In my previous post I agreed that it took courage for parents to step out against the grain and home educate their children.
Similarly, I propose that it takes just as much (if not more) courage to send your child to school.
When your children are at home, you as the parent control the environment. You know what your child is being taught and you control who interacts with your child.
At school, you have virtually no control over what happens.
Your child will be placed under the supervision of a number of paid employees who do not know or love your child. In all but the smallest communities you will not know your child’s teacher. Not only are these strangers going to be responsible for keeping your child safe, they will have great influence on your child imparting their values and beliefs onto your child. It may not happen overnight but it happens. Children become like the people they spend time with.
Luke 6:40 says: A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
So if you want your child to be like these strangers whom you hardly know, allow them to spend 30 hours a week with them. As your child grows older, he will often adopt his teacher’s values over yours; after all, the teacher is a ‘professional’ and you are only Mum or Dad.
Consequently, I think parents who send their children to school are very brave.
As far as academics go, you might have a great teacher one year, an average teacher the next and a teacher who is really struggling the year after. There is no guarantee of consistency.
Furthermore the real culture of the school is not so much in the classroom but in the playground. This is where children develop strong relationships with their peers. They learn what is ‘acceptable’ behaviour; who to like, who to make fun of, and who to call to horrible names.
They learn whether it is cool to tell dirty jokes and whether it is better to do homework or make up lame excuses. If your family does not hold the same values as the most popular children in the schoolyard, you are taking a risk that your child will also take on these values or will be ostracised for being “weird”.
In either case, you exercise a great deal of courage in sending your child to school.
Comparatively speaking, perhaps home education is not so radical or brave after all.