In September, the mainland site Christian Times published a piece originally posted on the China Home Schooling Alliance website about Christian education in China. In the article titled “Church Schools or Home Schooling?”, the author lays out what he believes to be the difference between Christian education conducted within a church setting and home schooling. He then sets out to argue that home schooling is the most effective way for Christians to educate their children.
The article provides an interesting glimpse into a conversation online taking place among Christians in China regarding an important issue. Due to the length of the original article, it is posted in two parts. Part 1 was posted on December 9, 2014.
Church Schools or Home Schooling? (Part 2)
Let’s look now at some of the prejudices against home schooling.
First of all, many brothers and sisters worry that parents don’t have a strong enough spiritual life to give the child a proper spiritual education. They think that only a church school can provide adequate spiritual education.
I strongly beg to differ with this view. Of course, the church is a platform for shepherding its people, but the life of the believer is truly lived out in one's family life. Faith is not merely a gathering on Sunday for worship; it is, more importantly, the struggle and witness of everyday life. The state of our lives often truly emerges within our family. What we see at church or at school is only skin-deep and lacks this type of deep, truly living faith.
The most important thing as a parent is a heart for the Father. The Bible says: "Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers." The Bible also says: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
As we mentioned above, as parents face the issue of how to educate their children they will also be confronted with their own faith and the roots of their faith.
Homeschooling is unlike other schooling in that it emphasizes that life itself is education, that education does not necessarily need to take place within the confines of a school that is separated from life. In the same way, spiritual education does not necessarily need to take place within the confines of a spiritual school that is also isolated from real life. This is because spiritual life must be put into practice in everyday life.
A second misconception is the belief that the secularized knowledge of professional teachers is often a better education than that of parents.
This is actually related to the first issue in that parents lack confidence in home schooling and believe that education is a professional matter, something that parents cannot do. This is a great misconception regarding standardized schools for people today.
But what does the Bible say? Many people believe that the charter for Christian education is found in Deuteronomy chapter six, but this chapter is clearly speaking of parents.
I do not agree that the sovereignty of Christian education lies with the church. No matter the case, parents have both the right and responsibility to educate their children. A church school can be seen as a school founded by a group of Christians for the education of their own children and the children of their Christian brothers and sisters. A church monopoly on the right to educate children of believers will only lead to laziness of the faith in believers. On this point, we can see the reason behind why this article analyzes the drop in Sunday School and family worship: the decline of the modern American family worship.
As recorded in the Bible, God himself instituted the family as a sacred unit and placed children in the center of it. I believe this is the best place for children to mature. At the same time, in Deuteronomy chapter six the great commandment that is revealed to us also tells us the most important method to practice the great commandment is to teach our children.
I believe that the family is a great mystery of God's grace and blessing. Children and parents play an integral role in the family. Parents and children will be a great blessing to each other in the growth of their lives.
Home schooling is also a reflection of the model of universal education. Both Christian schools and secular schools are part of the system of standardized schools. This type of school system emphasizes transmission and instruction according to man's activity, crowding out the space for God himself to guide each child and ignoring the independence of the child. This system emphasizes knowledge and competition, but lacks love and profound life experience. It also ignores children's individual differences. It emphasizes specialization and standardization, but ignores holistic life. Since the school system is very powerful, Christian education school system is also confused and held captive to the world’s system. The school system of the world emphasizes a closed model of instruction, separated from life. It emphasizes teacher professionalization and sidelines the parents. It stresses communities, but ignores the value of the individual.
Many people misunderstand home schooling and the issue of social interaction between the community and home schooled children, including Christians. See the article: "Home Schooling Data: Academic and Social Interaction", the United States has proven that home schooling is not a problem.*
In fact, we need to look more seriously at the negative effects that the school system has on the social interaction among children. Here is an additional article that can help you: "Home Schooled Children Have Social Problems?"*
From a biblical perspective, Jesus continuously warned that in our society or community, we are quick to turn our hearts from God and look to man to obtain glory. When there is great pressure from the peers around us we are unable to follow truth.
To prematurely place a child into the school community is definitely a bad idea. The smaller the child the more the child needs to live with their parents, to build himself or herself up, to learn how to take care of himself or herself, to be independent, to understand interpersonal relationships and behavior. But, a bunch of kids who gather with their peers means more competition, disruption, or being under the teacher's power. The younger the child the more they are unable to understand the complex connection between the collective and the self. Thus, the collective pressure often causes a great deal of harm to the child.
Those same drawbacks that we mentioned regarding the standardized school system are the same problems that Christian schools established by churches are facing. American church schools also have a lot of problems that are rooted in the institutionalization of the school: children who are rebellious, precocious, who commit crimes, and so on. This is an important reason for the decline in American church schools and for the sharp rise in the number of people who home school.
The above is an analysis of some of the differences between church schools and home schooling with the predominant emphasis on a defense for home schooling. Because we see many Christian brothers and sisters who do not agree with home schooling, and because we also see the importance of the development of Christian home schooling in China, therefore we have been so bold as to write this piece. Of course, there are also many challenges with home schooling. However, the importance of home schooling is so great that it is worth it for brothers and sisters to do home schooling and to promote the ministry of Christian home schooling across the country.
There are many Christians who are full-time mothers. Encourage these full-time mothers to raise and teach their children at home and their total economic and manpower costs will see significant savings. The most important thing is that this in accordance with the biblical order of education. Parents are directly responsible for their child's education, not a school.
In actuality, many domestic Christian schools have big operations, but are tightly controlled by the government. They survive under the pressure and are unable to fully teach children from the Bible. For small scale Christian schools and church schools, the costs are higher, they are under enormous pressure, and they have become schools for the elite.
I think under the current situation, encouraging more brothers and sisters to be involved in the ministry of Christian education cannot in any case be overstated.
And, starting with their own children, these parents will quickly become unyielding with their education, producing an even greater testimony for God.
You can imagine that if there is better support for our brothers and sisters to do home schooling, then there will be a rapid rise in small scale Christian home schools.
* links to referenced articles did not appear in the original article
Original article: 教会学校还是在家教育
Photo: Chicago Tribune
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