The question of whether or not to homeschool can be a real struggle for some Christian families who not only want the best academically for their children but want the best spiritually for them in this life and the one to come. Some of the typical responses to this debate reflect on the issues of faith formation and evangelism. Do you send your child out to public or private school to be “light” and “salt” to the world? Or do you keep them safely under your wing at home helping them to “not conform” to this world”? Is there an objectively correct response to this question? I think it is safe to say that one has to tread lightly on this issue due to the intense feelings many people experience relating to this topic. As a mom who homeschools her four young children and works part time as a counselor in a public school, I can tell you there are at times cutting remarks made from people on both sides of the debate. These results are usually characterized by the stereotypical characterization of homeschooled children as social misfits and the generalized judgment that sending your children to public school is like sending them into the “enemy’s camp”.
Instead of beginning with a long list of Bible verses to support either side of the issue, complimentary to my counselor nature, allow me to begin this discussion with some ground rules. When engaging in this debate I believe it is important to work from an essential premise; children are a gift from God that He loans to parents – Yes, they are loaned to us – they belong to Him! We then have the primary responsibility of caring for them holistically (physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually) and raising them to love and serve Him. In addition, keep in mind, that we are not “raising Godly children” – we are raising “Godly children to be Godly adults.” Therefore, when engaging in this discussion we need to believe that the educational choices of the parents comes as a result of reflection, thought and prayer to meet those end goals. If we start with this main premise then we leave room for the Holy Spirit to work in others’ lives as they use prayer and discernment to decide what is best for their children. If this beginning premise is not true, then it is a different discussion.
There are numerous reasons in favor of homeschooling and not homeschooling, I’m not going to give that list either! Here’s the kicker – those reasons differ for each child. There is no list of “for” or “against” it that is the same for each child. There are so many aspects to reflect on that one truly has to take them all into consideration when weighing the decision. What is best for the child spiritually? What is best for the child academically? What is best for the child socially and emotionally? What is best for the child physically? If you ignore any one of those areas in the discernment process, you fail to respect the child as the whole being God created him or her to be. We are not purely spiritual beings, purely academic, purely physical, or purely emotive beings. We are a beautiful combination of those things and each area merits thought and reflection.
Let’s go back to the main goal. To sum it up, raising our children to love and serve God, to be holy as He has called us to be holy. Do you have to homeschool to do this? Maybe. Could homeschooling be an obstacle to you being able to do this? Maybe. One thing is for sure, either way you go, you must participate in intentional parenting. Parenting that requires self-donative love, holy example setting, and continual presence (physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual).
So how about that list of Bible verses? Well the Bible does speak to us about our role and responsibility as parents. Take a look at this list (which is not by any means exhaustive) and take some inventory as to how you are doing in these areas. Maybe you need to reflect on the current educational situation of your children and see if it fits with your child, your family and the heaven-bound goals you have set. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to come up with an educational mission statement. God has led us to homeschool at this current time and so our mission statement is a homeschooling mission statement. Whichever “school” setting your children are in and however your mission statement reads, it should be influenced by the word of God.
- Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord”.
- Proverbs 22:6 – “Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it”.
- Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – “Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates”.
- Proverbs 29:17 – “Correct your son, and he will bring you comfort, and give delight to your soul”.
And one of my favorites that I believe really sums up the goal in our house-school and all-
- Joshua 24:15 – “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.
Public school, charter school, private school, life school, homeschool or something in between, serving the Lord is the ultimate end result. As one of my favorite homeschooling mom authors has said many times, “My goal is to get them to heaven not Harvard”! And if God so blesses us to get one or four of our children to Harvard along the way…it will be icing on the cake!
About the Author: My name is Brandie. I’m a wife and mother, stressed and busy, loved and passionate. I believe in my God, my Bible, and my Savior and desire to spread the good news of the gospel to believers and non-believers alike. I am a sinner saved by grace. You can find me on the web at http://thejudgmentalchristian.com