Date: September 4, 2017
Subject: Open Letter to World magazine
I recently received World magazine’s “Back to School” issue dated September 2, 2017. The cover spotlights articles on public schools, private schools, higher education, and an international educational ministry. As a publisher of creation-based science, Christ-centered language arts, and Bible curriculum for homeschoolers, I couldn’t help but detect a glaring omission: Why is there no mention of home education in this issue?
As I read through the issue, two particular pages caught my attention. One shows an ad for The King’s College in New York City, and the other features an ad for Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Why did these jump out at me?
I have seven children, five of whom have graduated from our family home school, and three of them continued their education at these fine institutions. In fact, 16% of the students at Union University are homeschool graduates, while 21% of this year’s freshmen at The King’s College were homeschooled—up from 14% the prior year.
Nationally, homeschooling is the fastest-growing educational option. This has been the case for the past thirty years. In my home state of North Carolina, the number of children being taught full-time at home has surpassed the number of private school students. As of the 2016–17 school year, there were 100,585 students enrolled in North Carolina private schools, while 127,847 students were being homeschooled (ncdnpe.org).
Homeschooling is no longer the cottage industry of the 1980s, and it’s certainly not a passing fad. When my wife and I started our own journey as home educators twenty-one years ago, we knew just three people who homeschooled, and we called each one for help getting started. Today, just about everyone in America knows someone who homeschools.
The homeschool population is too large and the home education option too important to ignore in the back-to-school edition of a Christian publication. Granted, homeschooling isn’t easy; it requires a whole new level of sacrifice from parents. It’s a walk of faith. But for many, homeschooling is the ideal.
For one thing, there’s mounting evidence to suggest that homeschoolers are faring better than their public- and private-schooled peers academically, socially, spiritually, and in areas of citizenship and community involvement (nheri.org).
If parents want to customize their children’s education, cultivate closer family ties, provide safety for their young ones, protect kids from the liberal agenda, take charge of their school calendar, freely teach the Scriptures, choose curriculum written from a biblical perspective, and instill in their kids a lifelong love of learning, then homeschooling is the clear choice.
Yes, I am a homeschool advocate. I believe that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now. I’m passionate about home education because it offers so much hope for families to grow strong, healthy, and faithful even in a hostile culture. Everywhere I speak, I see God turning the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents. I see Deuteronomy 6:5–7 being lived out in practical ways every day in hundreds of thousands of homes across America and around the world for the benefit of millions (yes, millions) of children.
I consider World magazine and its staff to be co-laborers in Christian ministry, and I greatly respect your work. Your voice is important and your perspective much needed in discussions about current events. Our family devours each new issue when it arrives in our mailbox. The purpose of this letter is not to criticize World in any way but, rather, to make sure that home education gets the respect and attention it deserves.
Last week I spoke with World editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky regarding my concerns. He assured me that your publication strongly affirms homeschooling and always has. Mr. Olasky pointed out that a search of the word “homeschool” on the World site brings up 834 stories published over the past two decades—an average of forty-two per year—and that most of these pieces are overwhelmingly favorable toward homeschooling.
Your support is appreciated. I hope and pray that the editors at World and other Christian publications will make it a priority to include homeschooling in all future back-to-school editions.
President | Apologia Educational Ministries
P.S. Apologia offers a getting-started video course and workbook titled
How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus.