So Why Does Your Family Homeschool Anyway?
In with the back-to-school spirit, let's do a big homeschool post!
I don't often get the question, "Why do you homeschool." Most of the people who I know go to church with me, are fellow homeschoolers, or they are part of our homeschool fellowship. I truly don't know a lot of people, but I am content with the friends that I have. Maybe that's why I'm not often asked "why homeschool." Then, I think that even with my church friends who do government / private school I think that the reasons are often presumed. The presumption tends to be that we homeschool because we can't afford Christian school and we want Christian education. I guess that answer is a sliver of the reason why, but the reason to home educate encompasses far more than a financial one or one of perspective.
So, do we want our kids in Christian education? Well, I want them educated for sure. Since "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" we know that true education cannot come except it be from God. It can't be done without God. Christians who are government school proponents argue that Christian education begins at the home, which is also true. These proponents seem to imply that as long as Bible is taught at home ... or even less, if you simply attend church ... then education without God is alright. This simply doesn't fall in line with the Bible. Knowledge, as in learning, is always mentioned with God. They are synonymous and cannot be divided. You cannot begin with God and then leave Him at the beginning. Education without God is not excellent education and can never be. For us, this eliminates government school.
We are then left with two options: privatized Christian-esque education and home education. By definition privatized means "to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise." I have no problem with less government control. If your children attend a government school and you have a problem with a situation at the school there is a hierarchy you can follow to take your petitions: the principal, the superintendent, the school board, and on. In a private school, you have no option such as this. If you have a qualm against the school and the principle (who typically will stand by his employee) doesn't see things your way, you have no other appeal. That doesn't set well with me. Private school parents have no way of electing officials or opting to not reelect them. The loudest voice you can have is simply to leave the school.
Rights in education isn't the only problem we have with privatized education; in fact, it is not even the first problem. I previously described the school as "privatized Christian-esque education." It really captures the essence of how I feel about it. It is a business and must be operated as such. I guess it could be argued that it is a ministry, but the bottom line is that, typically, if there are not the funds to meet the bottom line, tuition will be raised. It is the same case in government school, except the tax payers meet the bottom line instead of the parents of the students. I use the improvised term Christian-esque. From the testimonies of Christian school students, they will tell you that the Christian schools are just as worldly as the government schools. The majority of the students "have a form of godliness" that is for sure. You see them on the outside and they look nice, dressed on the edge of modesty. But what about the heart?
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Matthew 23:27,28
These are very strong words, I know. I acknowledge that most of the children in private school are simply a product of home. I also acknowledge that there are some good kids with sincere hearts in private school. My observation from many, many examples is that the kids who want to do right are always burdened down with the world. They are constantly bombarded by worldly habits, worldly dress, worldly speech, and worldly ideology while learning how to put up enough of the façade to appear Christian. How can they be expected to be Godly under these circumstances? I am 31 years old and a born-again Christian for 13 years. I'm not perfect, but I have a desire to be more for Christ. I know that I could not meet my potential for God with such assailment. How can I expect my kids, who are children, to fair better?
My husband and I have had many "what if" conversations. If something happened tomorrow and my husband could not work, we could make our means stretch for a while and we could pray food into our home. There is the possibility that I would have to work until my husband was well. If something happened to me, he may not be able to juggle schooling 4 kids while owning a business. We both agree whole-heartedly that if we had absolutely no other choice and after all other avenues had been exhausted, we would opt to put our children in the government school before the private one. What?! Yes, and if you look at the whole picture you will probably agree.
Our 7 and 5 year olds are being diligently taught of the evils of evolution and exactly how it is contrary to God's word. As they get older, we will begin to teach them how it is "oppositions of science so falsely called." With a godly foundation and with diligent work, the godlessness in the government school can be combated. You would have to reteach history and keep very close tabs on the science curriculum, but you can fight the false teaching the the government school. What you can't reteach is the spirit of hypocrisy. The heart of what I'm saying is this: I am a product of government education, as is my husband. We went to 7 different schools and in each of these schools, even in the elementary level, you know who is the real Christian. Every once in a while, you even have a kid that really stands out for God. I went to school with a few boys who were called into some sort of ministry. I went to school with a few girls who chose modesty ... real modesty. When their extra-curricular activity said they had to wear something contrary to their convictions, they held fast and didn't complain. I can get bogged down in details, but the point is that in government schools you know who and what people are. In the private school, they learn how long to get their dresses, they put that tie on, they can quote chapters and chapters of Scripture, they can recite all 66 books of the Bible in less than 1 minute, but inside they are just like the world! Hypocrisy is ten thousand times more damaging than secularized education!
I've covered why we don't use government school and why we don't use private school. But that's not why we homeschool. Before my husband and I were married, we were in accord on homeschool. It's never been a question nor has it been given a second thought. We were resolved on homeschool long ago. We both believed that it was best. But it was only until we actually began on the homeschool journey that we've come to understand why the homeschool path is better from every angle.
Our homeschool fellowship, which has been the most tremendous blessing on our homeschool journey, has a motto that I've tried to adopt into our home: Godly, guided, guarded. Isn't that what rearing children is all about? If those 3 things are properly nurtured all other points will come together.
1. Godly: you cannot hide who you truly are from your family, provided you have some sliver of a relationship with that family. Example is a louder teacher than anything else. I'm seeing as my children grow how true this is. If they are exposed to Godly examples, teachers, influences then living a Godly life will only be natural.
2. Guided: "a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." This is so true. When children are left to play away from a watchful and loving eye they will go astray. It is his nature, as is my nature. Always we must have an ear and eye out to be ready to gently mold and teach.
3. Guarded: sheltering children is anything but popular. You will be called a child abuser, a wacko, and be told that your kids will grow up to be rebellious and wild. This is so far from Bible truth! I would never ever let my child take his bike and ride down the interstate. How could a toss him into a classroom full of peers who unknowingly attack him with spiritual poison? How can I deeply care for his physical body and throw his eternal soul to the roaring lion? We do not choose isolation, but be do choose sheltering.
From an educational point of view, I believe that a homeschool setting is exponentially superior. But hey, it takes a 4 year degree to educate a child! I am really puzzled, at least in the elementary level, as to why. I own several student and teacher curricula that are used by the schools in my state. If I wanted to teach from them I would have no trouble. Sometimes they go the extra mile to use a fancy term for a common sense idea, but it's not like we're doing physics or calculus here. A says ă. I know there's more to education than that, but I think you get my point. Looking back to my own elementary school days, I remember being so terribly bored. I would whiz through my work, nearly always finishing first. I was always on A/B honor roll. I wish I could add up all the time that I spent daydreaming, doodling, getting in trouble, etc. simply because I had nothing else to do. This would not happen in a homeschool setting. If work is too easy, the pace can be accelerated or new material can be supplemented. If review is not needed in a particular area, it can be done quickly or skipped. If a child is weaker in an area more time can be spent there. This ensures that there are no gaps in learning. It is genuinely personalized education.
There is more I'd like to add, so I'll pick it up with a part two.