Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stuff Christians Like

I like a blog called Stuff Christians Like, written by a guy who calls himself Prodigal Jon. In a humorous, affectionate manner, he points out quirky attitudes and habits of Christians. His website has hundreds of readers, who write hundreds of comments.

Today he happened to post an article on my own current topic -- parents choosing whether to send their children to public or parochial school. Here is an excerpt:

Today, I [Prodigal Jon] thought I'd throw out my favorite stereotypes for public schools, homeschooling and private Christian schools, giggle at them and then move on. Here goes:

Public School Stereotypes

1. If you send your kid to public school they're going to be constantly learning about evolution. Even gym class will have some sort of Darwinian dodgeball kind of game they play. Every class they take will be evolution focused and eventually they will hate the Bible and creation.

2. When they’re not learning about evolution, your kids will be taking sex ed classes that Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner and the satan himself funded.

3. If you send your kid to public school, they will "grow up fast" and walk away from the church.

4. If you send your kid to public school, you can look at it like a mission field because they'll have a chance to witness to so many people.

5. If you send your kid to public school, you’ll have to supplement the Bible they’re not getting during the day with round the clock Bible study at home from the moment school gets out until the second your kids go to sleep at night.

Private Christian School Stereotypes

1. If you send your kid to Private Christian school, they'll study the Bible all day and form a lifelong relationship with Christ that no man can tear asunder.

2. If you send your kid to Private Christian school, they'll eventually go wild if they go to a non Christian college because suddenly they won’t have all the same restrictions they are used to.

3. If you think public school kids are fast, send your kids to a private school where the kids actually have money for the big, serious drugs and have the time and financial freedom to really get crazy.

4. If you send your kids to a private Christian school, you can worry less about family Bible time because that’s the school’s job, not yours.

5. If you send your kid to private Christian school you'll never have to worry about mean kids, or your kids having enough friends or any of the other challenging things that come with being a teenager because everyone at a private Christian school is a Christian and loves one another.

It is worthwhile to read Prodigal John's entire article, which suggests stereotypes also about home schooling. If you look through previous articles on the blog Stuff Christians Like, you will find a lot of amusing and thought-provoking articles.

As I write this, already 168 comments have been added to the article about private and public schools. Here is an interesting example:

I am a product of public school. I never knew anyone who did drugs. I never knew anyone who got pregnant. I never even knew anyone who had sex. Everyone I knew took a full load of AP classes and was in the Math Club. I hung out with my friends: an agnostic, a Hindu, and a Jewish Catholic (dad Jew + mom Catholic + neither parent really caring about religion = confused daughter). All in all I lived a pretty sheltered life when it came to the "big sins".

Church Sunday School was a practice in the "great divide" of schooling. I went to a large church with two Sunday school hours, one corresponding to the contemporary service and one the traditional. All of the private school kids went to the contemporary service and all the public school kids went to the traditional service. Considering contemporary services were made to reach heathen children like us public schoolers, we all thought it was hilarious.

Here is another:

Growing up I attended various Catholic and public schools. Many of my friends attended private Christian schools.

We sent one of our children to a private, non Christian school and the other to a public school. Most of their friends attended private non Christian schools. I taught in a public school.

In my experience any school where parents are involved is a good school. Period. Public, private, Christian or not. Any school where the parents are not involved is not a good school. Period. Public, private, Christian or not. It really is that simple.

And another:

i was homeschooled for kindergarted & 8th grade, private christian school for 1-7th, and public school for high school.

the christian school i went to was really fundamentalist and extreme--no pants for girls, any secular music was from the devil, if you were a cheerleader you had to sign and contract saying that you would not wear pants in public or go to movies...crazy. it was good for early elementary, but by the time i got older all the kids were rebelling and got really mean. the majority of my friends who stayed there ended up on drugs, in homosexual relationships, or pregnant out of wedlock. i got a good base of memorizing scripture and books of the bible, though.

my 8th grade year of homeschool we had a group of other homeschooled teens and would get together for drama class, go do things in the community, etc...it was fun and socially rewarding.

high school at a public school was great! my school was actually very conservative and teachers taught creation along w/evolution. my physics prof did a demonstration to prove the existance of God. we had small-ish classes, i made good friends, and led fca.

i had friends who partied and did drugs in high school, but i think so much of it just depends on how you are raised at home. while at our super-strict christian school my parents were careful to remind us not to be legalistic and to explain that we didn't believe all those things. in high school i was level-headed enough to make good choices and surround myself with people with similar values. throughout my adolescence, church was my primary social outlet.

And finally:

We felt like God was telling us to put our kids in public school not so much that THEY could be lights, but because WE could. We have met non-Christian parents who have become very good friends. We know our neighbors (!). We even had a Bible study with one couple who was struggling. All people we met through public school. As our kids have gotten older (high school now), they are learning how to shine in a dark world even more. I'm so proud of them. ....

I am an adjunct professor at a Christian college. Over the years, I've noticed that my students who came out of our local Christian high school were not as academically prepared for the rigors of college work as the students who came from the public high school. After a while I asked a colleague of mine if she had noticed the same thing, and she very quietly whispered to me that, yes, she had.

In my opinion, school is for learning, so if my kids are going to get a sub-par education at a private school, I'm sure as heck going to put them in the public school. I can handle the spiritual part of my kids' education.

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