Welcome to my musings...

After a 3 year hiatus from blogging (too busy parenting teens to have time to write about it!), I have decided to revive my blog. I look forward to sharing my perspective on mothering as I am at the tail end of my child-raising journey. Nothing could be more beautiful, more full of joy and pain and anguish, than the divine calling of motherhood. I pray my musings will bless you on your own journey, and that you will feel encouraged and equipped!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why We Homeschool

To me, the beginning of the school year is somewhat reminiscent of New Year’s Day. It is a time of planning, reflecting and setting goals for the next year, a time of evaluating why we homeschool and how to do it more effectively. It’s a time for remembering how and why God called us to homeschool and a chance to reestablish His sovereignty over our home and school. It’s a time to pray, to dream, and to renew our commitment to educating and discipling our children.

There are many reasons why we have chosen to home educate our children. When we began this journey nearly 6-1/2 years ago, our primary motivation was to give our children a better education that was more suited to their particular learning needs. Our school principal was the one who suggested that we consider homeschooling, as he felt that the school could not supply the academic challenge that our children required. After much prayer and research (if you want to hear our story, click here), we made the choice to remove our children from the public school we attended, and to continue their education at home. We determined that our children would be better off academically to have a customized program, designed to meet their individual interests and needs. Six years later, however, our primary motivation has changed. While we still aim to provide an excellent academic program for our children, we now have become convicted that our primary reason for homeschooling is to have our children in an environment where God is sovereign (not the government), so that we are able to disciple our children in His ways and prepare them for life as whole-hearted, sold-out servants of Christ.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I had the profound experience of hearing a man named Voddie Baucham speak. I can still hear his passionate pleas for parents to wake up and devote themselves wholly to raising children who fear and love the Lord above all else. His main argument for home education was the very familiar Scripture which states “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”. He stated that our children belong to the Lord, not to the government, which seeks to educate them in a humanistic, and oftentimes atheistic environment. He further stated that we should not be surprised that when we give our children over to “Rome” that they are returned to us as “Romans”. This man’s words resonated in our hearts and inspired us to devote ourselves even more completely to homeschooling our children. My husband was so inspired by this man that he began to involve himself more fully in our children’s education, in spite of the fact that he works very long, very stressful days at his job. We firmly believe that our children belong first of all to their Creator, and that He instructs us to teach them His ways all day long, in all that we do. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” If we intended to take this seriously, we needed to spend as much time as possible with our children in the short time that they are under our roof. For us, this seems impossible if we are sending them off to school for 6-8 hours per day.

While our experiences with our public school were relatively good (with one major exception—our oldest daughter’s fourth grade year), we still spent many hours undoing what had been taught, both academically and behaviorally. We watched as our children began to respect their teacher’s authority above our own (one of our children would constantly argue, “But Mrs. X does it THIS way”), learned to look down on children of other ages, and picked up worldly attitudes and ways of treating others. In spite of being in a school that valued “Character Education”, their character was being slowly eroded. Because this character education was taught apart from the character of Jesus Christ, it failed. (For a very interesting look at this topic, please watch the movie “Time Changer”). While our children had opportunities to be a Christian witness at school (and accepted those opportunities gladly and effectively), there were many more opportunities to be affected by the worldliness surrounding them all day long. It was like being the only little fish trying to swim upstream in a torrent of fish racing the other direction.

Another Scripture that we firmly believe in as the basis for our homeschooling is Proverbs 13:20-- “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” While many people argue that our children will suffer from the lack of “socialization”, we believe God’s word teaches us to be selective in our children’s companions. If they are constantly surrounded by foolishness, they, too, will become foolish. If we surround them with children who are well-grounded in God’s word and who also love Him wholeheartedly, and also provide them with adults who are wise in their walk with God, we believe that they, too, will grow wise. In my experience, most of the homeschooled children we have met are very poised and well-spoken. They know how to converse with adults and children, and are compassionate to those younger than themselves instead of looking down on them. Our oldest daughter’s employer has stated that he prefers homeschooled children because of their polite and respectful manner and strong work ethic.

Another reason we choose to homeschool is that we believe that by educating our children at home, we can be much more effective in raising our children to be world-changers instead of world-conformers. We can choose materials that teach the TRUTH instead of having them subjected to such lies as evolution, revisionist history and humanism. We can teach them history with a view toward God’s providence through the ages. We can spend quality time each day teaching our children to read and cherish God’s word, praying together and giving them opportunities to develop the gifts and talents that God has given them. We can educate our children in light of eternity, not with an eye toward attaining all the standards set by some school board who doesn’t share our faith or our goals for our children. Instead of hoping our children will grow up to have a successful career, or make a lot of money, we pray that our children will grow up to give themselves over to God in whatever arena He asks them to serve. As God makes His plan clear to our children, we will do our best to equip them to follow His will.

Our family has been blessed beyond measure by our decision to homeschool. Our relationships are closer, deeper and more meaningful because we spend so much time together. Our children are more obedient now because we’ve had the time to faithfully train them. Our life, while still busy, is now more flexible because we are not at the mercy of an institution’s schedule. Our children are happier, more contented and more confident without the constant crushing of their spirits by other children’s cruelty and spitefulness. Does homeschooling make family life suddenly perfect and without conflict? Of course not…it would be ridiculous to expect that. It does, however, give us the tools and relationships to deal with whatever arises in our home.

I will be forever grateful that the Lord led us to homeschooling, in spite of our strong resistance to the idea. He knew what was best for our children, and for our family, and has bountifully provided all that we’ve needed to prosper as a homeschooling family. I know that when our children were involved in the public school system, I felt threatened and judged by our many homeschooling friends. I felt that they looked down on us for choosing public school and deemed us “lesser” parents for our choice. I resented their judgment and did not listen to what they had to share. I now know that I was mistaken, and that I misjudged them, as well. I took their intent to be judgment, when instead they just wished to share the glorious blessings they had found by entering into homeschooling. They were passionately in love with the path God had set them on and wanted us to share in it, too. Now that I am on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I understand their heart. I, too, have been falsely deemed “judgmental”, when all I wanted to do was share my heart. My prayer is that we will all be open to God’s calling for our children, wherever it may lead us, and that we will listen to each other with open hearts, instead of defensiveness and anger. For those of you reading this, please know that my intent here is to simply share why WE have chosen to homeschool and how much it has blessed our family. It is in no way a judgment or condemnation of your choices. God has entrusted your children to YOU, not to me, to decide what is best for them. My earnest prayer for you is that you will passionately seek His will for your children and be open to His leading…for He alone knows exactly what they need.


Family of Movers said...

Love love love your post. So true about the idea that kids will end up becoming Romans!

Michael G. said...

Well said, Wendy. I can confirm that the fruit of your decision is evident in the behavior and attitude of my grandchildren. I love what I see!

Love, Mom

Mama Burke said...

This post was like seeing our reasons for wanting to homeschool put into words. I especially liked the part about getting back "Romans", it makes so much sense! This came at a great time since we are just starting to let our families know of our decision and have met a little bit of resistance. Our oldest is three so we still have time to let them get used to the idea.

Adam said...

Absolutely love this post!

You speak the truth; the Lord truly has placed an anointing on this post of yours! I am 18 years old and have been home-schooled for most of my life. A few years, when I first was in public school, I felt left out, strange, weird, and stupid - comparing myself often to those around me.

I thank the Lord that He called my parents to home-school me and my siblings (I am one of 9 [7 biological and 2 adopted])! It has been a blessing and a relief during so many years! I'll back up what you said, it's not easy and it doesn't make things perfect at all. But it does, like you said again, open a ground for the tilling. Allowing the Lord to sow what should be sowed during the planting season. It gives us, His children [the parents] the opportunity to share the truth with our Children and inject Christ into everything they learn (which He gives us the wisdom to do).

I couldn't have said it better myself, my sister... Thank you so much for posting this! With your permission, I would love to take this post and share it on my blog, if you would permit me to.

I don't know about any other person out there. How they school, discipline, or rear up their children. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15b). I know He has already called my future wife and myself to home-school. It is not an easy task, that I am aware of. But picking up the cross and following Jesus Christ was never meant to be easy - He said it WOULDN'T be easy. But, to take heart because He would be with us always and HE has overcome the world (Matthew 28:20b, John 16:33)!

God bless you, always through this life! I am in awe of women like you and my mother... Men as well... God truly has blessed this world with some of His most precious seed...

God bless your entire household, all your days!

Wendy said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Adam. Young men like you give me hope for the future of the church and our country. You absolutely may re-post my blog and thanks for asking.

I look forward to reading your blog soon. God bless you and your family.