so i'm just going to jump right in on the controversial stuff. i know among believers, there are many different beliefs on homeschooling vs public school vs private/charter school, etc. i've been dwelling a lot recently on putting my thoughts into words on why i believe so strongly in homeschooling. after meeting a very interesting lady awhile back who actually called her children "the brats," and asked me why i would do that (homeschooling) to myself, i realized i needed to be able to articulate why i believe the things i do. part of my desire in starting this blog is to help me get my thoughts together.
so anyway, i've been thinking on this awhile. then just this week, a newsletter i receive from the medical needs sharing organization we are members of arrived with an article that sums up so many of my thoughts so well. it is written by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., who is the author of the Home School Researcher, the Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling, and the founder of the National Home Education Research Institute. i will quote parts of it.
"...Every parent, church leader, grandparent - each one who has a concern about the Biblical discipleship of the children of God's children - should carefully try a thought experiement. Imagine putting aside one's own childhood and all the biases picked up from one's own community, one's own K-12 schooling experience or college background, one's local church, one's favorite Bible teacher, one's denomination, and one's civil nation. And then imagine picking up the Bible and reading from the beginning of Genesis through the end of Revelation, and asking the following questions:
1. To whom does God give (prescribe) the responsibility for and authority over the teaching, training, and indoctrination of children?
2. Does God prescribe for His people to willfully put themselves or their children under the tutelage of pagans or nonbelievers? Or, does He forbid this?
Consider, for example the following scriptures: Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Psalm 1:1-2,
Psalm 78:1-11, Psalm 127:3-5, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 6:20-23, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 22:6,
Proverbs 23:7, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Isiah 54:13, Jeremiah 10:2, Ezekiel 33:1-9, Malachi 4:5-6,
Matthew 7:24-29, Matthew 18:1-7, Matthew 22:21, Luke 1:57-80, Luke 6:39-40, John 7:15,
1 Corinthians 15:33, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 2:15,
3 John 4.
...Our children are not to be learning the ways of the world, to be discipled in their ways of thinking, believing, and behaving. We are to help them set their minds on the things above, of God, and this cannot be done effectively if they spend six hours per day, five days per week, nine months per year with their minds on things of the world. Jesus said that a pupil, after being fully trained, will be like his teacher (Luke 6:39-40). A child's teacher is the whole ball of wax, not just [the actual teacher]. It is that teacher, the state-controlled curriculum, and all the other activities, methods, children, adults, and anti-biblical thinking that naturally adhere to state-run education..."
i hope i gave proper credit in quoting Dr. Ray.
so, first of all, to all my non-homeschooling friends, please know that i absolutely love you :o)
i am not so narrow minded as to think that God does not sometimes call different families to different things. i think the main thing is for us, as parents, to seek the will of God, fleshly desires and selfishness aside, and listen to what He has to say to us about it. some of this will be found in the Word, though, and i do believe that the teaching of children is the parents' responsibility. God gave my children to me for a reason.
it is hard. really hard. i was second guessing my adequacy as my children's teacher again today. (a great book dealing with that is A Mom Like You by Vickie Farris. it is an excellent encouragement for homeschooling moms and moms thinking about homeschooling that feel inadequate). but i believe, with my whole heart, that as i trust the Lord, day by day, that He covers my homeschooling in His grace, that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and that He honors my desire and my attempt to walk in obedience. this does not make for perfect children or perfect days. what it looks like is lots of prayer and lots of blind trust :o) and i think that it is in our blind trust and faith in Him that He shows up the most powerfully!
it is a sacrifice. a hard one. one that i often wish i didn't have to make. how much easier for me to send my children away so i can "get things done." but what is my life for if not for discipling my children? that is my number one priority. i cannot keep their hearts and be the primary influence in their lives if i put them under the influence of other adults and children for the majority of their childhood. they will begin to value what their teachers and peers think more than they value what glen and i think if they are constantly bombarded with different ideas, priorities, etc. children don't know how to be "in the world but not of it." how hard that often is for us who have been walking with the Lord for years, much less how difficult for a child! how can i expect them to stand without falling at such tender ages? and when they did fall, i would not there to help them up, to teach and encourage them. instead, they would be surrounded by people who would tell them it is no big deal.
please, please do not think i am standing in judgement over those of you who have chosen differently. this is partly to get my thoughts in order so as to have an answer when asked why i homeschool, and partly to hopefully be an encouragement to those who have the desire, but are scared. and yes, it is a challenge for all of us to get into the Word and seek the Lord's heart for our families and our children. and for those of you that know in your hearts, when you are still and absolutely honest with yourselves, that you should homeschool...be encouraged! just do it. yes, it is hard, but we are not called to ease or mediocrity. trust the Lord to cover you. He is all you need. He will be faithful, He will provide. ask Him to give you a heart for and the desire to keep your children home.
i am not perfect. i do not live up to my own standards. my true belief is that i should probably keep my children home with me all the time, and that God's desire is for my children to be completely sheltered from the world until they have grown and been discipled enough to stand when exposed to different beliefs and ideas. a good part of me believes this means that we would always be together as a family and they would not be exposed to anything without glen or i there. for me that would mean complete homeschooling, not going to new song. it would be keeping our children with us in church most of the time. nowhere in the Bible that i can think of is there an example of children being outside the influence of their parents or siblings in a way that is in the will of God or profitable for them. Jesus was 12 when He went off with his friends in Jerusalem, and even those friends were probably of like mind.
but i know this is radical thinking. i've still not come to terms with everything as it is off the grid for most people. i just don't know. but i do know that my children loving the Lord with their whole hearts is what matters to me more than anything, and i just want to do whatever it takes to accomplish that.
interesting quote ~ ""I am much afraid that schools will prove to be great gates of Hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt."
another argument many Christians have is the salt and light issue. Dr. Ray addresses this also in the article, and i hope to comment on that soon.
"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton
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