Home School Education (weighing in)

Margie, Amy, Olivia, Scott
Margie, Amy, Olivia, Scott

It’s not often that I write about education. As a public schools teacher with almost two decades of experience I really could have more to say. But maybe I’m saving it all for that “tell-all,” “truth is stranger than fiction,” “whistle-blowing” book on the world of exceptional education. Seriously, friends, it would be one heck of an eye-opener!

Today, however, I am going to share a few thoughts about home-schooling. Our great friend Margie stopped by Maul Hall for an extended lunch yesterday, along with her three children, and we talked extensively about their home-school on the road adventure.

ON THE ROAD: Starting last summer from their home-base in St. Paul, Minnesota, Margie has been taking the children on a series of road trips covering the entire USA in sweeping sections. This month (sensibly) they’re taking the swing south. Not only are the children more than covering their core curriculum, they’re taking in geography, history, literature, and science exactly where, and as, it happens.

interview in progress
interview in progress

One of Margie’s assignments is a series of person-to-person interviews. So yesterday, around the dining room table, Rebekah and I were grilled extensively by Amy (5th grade), Olivia (7th) and Scott (8th). The students asked thoughtful, intelligent, questions, and were genuinely interested in what we had to say.

Years ago, when idealism was my sole reference point, I spoke out against private schools and home-schooling. My theory (and it still has traction) was that if intelligent, motivated, caring people pull their kids out of public education, that simply exacerbates whatever was wrong with the schools in the first place.

“Isn’t our calling to be salt and light in the world?” I’d say. “We can’t do that if we pull our kids out and leave the others to founder.”

FLAW: The flaw in my argument – and I’m sure you have already noted it – is that our primary calling as parents is to raise our children, and to launch them, well-equipped, to make a positive difference in this world.

Therefore, what is right for our children is always the best choice. And homeschooling, especially when your mother has enjoyed successful careers as a Navy pilot, a school teacher, and a manager in industry, can often provide exactly what children need at a particular point in their preparation for life.

Because that’s what we’re all about as parents; we’re all about the business of preparing our children for life. Not a carbon-copy of our life; not the life “the state” has planned, or that an assembly line education system has in store for them; but their life, the life God has envisioned from the moment they were conceived as a brilliant and creative idea in the mind of their Creator.

A WORD: So here’s my word for you, Scott, Olivia, and Amy. Are you ready? God first conceived you as a brilliant and creative idea, and then you were launched into this world under the care of your parents, who are now doing everything they can to prepare you to shine in your own, unique, ways.

The whole point of this is so that you can live not only as examples of light and life, but to actually be bright points of light that help show the way for others. One of my favorite writers, Paul, put it this way in a letter to his friends in Philippi.

 Among these people you shine like stars in the world, because you hold on to the word of life. (Philippians 2:15-16 CEB)

Derek Maul
Derek Maul

So thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to following your career as people of light, people who hold on to the word of life, people who shine – DEREK

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6 thoughts on “Home School Education (weighing in)

  1. I agree with not pulling children out of public schools because Christian kids might be the only Jesus the students will see. My husband and I came to know Jesus later in life and watching the Christians that have been so insulated by only being around other Christians all their life, I feel they have a harder time relating to the lost. Raising our children to make a positive difference in the world is a good thing until they face some of the peers and have no clue how to handle the way they think and act. Throwing Bible verses at them bounces off, where as to show them every day a Christlike walk would make more of an impression. Just my opinion.


  2. There are myriad reasons why families choose to homeschool. To say that children are isolated by being surrounded only by Christians does not necessarily mean poor homeschool choices, but a misguided opinion of protection. It is our duty as parents to expose our children to life and to be able to explain, to help them understand, to teach them. If we hide them at home (“home” school) then we are not only doing ourselves an injustice, but also our children and our community.

    I homeschool. However, there are many activities my child participates in. We do community service where my child is exposed to the homeless community, to special needs communities, to many different religious groups and to foreign language communities. We should be offering our children well rounded experiences. Insulating our children is not the answer. Exposing them to the plight of many, exposing them to the blessings God has given, sharing with them the vast opportunities to help others….THAT is not only good homeschooling practice but also good parenting!

    Why do I homeschool? My child has medical problems. If she was a part of the general population in the public education system, she would:
    1. Be labeled as mentally challenged
    2. Be penalized for missing too much school due to the nature of her disabilities
    3. Be demoralized due to her disabilities (and missing so much school)
    4. Not be exposed to as much as she is because we have the ability to homeschool and can travel all across the USA and Canada

    So if we truly focus on EDUCATING our children, homeschool should be a blessing, even a boon for society that can go hand in hand with public education. It can be a good balance if people could be open minded enough to see the benefits.


  3. Ughh! I want to see you and Aunt Rebekah in North Carolina so badly, now that it is 80 degrees in Florida!!!

    Love you, and we all miss you!

    Sarah Alexander


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