Thursday, 16 October 2008

Another thoughts

Another thoughts and advice about education from a personal friend of mine (A little background, the writter is a 27 year old preacher, educated both in US and Indonesia. He graduated the best medical school in Indonesia by 25, and get his PhD in teological seminary by 26, so he definetely know what he is talking about!). Hope this will be a valuable advice for anyone else as much it is for me. The field in red are my added comments.

About the school thing, it is a very tough subject in this day and age....

So, there are 3 options:
1. Goverment School
2. Christian School
3. Homeschool

I think I understand some of the concerns that Baptist pastors (especially in America) have against public school. A school is a place where kids are influenced greatly. Not only in their education, like teaching evolution, etc., but also the kind of music they'll be exposed to, the kind of friends, the kind of philosophy, the kind of discipline, etc.

In USA (and in UK), most public schools are very bad in terms of these influences. In fact, prayer is banned from public school.
They also teach kids "sex eduation" that is contra-Bible: i.e. they teach that sex outside of marriage is ok, masturbation is ok, and you only have to use "safe sex," condom, morning-after pill, etc.
The kind of language the kids will hear, the cursing, etc., is of course quite appalling. And the curriculum will be immersed in evolutionistic viewpoints. Rock n roll is practically everywhere. So, that's a little bit different than let's say SMUK 3, where it's still "christian" although very diluted and weak.

Most children going to ungodly, worldly public school will turn out worldly. That's not to say that there won't be any saved and become fundamental. But, it's quite a gamble. It's safe to say, that fundamental christian parents who send their children to public school, will have to battle all those influences in their kids. If not, the kids will be influenced. The effort to battle all those influences, day after day, (and may not be successful) is better spent to look for other alternatives in the first place.
The option of homeschooling is a popular one among missionaries. I've never been homeschooled, so I can't say from personal experience. I've met with lots of people in America, who is homeschooled, and is very smart and brilliant. Actually, homeschooling is gaining as a movement in Indonesia. We often read in the newspaper of certain celebrities who choose to homeschool their children! And it is now legal to homeschool your kids in Indonesia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling#Indonesia)

But, homeschool have a few requirements:
1. The parents are committed. Homeschooling most likely means the mom is a full-time homemaker, not doing outside jobs.
2. The parents are preferably smart. Don't overemphasize this though, because I think whatever the child can learn, up to high school, the parents can also learn! Because there are lots of good homeschooling materials (example: A Beka materials from Pensacola), parents don't have to invent their own curriculum (this will be a disaster for most parents). They just make sure that the children are learning the curriculum. The parents should learn alongside the children, so that they understand, and can explain to the children, and also test them.

Anyway, you are a bit apprehensive about homeschooling, and I understand that. I'm also thinking about homeschooling, and although I feel that I can do it, I'm also a bit nervous about it. It's because we've never been homeschooled. But I've seen it works for thousands of families in America, with good results. Do you know that the champion of national spelling competition in America, year after year is won by kids who are homeschooled? Also, in Wikipedia, it says about homeschooled children:

"Numerous studies have found that homeschooled students on average
outperform their peers on standardized tests.[58][59] Home Schooling Achievement, a study conducted by National
Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), supported the academic integrity of
homeschooling. Among the homeschooled students who took the tests, the average
homeschooled student outperformed his public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile
points across all subjects. The study also indicates that public school
performance gaps between minorities and genders were virtually non-existent
among the homeschooled students who took the tests.[60]New evidence has been found that home schooled children are
learning more and are getting higher scores on the ACT and SAT tests. A study at Wheaton College in Illinois showed that
the freshmen that were home schooled for high school scored fifty-eight points
higher on their SAT scores than those of kids that went to a normal school. Most
colleges look at the ACT and SAT scores of home schooled children when
considering them for acceptance to a college. On average, home schooled children
scores eighty-one points higher than the national average on the SAT scores.
Home schooled children also scored twenty-two point eight on the ACT which is
higher than the national average of twenty-one"

So I think your worries that homeschooling cannot give a "good education" to kids is not necessarily true. Because specialized studies do not need to be very deep until college years, kids can learn under the tutelage of their parents from the various curiculums offered (there are many, just check out the websites).
A side effect of homeschooling is: the parents also become smarter, because I think committed parents will also learn with their kids. Admittedly, parents cannot homeschool their children college materials. I think, if it's possible, the best alternative is: a good Christian School.

Now, I can speak from experience, and I do not mean SMUK 3! I mean my Junior High years in Tabernacle Baptist School, a good Christian school run by a good Independent Baptist church.It is simply life-changing. The teachers are all Christ-loving. The curriculum is very Biblical (teach science but connects that to the Bible). The philosophy is clearly different. The friends there are mostly believers. Bad music is not permitted. Bad language is punished. I can safely say that: the influence I got from that school helped me to make my salvation decision, and also helped me to have the right mindset for the future. Do you know that in elementary school, I am a bad student, and lots of time got last place? if I didn't go America, attend that school, I don't think I'll excel in SMUK 3. Of course lots of other things help: like me getting saved, etc. Well, there might not be a Baptist School in your place, but the Winchester school sounds very good. It might be costly, but compared to government school, i think it's worth the investment for your son's sake, if you can afford it at all.

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