Dr. James Emery WhiteJames Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
- 2013 May 30
I think everyone who is able should consider homeschooling their child.
There, I said it.
Somebody needs to.
I am sick and tired of reading diatribes against homeschooling from those who have never homeschooled, don’t have children, or simply have a bias against the Christian overtones related to homeschooling.
Also, if I hear one more person talk about the lack of “socialization” as a reason not to homeschool, I’m going to erupt.
So why would anyone want to take their children out of the dominant public education system of our country and attempt to homeschool them on their own?
Kids do better academically when homeschooled.
Here are the facts. And I do mean facts:
- Homeschooled children significantly outperform children educated in public school systems in reading, language, math, science and social studies.
- Homeschooled children’s tests scores were not significantly affected by their parents’ household incomes or whether their parents were certified teachers.
- Homeschooled children perform better overall in college — from their freshman years to their senior years.
And want one more fact that may surprise you?
- Homeschooled children do not lag behind public school children overall in communication and socialization skills.
Full disclosure: my wife and I homeschooled our four children through eighth grade, and then used a mixture of private Christian high school and additional homeschooling throughout their high school years.
But that’s not what drives this for me. I am not one who needs others to make the choices I made to feel better about myself.
And it’s not even the superior academics.
So why am I such an advocate?
Because homeschooling is what lets you guard and protect your child’s heart and optimally mold their character in a dark and fallen world.
I cannot say this strongly enough. I hope and pray and that every parent will consider homeschooling their child at least through the most pivotal years, which to my thinking, is late elementary and middle school years.
It’s what allows you to optimally shape their spiritual life, and pour into it without contest during those years when there should be no contest.
It’s what lets you insulate them from the world before their maturity is ready to engage it on their own.
It’s what lets you pick their friends and control the nature, speed and context of their broader socialization.
We live in a day of under-protective parenting. Our culture has declared war on children in so many ways. Homeschooling is one of the ways we can fight back.
And if you want to know how much our children are at risk in terms of peer relationships, the media and more -- and how active parenting must be in our day -- please get hold of “The Under Protective Parent” series. It’s available as an mp3 as well as manuscript on the Message Downloads page of ChurchandCulture.org.
To this day, I believe it may be the most prophetic series I’ve ever delivered at Meck.
I do not believe homeschooling is for everyone, nor the mark of whether you are a good parent. I know there can be economic barriers to homeschooling. Others may feel they are not qualified or temperamentally suited to the task.
Many who say money is a factor are simply choosing to spend their resources on other things when they could spend it on freeing up the possibility of homeschooling.
Many who say they are not temperamentally suited to homeschooling are using that as a smokescreen when the truth is they are not willing to exercise the patience and submit to the sacrifice needed to homeschool.
And for those men who say, “What about sports?” I suggest reading a blog I wrote earlier this year titled “Parents, Sports and Church.” All I would add to its words would be that as someone who played competitive sports himself at almost every level, and saw my homeschooled kids engage them at almost every level as well, it’s a red herring.
But even if there was a conflict (there isn’t), sports don’t outweigh what’s best for your child’s heart. And that’s what your goal should be: parenting your child’s inner world.
Please know how much I respect and value the hard work and clear calling present in the life of countless teachers and administrators in the public school system. I know so many of you strive to bring Christ to bear on that setting. It’s a difficult thing to advocate for what you feel may be the best for a child without unduly demeaning the good being done in other settings.
But because there are few voices out there promoting for it, let me make mine loud and clear. If you can homeschool your child through at least the middle school years, do.
Not just for the academics, but for their protection.
If you can’t do that, take advantage of the growing number of schools that offer a combination of homeschooling and formalized classroom experience. (A good example is Hope Academy in Concord, N.C.)
If you can’t do that, explore the many good private Christian schools that are available.
But please, consider doing something.
You will never, ever regret it.
Nor will your child.
James Emery White
James Emery White, “The Under Protective Parent,” downloads available here.
James Emery White, “Parents, Sports and Church,” read online.
“Homeschool Domination,” College@Home, read online.
“Where should religious people stand on homeschooling?” John Merritt, Religion News Service, April 30, 2013, read online.
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.