Recently at Starbucks, I spoke with a pastor about home schooling. He mentioned a public Charter School that supports home schooling and asked if it was APS. I assured him that it was not.
I tried to explain that all public home-school-charter-schools are simply a branch of the public school system. As a public school, Charter Schools are free and usually give parents money, books and oversight to teach their children at home. He said that sounded like a good deal.
I tried to explain that in exchange for free tuition and books, parents could not include God or religion in their children’s curriculum. I don’t think he believed that parents in public school Charter Schools are officially prohibited from teaching about God. They are.
I checked website of the public Charter School he specifically mentioned. Sure enough, it says that as a State funded Charter School, religious curriculum is not allowed. It does not cite a specific section of the education code or anything else. Perhaps it is part of their Charter. In any case, this prohibition to God tracks with everything else I have experienced with public school / Charter School-related home schooling programs.
This leads me to the main point. Christian parents who decide to home school their kids usually do so in order to develop their children’s worldview about God. They specifically WANT to include God, the Bible, Christianity, etc. into their children’s daily lessons. To collaborate with a public Charter School that prohibits this simply does not make sense. Unfortunately, in recent years, numerous home schooling families have done just that.
For me, it does not matter that the books are free and that I may actually receive a few hundred dollars to buy things. It is simply not a good deal.
When my wife and I decided to teach our own children at home, we did so for specific reasons; the first of which was the inclusion of Christian values in our children’s thinking. It was not enough to send them to Sunday school and youth group once a week. We wanted to use the best part of every day to disciple our kids. We concluded that we should be as serious about Deuteronomy 6:5-9 as was God.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
We cannot do this if we are not allowed to include God in our child’s daily curriculum. The reason we home school is so that we can help form our children’s worldview from a Christian perspective. We decided against traditional public school because we didn’t want them to be taught an opposite, ungodly worldview 8 hours a day. Why then, would we bring that same curriculum and limitations into our home schooling experience? All for a few hundred bucks? Seriously?
Choosing to home school was a huge decision for us. As professional teachers in traditional school, we both had to make major changes. I needed a new career and my wife would become a fulltime stay-at-home mom.
We did not want our children’s daily educational diet to be God-neutral, or worse anti-God. We insisted on including the Christian God in everything. We wanted to teach a literal 7-day Creation. We wanted to teach History from a God-perspective. We wanted great Christian works to be included in the literature our kids read.
For them as elementary aged students, we wanted the scariness of the great big world to be tempered by the reality of a loving Sovereign God. We wanted our kids to navigate the weird Jr. High years with the absolute morals of scripture as their map. We wanted to prepare our high school aged kids for college by robust critical thinking molded and filtered by God’s revelation.
Joining a free public Charter School that prohibits God as the cornerstone of our children’s education is simply not a good deal.