Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why Do We Home School?

Through the years, I have thought about this question and would jokingly cite all of the 500 and some reasons to home school. On a more serious tone, I would then list many very good reasons why my husband and I chose to home school our children. Let's see...to teach a Christian world view, to keep the kids away from subjects we felt they were too young to face, to get a more well-rounded education, to keep them from being labeled, to keep them safe. These were just a few of the reasons that I would give to myself as well as to people that would ask us. But, lately, I've thought a bit more on the subject and I can honestly say that there is one main reason that we have chosen this task of home schooling. Simply put, we want to honor God's command to disciple our children. In Deuteronomy 6,God says: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Ephesians 6:4 states, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." This can not be effectively done when we choose to outsource their discipleship and education to others. I would never go so far to say that they cannot learn from anyone besides their parents. Our children have had piano teachers, choir directors, 4-H advisers, and horseback riding instructors that helped to mentor and teach them, but when we willingly allow them to be away from us for the main part of their days and months, what are we doing? God gave our children to us, as well as the responsibility to disciple them.

I have a garden that does very well when I take care of it. So much work goes into it at the beginning of each summer, but it has to continue. We can till, rake, plant and water to our hearts' content, but if we do not spend the hours weeding between the rows, we have a huge mess and sometimes, we lose what we've planted. I have to admit that some weeds are actually quite pretty. I like to call them "wildflowers", but let's face it. They are still weeds. They are not the plants I wanted in my garden. And, so it goes with our children. We can tell them about Jesus, read Bible stories, take them to church and try to keep them away from the evil influences of the world, but if we send them away from us the rest of the time, you know, the 900 plus hours they spend at school and the time they spend in Sunday school and youth groups later on, we are going to find that our children are overcome by weeds. And, I mean the kind of weeds that if pulled may uproot any "good" we have planted into them. No, we cannot keep them away from everything. We live in a very dark sinful world. There will be times they will make unwise choices as we all do, but home schooling or rather discipling our children will equip them for this life more effectively than any school could.

Another question that my husband and I have asked ourselves is what are the goals for our children? If our goals for them are: to do well in school, to land a good job, to find what their "knack" is or to build self-confidence, etc. then, I believe we are missing the point. Of course, we all want our children to be able to succeed, but our first and most important goal should be to lovingly direct them to their Creator. Whether "Johnny" can read, write and breeze through his math assignments or not will not matter at life's end. Our days are numbered. We were made for eternity, not here. "Here" is going to be gone one day. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, "What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." We are here right now for God, not for us. Everything we do now, is preparing us for something far greater. We have a lot of "weeding" to do. We need to start before it's too late for our children. I'd rather start now, while the weeds are small.