Over the past few years I have talked to families with children who were homeschooled at one point and decided to send their children back to public school even after years of homeschooling. This usually happened as their children entered the high school years. For various reasons they decided that their homeschool journey had ended and felt no conviction otherwise. Talking with them more, they had some of the same initial reasons we had for removing our children from the public schools but they were solely pragmatic reasons. What I have come to realize is that our initial reasoning was also pragmatic. We saw a problem, found a solution, and like the results. This is not a bad starting point, but problems will eventually arise if this becomes the primary reason.
Please understand though, I believe we should be concerned for what is happening in public schools. This is a viable starting point in deciding to homeschool. The movie Indoctrination helps to bring this concern to the forefront by revealing the disturbing history of how public schooling came about, its underlying themes, and its initial opposition from Christians. No parent who watches this will think it is ever okay to have their children in government schooling again. The movie has a great starting point to bring forward the concern every Christian parent should have in regards to public schooling. But it is only the starting point.
The primary reason some homeschooling families cease to be homeschooling is the exact reason why many of us initially start homeschooling. Simply put, it is because we relied on results to determine whether something was effective or even whether it was biblical or not. If the results change, or the results we desire change then we can inevitably alter our direction. A parent who homeschools only for pragmatic reasons may put their child back into public schools for pragmatic reasons as well. The primary reason we are to homeschool is not because we want our children to be smarter or because we want to remove them from the ungoldy teachings. They are good reasons, but they are secondary to the teachings of Scripture. Deuteronomy 6 commands parents to be the teachers of their children. We are to instruct them in the ways of God, which touches on every subject of life. We teach them Scripture as well as a biblical worldview of all educational disciplines, which they will not find in public schools. In his message The children of Caesar, Voddie Baucham says "If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans".
Secondary issues can lead us to understand the primary reason but we are never to rest on the secondary as our authority. Parents may remove their children from public schools and when their reasoning changes they are perfectly comfortable sending them back. Scripture is our resting place. In it, we find instructional principles for life. Let it be what we rely on as our authority for homeschooling. We may point to the results found in secondary reasoning, but we must ultimately come back to Scripture.
This reminds me of the role of apologetics in evangelism. I have seen and been blessed to minister with some outstanding apologeticists. They use profound reason and evidence to utterly destroy the ungodly claims of the world and the decisive attacks of the enemy against the Gospel and the validity of God's word. Yet even they admit that if they have intellectually won the argument but failed to lift up Scripture as the ultimate authority and the Gospel as the evidence of God's saving grace, they have simply shown how clever they are. This in turn makes it a battle of who is smarter and not simply "Thus sayeth the Lord".
Over the past year, the Lord has graciously shown us the authority His word is to have even in our obedience to Him in homeschooling. In case you think I am being too hard on public schooling, please know that I can certainly sympathize with those who do not homeschool. I know some of the reasons you have, because my wife and I used almost all of them ourselves. Yet we can find no passage in Scripture where we are ever told to release our children to the teachings of the world. Homeschooling is not easy. It is very trying and tests our patience with and love for our children. You can take the path more frequently traveled with no hills or valleys and the promises of a smoother journey. But when were you ever told that obedience to God was going to be an easy path?
Why do we homeschool? Because we desire to be obedient to God in all that we do. To Him be the glory forever and ever!
By grace alone,
Adam (and family)