Saturday, August 21, 2010

Christian reasons to homeschool

With many public schools around the country starting school this week the talk within the homeschool community has been mostly about why we all choose to homeschool. I have already talked about some of my reasons for homeschooling and over the past year those reasons have grown and intensified. Having said that though, the start of the school year has me thinking about why Christians should homeschool. Controversial yes, but nonetheless important.

For he issued his laws to Jacob;
  he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them-
even the children not yet born-
and they in turn will teach their own children.
Psalm 78:5-6

Public school children are gone from home anywhere from 6 to 9 hours or more 5 days a week; every week for 9.5 months save scant vacation time. On average publicly schooled children spend over 16,000 hours during their lifetime in a classroom. This figure does not include preschool or kindergarten hours. Tack on another 2-3,000 hours to the already staggering 16,000 hour average for these younger years of school. What are they learning in those precious hours spent away from home? Most will argue that math, reading, writing, and history are included in the standard public school curriculum. But what about the arts, physical education, foreign language, music, and music appreciation? Budget cuts have slashed these subjects long ago. In all the time that children spend within the confining walls of a public school institution they are lucky if they get a solid education in 4 core subjects. Yep, all that time and they are only scratching the surface of 4 whole subjects. 

Along with being crammed into an over crowded classroom, children are learning a whole host of other "lovely" things from their peers. Curse words, bloody knuckles game, stealing, cheating, lying, name calling, disrespect, and low self-esteem are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of all the influences kids come home from school with today. How do I know this? I was once a public school Mom too. I have walked both sides of the education street. I was also a public schooled child. 

When the public schooled child gets home from school their school day does not end. As if 7 hours at school was not enough, they now have to do untold hours of homework because the public school teacher can not get all that she needs accomplished within those 6-9 hours of each school day. Tack on 2-3 hours of homework to an already long day of school and that poor child has been in "school" mode for 10 hours or more. Then after homework it is dinner, chores, and bedtime. As I see it, two things are missing from the public school child's average school day; play time and time with their family. Based on the average day, the biggest influence in a public school child's life is the school. Their classmates, peers, and teachers have more influence in their lives than their own parents. Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Now some of you might be thinking, "well I send my child to a private school so none of this applies to me." Think again. Yes, your child might be getting a slightly better education than their public school counterparts but is it all it should be? Your child is still gone from home for an incredible amount of time. Time that you could be spending with your children teaching and training them to live according to the Word of God and be productive educated members of society. They are also more influenced by school than by their own family.

In my experience as a public school parent, I spent more time un-doing what my children's friends had taught them at school than I did actually teaching them to grow and mature as young Christians. When we first enrolled our oldest in public school my husband and I were weak in our faith. We were new born-again Christians and had not yet considered what God wanted for us in the way for educating our children. As we began to grow in His word and teachings we quickly discovered the error in our ways. No wonder our life was chaos, we were not following His teachings.

Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, 
a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. 
He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; 
rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deut 8:3

If you believe in the Bible as the true and perfect word of our Heavenly Father and your children are not educated at home then they are not living by the word of the Lord. Public and privately schooled children live by the word of society. Sure they might go to church, they memorize bible verses, and act sweet at home. What they see, hear, learn, and talk about at school is beyond your control. I can guarantee that they are not living by and hearing the word of the Lord at school. Based on recent news they might even be learning about world history from an anti-American and anti-Christian point of view.

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud 
and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. 
Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all 
we need for our enjoyment.
1 Tim 6:17

So why should Christians homeschool their children? 

Children are blessings from God and should be trained in His word. I will teach you about God's power. I will not conceal anything concerning the Almighty. (Job 27:11) Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. (Psalm 34:11) Your precious children were given to you by God. They are yours to teach. God did not intend for them to be shuttled out the door of your home every morning to be "taught". 

Your children are your commission, your responsibility, and yours to teach. God have you the tools to teach your children all that they need to know in life. Time with your children is precious, every minute they spend at public school is time flushed down the toilet. You can never get that time back. It is gone forever. Just as God gave Bezalel and Oholiab the ability to teach others their skills (Exo. 35:34) so too has God given you the ability to teach your own children. You have the skills to teach your children how to read, write, comprehend math, learn history, the arts, and languages. And even if you struggle in one subject area or another, there is a wealth of resources available for your use from others who are more "skilled" in their craft.

Removing your children from public (or private) schools removes the influence of others from their impressionable lives. Our children are sponges. They soak up all that is around them. Every morsel of moisture is wicked into their minds and stored for all time. They soak up every word, attitude, and statement of fact that they hear. What are your children hearing in their public schools? I can guarantee it is not what God wants them to hear and learn. 

And you must love your God with all your heart, 
all your soul, and all your strength.
 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly 
to these commands that I am giving you today. 
Repeat them again and again to your children. 
Talk about them when you are at home and
 when you are on the road, 
when you are going to bed and
 when you are getting up. 
Deut. 6:4-7

Lastly, so much of the time spent in public school is wasted. Time flushed down the toilet spent inefficiently. Time your child can never regain. Time that was given to them by God and was not used in the manner God intended it to be spent. It is a little known fact outside of the homeschool community, but most homeschool children start their day shortly after breakfast and are finished before lunchtime. Homeschooled elementary age children typically spend 2-4 hours doing school work compared to the 6-9 hours public and private school children spend at school. What do homeschool children do with the rest of their day? Anything and everything. The sky is the limit. Many choose to pursue a hobby, delve into an instrument, volunteer in their community, or simply have fun and be a kid. Children need free time to be imaginative. They need the freedom to play and explore. Children become restless and disruptive when they are forced to sit for hours on end. Homeschooling allows kids to be kids. Homeschool families can be found in their community. Field trip opportunities abound across the country. Homeschool students and their families are afforded the opportunity to enjoy their educational field trip events because they are not limited by the public school clock.

If you are a public or private school Christian parent and God has laid the idea of homeschooling on your heart, I pray that you will listen to your Heavenly Father and consider His will for your family. He knows what is best for you and your children. He will provide everything you need to make homeschool happen in your family. I will discuss the financial cost of homeschooling in another article, but suffice to say it should not be a limiting factor in your decision to follow God's will for you and your children.

Still doubting that homeschool is God's will for your family? Seek out the truth for yourself in His word. The truth will make itself known.

And please, oh please, don't ever use "socialization" as an excuse for public education. And please, even if you do not choose to follow God's will for your family and homeschool, do not ever ask a homeschooler about "socializing their kids". I will leave this discussion for another article, but I can guarantee to you that my homeschooled kids are better socialized with a wider variety of people than your public and private schooled kids. My kids live, grow, and learn in society. Public school children socialize with a very small group of children their own age which by definition is not a wide array of socialization.

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  1. Great post Alexis and so true!

  2. Right on! I want to shout this from the roof tops! I want to email it to everyone in my address book!!! Yes! Yes! Yes!!

  3. The verses you quoted aren't referring to academics but rather to teaching children the ways of the Lord and God's law. Parents can follow the biblical admonition to teach and train their children regardless of whether they homeschool.

    Here is a different perspective on whether the Bible commands that parents homeschool. I appreciate your passion and the enthusiasm you have for your calling to home educate your children, and I fully support your decision to homeschool. I also see home education as the ideal. However, others are not obligated to live by your personal convictions.

  4. Treasure seekers, thank you for your perspective. I would never argue that everyone has to make the same decisions that my family and I have. I agree that the verses I quoted speak to teaching our children the laws of the Bible and the ways God wants us to live our lives. With that said, I believe that children should be taught at home to fully learn all that the God wants from them. Being gone from their parents 40-50 hours per week makes it very difficult to solidly ground a child in the ways of our Heavenly Father.

    1. Yes, Amen. This is well written, and I believe in my heart that you are 100% fully correct Alexis. Homeschooling makes many christians uncomfortable. There IS sacrifice, there ARE hard times, there IS huge responsibility involved when a family makes this huge leap of faith to homeschool. We are living that right now... And in the end...THERE IS PEACE in our home! Amen!

  5. Thank you! This very morning we were met, once again, with disappointment from our church family as we read Malachi 4:6: He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. We take that as a prophetic message about the huge upswing in christians pulling their children from the public school system and bringing them home. Amen Alexis. For your wisdom, for your might, for your courage. We feel EXACTLY the same way in our family, and have wondered...are we alone in our thoughts about public school and the harm it does? No, we are not. We read God's word, and He speaks. He tells us that if we seek wisdom, He will give it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and God's holy words with us all. I am thankful for this the perfect moment, I found what we needed. Confirmation from a fellow christian homeschooling momma. Thank you God! Thank you!



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