Finding Common Ground in the Homeschool vs. Public School Debate

homeschool This year, I have a foot firmly planted in two schooling worlds. My older daughter attends public school, and we're homeschooling my younger one. It's an adventure, and it's given me an interesting perspective on how the two sets of people involved in each choice view the other.

I've discovered there's a lot of judgment involved on both sides. Some public schoolers think that homeschoolers are raising awkward, sheltered kids who can't function in the real world. Some homeschoolers think that public schoolers are corrupted by the world and that public school is only full of horrible things.

But here's the thing: Why are we so busy judging someone else's choice, especially when it comes to school? I honestly think that Christ-followers are some of the worst offenders here. Instead of being thankful that we have options when it comes to schooling, we think that whatever we choose to do is the best option and are unable to see the benefits of the other option.

We chose to homeschool my younger daughter this year. It's the best thing we've ever done for her. She needed the one-on-one attention and the opportunity to build her character in ways we couldn't accomplish in public school. We chose to send my older daughter to public school. It's been a good year for her, too. She's grown socially and mastered some social skills that we simply couldn't have accomplished at home.

There's no one right way to educate your kids. The Bible doesn't say homeschool your kids. It also doesn't say to send your kids to public school. What it does say is "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). We can do that in the context of homeschooling or in the context of public school.

No matter what type of schooling we choose for our kids, it's important to understand that others have good reasons for choosing a different option. Your kids are not their kids. When we make snap judgments about someone else's school choices, we do ourselves and our kids a disservice. It's almost as if by judging others we're justifying our own decisions. And there's no need for that. If we've prayed about our decision and chosen the best option for our own kids, then we don't have to justify it to anyone else by denigrating someone else's choice. Our reasons can stand alone without comparing them to someone else's choices.

If we all focused on simply providing the best education we can for our kids, whether it's at home or at school, we would find that we all have a lot more common ground to stand on than when we focus on the differences in our choices.