Raising Kids to be Leaders – Homeschool vs. Public school dilemma

6 08 2008

If you have school age children you are probably familiar with the long lists of pros and cons for both homeschooling your kids and sending your kids to the public school.  For the time being we’ve settled for doing something a bit odd and that is to be 3/4ths homeschoolers.

This is how it works.  Every Fall, at the beginning of the school year we send our kids to the public school and we present it to them as a mission.  They are there to –

  • Make Friends
  • Train how to learn in a social environment
  • Test their ability to resist negative peer pressure
  • Develop their leadership skills
  • Get involved in a team sport
  • Demonstrate the Gospel to their class mates (primarily through acts of kindness and service)

We are going to use the following tools to assist them:

  • Building them up for and reminding them of the mission everyday before they leave
  • Discuss daily how it went (not asking “how was your day” but asking specific questions like “how were you a leader today”, “did you face any negative peer pressure?  How did you respond”, “Did you deepen any friendships?” “How did your actions demonstrate the Gospel?”)
  • Weekly Family Discipleship on Monday evening where we Worship, Encounter the Story, Midrash, Apply and then Intercede for their classmates.
  • Boys Club and Girls club – We want to watch them and help them develop their leadership skills so once a month they will invite all their classmates and any parents who want to come to our house where we’ll have a huge party complete with things like group games, activities, camp fire, tea party (for the girls), Bible story (taught by our kids) etc.

Then sometime in November or December at the latest we’ll pull them out and begin again our homeschool rhythm but keep doing the boys club and girls club once per month.

There is so much we do to train our kids at home I want them in that rhythm for 8-9 months of the year (and we travel a lot as a family) but I feel this is a better balance.  Yah, the school district will think it strange but I’m sure they’ll get used to it.

What things are you trying to help your kids form a powerful family identity and missional identity?  How do you balance the need for advanced education and peer socialization?



5 responses

7 08 2008

I think that the missional approach to preparing your kids for school, and then the mission-focused questions that follow, are a wonderful idea. I feel like I need to ask myself more mission-focused questions at the end of each day!

I am curious how the children react/tranistion when they are pulled from school each year as the winter approaches. Social/emotional development is very important during grade school years (as is spriritual development, I know) and I feel like taking them out of the school environment like that could hinder it. Do they have a hard time reintegrating, not having the shared experiences with the other students for a good part of the year?

Im assuming your answers to these questions are that they do not have issues with this, or you wouldnt do it. I guess I would just be concerned that the kids are missing out on some vital growth that happens in the school environment.

8 08 2008

Hi Heather,

Great question. There are cons to pulling them out and this might be one of them. But we’re coming from 100% homeschool so this plan will actually increase social development. Our kids are really outgoing and very mature for their grade and I doubt they will have any problem reintegrating. We’ll work hard to help them grow relationships with classmates during the months they are not in school so it won’t be like they haven’t seen any of these kids for 9 months.

On the flip side when you say “I would be concerned that the kids are missing out on some vital growth that happens in the school environment” I and would be far more concerned (for our kids) for the growth they would miss out on in the family environment (if they went to school all year). It’s often a matter of setting priorities and finding the right balance for your family.

8 08 2008

I see where you are coming from, and you make a good point in recognizing that time at school is time away from the family that could provide important growth. Balance is key.

Thanks for sharing insight and stimulating conversation via this blog. It was a blessing to find.

26 09 2008

I have never heard of 3/4 homeschoolers before. Are there other families in your community who live out their identity as disciples and missionaries schooling in this way? I am fasinated by this idea. I would love to hear how this has been fruitful for your family and community.

On another note….when families who homeschool come to stay with you guys at StoryHill is there flexibiblity for those families to educate for half the day?

15 10 2008

Hi Devonna,

I think so far we’re the only ones crazy enough to do this. Most of the kids in our community are younger and just now entering Kindergarten so we’ll see if other parents give it a try.

So far I’m really happy with it. I’ll keep updating on its apparent effect. The kids are doing amazing well in public school but I have a feeling it will be important to re-center around the family soon.

Yah, if we had a family stay at Storyhill the half-day option would make sense. We would do whatever the parents would decide is best for their kids and try to facilitate that in anyway we can.

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