I thank God for the opportunity to homeschool my children. I am often asked: Why, when the local schools are so good, do we homeschool? Here are some of our reasons:
  • We have the freedom to pray, read the Word of God, and discuss spiritual issues with our children as they come up throughout the day.
  • Our curriculum is highly individualized. Every child gets one-on-one time with his or her teacher daily.
  • Our children are not regularly exposed to drugs, alcohol, or sexual promiscuity. When we see it in public we are able to discuss it.
  • We have opportunities to share our faith with others outside of the pressures of the school culture, with its cliques and bullying.
  • We learn life skills together. How do you balance a checkbook? Mail a package? Do the laundry? Cook? Shop for the best deals? Build a chicken coop? Butcher turkeys? All this is part of our classroom.
  • We have the time to pursue a Christian approach to relationships. Reconciliation and love are at the heart of our school day. Character comes first.

Historically, homeschooling has been the norm. Jesus would have been primarily taught at home. Most of our country’s founding fathers were home-educated. In fact, only in the last two hundred years have people considered letting the state school their children. My children have been entrusted to me by God for a short while. Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21 KJV). My kids belong to God, not to the state.

That said, we have not forgotten the children in our local school system. Nor are we trying to keep apart from the community. We have been involved, as a family, in afterschool programs such as theater groups. The children and I sing for residents of a retirement home and hand out food with the local food bank. Being homeschoolers does not mean that we drop out of the world. On the contrary, we’ve found that homeschooling frees our calendar to better serve, and to be involved in ways we never could if we were tied to a public-school schedule.

I respect and admire people who involve themselves in the local schools as a part of their ministry and outreach. My husband was a high-school math teacher in the barrios of East LA during the first part of our marriage. We met because we both shared a passion for working with the younger brothers and sisters of gang members and introducing them to Jesus.

We each walk our own path with Jesus. He may call some to homeschool, some not. But I believe with all my heart that the most powerful good I can bring to my community is to raise my kids in the way that will best help them to become the men and women that God has created them to be. That is why we homeschool.

For a counterpoint, read Catherine McNiel's article, Should Christians Abandon Public Schools? Then join the debate by commenting below.

Paisley Hillegeist and her husband Jon live in Connecticut and have homeschooled their three children, ages 14, 11, and 9, from the start.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.