Yep, we're back on this topic. I'm not trying to be a one-trick pony, but I want to get this done and go find something else to blog about.
One of the common discussions in Christian homeschooling is related to being a Christian witness in the community. If you're not a Christian, you're probably not all that concerned with the idea---and will likely be bored silly by the following. Read on, though, if you like.
The most frequent condemnation that Christians who choose to homeschool receive from other Christians is this: Since Christians are supposed to be "salt and light" in the world and tell others about Jesus, are you not abandoning the mission field of schools by holding your kids out?
Here's the first response, and it's a kind of a knee-jerk defensive one: I will take that question seriously from anyone who has left their career and gone into public education so that they, as Christian adults, are working in the mission fields of schools. Not from those who live in church offices, not from those who work in banks, and not even from those who chose teaching for the summers off. For those who have chosen to go into and chosen to remain in teaching for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
Why? Because if you aren't doing it yourself, you really have no business telling me it's a need. That's actually one of my personal pet peeves in ministry and American Christian behavior: those folks who know exactly what everyone else should be doing. If you are so passionate for the lost kids in schools, then go yourself and don't tell me to sacrifice my children to what you won't do.
For those of you who are curious about the more well-thought responses, here are those:
Well-thought response part one: Christians are, indeed, commanded to spread the Gospel and be salt and light in the world. That command is given to Christians. None of my children at kindergarten were bound to that command. Or at first grade. Two of them are at this point, and we certainly wouldn't want any of them behaving contrary to Gospel-centered life, but there's no way my youngest is commanded to be a missionary. He's not even a Christian at this point.
Let's think a little further about this: I am a Southern Baptist, and we have a process for appointing missionaries that involves examining spiritual maturity, preparation for the challenges, and long-range support. That's what would be required for me to be a "missionary" in far away places like Little Rock as well as foreign nations. Yet a child is qualified to tackle the mandated-atheist environment of a government school simply by living in the district?
Now, this shifts and adjusts as children come to faith, become young adults, and grow in the faith. Some parents have chosen, together with their maturing teens, to enter the school system for that purpose. I do not know what choice our family will make when those days come for us, but those of you who chosen to do that, you have my respect.
Well-thought response part two: the world is more than the school room. Not being in the school room does not deny homeschool children the opportunity to be involved in Christian life and witness. There are people that Christians can seek out and interact with during any time of day. A parent can be available and can help shape the situation to protect both the child and the opportunity to be salt and light. After all, this is about honoring God and we don't want it go screwy because we let an 8-year-old do something they weren't capable of. You wouldn't do that in the kitchen or the deer woods, right?
This comes back to not being involved in Fort Homeschool that never interacts with the world.
Which is a choice that has to be made if you're homeschooling. It's very easy to lock down and never leave the house. Shut door, shop for groceries online, and keep the bad people out. Except you can't do that. Reach out and build the opportunities.