous part of the world and had no choice.

All that said, we can only protect our children from some temptations, some of the time. The most important thing is to train their character as we can by the grace of God and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! They have to be able to develop the strength to make right, godly decisions on their own.

Thanks for this post, Anna. I saw a lot during my years of teaching at religious schools - a lot of brokenness. The schools did not want to really look at it because it was "the parents' job". Many parents were too broken themselves or working so hard to pay the tuition, that they thought it was "the school's job."

LDC said...

As someone who (barely!) survived public school from kindergarten through 12th grade... I only wish that my parents had been as attentive to the possibility of home schooling as y'all are. I used to wish that my parents had sent me to our local religious schools - but now that I'm out of college I realize that, if they had, it would have been even more of a disaster! You are so kind and caring and your baby will grow up with such joy.

Analytical Adam said...

In regards to teenage boys I will say there are stories of men who sent their son away to a Yeshiva far away during his teenage years which I also think is wrong although there was some Rabbi's like Rabbi Yacov Kamenitzky who felt boys in their early to mid teens do their parents and I have to agree and I feel it is neglect of boys to send them away at such a young age when they are changing for a boy to a man and need adults to help them deal with this.

The biggest issue is thes years are difficult for both boys and girls. A girl is becoming a woman and a boy is becoming a man and obviously theere are new sexual feelings and these charges are very hard for many boys and girls if they don't understand the greater purpose of these changes and they do need parents and one on one conduct with adults in these years to understand the bigger purpose here as a sense of purpose is always the biggest protecter of utterly selfish depraved behavior. When I was a teenager I lived at home but my parents gave me no support and they were very hard years for me and I was depressed throuhout my high school years and thought about suicide. The problem was I had no purpose and I felt guilty of the changes that I went through especially the fact that TEENAGE BOYS have very large aptitutes as they grow a lot in these years more so then girls and the bigger purpose is a man is suppose to protect his family (his wife and his children) and stand up for himself in the outside world which is his more primary sphere and this helps him do this. When I was a teenage boy though sadly I didn't eat properly and I did feel guilty about becoming a guy and didn't understand it is normal for men to gain a lot of weight (healthy weight) in their teenage years and I never sensed being a man requires work and I was lazy. I think more teenage boys are facing problems like depression and hopelessness more then the issues raised here although I don't deny there are a few cases of this.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add to my comments above: I am not at all against homeschooling; it is a viable option, especially for certain kids or in areas with a lack of good schools.

But for those who insist it is necessary because the Bible commands us to teach our children. Not everything in the Bible is to be taken literally. An eye for an eye does not mean an eye for an eye. Sages throughout the ages have explained that the command to teach your children means you must ensure they are taught; you can transfer the task itself to other teachers.

of course, the main job of educating a child will always be the parent's role; but much of the more specific teaching can be done by carefully chosen others.

Finally, I think part of sending kids to school is learning to let go, and allowing your child (with guidance) to find his or her way in the great big world out there. That's the beauty of school; giving your kids the opportunity to forge their own path, slowly. The homeschool environment is much more controlled. I know that's why some prefer it. I, however, would not have wanted to be under my parents' eyes 24/7 as a child, and I'm sure my kids don't want to be under mine. School gives us the chance to build individual identities and social circles, with the parental reign felt more gently and indirectly.
Just my opinion.

Lady M said...

I have to agree with you. Religious schools are not the end all be all. The town I lived in when I was in middle & highschool had 1 religious school (back in the 80's). There were very few in a huge city area around our town at the time. However, the problem was not with the religious school itself. The problems were with the students. Why? Because the majority of the students that attended there were ones who had been kicked out of the public schools. So you had a religious school full of problem children from the public schools. In theory, it should have been a better option, but because of that, it was a horrid option for parents - public school was actually a better place for them (and that is not saying much considering how much they dropped the ball with my much younger sister).

NoFreeLunch said...

I was homeschooled for 1.5 years and think it's a great option in some cases. But I do have a question: how do you plan to teach religious subjects like Tanach (Jewish Bible) given what you've written previously about not coming from an observant background originally?

Andrea said...

"why would a religious parent send their children away to school when homeschooling is available?"

Doubtless because, after prayerful consideration, the parents feel they have been led to do so. Homeschooling is one of three options I am considering (for the family I don't yet have!) and I certainly hope that I won't rebel should God lead me to place my children in a parochial or local public school. Nor, I hope, will I find myself stymied when religious parents make a choice different from my own, be it to homeschool, private school, or public school. I trust that they and the Lord will know their children and situation far better than I, on the outside looking in, ever could.

I will admit that at this point in time I can't see myself considering boarding school as an option, both for the reasons Anna mentioned in this post and also because I doubt I could bear to be away from my children for such stretches of time! I do not, though, look down on parents who see it as the best option for them, and as for the options I myself will consider when it comes to my future family, I am open to teaching my children at home, placing them in a local parochial school (thoroughly vetted beforehand, of course) or a local public school (likewise). I have my misgivings about each option, but in the end the choice that will be made comes down to a decision made between my family and God, not between my family and other parents who think they know best what we should do.

Anna, I appreciated this entire post since I am making good use of the time I have to consider my own options in this area, but I most particularly appreciated the final paragraph. I was very sheltered growing up, in that the families at my church were very gracious and accepting of one another's choices in schooling; homeschooling families didn't consider families who chose public or parochial schools inept or less fit or less Godly for their choice, and the families who chose not to homeschool in no way belittled or ridiculed those who did. You can imagine what a slap in the face it was for me to learn that not everybody extends that same kind of grace to their neighbours! Your tone is always very gracious here, even when you do disagree, and it's one of the principal reasons I am always so happy to come see what you've written :)

Amber said...


Congrats on your little girl! Little girls (and boys) are such a true blessing, know you will have a mama's helper! :D Enjoy gettin ready for her. Names????

We just had our 3rd baby almost 3 weeks ago. There are pictures on our blog.

Wishing you a happy Sabbath!

I so enjo reading your blog, you make me think!

Amber in North Idaho

mom_of_3 said...

With all due respect, to think I would be the only source of my daughter's education is terrifying. I have learned so much from other people, and in the most unexpected places. To make the assumption that my knowledge and spirituality is enough for her and that no one else has anything to contribute is a dangerous one.

My daughter is in a Christian school that is loving and spirit-filled and she is thriving there. Please understand I have nothing against homeschooling, have considered it myself, and respect those who can teach and socialize their children well. It's the idea that a parent thinks they have to be the only source of their child's education that I find difficult.

Anonymous said...

Very few people can teach their kids every academic subject they need to know, particularly in the teenage years.

So homeschoolers will at some point down the line need to 'farm' out their kids (to borrow coffeecatholic's word) to others. Someone external will need to teach their kids advanced algebra, and French, and physics, and world history, and Bible, or whatever topic the parent is unfamiliar with or has forgotten. Homeschoolers can not teach everything themselves. It doesn't matter if they hire a private tutor or send their kids to lessons at the community centre...someone else is teaching their kids. It's just a matter of degree, the difference between that and sending your kids to school. But I dare say such a homeschooler does not consider her or himself abdicating the God-given job of educating their kids. Ironic....

Or perhaps there are homeschoolers who would confine their children's knowledge to what they themselves know?

Mrs. Anna T said...

May: you asked, "Do you consider that public schooling offers any advantages at all?"

If you mean organized religious schools, probably yes - mainly the advantage of being "socially acceptable"

If you mean secular schools, I see no advantage whatsoever.

You said:

"Boredom (in moderation) is sometimes a good thing; it prompts you to be self-sufficient and creative."

I agree with you. Homeschooling doesn't mean the child needs to be entertained 24/7. A little boredom is OK - but for boredom to lead to creativity, it means the child needs to have boring FREE time.

Boring the child with mind-numbing pointless work (such as usually happens in schools) can lead to no creative pursuits, because it's only geared towards keeping the child quiet and occupied.

Oh, and to the commenter who asked how religious studies might be taught beyond our knowledge: fortunately we live in an area where it's easy to find a rabbi, a religious class, camp, etc. I fully understand I can never teach my child *anything and everything there is to learn*. For more advanced knowledge/apprenticeship, teachers may always be found without full-time enrollment in school.

Rebekah S. said...

Dearest Anna,

I'm glad you did put this in a seperate post; it is indeed a very important topic!! Plus, I sadly have not been able to comment or visit here in quite some time it seems, so I would have missed out on your great points had you not posted this! :) So, thank you!

The commenter asked why anyone might consider homeschooling their children if there are good, government-funded religious schools. First of all, it was never supposed to be the civil government's job to educate our children! I'm currently reading vol. 1 of a great 3 volume series by a man named Gary DeMar, enitled God and Government(available through American Vision). He points out so accurately and well that the civil government's power in our lives is FAR too extensive. The civil government is doing things and taking control of areas that were never supposed to be given to them (such as providing for widows, etc.-that OUR job, the Bible says!). One of these areas is the education of children. The Bible teaches that it is OUR responsibility to educate our children. Not the government's or anyone elses. When you read So Much More by the dear Botkin ladies, you are shocked to see the terrible teachings found in government schools today(whether they be elementary or colleges). Government schools are being used by the State to control our children(which they rightfully see as the future of the world), to brainwash them, and make them servants of the State, and furtherers of the State's agendas(which are for the most part highly abominable to God!). Why in the world would we Christians(and you Anna, as a Jew), want to hand our children over to the terribly ungodly government to be brought up and educated by it??

You made a great point about it being crazy for children to be isolated from people of various ages. In the 1800s, there were one room school houses! All ages were together. Then, with the coming of people such as Freud and his buddies, came a change. If you listen to messages by Doug Phillips(such as "The History of the Sunday School Movement" and "How to Think Like a Christian"[available through Vision Forum]), he points out so clearly that the reasoning behind age segregation(at church, school, etc.) is evolutionary thinking! Freud and others believed that in the womb, a child goes through all the evolutionary changes-from amphibian, to reptile, and from reptile to mammal, and from mammal to human. They believed that once born, these children( until they reached 18-when they supposedly finished their evolutionary changing), when going through various ages, go through the "early human" changes until finally becoming real man when they turned 18. They believed that very young children were Neanderthals, while slightly older children were Cro-Magnons, etc. Freud(who actually coined the phrase adolescense-which is an evolutionary phrase) and others thought, "Well, we simply can't put Neanderthals together with Cro-Magnon men, for it would hinder the evolutionary process, and we don't wish to do anything that would do that!". Here was the birthing of age segregation. You see this age segregation(evolutionary thinking) in secular schools, and even Christian ones! Sadly, you even see this in churches-rather than them being family integrated, where the family is all together(as they should be, according to the Scriptures), many churches are age segregated(i.e. preschool sunday school, youth groups, middle school sunday school, adult sunday school, etc.). Because of this, the family is being torn apart rather than united as a unit as they should be. The world is doing this in order to destroy the family, for if the Christian family is strong, then Satan better watch out! How sad that even our churches are falling prey to evolutionary thinking!

And you're so right on when you said, " The children must be occupied for a decent number of hours to get them off their mothers' hands while the mothers are out there working." How sad! This is one of the major reasons for government schools(especially preschools)-so that the mother can get rid of them and can go work in the workforce. How far this is from the Biblical model! Now, I understand that not every mother who has children in government schools put them there for this reason! But very many have, sadly.

You're also right about children in government schools not knowing how to interact with people of various ages. I've often heard people say that government schools are preparing children for the real world. How is an environment that teaches children to have no idea how to interact or socialize with people of varying ages, preparing them for the "real world"?? I've often had people ask me if I'm homeschooled. When I say that I am, they respond by saying that they knew it because of the way I speak, socialize, and interact well with adults, seniors, young children, etc.

Homeschooling is definitely the way to go. Oftentimes, sadly the "Christian schools" are just as bad as the public ones! I have a friend who attends a Christian school in our area, and I've heard horror stories about the things that go on there(that are largely unpunished even!!). The gross immorality, immodesty, impurity, etc. is shocking! The only way these schools get away with being called Christian is because they teach a Bible school and teach creationism. Largely, that's the only difference. And I feel so sorry for parents who feel like their hands are tied when it comes to higher grades-like it's somehow too hard to teach high school at home. Nothing could be further from the truth! I'm a junior and am amazed at how easy it is for me and my mother! There are so many highschool textbooks out there that are written specifically for homeschoolers(such as Apologia science courses) and allow you to do all your biology dissection and chemistry lab stuff, for instance, at home! :)

It's high time that we all stop and seriously realize the problem with our government schools-whether Christian or otherwise. So many families(Christian famlies!) are losing their children to the world because they are sending them away to school and allowing them to come into contact with and be bombarded by terrible,terrible influences. I encourage all parents to read Safely Home(available through Vision Forum). It talks about the Biblical Hebrew method of education and shows that, rather than being Biblical, so many parents are actually following the Greek/Roman education route rather than the Biblical Hebrew one. It's a fascinating, very convicting book! And really eye opening as well! :) It's so true that it's the parent's responsibility to educate and raise their children-not the government's responsibility!

I also encourage all parents to watch the 2 DVD set The Children of Caesar by Voddie Baucham. He says(rightfully) that we Christians will not win the culture war until we take our children out of government schools. How very true, and yet how sad it is that so many parents don't understand this.

Also, on the side of academics, it's amazing how much better homeschoolers do on their testing. Homeschoolers definitely get a better, more thorough(and less revisionist!!) education than government school children do.

Thankfully, the Lord is raising up many, many families who see the importance of homeschooling. Praise be to God for the work He is performing! :)

Have a blessed day, dear Anna! You did an AMAZING job on this post! :)

Your friend,

P.S. Sorry for the length of this post! :/ :)

MarkyMark said...


What you say makes sense. If the school to which you send your children is more appropriate for reformed or conservative Jews, how much will the school undermine the Orthodox teachings and traditions you wish to teach your children? Granted, I would think a religious school might be better than one that's totally secular, but I don't know how helpful or desirable it would be to have your teachings and traditions undermined.

Secondly, as you and some of the other ladies pointed out, the Bible PLAINLY SAYS that teaching our children is the parents' job-end of story. The Biblical commands are plain as day; there is no room for ambiguity or argument, unlike prophecy.

One of the posters spoke of being led to send their kids to a good, local public school. I have two things to say about that. One, my mother is a retired teacher, and I can say this: there is NO SUCH THING as a good, public school. Secondly, God will never lead someone do do ANYTHING CONTRARY TO HIS WORD; He will never lead us to violate Scripture.

Finally, if you'll visit John Taylor Gatto's website (I have a link on my blog; just scroll down the right side, and you'll see his name). Though he deals with American public schools, I'm under the impression that many nations have a similar overall system in place. That's not to say that the subject matter is the same; it is to say that you still have the regimented classes, class periods, and all the other characteristics most schools have. If you like, you can go here to read his book about public schools: Just select the URL, copy it, then paste it in your browser's address window. Or, you can go to my blog, find Mr. Gatto's name, and that'll take you to his home page; then, click on "Underground History of American Public Education".


Sarah K said...

Have you considered children brought up in secular households who discovered/experienced religion by attending state (secular) schools? I learned a lot from my family, but I adored school and loved the fact that I learned from lots of different people. I made a wide range of friends, and had many experiences that I would have not had if I had been taught at home. I also met a wide range of people, who would not have been in my family's social circle.

I do not remember much time wasting and paper pushing, but then I have always been to 'good' state schools. I do remember when my infant school teacher noticed I was bored with the class reading scheme and let me loose on the junior school library. I remember the excitement of being the 'helping hand' of the day and running messages for the teacher. I remember the pride of being in a school play and telling my parents all about what I'd learned that day.

Finally, at the museum where I work, we have had three homeschool associations make a group visit to us in the last year. While two of them were fine, the third contained some of the worst examples of badly behaved children (and parents) I have encountered. These included children being rude to the museum staff and being disruptive, parents talking (both to each other and to the children) over the museum educator, and failing to watch the children so that the children were in danger on at least one occasion.

I have nothing against homeschooling, and I can certainly see its advantages. I just wanted to say that there are examples of less effective homeschooling as there are of poor schools...sorry, got a little carried away there! All meant in the spirit of friendship and sharing thoughts. Absolutely no disrespect to the opinions of others intended.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sarah, you asked:

"Have you considered children brought up in secular households who discovered/experienced religion by attending state (secular) schools?"

I am one of such children and therefore can say it MIGHT happen, but more often it's an exception, not the rule.