I realize that this comes from years of having the world’s standards for education hammered into our heads but it’s a cycle we need to consciously begin striving to get away from. We need to begin to see the goals for believing parents are much different than the world’s standards. Our standards are not to raise contributing members of society, even though that may be an outcome, but it is to raise children that have as their sole passion to glorify God and proclaim His name in all they do. The issue with raising children to be contributing members of society begs the question as to who defines what is a contributing member and since the standards of those who live in the city of God are vastly different than those who live in the city of man we need to realize we will not raise children that meet the government schools idea of “contributing” in most cases.
Many Christian homeschool parents at this time of year speak of the summer being over and time for school to start. The truth is if one is to follow the Deut 6:1-9 manner of discipleship, which is a usual text to support Christian home education, teaching is to happen at all times and is not restricted to any season or time of the year. It is to take place wherever teaching can happen. This does not negate planning and being purposeful in schooling and the truth is you may start a new area of teaching in the fall but my point is that we would be doing this because this is where things happen to work out not because of some tradition run internal clock that says it is time to school.
A danger is that our children may glean from this that life is about having a time for learning and a time for fun and two shall not meet. How many of us that were schooled in the government system looked forward to summer so as to get away from learning? But the goal of Christian homeschooling should be to raise children eager to learn all that God has for them at any time. The conforming of our mind (Heb 12:2) to God’s leading is to happen at all times not at certain seasons. This can translate later in life to create a dichotomy between, say, work and home, between work and church and in other areas. But the truth is that all we do is to be done for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) so we need to be ready in season and out to learn and be led. There are no set times for any of this and we need to work to eliminate this mindset in our children. Again, there can be times of purposeful teaching but be very careful that this planning is led by God and not by man.
I pray you see that this is not a condemnation of those that have a school year that mimics the government system, we have done just the same in the past, but it is a call to step back and look at what we are doing and ask is it because of tradition, convenience or because it is what God calls us to do.
I am fairly certain that this mindset happens without us even thinking about it but that is the danger as what else do we do in our homeschooling that comes from ingrained tradition rather than from what God would have us be doing? How often do we think a child needs to read by a certain age, write by a certain age and if they do not meet the standards of the state or even our neighbors do we stress out? How many were thrilled to see that HSLDA showed statistics that homeschoolers have equal to or better test scores than government schooled children? It is great that there is empirical evidence for the benefits of homeschooling but we are not to build our foundation on those statistics but on the word of God and the goal of rearing godly seed to be used by God to further his kingdom in whatever manner He sees fit.
Let us seek to raise children by God’s standards and for His glory. Let us seek to use curriculum that has God at its center and not as an addendum so it can be called Christian. Let us break the grip the government school system has on our minds that is so ingrained in us and seek to raise a new generation that looks to God and not the state.
By the way I have struggled as a parent and as a father through all of these issues. I have failed miserably in the past and seek to, by God’s grace continue to change. I have had to shake off the concerns that my government schooling instilled in me such as: are my children going to be smart enough, whatever that means, are they far enough along in their various studies, do they have a grasp of the subjects Uncle Sam says they should be schooled in. But in all of this I came to realize that the goal of Christian parenting is to raise children to further His kingdom and thus need to be children that conform to His standards. Where they are in the educational process is secondary, at best, to raising children with Christian integrity and having a kingdom mindset. I claim no special revelation, except the special revelation of His word, just that God has convicted me over the last few years that I needed to change and thus so did my outlook on homeschooling. As we search out scriptures for our guidance we find there is little that mirrors the world's idea of education but much about discipleship in the ways of God. So let us seek to do things God’s ways and realize that from the beginning the worlds ways have always been at odds with God’s and it is no different in the education of our children.
By his grace and His mercy please consider your homeschooling and always be asking, as I ask myself, am I schooling by His standards or the worlds?
1) Christian Homeschooling and Charter Schools
2) What is the purpose of Christian Education: Part 1 & Part 2
3) Should the Government be involved in the Education of our children
4) Why are we so easily swayed by the money & items offered by charter schools?
5) Should not my children be in the public school to be lights in a dark place?
6) Why do we need to meet man’s standards for education?
7) Why do we need relief or a respite from the presence of our children?
8) Isn't how we educate our children a preference?
9) What if my husband says he does not want to homeschool?