The reasons are piling up, really. And I quite hesitate to post this blog, because I tend to lean to the cautious side of such claims. I am utterly annoyed to hear of someone’s strong conviction on some issue, and then within a year or two (or less), that conviction has fallen by the wayside. I don’t mean that I don’t have respect for someone changing their mind; I have done that quite often! But I expect that strong convictions change with some considerable thought and effort and prayer, not because the convictions got uncomfortable or lost their novelty.
That said, I guess I still don’t feel any better about laying out something like this. I find I almost don’t want to back up my decisions with scripture, for fear that it will come across as a one-size-fits-all judgment, and that is not at ALL what this is about. I guess this is what has spoken to my heart lately as I’ve sought answers, studied and prayed.
First, as things stand (ooh, did you see that disclaimer?), I find no support in scripture for putting my children in public school. Public school is The State, and while I won’t go into the Marxist (or even some American publications’) plans and purposes for public education/indoctrination, I will note some scripture on the topic. Matthew 22:21 quotes Jesus as saying, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” This speaks loudly to me about my children. Whose are they? I don’t recall applying for a permit to acquire a child from the State Child Dispensary. And while some might argue that sending their children to school doesn’t equal ‘rendering’, I would beg to differ. What else could you call it when you turn such precious gifts over to the state to be led and guided for the major part of almost every day for the bigger part of their formative years?
Of course, that leaves Christian Education as an alternative to Homeschooling. I put my oldest into a Christian preschool for a few days a week over a year ago. I think I regret it. No, nothing bad happened. Primarily (but not solely) I regret not living up to another scripture I find. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7. Why did I put her in Preschool? Because I thought it would be “good for her”. Good how? Well, she would have more exposure to other kids. She would be taught about God and His ways. She’d have a chance to stretch her legs without Mama right there. Huh? HUH? Exposure to other kids? I now know that socialization is NOT helped by being in a class full of kids the same age. I’ll quote the research another time, and maybe the scripture too. Too, I daresay that exposing anything of value to ‘other kids’ has some serious drawbacks. We don’t like exposure to the flu, or to bad habits or ungodly tendencies. What good could be gained by ‘exposing’ our children to other random children? Taught about God and His ways? I’ll address that when I go over the scripture in Deuteronomy. And where did we get the idea that children will be better off apart from their parents? Those Communist ideals come to mind again, but seriously, it looks as though God intended for parents to be the ones to caretake and teach their children. How I could’ve thought that there would be benefit in her being apart from me boggles my mind at this point.
The first thing that struck me about the scripture in Deuteronomy is that first verse. How many times have you heard or even said that, about loving the Lord with all of ourselves? That doesn’t leave much wiggle room. We are to fully embrace him with all that we are, regardless of circumstance, discomfort, economic situation or family size! Hm.. Before studying this I never realized that that verse led into the next parts. I always took it ala carte. It doesn’t hurt to read the previous chapter or two, either, to see how serious God is in encouraging Israel to HEED His words, turning not to the right or left. Again, not much wiggle room.
And all His commands, His statutes, His ways we are to DILIGENTLY teach our children. Look that word up if you want to. DILIGENCE. Another tall order. And a word I overlooked the first time or two I read this. Who should do this? We teach our children. It doesn’t say, “You shall hire an expert to teach them diligently…” (and really, can the expert sit in your house, or lie, or rise, with your family? That might get expensive). And when should we be teaching these things diligently? When we sit in the house, when we walk, when we lie, when we rise… That pretty much covers every minute (perhaps outhouse-trips were exempt?) it seems. Diligence requires that we not cease from this training, that we not ‘take a break’ by letting someone else take over the job. But how about things not God-oriented, you say? Reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, etc…? Oh please… First, you cannot know the statutes of God until you have mastered language. You cannot study them for yourself if you cannot read that language. You cannot record or communicate them without writing. Math and science are the building blocks which God made to create our very world. He admonishes us to be good stewards – our children must understand arithmetic to meet this calling. There is no sphere of education that is apart from God and His ways.
Is it a daunting task? Oh yeah. Impossible even? Likely. Which would bring me to the “I can do all things..” verse and the “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” one.
What about circumstances? What if Mama needs to work, or is single, or the parents are the kind that even I would hope spend as little time with their kids as possible? I can’t answer those questions. I would say that if you have children, you’re called to meet the challenge. What does that say for those who can’t or won’t meet the challenge? I just don’t know for sure.
Now, does that mean that every parent who doesn’t homeschool is in sin??? Wow, for fear of lightning from On High I dare not answer that either way! We’re all in sin to some extent, homeschooling or not. And I am certainly the last person to judge the decisions other families make for their kids. I will only go so far as to hope and pray that each family evaluates their situation and their children in light of Scripture and after much prayer. I wish I had earlier, but I am grateful to have done so now.
Again, there IS enough time in a day to accomplish ALL that God has called us to…