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Hey there, I'm Sunny Shell, a wretch saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm married to the most incredible man on earth, who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and we have two precious adult sons.

The compassionately endures me through my metabolic disease (since 2004) that enables me to be more prayerful and careful about commitments I make and helps me to make the best use of my short time here on earth.

If you want to know more about me, click HERE.

The Debate: Public School vs. Homeschool - Part 2


Most of us are well acquainted with Proverbs 3:5-7 and could probably recite it in our sleep. But it seems often, that the Scriptures we’ve heard for years, no longer reverberate as the simple, most integral note of our every heart beat—trusting God in everything, for everything.

Remember when you first became a Christian? When you first met our Savior, heart to heart?

Remember how scared you were to take a breath or even a single step without His voice (through His Word) leading you?

Remember how quickly you would obey and how slowly you were inclined to do anything you weren’t sure of, just in case it was not God's will for your life...specifically?

Remember when you didn’t trust your own knowledge of His Word (Prov 3:5), but would go back over and over again to make sure you read it right; then would pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you God’s truth so you would not only know Scripture, but understand it according to God’s heart and not yours (Jer 9:23-24, 1 Cor 2:10-13)?

Remember the days when you would truly pray without ceasing...about everything (1 Thess 5:17), and you’d wait...like a child, for your Father’s answers to your questions; refusing to move forward without His clear direction? Remember?

I remember, though sometimes I forget. Sometimes I get too “grown-up” in my thinking and I begin to consider that I’ve satisfied the full flavor of every Scripture I’ve already feasted on through much study and meditation. Sometimes I wrongly think that I’ve “come of age” and am beyond looking up the same Scriptures over and over again, presuming I have somehow come to all knowledge and understanding of my eternal Father’s will for my life and for the lives of all those He has placed around me. Can you relate?

Thanks be to God for His mercy, compassion and patience (Ps 103:13-14).

As you read this post, I want you to keep Proverbs 3:5-7 in mind for it is the foundation of everything that will be written here. The topic covered in this post will include: the heartaches and trials of parents from both camps

The topic I'll cover in my next and last post on this debate will include: practical ideas and resources on how Christian parents who choose either method of schooling for their children, can and should fulfill the mandate God set forth in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (in Part 3 of this series).

In the previous post, I stated that I would share all the Scriptures that have been misused and misinterpreted by both camps in order to support their preferred method of schooling. But after much prayer, and in light of God’s admonition not to quarrel with one another (2 Tim 2:23-25), I have chosen not to nit pick and detail every argument from either side; as the purpose for writing this position piece is to encourage all children of God to live peaceably among one another, particularly in regards to those things in which God has not specifically condemned nor commanded in His written word.

Regardless of how the Lord has led you to school your children; heartaches and trials abound for parents in both camps.

The Challenges of Homeschooling

Those who homeschool have the daunting task of choosing the right curriculum for each child, constantly practicing strong self-discipline as they plan lessons, grade work and test their children. If one child is not doing well, then the fight to discern the truth of whether it was your lack of proper preparation and teaching or your child’s lack of desire to learn, begins.

Guilt can set in, and the enemy will lie to you repeatedly and cause you to question if you are even qualified to teach your children. But you musn’t allow guilt to infiltrate your mind. Instead, you must pray, with a humble and open heart, asking God to search and test you (Ps 139:23-24) so that He may reveal to you the truth of the matter and also what you can do to stand up from under this trial with the strength of Jesus Christ our Lord (Eph 6:13, Heb 4:15-16).

To make matters worse, homeschool families are often looked at by non-believers and unfortunately, even believers, as the only socially awkward and educationally deficit children. Which is quite odd, since this exists for students in both school settings. Trust me, our sons have been public schooled most of their lives and we've witnessed many socially awkward and educationally deficit children in public schools.

Our Experience and Challenges Public Schooling

Christian parents who send their children to public school not only strive to diligently teach their children how to remain “salty” and be the light Christ made them to be in their dark and depraved generation, but sadly, they are also bombarded by constant guilt that comes both from the enemy, and also from brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Even one of our family members and her children once told us: "You know your purposefully and willingly sending your children to the devil, right? I mean, don't you know the devil owns the public school system?" My response was, "No, I hadn't heard that. From what little I understand about God, it seems He owns everything here on earth and in Heaven and for a time, He's allowed Satan to "rule" here. Is that what you mean?" I didn't receive a response...just a belittling look.

Over the years, our family has suffered a barrage of unloving and thoughtless attacks by both Christians and those in the public school system; but sadly, mostly from Christians who homeschool. Our Family, that is brothers and sisters in Christ, have repeatedly shot us with friendly fire, without even considering the heartaches, challenges and battles we were constantly engaged in with teachers, administrators and even other parents and students within the public school system.

The public school people would tell us to take our Christianity and our weird religious stances elsewhere. They've asked us, "If you don't want your children watching the same videos, reading some of the same books, and you constantly requests certain books to be removed from the school library, then you sue the school district because you think your religious liberties have been violated...why are you public schooling your children? Take them home!"

When our oldest son, was only 13 years old and in the seventh grade, he felt led by God to start a radical, Christian Bible study club. He did everything by the book; he received the Principal's permission and even had the Assistant Principal approach him asking if he could be the staff sponsor saying, "You're an answer to my prayers Michael. I've prayed for years that God would raise up a strong Christian student to start a Christian club that would make a difference for Christ on this campus." Our son, of course, ecstatically agreed to have him as his club's sponsor and S.W.A.T. (Students Witnessing Absolute Truth) Bible Club was launched.

The school had hoped it would be like some of the other "Christian" clubs that only had a few members who prayed for a few minutes or so and kept to themselves without involving other students on campus. But Michael's club grew beyond anyone's expectations with more than 50 members, other teachers and even parents attending. This frustrated the school as they repeatedly had to move his club to larger rooms to accommodate all who came.

Michael taught what practical, biblical living looked like for students his age and shared the Gospel every Friday (yes, they met every week, an hour before school started, and yes, all those kids showed up on their own, or begged parents to drive them). Eventually, the club became a menace to the school and they tried to shut it down; slowly taking privileges away from the club so it would become increasingly difficult to keep the it going...but with God's help, Michael pressed on.

The school eventually took the staff sponsor away, which then made it illegal to have a club on campus. That's when we took them to court and within three months Michael won his case against the school district and was ordered by the judge to immediately change their policy.

This case, along with others was presented to our Governor Rick Perry, who put into law, protection for every student in secondary public schools, freedom to practice their faith without fear of a teacher's retribution, and were given the rights to hold religious clubs on campus with the same exact privileges and rights as the secular clubs on campus.

A Grave and Divisive Assumption

It is often assumed by homeschooling parents that public schooling parents are not able to fulfill the mandate of Deuteronomy 6:5-9. It's also assumed by public schooling parents that homeschooling parents automatically do this. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a matter of fact, I know numerous homeschooling parents who do not diligently adhere to this mandate because they take for granted that the homeschool curriculum will teach their children any Scriptural truth they need to know. And thus are shocked when their children get out into the world, and end up as much of a mess as public schooled children.

"Is it wrong to put your children in a public school? Not necessarily. Is it right to put your children only in Christian schools—or home-school them? Not necessarily.

"Remember that the ultimate responsibility for the proper education of your children rests upon you—the parents—not the school or the church (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4). Those two institutions are vital to a child's overall development, but standards, convictions, and moral strength should be implemented at home.

"Not everything is necessarily good or high quality because it is called "Christian," nor is everything bad just because it is under the umbrella of public education. Parents need to be especially wise and discerning in that important area.

"If high-quality Christian education is available and affordable, that's certainly preferable. However, carefully evaluate all the factors and options of your situation. Seek God's will earnestly (Ephesians 5:17) and couple that with strong, biblical parenting (Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21)."
~John MacArthur, www.gty.org

Conclusion

Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons of both forms of education. And neither group should look down on the other. The issue shouldn’t be whether one homeschools or public schools but it should be: “Are we all training up our children in the love and admonition of the Lord through our words and daily lives?” That is, are we, as parents teaching our children how to be loving, gracious, thoughtful, kind, compassionate, merciful, and grateful people who spur others on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25)?

Homeschooling your children does not guarantee they will be strong, faith-filled Christians either in your home, or when they leave your home. And public schooling your children does not guarantee your children will be powerful lights in a dark world. What matters is that we are all faithfully trusting God alone to lead us in how we should raise our children and supporting one another in prayer, realizing both groups are fighting the same battle— against Satan, not one another.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
~ Galatians 5:14-15

Whether we homeschool or public school our children, is a matter that is between each of us and the LORD our God. And this decision shouldn’t be made lightly, out of fear, or based on personal preferences, but should only be made through much prayer, God’s Word and counsel from His Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:10-13).

Only God knows perfectly how He’s equipped and gifted each parent and child. And by God’s Word, it is wrong to cause such vicious division within the Body of Christ, over an issue that no one person can absolutely state is right or wrong; for there is no specific Scripture or even an example in the Bible that commands parents to homeschool or public school their children. Instead, we all ought to appreciate the battle we are all in and pray for one another and encourage each other in the direction in which God has led each family instead of trying to convince others that their ways are right or better.

For the "gray" areas in our lives (like schooling our children), the passage below is a good one to consider before we decide to judge another based on our finite understanding of all things.

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord...The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves...May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
~ Romans 14:5-6a, 22, 15:5-6

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1 comment:

  1. melody de jesus-garciaMay 31, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I really thank God for your life sister.  You are such a blessing to me.  Through you I am inspired to do my job well as a regular school teacher and to touch more lives through my job.  I can honestly say that God used you as an instrument to fulfil His plans for my life.  Thank you very much.   

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"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C.T. Studd
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