I recently read an inspiring comment on one of my favorite blogs, ministry-to-children.com. The author, Tony, asked for comment on the homeschool vs. public school debate and one lady told this story which I thought you'd like to hear:
This is by Carrie Fetters. Read it in its original context here.
"I thought I'd share the fruit of homeschooling. There are lots of "opinions", but real life speaks for itself.
"The oldest of our 4 children is 14. We pulled her out of the school system after 2nd grade. We attend a church in a rural setting (appro. 350-400 people) with "good" public schools in the area. We have some homeschoolers in our church, some Christian schooled children, but the majority is public school children.
"Every summer the Jr. High leads a Back Yard Bible Club in an area neighborhood. The Jr. Highers are supposed to lead songs, tell a story and then just play with and get to know the neighborhood kids and tell them about Jesus and the salvation He brings. I showed up early on the last day, and sat in the car waiting to pick up my daughter (then 13). This is what I saw: Most of the neighorhood kids were playing by themselves. ALL of the public school kids were huddled up together. My daughter (the only homeschooler in the group) and the 3 Christian schooled kids were either talking with or playing on the playground with the kids. My daughter was sitting in the grass talking with a little girl. I saw my daughter get up and grab her Bible, then return to the little girl she was talking to, then another Christian schooled girl joined my daughter in talking to this little girl.
"I got out of my car and walked past the huddled public schooled kids (kids I love and have taught in SS). As I walked past, I said, "Why don't you guys go talk to some of the kids?" One person spoke up and said, "I don't know what to say to them." I encouraged them to talk to them about the lesson that was shared, but no one moved. I continued on and talked to one of the leaders, until we were interrupted by the little girl that my daughter was talking to. She was beaming and said, "God loves me and I just asked Him to be my Savior!"
"Later I talked to my daughter about the events as I saw them. She said, "Mom, it was like that every day. The public schooled kids care too much about what their friends think of them. They don't reach out."
"In that moment every doubt about homeschooling I ever had flew away. Years of hearing from a Christian neighbor how my daughter should be in the public school to be a witness...I won't even get into what her 14 year old "Christian" daughter is like.
"If we, and our children are prepared to be a witness, God will give us and them opportunities, but we can have all the opportunities in the world and not move on them if our hearts are not ready.
"At first when my daughter was in elementary school it was harder to tell the difference between the homeschoolers, and public schooled kids, but now as the fruit is maturing (going into highschool) it is evident.
"In our experience, homeschoolers are less peer dependent, community focused, and interact well people of every age. Yes, I do know there are exceptions!
"A sick peach tree can still give a few healthy looking peaches, and a healthy peach tree can give a few sickly peaches, but what kind of tree do you want your kids growing on?
"One last note: Often people are remarking how accomplished my daughter is musically. This is no accident. She has the time to work hard on both the harp and the piano. This past year she was actually invited by a public school in the area to come play the harp for a large event in which many teachers, children and parents attended! Talk about God creating opportunities for a ready heart!"
Thanks, Carrie, for that reminder.