A year ago, I was dreaming of sending my three year old daughter off to preschool. She was my oldest biological child. Her younger brother was born eighteen months after her, and her youngest brother was born twelve months after him. I was a stay at home mom to a three year old, 18 month old and six month old. My five year old stepdaughter was with us every other weekend. To add to my already peaked stress, I was working from home at an online marketing job and struggling to put in enough ours to keep us from drowning financially. I was desperate for relief
It was spring, and I could just see it – taking my little girl to her first day of preschool at our home church that August. Taking her somewhere I knew she would be loved and safe, to receive an education that would be Christ centered. I felt I would be content with that decision. Two days a week, I would have a little alleviation to my stress. There was a light pouring in to me at the end of my tunnel.
However, it was not to be. Our church made the announcement that they would be closing their preschool. The comfort I felt about sending my child to school was torn away. I told myself that she would be fine elsewhere. I asked friends for opinions and recommendations. I settled on a highly praised preschool and called for information about enrollment, but after that phone call, something odd happened… I felt conviction.
For a year, my husband had been telling me he wanted our children to be homeschooled. I told him I would never homeschool them. Never ever ever ever, I said. And yet, I was curious, and I began to do some research on public education, private education and homeschooling. I saw that in many ways, I was already a teacher to my children. I saw the discrepancies in the public education system. I also began to gather some very specific ideas about how and what I wanted my children to be taught.
Now, people may think I’m odd because I like to hang dry our clothes, but there’s something about standing at the clothesline under the trees, steadily working with your hands, that can be very therapeutic, and that’s exactly what I was doing when I came to a realization. For years, I had wanted to be a teacher. I was an early education major in college (before I dropped out after becoming pregnant for the third time in three years), but God was communicating something to me, that at least for now, I was not meant to be teaching others’ children. I was meant to be teaching my own.
I felt a wave of the Holy Spirit’s conviction when I clicked off of that phone call with the preschool because I knew what God had commanded me to do, and I was resisting Him. I wanted what was easiest for myself, not what is His will.
So that is the short version of the story of how I came to the decision to homeschool, but I still have a list of reasons for why I have chosen this course which I think will be important to name and discuss.
Of course, God’s command to educate my children is enough of a reason to homeschool, but He has provided me with many affirmations which are strengthening my resolve to keep on this path.
- I will educate my children at home because I want them to have an education that honors God and equips them to serve Him. This is the most important reason, and my mission statement. Glorifying God is the number one priority in our home. I don’t feel that we would be true to that priority if we gave our children an education which did not include Him as creator and orchestrator, or an education which was not meant to glorify Him and further His kingdom. I love this quote from Voddie Baucham’s book Family Driven Faith, “…there is no such thing as amoral education. All education teaches and shapes morality. It is impossible to separate one’s view of God, man, truth, knowledge, and ethics from the educational process. Every day that our children sit behind a desk, they are either being taught to know, love, and obey God or they are being taught to love and obey someone or something that has usurped God’s proper role” (Baucham 125). We hear it all the time – education is powerful, powerful enough to determine mindsets and worldviews, and the education I plan to give my children will give them a Godly mindset and a Biblical worldview so that, as adults, they may better serve the Lord. “The objective of education is not service to self, the community, business, church or state, but service to God. Education which does not serve God is an empty education…” (Bluedorn 34).
- I will educate my children at home because it will protect them. When asked what your main job is as a parent, what comes to mind? For many, the answer is “to protect my kids”. Homeschooling surely is a way of protecting my children, and no, I don’t mean that I will lock my children up so that when the time comes for them to venture out as adults, they will be shocked by and drowning in the world. I mean that I have heard far too many stories of parents who knew nothing of their children’s troubles at school, until it was too late. Children build inappropriate relationships, are mercilessly bullied, become bullies, and fall into alcohol or drugs, all without their parents’ knowledge, while at school. When educating at home, my children will be under my protective wing, and even as I allow them more and more independence, they will easily be able to run back to me, or I will much more easily be able to grab hold of them and pull them back to safety.
- I will not educate my children at home out of fear. I think a major fear plaguing parents today is that one day, they will drop their child off at school, but they won’t be able to pick them back up again. Violence in school is becoming more and more rampant, and random. More than one friend has communicated to me that they would like to homeschool simply because they are afraid of shots being fired in their child’s classroom. While it’s a legitimate concern, if that was the main reason for my choice, my resolve would quickly wear off. I realize that an act of violence could take place at the grocery store, the park, or even our own home. That doesn’t mean that I will never take my children with me to get a gallon of milk, walk them to the playground or tuck them in bed in their own rooms. I am not choosing to homeschool my children because I am afraid. I’m choosing to do it because I believe it is wise.
- I will educate my children at home because I know them (and love them) best. I know my daughter. I know what she is afraid of, and what experiences caused those fears. I know when she is just distracted, and when she is willfully disobeying. I know when she’s building in frustration, and how to stop it. I know when she is truly anxious, and when she’s squeezing crocodile tears from her eyes. I know how she learns, and so I know how to educate her. I am also well aware that my children are flawed individuals for whom no one in the world is going to have the understanding and compassion for that I will. I love them best, and I believe that will make me their greatest advocate and greatest teacher.
- I will educate my children at home because, generally, homeschooling produces some pretty awesome young adults. I still remember, in middle school, playing soccer with two sisters who were (presumably) homeschooled. I cannot remember how I found out that that was the case, but I remember them because they were just different, and in a good way. They were kind, respectful to authority and uncommonly close to their siblings and parents. Even as I aspired to be like all of the “cool” kids at school, who smoked, cursed and fought with our teachers, I actually enjoyed being around these girls, and I was curious about them. Now, looking around at the homeschooling families in our church, I see the same attributes in the young adults who have been educated at home. They are kind, respectful, helpful and close to their families. I desire to raise my children into amazing, God fearing young adults, young adults who people enjoy being near.
- I will educate my children at home because I want to be confident not just that my children are learning something, but that they are learning what is appropriate and relevant and that they are learning it well. At home, my children will be taught material which “is of good form and lasting value” and that “which conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview” (Bluedorn 31). This is huge – I will be in control of my children’s education! They will learn creational science, Christian history and Bible studies. They will be taught Latin and exposed to classic books, because I get to choose. Lastly, there will be no danger of them being left behind in the educational system. I will easily be able to cater to their individual learning styles and paces, and I will be sure that what they learn, they will learn thoroughly, so that it can easily be applied.
So there you have it – my top reasons to homeschool. It is important to note that while I do believe we often do not take our children’s education seriously enough, I know this is not the path for everyone (or all Christians, for that matter), and I know some great parents who have made different choices. I wrote this post not to condemn others because their educational choices are different than ours. After all, we have only been homeschooling for a year, and this is knowledge and wisdom God has only recently revealed to me. My desire in writing out my experience is only to speak to the Christian parent who perhaps is questioning the path they are currently on, or who may be feeling led to homeschool and needs encouragement from a sister in Christ. You are not alone in feeling confusion and societal pressure as you attempt to make a wise decision for your children and your family, and I would encourage you to embrace 1 Corinthians 14:33 and Proverbs 3:6. God is not the one who causes us uncertainty; He is the one who makes our paths straight. Delve into prayer and the Word and trust His will, and if you leave me a comment below, I will be sure to be in prayer for you also.
Baucham, Voddie. Family Driven Faith. Illinois: Crossway Books, 2007. Print.
Bluedorn, Harvey and Laurie. Teaching the Trivium. Iowa: Trivium Pursuit, 2001. Print.