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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

Homeschool vs. Public School

I am about to touch on a topic that can be sensitive to certain people. But I feel like someone out here needs to talk about both sides of the coin. I think somehow there is this assumption that Christian moms have 2 options – private school or homeschool. Not to say we all fall into those 2 categories, which is exactly why I wanted to talk about this.

You see, my son is in public school. I know some of you just cringed at that thought while others can relate. Being a single mom, I don’t really have another option. I have had many people offer their suggestion that my son should be homeschooled. Now this is typically in response to my complaints about the public school system as a whole, which is something I’ll save for another day. Though I am in a bit of an in-between season, I normally work full-time. Just paying the bills can be a struggle at times, so private school tuition isn’t even close to an option at the moment. Despite all of this, before sending my son off to Kindergarten in the midst of a pandemic, I did the one thing I know to do before any major decision – pray.

I was seriously considering finding some remote option because things were out of control. It wasn’t COVID I was worried about, but the response to it. Regardless of my thoughts and feelings about it all, I brought it to the Lord. The response was not what I was expecting. He told me to send him to public school. Not because of my situation - He can do all things and He is our provider at the end of the day. No, He wanted me to send my son to school to be a light to those around them.

Now since that day, I’ve probably asked the Lord at least 8000 times if this is still the plan. My son started behaving very poorly in school and all I could think was “we’re supposed to be the Christian family, this is not supposed to be this way!” We do not curse in our home, nor does anyone around my son, but at 6 years old that boy knows every curse word in the book. And he was using those words freely at school, in addition to some other behavioral issues. He has been exposed to more things than I could have even imagined for his age, thanks to the lovely gift of the internet. I’ve caught him singing songs (ones that I listened to as a teenager in my “BC” (before-Christ) days…) and quoting videos that were wildly inappropriate for his age. Now I admit that the area that we live in contributes to all of that behavior, since in many homes it is deemed as ok. Consequences of living in a fallen world that has thrown morals out the window I suppose.

I reached out to others about everything I was dealing with and got a common response – homeschool him. Take him out of the public school system because that is the problem. So this year I yet again decided to research what could be done for a person in my situation to make this happen because all of this exposure was too much for me. I didn’t get very far before dropping it yet again. But one thing I found was not something I expected – a divide between homeschool moms and public school moms. Now please understand that I am not talking about every single one on either side of the fence, this was just an overall perspective I gathered. I am not here to bash either side – I am here to say it’s about time to set aside some differences here.

I was talking to someone (who will remain unnamed) about their experience homeschooling their kids, what it was like, what did they taught, etc. One of the questions I asked was about social skills. This person responded to that question with “I don’t want my kids socializing with public school kids!” I kept going with the conversation for a while, asking more questions and this person was super helpful with all of that. But at some point, it hit me – my son is a public-school kid. Now I’m not here to judge the person on her stance, but I am here to call out that mindset. She is not the only one who made a comment like that or who has judged me for my decision to keep my son in public school. (And if you doubt that it’s real, go find a social media post about homeschooling and you’ll see exactly what I mean.) But let me also talk to the public-school moms here too since I am one of you. Don’t look at a homeschool mom and think their kids are out of touch or they aren’t going to have proper social skills. I’ve heard a lot of mess coming from this side too and a lot of it comes from pure jealousy. Every child is different but, in many ways, they are the same. Neither side should have anything to say about the capability of someone else’s kid.

To some extent, I do understand not wanting our kids to be exposed to certain things, which is why I was looking at homeschooling to begin with. And for those who can do it, I am 1000% for homeschooling. I believe it can give parents more time to teach the skills that really matter and real-life applications of those skills. I believe it can give parents an opportunity to teach a set of moral standards that seem to have been abandoned by many. And I believe it can protect our children from the negative influences going through the public school system right now that are against what we believe. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to homeschool their kids and I think we should all be understanding of that. And it’s not just the people who “can’t” homeschool – but also the people who have chosen not to.

Here is where I bring faith into the picture. The Bible does say to not conform to the standards of the world – but it does not say completely isolate yourself from the world. No, Jesus gave us the command to share the Good News with everyone. If we as Christians try to lock ourselves up in our homes or on our land and cut off all influence from the outside world, we also cut off our influence on the outside world. No, we should know and understand what is happening out there. That is a post for another time but I want to make the point here that we should not isolate ourselves – nor our children.

See sometimes we think that it’s the adults who share the Good News. Like once you turn 18 you can be used by God now. Or maybe we think that they need to be a teenager who must have a solid understanding of the Gospel to share it. But that is not true at all. God can use anyone (and anything – including a donkey. For more on that story see Numbers 22). In fact, I believe God likes to use kids because most of the time they have no filter or any of the “limitations” we do as adults. Who is to say that another 6-year-old doesn’t go home to their parent, share about Jesus and they are saved because of it? Or that they don’t go home and ask their parents to take them to church and the whole family gets saved? Maybe that is just the sign they needed. I have actually heard the latter as a true story more than once. I know that my son has been an encouragement to me in hard times. God has used him to speak to me so I know He can do the same for others.

God told me to send my son to public school so he could be a light in the darkness. Sometimes I think that it’s too much darkness for my son to handle, but that’s where my job as a parent to pray for him comes in. My son started praying for his teachers and his friends in kindergarten. And if you have not heard a prayer from my son, I will share one soon because it will melt your heart I promise. He was told last year by one of his teachers to not pray anymore. I told him if he gets kicked out of school for praying, I will buy him Dairy Queen. We take lessons from church and different Bible lessons and talk about how he can apply those at school. We talk about the gospel and the importance of sharing that with his friends. He has told me that most of them don’t want to hear about Jesus and I told him that’s ok. Share it with those who want to hear. Share what you learned in church. Don’t be pushy but don’t be shy about it either. Plant those seeds and let someone else come water them if you need.

Education is important and who educates our kids is important. Maybe their education comes solely from parents – that’s ok. Maybe it comes from a mix of parents and the public school system – that’s ok. And friendly reminder - there are MANY Christian teachers in the public school system too - I know several of them personally. As moms, we need to support each other, not judge each other for our decisions. And we need to accept that not everyone is called to do the same thing. God is telling many moms to homeschool their kids. But He is also telling a lot of moms to keep their kids in public school too. And some He wants in the private schools. At the end of the day, it’s His will, His way. And it is all for His glory.


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