I have been in public schools since kindergarten till secondary school. I am sure most of us know what being in a public school is like. So I will be talking about the bene ts and challenges of Public Schooling in my spiritual life.
I have a vague memory of sharing God’s word with a particular kindergarten friend. I do not remember any details but I remember that she told it to her parents and her family attended church soon after. This proves that even from a young age, public school does have its benefits. The major benefit is the opportunity to share the true gospel with our non-christian and Christian friends. I have had plenty of small ‘arguments’ with my Christian friends over certain doctrines, especially over Limited Atonement and Unconditional Election. I feel that defending the gospel makes me stand firmer in God’s word and encourages me to read up and memorize more scripture so that anytime and anywhere, I would be ready to defend God’s word.
One notable problem I have faced is curriculum that contradicts God’s word. My first encounter with such a scenario was when I was in Secondary 1, and the teacher was talking about the Himalayas being created million of years ago. When I heard that, I was deeply troubled. Perhaps I was still young, but I felt that it would be wrong to write that on my exam script. It was as if I believed that the world was formed millions of years ago due to the big bang or even evolution. I even felt the need to speak up about this nonsense that was being taught. Of course, those teachings did not stop at Secondary 1 – they last till now. Silently, I assure myself that God’s word is the one true word, and if there were any doubts, I would immediately check the Bible. This is when our faith is put to the test. Will we believe what the world teaches us? No! We must stand firm in God’s true and living word!
Once, my principal announced that we were not allowed to spread religion around school, due to cases of seniors inviting juniors to their churches and
parents complaining. When I heard this I was frustrated. How could he say such a thing? Since when did spreading God’s word become a ‘crime’? Certainly it is only the devil’s work that can cause anyone to say such a thing. It discouraged me, but God has provided me with church friends who have told me to continue doing what I do and not let what he said affect me.
In terms of time management, waking up early to do devotions isn’t really a problem although sometimes it can be difficult and requires a lot of will power. Personally, school does not require me to spend huge amounts of time in the school compound. However, my co-curricular activity requires me to attend lots of practices and sometimes skip Covenant Keepers (CK) youth meetings. Every time I skip any church event I would be filled with a terrible sense of guilt. Therefore placing CK activities as my number one priority over band practice or school was my first step to attending more CK meetings. Furthermore, after joining the CK committee, I have felt more responsibility to attend CK meetings. After all, they are spiritually enriching and no company beats the warm fellowship of God’s people.
Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” We are indeed God’s children and we must show the world our good testimony. In a public school, we are given the opportunity to share the gospel. Certainly we must set a good example, so that people can immediately identify that we are the light of this world.
Finally, let me share from 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” In an environment where worldly influences abound, we must continue to be strong in our faith, and remember our eternal prize.
Written by: Isa Chan | Issue 4
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” What better way for parents to teach their children the ways of the Lord than through homeschooling?
Homeschooling enables families to spend their days together. And because families spend their days together, parents and children, as well as siblings, have more bonding time and develop closer relationships. This is in contrast to most children in public schools who spend most of their time in school, and spend whatever time left at home on the ever-present burden of homework, projects, and studying for tests. Personally I enjoy homeschooling because I have lots of free time to read and pursue other hobbies. Our family also enjoys the flexibility to have family outings on weekdays, as well as cheaper travel during off-peak seasons.
Another of the “pros” of homeschooling is that it enables Christians to have a closer walk with God. Public schools in Singapore nowadays are assigning more and more homework to students, so that they have practically no time for anything else. This could be one of the devil’s attempts to draw believers away from spending time reading God’s Word and praying. Homeschooling allows more free time, and thus more time to pray and meditate on the Word of God.
When our family first started homeschooling, many well-meaning relatives and friends strongly advised my parents against it, thinking that homeschooling does not provide enough opportunities to socialize. Although it is true that special effort has to be made to socialize, the socialization found in public schools might not be very good either. There are many worldly influences like inappropriate speech (Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 10:31-32; Colossians 3:8) and undesirable values from ungodly teachers and peers in public schools nowadays (Jude 4), and we should be careful who we socialize with. (1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20)
Another reason for the strong urging of many of our family and friends not to homeschool was that they thought homeschooling did not provide as good an education as public schooling, and that there was therefore no future for homeschoolers. That is definitely not true. Homeschooling provides as good an education as public schools, or maybe even better. In homeschooling, there is a wide variety of curricula to choose from, and a curriculum can be found to t each student according to his/her character and needs. In contrast, public schools use the same curriculum for every student, no matter how different they may be and regardless of whether it works well for them.
The last reason for the advice against homeschooling from our friends and relatives was that students in public schools meet people with good and evil intentions, and when they are older, they will supposedly know how to tell such people apart. Homeschoolers, they think, will not know how to tell these people apart because they have not had “experience”. In my opinion, Christian homeschoolers will be able to tell these people apart just as well as students who attend public schools, because they will have been firmly grounded in the Word of God, and will know what goes against the Law of God. But, finally, no one, except God, will know the true intentions of man, for God alone knows the heart, which is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
Despite its benefits, homeschooling also has its challenges. One of the challenges is self-discipline. Because there is no competition from peers, there can be a lack of motivation, and self-discipline is needed to withstand the many temptations we are surrounded by, like books, the television, and the computer. (James 1:12)
One of the “cons” of homeschooling is that because there are lesser opportunities to socialize, there are also lesser opportunities to witness to others. But despite this disadvantage, we must not take it that we have no opportunity to witness at all. There are still people to witness to, like the people we meet in our daily lives, for example, unsaved relatives, neighbors, and even our parents’ friends and colleagues. We are to be good testimonies, both to Christians (to strengthen and encourage them) and non-Christians (to gain them to Christ) alike. We should also pray for opportunities to witness.
From my two-and-a-half years of homeschooling experience, I have gained a lot. Not only have I gained a closer relationship with my family, I have also gained a closer walk with God. And I hope that what I have written will give you a better perspective of homeschooling.
Written by: Koh Ming Hui | Issue 4