Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why We Homeschool

I am a product of the Public School systems of America. So is my wife. We used to think that we are relatively well-adjusted members of society and were reasonably well prepared by that self-same system for the challenges of adult life (maybe our parents had something to do with that, too).

After we were saved years ago, we found out the truth.

It turns out that we are relatively well-adjusted and well prepared only by the grace of God who protected our hearts and minds while we came through that System. Perhaps it's because we came through the System some years ago as well, before things seem to have come completely unglued.

As we grew in our faith and understanding of God's Word, before children, we began to think about school choices for when the day came.

Well, of course they'll go to public school. That's what EVERYbody does, isn't it? That thought got shot down right away. We had already heard enough about the state of public schools to be wary. But, what else was there?

We'll send them to Christian school! Guaranteed to raise Biblical Children, right? Totally immersed in Scripture and Doctrine all day long. No way this could go wrong. But it would be expensive. Hey, no cost is too great to GUARANTEE my children would grow up saved and blessed. We began to hear other voices, though. Voices saying that kids still struggled with all the same moral issues in Christian school as in Public School. Sure, the classroom may teach from a more Christian perspective, though surprisingly even that's not guaranteed, but many/most times their character is not directly addressed.

Gosh, what else is there?

We went to a Greg Harris seminar at a local church in North Texas, where we lived at the time, where he presented reasons why Christian parents should consider Homeschooling as a real alternative to either Public or Private school. It was too many years ago for me to remember the reasons now but suffice to say that when I left that seminar, I felt that if we did NOT homeschool our children, I would be sinning against God.

Afterward, we pondered and pondered this thought. We had already committed to living on one income and having my wife stay home but this was a huge change in the scope of work expected of her. Not to mention the question of how on earth I would explain that decision to my mother who was a public school teacher since I was in grade school myself.

We let God's Word guide our decision.

Pv 22:6 says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." So if a set of schoolteachers trained my children, the children would likely go where they trained them. If I or my wife trained them, they would likely go where WE trained them. OK that sounds reasonable.

Who does the Bible say should train/teach our children?

Dt 11:19 says, "Teach them [the Words of God] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Wow, this is pretty clear that it is the parents' responsibility. I wouldn't expect a public or private schoolteacher to be lying down or getting up with my children!

Furthermore, Dt 4:9 says "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." And Dt 20:18 says "Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God." Not only is it our responsibility but there are consequences to our children if we goof this one up. And I care about that responsibility because 3 John 1:4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." The end of all this is to have our children walking in the truth. Not only our children but for generations, since Joel 1:3 says, "Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation."

Oh, we can teach them the Word of God in the evenings and on the weekends, right? What if we sent our children to public school anyway? Mt 18:6 says, "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." And Leviticus 20:2 says, "Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him." Yikes! Not only is it my responsibility but if I lost my children because I carelessly sent them off to an institution of learning that caused them to sin, the weight of punishment would also fall on me!

Is public, or even private school really that bad? Why don't we send the children there to be witnesses for Christ? Lights in the Darkness? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." And Proverbs 13:20 says, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Is there anyone out there who can say with a straight face that there is no "bad company" or no fools in the student bodies of our public and even private schools today? Certainly not ALL the students, but enough? Why should I send my children into venues of learning where they will without doubt be around those of low or foolish character? The gamble on them being effective witnesses during the time of their spiritual training is not worth the risk that they would not be ready to make such a witness and would instead suffer spiritual harm.

So what's so bad about traditional schools?
  • They teach a godless view of the Universe. The principles behind what is lumped together as Evolution are a view of Origins that does not require a God. The underpinning philosophy is antithetical to Christian theology (I would call it Truth). Everything is "millions and billions of years" without exception. Witness the ID and Creationism debates that simply want to have a one-liner inserted in a single class period to mention that there may be other ways to explain Origins than through natural means.
  • Age-segregated classes do not promote wisdom. Peer children are, by definition, fools in the moral sense. Through the school-age years they are forming the basis for moral decision-making but won't have that basis fully in place until about the age of traditional high school graduation. No wonder foolish and bad things happen in schools when the vast majority around a child are morally immature. That's just not a good environment for learning the truth. See above the guiding Scriptures on this. This one is true of Christian schools as well as public schools. Having a teacher who may be a Christian does not magically make the whole class of children instantly morally mature.
  • The founders and proponents of public education, back in the days when it became mandated, openly embraced Humanism which rejects the concept of the Christian God. They setup the system in order to train the children of America in their own beliefs, heavily shrouded in principled-sounding prose about "education." The fathers of Soviet Communism knew that if they could just get the children early enough, they could form society into any mold they wished.
  • It's not exactly safe all the time. This is a bit of a weak reason but valid nonetheless. I don't NOT send my children to public school because of Columbine High School but when you add up all the bullying and negative peer pressure that never gets publicized, it makes for a dangerous environment. Granted I went to school many, many moons ago but even then, I had problems with those issues. In Junior High I was bullied simply because a few other boys in the class didn't like how I looked. I was accosted after school and provoked. I had personal effects stolen. One year I had to share a locker with another student who cornered me in the hall with a knife one day, accusing me of "stealing his comic books." Of course I hadn't stolen his comic books (good grief). The Guidance Counselor, when my parents and I had a meeting about the incident, told them that I should learn how to stand up for myself. I guess she wanted me to kickbox the knife out of his hand. Of course, then I would have gotten in trouble for fighting. I concluded that school was a place one had to survive so I spent those years avoiding all the bad characters I could identify. What kind of life lessons does this teach? Fight back or run away? Is this what I want my children to be exposed to, let alone learn as responses?

OK, so this was pretty heavy so to conclude, let me list some of the advantages of homeschooling:

  • The whole family is together for a huge proportion of any given day. We all learn how to get along and love one another if nothing else but because we can't get away from each other and escape the learning.
  • The children learn at their natural pace of learning. This means they all learned to read at an extremely young age and all have a love for reading which is not gender-based. Our three boys love books almost as much as their older sister although the youngest has not actually learned to read yet. All other "subject matter" is covered when and how they are ready, not forced because of an artificial Scope and Sequence guide formulated by Washington bureaucrats. Our children are not being left behind, they are being formed into the mission God has for their lives.
  • We are totally free of external schedules except for specific commitments we make, and those we make consciously.
  • I was free to take an expatriate work assignment for two years in Europe because we were not tied to a school calendar. We just took the books with us and learning continued no matter where we were.
  • We can schedule family trips and vacations to suit ourselves. This allows us to take advantage of cheaper times to go places. See my rant below about Disney. I may have struggled with total enjoyment of the time there but we saved a bundle by being able to go at the cheapest time of year (that's an extremely relative term in this case).
  • And there are more but this is long enough already.
One last note, James 3:1 says, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." On the surface, this would seem to indicate that not everyone should homeschool but I don't think so. Teachers will be judged more strictly but the biggest benefit of homeschooling is that because of the weight of that responsibility, we work constantly to make sure we are teaching the right things the right way and at the right times. And homeschooling forces us to our knees to make sure we are on track with His plan for our children.

After all, children are a blessing from the Lord and we are merely stewards of their care, representing Him to them. We should aim to please Him who sent them, including in this area of education.


At 03 February, 2006 14:57, Blogger quirkychild said...

Yay Dad! I'm glad we homeschool too...but of course, my opnion doesn't really count as I have nothing to compare it too...but I like it anyway.

At 03 February, 2006 14:58, Blogger quirkychild said...

I meant op i nion...whoops. I am going to stop now, before I discredit homeschooling anymore.


Post a Comment

<< Home