As Good As

Public School?


by Barb Shelton



This is actually one question that I am not commonly asked, probably because most people know I will give them a very biased answer.  But I know it is the NUMBER ONE question that will keep the majority of our population from homeschooling! 


It's also a question that you might not think you need to grapple with because, "Hey, I've already taken my child(ren) out of public school and KNOW that's not where I want them to be!  But chances are quite good that even though YOU have come out of public school, the public school mindset has not come out of you!  


Here's how one mom put it for her particular situation: "I've been trying to decide if I want to homeschool my daughter starting in the eleventh grade, or just let her finish in public school." Or more simply put, and all age-encompassing: "Can I possibly do as good a job of educating my child as the public school?"
Oh my!  (And here comes my bias...)  I have to turn that around and ask: "How in the world could PUBLIC schooling even come close to homeschooling?!? ... As for younger children, my blanket answer is "It can't!!!"  As for an older child, if they are willing to homeschool, I would consider it a tremendous blessing to get to have the last two years of high school to have with them and for them to experience a much great(er) amount of freedom and creativity in their education!  Freedom to follow God's path for the formation of their life, character, and values, and the direction and honing of their interests and talents!

So why is it so important to have this question settled once and for all in your mind and heart?  Because, if you do NOT settle it, and get God's perspective on it, you WILL follow the world's way of supposedly educating your children.  Here is what John Taylor Gatto, New York State's "Teacher of the Year" in 1992 said about this:



      "I've come to believe that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us...  I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children's power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior."


And yet, thousands of homeschooling parents are spending literally thousands of dollars attempting to imitate and bring that same system right into their homes! ~ and cram it down their children's throats for 5 to 7 hours a day, thinking they are doing their children a favor!


There are many articles in the "Homeschooling Basics" section of my  Article Chart that will give you many good reasons for why homeschooling is superior to public or private school. Or maybe I should say "can be superior", because it isn't automatic. But I hesitate to even say that because you have to define "superior" before you can understand what I mean by that. And to understand the adjective ~ superior ~ you have to first know what it's describing: in this case, "education." That's what my "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind" is all about. We naturally have a preconceived idea about what "education" is, and as long as we think it's the same thing as "school at home" we will strive for the wrong thing, and waste a lot of time, money and love of learning in the process. So begin by reading all the articles here at my Article Chart, and you start getting an idea of what my views on this are!

As a homeschooling mom for 17 years now (we homeschooled our oldest two from kindergarten through graduation, and still have a 13-year-old we're homeschooling), I was/am a pioneer in the homeschooling movement ~ through no intent or effort of my own! Almost no one else was doing it back then, so I really had no choice!    But no one called us "pioneers" back then!  Words such as "strange,"  "weird," and "off your rocker" come to mind.  


But I wouldn't trade the experience for the world!  In fact, you couldn't pay me enough, even in private school tuition, to do it any other way! The fruit that has come in our relationships and in their lives and hearts is soooo good and soooo precious!!!  It's PRICELESS!
If your kids are at all hesitant (and even if they aren't), you will all enjoy the letter our daughter, Sharnessa, wrote to a boy who did NOT want to be homeschooled anymore. Their family did not have a good experience until the Mom came across my book, but by that time the boy was already very soured and burned out, and didn't think it could be any better. 
While I have several books available to you, please know that my heart is not to "sell"!!!  Other than "sell" YOU on your own ability ~ and God-given responsibility, and therefore He will emPOWER you to do what He calls you to do ~ to truly educate your children!  My heart is to get people onto a path of homeschooling that will yield all the wonderful blessings God intends for them to have, but that soooo many miss because they have not renewed their minds to what HIS idea of "education" is!  This is going to take some time and some doing because of how entrenched our culture is in the school system.  We just assume it is right!  I mean, after all, these teachers have been to TEACHER SCHOOL for FIVE years, right?!?!?!  Yes, they have, and that's actually most of the problem!  Here's another thought-provoking tid-bit from Mr. Gatto:


     "Itís absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety;  indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does...

     "...If weíre going to change whatís rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, though it does not "educate"; thatís inherent in the design of the thing. Itís not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. Itís just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing."


I would have given anything to have had this wisdom available back when I was first needing to get a new mindset in this area, but most of them weren't even written!  Mr. Gatto was named New York State Teacher of the Year in 1992; I started homeschooling in 1982!!!  So it took me a lot longer and a lot more struggling to figure it all out.  (And THAT is why we now sell these books!  Many are "off the beaten trail" and not commonly available in bookstores or libraries.)


But I had Jesus, and I'm still amazed at how He was able to lead me through and out of my wrong thinking, and into freedom!  Jesus' burden is easy; His yoke is light. If we want to experience His blessings, we have to allow Him to lead us in HIS ways, and that includes homeschooling and how we approach it as much as anything in our lives! There's no "one right way" to do it. He is a very creative God, and each person and family is unique. That's why His plan for each family is also unique! That is what I want to help you find and walk in! 




I got the plaid wallpaper at:

...the blue house and red schoolhouse at:



...and the tiny garden between the two at:




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