As Christians with young children, there seems to be two pulling forces when it comes to schooling. Some Christians are shocked to hear that we have our oldest daughter in first grade and plan to use the public school system to educate our other two daughters. I am not sure what has happened, but it seems to me that there is strife between Christians on the topic of homeschooling/public education, and I do not know why.
Is it wrong to homeschool? No. I do not believe there are any scriptural grounds to make such a condemnation. I can see that there would be circumstances where I would pull my children from the public school system. Particularly, if I thought the lives of my children were endangered. I know of a Christian couple who lived in the heart of Los Angeles and did not feel it would be safe for their children to go to public school. I would agree with that assessment. Being from California and knowing that area, I would probably make the same decision. But we are not “more Christian” by choosing to homeschool.
But is it wrong for Christians to place their children in the public school system? No. I do not believe there are any scriptural grounds to stand upon to make such a condemnation. Yes, I am aware of certain evils influences that exist in public school. I have already seen our children molded by the bad habits and language of other school children (sad to see that already in first grade). But I see this as my responsibility as the parent to teach my children how to fight evil and how to act appropriately, morally, and Christ-like in an evil world. My job is not to insulate them, but to teach them how to lights in this dark world. When my children grow older, they will not be insulated from evil. Lord willing, they will lead normal lives, enter the work force, and be part of society. Hopefully I will have taught them how to deal with worldly pressures so they will be prepared to be godly when they are on their own. The world is not what it used to be. But I must ready them for this fact, not wish for the good old days.
I think we cannot forget that as Christians we are not called upon to hole up into our monasteries and avoid the world and its influences. We are to be in the world, but not act like the world (1 Cor. 5-6). My wife and I look at the school system as an opportunity to share the gospel. We are making friends through school and people know that we are Christians. Teachers, PTO, and parents know that I am a minister. One teacher even came to our worship services with her husband. We have been able to have many spiritual conversations with many parents because we are in the school system and people know who we are and where we stand.
Whatever choice we make about the education of our children should not be criticized. It is a difficult decision. But whatever choice we do make, we should check ourselves and make sure that we are not running away from the world, rather than trying to influence the world. We fail our children if we do not teach them how to live as godly people in this world.