One of the common concerns we hear from both home educating parents and students is that they think they are less educated than their public school counterparts. Indeed, an interesting statement, given the fact that most people left the public system because it was not doing a good job!
Where do people get this idea from? Perhaps we have so normalized the public system that we use it as our example for training children when we, as Christians, should be using the Bible for our directives. When one thinks about it, secularists have won the day when claiming they know something about education. They erroneously state that they have the authority in education and that they have the standards by which we can measure student achievement.
Most parents have attended school, so when the community, family, church and government all advance public education as the only true option for the training of children, it is easy to understand why one can actually start believing that the government or church can produce a better product.
But this creates a dilemma. If what we believe defines our faith, then our believing the government’s claims in education becomes the foundation of our faith in education. For conscientious Christians, what needs to be determined is not whether or not students are meeting with the government’s expectations but whether or not they meet with God’s expectations. This is critical because the outcomes can be very different.
Schools provide opportunities for learning. Parents can do the same, but better. Parent-directed education can be more effective than public school education because parents can tailor the educational program to each child. Schooling fits the student to its program, whereas home education fits the program to the student. Which do you think is the most effective approach to education? Public school teachers often envy the individualized teaching approach practiced by home educators.
There’s also something else you need to consider. Even within the school system, standards cannot be uniformly applied. I know this from first-hand experience because I taught for many years in a large public school with a number of biology teachers. Application of the standards varied from teacher to teacher, so they were never uniformly applied. Even if we assume that every teacher acted in a professional manner, we have to realize that no two teachers are the same, either. Each teacher is a unique individual with a different personality and skill-set. Can we really expect the standards to be applied exactly the same by each and every teacher? And if each teacher is unique, what of each child?
Besides, it’s not really possible to measure the degree to which standards are met. What does fifty-two percent mean? What’s the difference between fifty-two percent and fifty-seven percent or sixty-three percent? Can anyone explain that? If you think about it, it’s impossible. In other words, you can’t really know whether the “standards” actually exist and if they do, how do you accurately measure their validity?
Home educating parents should remember this: If we measure our children’s success by God’s standards, they will be prepared for eternity and this world. If, on the other hand, we have our children meet man’s standards, there is simply an assumption of success in this world and questionable, if any, preparation for eternity. Train them in the way that they should go and they will actually turn out better than if publicly schooled.