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September 12, 2014

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Homeschooled our two youngest from late elementary all the way through. Toughest thing we have ever done. Many days like the one described here, but God always gave us a FANTASTIC and blessed day to follow each miserable one. The most rewarding thing I have ever been involved in.

Thank you for printing this letter! It was so beautifully written when I heard it on the podcast that I was thinking of doing a transcript myself.

I have been sitting on this post for several days and decided to go ahead and comment. Several things resonated with me, even rigth from the opening paragraph.

The concerned mom was a little worried about not being on the top of her game sometimes and worried that her daughters weren't going to get what they needed. My response....what about the hireling that is not on the top of their game some days or even most days, do you think that teacher is losing sleep about it? I doubt it.

The somewhat implied false dichotomy between the choice of academics / soul developement is also something I see as comment worthy. The mom home school teachers that I am familiar with [which are really home school families] show concern for academics because they are concerned with soul developement. There isn't so much as an either / or concept here, but a both / and concept in reality. The home school family is generally concerned with the whole, or maybe wholistic approach to developement of the student/child. There is no dichotomy, implied or otherwise between academic/soul developement in the *authentic home school.

*There are really two kinds of home schoolers. The home school philosophy can take on a "school at home" approach where the cultural academeic requirements are what sets the standards or goals, and then home school is all about academics.

Not making any judgements on a parent choosing one philosophy or the other, but school at home just isn't really home schooling in the modern context.

Lastly, as a committed Christian, the concern about the childs developement doesn't go away, even if the alternative is Christian school over the govenment school. btw, in my experience, most Christian schools do school the same way as the government school but just have slightly different curriculum---similar methods with some Christian subject matter. This is why committed Christians have to stay involved wholly in their childrens' development, whether they are going to governemnt schools, Christian private school, or home schools.

Like Brad, I have thought about this for several days, and something has continued to bother me. What Greg did not mention is that parents are responsible for training their children in the way of the Lord. Unfortunately, what many parents within the church do is abdicate this responsibility to the teachers at the local private Christian school. At home there is little discussion of "academic" subject matter in the context of Christian doctrine, morality, ethics, etc.

As a former public school teacher, current Christian college professor, and former homeschooler (it was really mostly my wife), I understand full well the benefits and disadvantages to homeschooling. I see many young men and women in my classes that were home or privately schooled, that cannot defend their faith. When confronted with the question of evil, or a Darwinistic interpretation of data, or questions of morality, most simply fall back on the "it's just what I believe" rationale. It's not that their not capable, it's that the parents didn't realize the teachers at the local Christian school still needed to teach readin' writin', and 'rithmatic, so little time is left for "soul" development, and mom and dad didn't fulfill their responsibility at home.

So for those fellow followers of Christ who send their kids to public school, take heart. As long as you are fulfilling your responsibility at home of training your child in the way of the Lord, then you may actually be doing your child a great service by putting them is a context where they have to use their faith, and through the regular use of their faith, grow their faith.

For those home and private schoolers, take heart. You are putting your kids in an environment where they will not face the challenges that many public school kids face, and this may be best for one or all of your children. But please know that you are ultimately responsible for the spiritual development of your child, and no homeschool curriculum or Christian school education will substitute for mom and dad actively participating in their child's spiritual development.

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