Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Not Public?

This topic is touchy. Whether you home school your children, entrust the public school, or a private one-- all of us have our views. I don’t want to demonize one over the other but I DO want to shed light to why my family chooses a particular facet. At the end of the day, may this be a vice to persuade and not tear down for mere pride. My family is choosing a particular home school path and it is because of this I am passionate and want to share.

What’s Missing in the Public?

I, as most people are, am a product of the public school system. I often hear “if I turned out ok, then my child will too.”  I thank God for turning out “ok” BUT this is definitely not what I would have wanted looking back 10 years later.  Sure I was a good student. Yes, I was an honor student all 4 years in high school, took AP classes, participated in athletics, science club, etc but the most important thing I did not learn in the majority of my classes was--- HOW TO THINK! Learning about how to learn. Thinking logically, critically, and analytically. Wouldn’t you say that is exactly what you would LOVE for your child to be doing and knowing and applying at school?

Honestly it wasn’t until I became a believer where I began to think. The gospel beckons you to think. It’s logical, it powerful, its truth. If you don’t know how to think you can’t tell what is false and what is true or when a fallacy is invading the truth. What helped me tremendously in trying to become a “thinker,” was apologetics and reading. My husband taught an apologetics class and I devoured it! I soon began debating (in a conversational way) with an older co-worker who was a very prideful, knowledgeable atheist. He would look for me during his break to debate. I learned much through our conversations; I had to think logically through them. I wasn’t taught to do that in school-- To really master it.  College exposed me to it, but very little--for the most part everything was memorization. You memorize it, cram for the test then you forget it after a week! In the apologetics class taught by my husband, I found the questions being posed so thought provoking. PJ would pose ‘“What if you have a non-believing friend that says, “Christianity can’t be the only true religion?” or “See religion is harmful and so is Christianity?”’ These questions force you to think logically and biblically (if you answer them correctly, by God’s grace!) Or if you converse with a Muslim friend who says, “Jesus was a great moral teacher but not the Son of God.” In answering these two friends, you have to use logic and The Bible—they’re inseparable.

Modernist, atheist thinker John Dewey, founder of “Progressive Education,” which is currently used in our public school education, says, children are primarily there to socialize. It was said “The entire system was directed toward preparing these students to fill the American job market.”Children learn all subjects as they progress in age (this is part of the evolution theory). [1] Dewey’s model molded well with the industrial revolution. This model (Dewey’s) was meant to create people who didn’t question, but serve and fulfill their obligation. This remnant model is what infiltrates our public school system and even our private Christian schools.

Dan Hagadorn, a parent practicum speakers at Classical Conversations, and a 10 year public/private school teacher (who has chosen to classically home school his daughter), said this about his pupils as he taught in public school, ““I could turn my kids into Hilter!” The kids he’s taught throughout his career, are not thinkers but just sitting ducks; Although, he says he does get 1 or 2 kids a year that are capable of analysis or critical thought, but its sad to think of our pupils incapable of distinguishing-- opinion vs. statement, in a newspaper article.
Is elevating our children’s esteem the most important part of public education? It appears that it is! In a math competition, which included third world countries (a total of 12 countries represented), an initial question to each student was asked “Are you good at math?” 82% of American kids said yes, 12% of the other countries said yes. America finished dead last. The lowest literacy but highest self-esteem! What good is that in the real world?

Everyone is biased. Everyone. As are teachers, and those biases naturally come out: as they teach, what they teach, and how they teach. Dan Hagadorn spoke to a fellow teacher who thought Hitler “wasn’t evil just perhaps misunderstood. He had a really tough upbringing. I personally don’t believe what he did was right but I see how it happened. Also in certain cultures things are more acceptable.” This mentality has to be embedded in her teaching. It’s a logical conclusion to assume that. She believes in relativism.

I’m sure the public school system has a great bunch of people, BUT I won’t be comfortable with them teaching my kids values. I want to do that. It’s what God tells me to (when they lie down and get up). My standards are vastly different then a non-believing teacher. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise. A teacher will not make it obvious, if and when she is teaching values, perhaps she is unaware, but undoubtedly she is. She is bias, we all are.

Just to be clear, my family and I are not simply choosing our alternative home school method just because it’s the Christian thing to do. We have chosen this (Classical Education) [2] because we strongly believe this is the best choice that’s before us. I want to blog on the reason we are choosing Classical Education, the awesome benefits, and the vision it is set out to do from the start.

What is education suppose to be? You’ll get vastly different answers from those in home school, public, private, AND classical education.

[2] Classical education differs from Jefferson method

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