- Three Main Reasons Why People Homeschool
- What if someone isn't able to homeschool?
- The Biblical Mandate for Homeschooling
"It is a terrifying thing to begin. To begin anything at all. The rewards are but rumors then. The glories are but gossip. To taste and see, we must adventure into the murky waters of inexperience. And that is, indeed, a terrifying thing. But it's...more terrifying still to stand ashore and only wish it could someday truly be true." ~ Tristan Gylberd
(Note: Please keep this in mind, that this is an answer to the question to us, "Why do you homeschool?" You are free to take or leave the information - it's totally up to you. So please do not shoot the messenger if you disagree or dislike our answer.)Bob and I are products of the public and private school world. Furthermore, I am a government-certified teacher trained at Western Washington University, a fact which has opened my eyes to what truly goes on in the schools (which has gotten far worse since I received my degree) and what is taught both in front of and behind parents backs. Because of our direct experience and personal study, Bob and I knew we would not be sending our children in to the government school system. That was our reason for homeschooling and we chose then to homeschool (but this is no longer our primary reason; more later).
Also, homeschooling can seem intimidating at the beginning – even contemplating the possibility of beginning – and sadly this can stop people from considering home education.
In this post I will share with you WHY we homeschool, and I have also posted about HOW we do homeschooling, if you would like that information as well. But first, three main points, three main reasons people homeschool, what if someone isn't able to homeschool, and the Biblical mandate for homeschooling.
My mom began homeschooling my brother and two sisters when I was a freshmen in college. My brother was 15½-years-old, and my sisters were 6 and 3-years-old. So I had seen first-hand what the difference can be between children who are homeschooled, those who are not, and those who were in public and private schools but then were brought home to be educated. It’s a striking contrast. When we began homeschooling Bob and I did have my mother and father for support, but we didn’t have any homeschooling friends yet. We had to seek some out, and I picked their brains for ev-er-y-thing as homeschooling grows hugely every year and the opportunities and curriculum available also grows drastically.
I’m the typical first-born type who likes to do things right and well or not do them at all. *chuckle* Thankfully, from my experience most homeschool moms are very eager to help others along and point them in directions where they’ll find resources. I had heard that the first year of homeschooling was usually pretty tough; the learning curve is so steep. But I really thought that with some great organization and preparation, I’d just jump right in and take off! *chuckle* Not. It was a tough first year for us, that first school year beginning in 2003. It took a lot of thinking and energy figuring out what curriculum would be best for our children and for me their teacher, what our days should look like, what style of homeschooling was the best fit for us, how much to expect from myself, and how much to expect of each of our children at their individual ages (I recommend a great book called 100 Top Picks to help answer these questions). But it’s very doable! God never leaves our side. He brings resources that we need to enable our success. And it gets easier and easier with time as homeschooling parents find their niche.
Three Main Reasons Why People Homeschool
So why do we homeschool? This post is only a very small nutshell of all there is to say about why we homeschool There are many great books written on the subject of homeschooling, a few of which I've read and would recommend so I've linked to them at the end of the post.
Homeschooling is a delicate subject with people. Not everyone wants to be faced with God’s Word on the subject of homeschooling and family discipleship; but truth needs to be presented regardless of whether or not everyone wants to hear it. If this is you, try not to be defensive or upset with the messenger; as Dr. Voddie Baucham says, “I don’t write the mail, I just deliver it.” I could not know what we’ve learned and not tell people. So, as we began looking in to homeschooling we have found that there are three main reasons why people homeschool:
1. Because of the academic excellence
that result from the one-on-one student & teacher relationship, the excellent and extensive curriculum available to parents, ample time for the student to work, the real-life connection to their education, and being able to teach to the child’s learning style if he or she faces a particularly difficult subject. Homeschooler’s standardized test scores far, far exceed those of public or private school children’s, by an average of 30-40 percentile points, so there is really no debate as to whether or not home educating is effective (and my intention is not to brag, it is to simply make a point). And, these high academic scores are not dependent upon the parent’s level of education.
2. Because of a child’s disability
Whether that’s emotional, psychological, or physical – which may make it difficult for that child to be in a public school environment. Parents love their children like no one else in the world can. And they can often learn to understand their child's difficulties, and lead their child's learning in a safe, patient, non-judgmental environment.
3. Because they strive for discipleship
of their children’s hearts; to “keep” their hearts or “green house” them so that they develop strong roots in their faith and in their identity before being transplanted out in to the world. To wait on sending them out of the “nest” until they’re strong, established, and very unlikely to have their faith killed off, to be swayed by strong environmental forces or peers, or to be infected by hazardous ideas. Discipleship-minded parents desire to avoid sending their children off to be discipled by someone else – because whom ever has the child’s heart will be the one discipling them. These parents desire to shape their children’s world view, according to God’s Word, and to develop the children’s character (merely one way to teach character is through a great curriculum) so that they are useful to the Lord, to their family, to their community, and their country.
When we first began we were part of the first group, striving for academic excellence (we did not know about family discipleship yet); however after a few years the Lord showed us that academic excellence is not His reason for directing us toward homeschooling. We are now whole-heartedly part of the third group I mentioned, striving for family discipleship (although the academic opportunities are of course wonderful, too), and this is what I will primarily spend the majority of this post focusing on. Let me just say that this does not mean that we consider ourselves better than anyone else because we homeschool, as some people wrongly assume about homeschoolers, because we’ve chosen to take our children out of the government school system. We have found the mandate for Christians to homeschool their children very clearly laid out in scripture – and I will list many scriptures for you soon.
As of 2011 there were over 1 million homeschoolers in the United States alone. This means that if we took 200,000 families with 5 students each (not just children, but homeschooling students), equaling 40,000 classrooms of 25 students each, it would equal 2,000 average-sized elementary schools full. This is no small, unusual group; it is a strong force, and it is growing exponentially every year.
Homeschooling is also not a new concept. It’s only been within the last 100 years or so that children began being segregated into age groups to be educated, both in the schools and in the church via Sunday school; before that everyone was home educated. Home education is the tried and true original method of educating children – not the government schools (public schools) as people seem to believe today.
Age segregation is not real life; age integration is. Consider, when in your life have you ever again outside of school been in a group of 25 people within 6 months of your own age? Which means, relating in a group like that is not necessary for life! It is actually detrimental to social skills; and the socialization of homeschooling is so very rich. If kids can learn to work, play, communicate, respect, serve, and enjoy all ages of people, new babies up through the elderly – then they’re far better prepared for life than if they had spent the first 13 years of their lives with only their exact age group - 14,ooo seat hours worth of time.
It was also shown in one 4.5 million dollar sociological study in particular that children’s spiritual life is strongest when their friends, school, social, family, sports, religion, and education ‘somehow’ overlap (and this was written by a non-Christian, anti-homeschooling sociologist). How could this happen outside of educating our children at home? Shouldn’t parents prioritize their child’s eternal future over all else?
From Voddie Baucham’s message, Why Homeschool? A child’s world view – what they think about God, man, knowledge, ethics, and truth – affects all of their decisions and actions through out their lives. And what people believe effects how they behave. A child’s world view is formed informally, and uncritically. Children do not realize or recognize when or how these views are being formed, and the government schools intentionally take advantage of this when children are young, establishing foundational thinking for their whole life. For example, when a 5-year-old child is read the book, Heather Has Two Mommies, she thinks to herself, “I have one mommies, Heather has two mommies, that must be wonderful.” The child does not think critically, analyzing why Heather would have two mommies and whether or not that is okay and good for her. She simply accepts this fact as morally right. Today, less than 10% of Christians possess a Biblical, Christ-centered world view – and this includes all of the public and private school teachers that parents place their children under the tutelage of. A Biblical world view includes beliefs such as: there is absolute moral truth that is right for all people, in all times, in all places; that adultery is not okay; drunkenness is not okay, homosexuality is not okay, abortion is not okay. Scripturally, these things are clear. Black-and-white. And there is no such thing as morally neutral education. All teaching, all instruction communicates a world view.
When parents send their children to the government schools, they are communicating to their children that the school personnel are the authority that child should listen to, learn from, believe – and become like (“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” Luke 6:40.) Teachers, whether they are Christians or not, are still required by the government to use a godless curriculum (and not morally neutral remember). The public school is anti-Christian. Why in the world would we intentionally send our Children to sit under that teaching for 13 foundational years of their life – 14,000 seat hours worth of time? For government-schooled students coming from Christian homes, how much time is realistically spent countering the public school system’s teaching in the average home? Let's work this through with real numbers.
Just to be generous, if parents spent 30 min. a day year-round teaching their child from Scripture, plus the child received 1 hour per week in Sunday school (neither of which realistically happens in most families), that would equal only 2,366 hours to try to counter act the 14,000 the anti-Christian schools are teaching. And the teaching in the schools actually grills in to the child that the Biblical teaching is wrong; directly countering any teaching parents might be trying to do in their limited amount of time at home. We should consider Psalm 1:1-3 which says,
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season.”When we homeschool we can shape our children’s world view to God’s Word, so that they will be useful to Him when they’re grown. At home we have the opportunity to shape their character. You may ask, as I did, what does that mean, exactly? It means: truthfulness, obedience, attentiveness, gratefulness, generosity, orderliness, forgiveness, sincerity, virtue, responsibility, patience, initiative, self-control, resourcefulness, punctuality, creativity, discretion, respect – just to name a few. By keeping our children at home initially we can teach them to think and reason. We can give them roots and a strong sense of identity, confidence, and worth from God’s Word – and then give them wings. *smile*
Now a common question is, "What if we are not able to homeschool our children?" Let's consider that carefully and honestly.
What if someone isn't able to homeschool?
Now we also recognize, of course, that homeschooling may be God's best plan for discipling and teaching our children - but this world is not perfect, and some of the people in it have been disabled from homeschooling. Sin caused an imperfect world; it has caused physical sickness and broken relationships that have made some family’s options limited. Some parents have physical difficulties that would disable them from homeschooling. There are also those who have been abandoned by a spouse and are now trying to be both mom and dad and bread-winner to their children, making homeschooling very difficult (however I will also say that there is a large national network of single parents who successfully do homeschool their children). In some countries homeschooling might be prohibited all together. However, these reasons do not pertain to the majority of families in the world. Truth be told...Most people who choose not to homeschool do so because it seems too hard, too much sacrifice, they desire to use their time in some other fashion, or they desire the financial benefit of a dual income.
Homeschooling does take self-sacrifice, but this is not detrimental to people as Satan would tell them it is. Life is far richer in blessings when God’s children are in His will than when they’re not. Satan would tell people that to sacrifice their own plans and surrender to the Lord’s, to “die to self”, would devastate them; but this is a lie from the father of lies who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. The truth is that to surrender to the Lord’s plans for one’s family produces great freedom, burdens are lifted, paths become strait, decisions are clear, and there is peace. *hugs* We personally choose not to sacrifice our children in order to pursue materialism or other worldly distractions. Not that life is always easy, but ease is not what we should shoot for and not what we’re talking about here today. Here’s one of my favorite quotes,
“It is only when we want to take our lives out of the Father’s hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom from anxiety is freedom from our selves and abandonment of our own plans. But that spirit emerges in our lives only when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need.” ~ Ferguson
As discipleship-minded parents we are not homeschooling on a year-to-year basis. God calls us to it – and we’re saying, “Yes.” When things feel hard as we walk along the homeschooling road the question is not whether or not to continue in obedience next year, the question is how to best continue. We ask the Lord for His plan – and He does have one - we consider what changes should be made to enable us to continue in a better way for our family than what we’ve been doing.
The Lord brought across my path a list of scripture that gives light to a Biblical mandate for homeschooling. This was exactly what I had wanted to know, and what a lot of Christians have asked for. Many people, especially those resistant to the life-time commitment of homeschooling, will say, “Show me in scripture where this mandate is.” Okay – here is some.
What each person does with all this information is completely between them and the Lord; we do not need to judge and we will not do so, it is not our place, it is God’s. And I encourage you to keep this thought in mind while you consider what I’ve written and what the Lord says in His Word,
"Don't worry about what you do not understand...Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
The Biblical Mandate for Homeschooling
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
This means the government-certified curriculum, the teacher herself, and all of their peer “teachers”.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut.6:6-7).
How can parents fulfill this command if they send their children away to the government schools all day? And this scripture clearly speaks to all of the time, not only to non-school hours as some conveniently choose to believe.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16).It does not say to go be salt and light, it says we are salt and light, and we must be so careful not lose this and become useless. A city/light set on a hill is set apart and distinct so that we may maintain a witness; in the world, not of the world. Children are extremely vulnerable to influence and ruination as salt & light. They need deep roots, formed within the greenhouse of the home, before they’re ready to take on the world. A child’s saltiness is lost almost immediately when he is thrust in to the public school system.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).Children can be denied this blessing being sent away to government school all day to ‘walk in the counsel of the ungodly’.
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).Which all children are taught in the government schools; they are discipled by fools.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov.1:7).Again, government schooled children are not given this knowledge, but are discipled by fools.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20).If you have ever seen a room full of twenty five 10-year-olds, you’d recognize foolishness on parade.
“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matt. 18:7).Coming by way of the government schools.
“…Guard what was committed to your trust, avoid the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21).
“And do not be conformed to this world [in their training center!], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). (Emphasis mine)
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Government schools certainly exalt themselves against the knowledge of God; and we are commanded to take every thought captive – which includes history, geography, math, reading…every subject we focus on and commit to memory is a thought.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
The Lord builds the children and guards their hearts within their Christ-centered homes; He certainly doesn’t do so through His enemy, the government schools who preach directly and blatantly against Him, His Word, and His commandments.
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).
Caesar represents the government. Our children and their life-shaping worldviews do not belong to the government, they belong to the Lord.
“Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12).
*Government schools dishonor parents (and by example teach children to as well) by claiming that the State can nurture children better than parents can.
“We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done” (Psalm 78:4).
*We should not allow the faithfulness of God in history to be revised, hidden or concealed in their textbooks or by ungodly teachers. Parents must take responsibility for passing on true providential history to their own children and grandchildren.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).
*It is assumed that the father and mother are doing the teaching. No one else is mentioned in Scripture as having that role.
“Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
*Government schools lack the fear of the LORD, therefore cannot properly transmit wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
Children should not be allowed to have foolish companions.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 indicates that a “cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
*This can apply to bad cords as well as good ones. It is hard to break a bond of foolishness once friendships with fools are made.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
*There is a way a child should go, and parents need to be training the child in THAT direction, not in the direction of the world.
“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13).
*Children who are taught of the LORD will generally be peaceful. The converse is also true.
“Thus saith the LORD, ‘Learn not the way of the heathen’” (Jeremiah 10:2a).
What part of “Learn not the way of the heathen,” do we not understand?
Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23).
*Are the government schools for Jesus? If not, they are against Him.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My Name welcomes Me. 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” (Matthew 18:5-6).
*Studies show that between 70-88% of all churched youth indoctrinated in government schools leave the faith by their freshman year of college.
“Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:39-40).
*A Christian parent must not turn the leading of their child over to someone who is spiritually blind. Education is discipleship. The student is becoming like the teacher. Do you want your child to become like his atheist teacher?
“I am talking now as I would to my own children. Open your hearts to us! Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: ‘I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out form them and separate yourselves from them,’ says the LORD. ‘Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the LORD Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:13-18).
*We are forbidden to partner with unbelievers in the education of our children.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the LORD” (Ephesians 6:4).
*It is Dad’s job to bring his children up in the Biblical “culture” and “counseling” of the LORD.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world” (Colossians 2:8).
*Education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.
“Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children” (1 Thes. 2:11).
*In this passage, EXHORTING means, “inviting” or “calling near,” ENCOURAGING means, “consol” or “comfort,” IMPLORING means physical discipline. It is assumed in Scripture that fathers are taking responsibility for drawing their children to themselves for instruction, comforting and being gentle with them, and for their physical discipline. Notice that the verse says, “his OWN children,” not someone else’s.
“He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. Let deacons be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households” (1 Tim. 3:4).
*Church leaders must set the example for the rest of the Body of Christ by taking responsibility for managing their own households. If men are not successfully training their own children to follow God they are not eligible for leadership in ministry.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
*According to Hebrews 11:6, government schools CANNOT please God because they refuse to teach students that He exists and can be known.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).
What is ‘natural’ or seems right to us is generally heavily influenced by our sin nature and as such tends to be self-centered and un-holy, lacking righteousness.
“Therefore to him who knows the right thing to do, and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
* The commentaries with the astrics (last portion of the list) were taken from an article in Home School Digest entitled,"A Christian Education Manifesto", by Israel Wayne; the rest of the commentaries I heard from pastor, theologian, and apologist Dr. Voddie Baucham's preaching, and a couple were our own thoughts.
My heart's desire is to bring encouragement, vision, and hope to you. I hope that you will consider this as you read what has been written. And I hope mostly that you will consider God's Word on this subject. Remember, it doesn't matter whether or not we like what is written; it matters what God says about it in His divine understanding of people and the world. If any of this grinds against your desires or plans, I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you the desire to understand, I encourage you to seek truth for yourself from scripture and read or listen to the resources I've listed below, and the courage to then pursue it with trust in His guidance. If you are already homeschooling your children, then I hope you have found renewed freedom and vision and hope. *smile*
Blessings on your efforts,
Some of my related posts you might enjoy:
Homeschooling - HOW We Do It, Part 1 of 3
Productively Occupying Young Children - Inclusion in Homeschooling
Scheduling and Routines: You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too, Part 1 of 2
Scheduling for Fall - How I Create Our Schedules
My Homeschooling SERIES: Preparing to Dive In! (a small synopsis of each of my homeschooling posts; come see what's appropriate for you today!)
Recommended Audio Messages by Voddie Baucham:
- Why Homeschool?
- Home-Based Discipleship vs. Government Education: Homeschooling for the Right Reasons
- Heaven or Harvard?
- Education and Worldview
- The Role of the Father in Home Education and Discipleship - How to Disciple Your Children
- The Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism & Discipleship of the Next Generation
- Mending Fences: Building Intimate Relationships between Teens and Their Parents
Recommended Books & Web Sites:
- The Christian Homeschool, by Greg Harris
- Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, by Steve & Teri Maxwell
- The Christian Heritage Homeschool and Family Discipleship Conference, WA
- An article on “The Benefits of Homeschooling"
- www.101Reasons.org - Current events on Government schools in the news.
- The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, by Bruce N. Shortt
- The Christian Heritage Homeschool and Family Discipleship Conference, WA
- An article on “The Benefits of Homeschooling"
- www.101Reasons.org - Current events on Government schools in the news.
- The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, by Bruce N. Shortt