As I wrote about my high school experiences, I was surprised to discover that so much of it was... bad. Why did I enjoy that experience when there were so many things that were simply not enjoyable?
In answer, a song that came out two years after I graduated keeps running through my head: I Hate Everything About You [NB: If you're not familiar with the song, as the title implies, it's not super pleasant <grin>. You've been warned.]
The chorus plays:
I ...hate ...everything about you.
Why ...do I ...love you?
My high school experience was like that song.
I didn't understand it at first. It seemed too contradictory to love what you hate. It wasn't until I saw the video that I realized it screams about the paradox of being radically negatively affected by someone/something and yet still caring about it. We can't just shake it off. These things/people have put hooks into our souls.
So too Englewood.
My pain, frustration--yes, even rage--is directly tied to how much I care for my peers with whom I spent four years of my life. And their pain, so viscerally portrayed in the video above, affected me. That wasn't my life, that wasn't my experience, but seeing it in the lives of those around me affected me profoundly. There is such need, such pain... oh, that love and redemption would turn that around!
But just like I don't think the video above is suitable for young children, so high school is not suitable for many children either. Without a solid foundation that allows you to properly respond to that much rage and pain and worldly experience, such things are horribly inappropriate. High school is an R rated world. And worse.
A purpose of homeschooling, then, is to lay a solid foundation that allows your students to enter and interact with this world. But that development may not happen until after the high school years, which means keeping them home could be the best thing for your chidren. Beyond this, high school is a warped and twisted version of life, so it may be best to avoid it entirely. My wife is convinced that staying home until college was best for her. By staying out of the school scene entirely she never had to experience the nastiness that so many American teenagers accept as normal.
And that could easily be the case for your students as well.
While I firmly believe that going to public school can be a great way to grow in ministry, it will have the exact opposite outcome if the foundation isn't there to support growth. And that foundation often needs years to develop.
In my case, I had a fantastic foundation--and was totally ready--for ministry my Freshman year. God used my spiritual bravado to humble and shape me over those four years. And it was good. Super hard. Incredibly painful. Absolutely devastating. But good. And it's where God wanted me.
Where does He want your children?
Have you listened to the Deciding Between Public, Private, or Home School podcast?
I think my mom's article Why in the world would you homeschool high schoolers? offers another great perspective on this high school discussion.
May God give you wisdom and direction as you consider your options.
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father