Friday, November 08, 2013

A Christian Homeschool Trap – Part 2: Some Solutions

I really meant to write this closer to the last article but that is life, it sometimes gets in the way of writing.

This post is in answer to a trap I have observed in Christian homeschooling circles, you can read that article here: A Christian Homeschool Trap – Part 1: A Problem.  The truth is it is often easy to find a problem and it can even be, at times, easy to provide quick solutions.  However, to find solutions that align with God and His Word often take some effort.  Not always to find the solution but definitely to discern the manner in which one accomplishes the desired ends.  So, here is an attempt to offer some solutions and if I do not answer every question at least, I pray, I have sparked some thought on the subject so that Biblical solutions are sought after and derived that best disciple ones children to glorify God in all of life.

If our culturally ingrained view of education tends to lead us in a wrong direction then what are we to do?  In Christian Homeschooling one of the greatest trials most parents face is in choosing ones “curriculum.”  It is even one place that can lead people to balk at homeschooling all together as they are just so overwhelmed at where to go and what to do.  If you have been to a homeschooling conference you will know what I mean. I believe this trial comes from what I think is a misguided view of education, or better yet discipleship, that has been ingrained in us by our current educational system and where it came from.  We have been taught for so long that our job as parents is to “educate” our children for their future, a future that is “better” than ours.  The problem with that premise, or perspective, is that we begin to partake in “education” and lose sight of our call to “discipleship” as well as often neglecting to ask God what we are to prepare our children for, serving Him.

If our call, our mandate, is to disciple our children, and it is, as we see in such passages as Deut 6:4-7; Prov 22;6 & Eph 6:4 then we need to be focused on that discipleship.  On discipleship that prepares our children to walk with the Lord and glorify Him for the entirety of their lives.  You will be hard pressed to find passages in scripture that tell you that your child needs to read by “X” age and/or be able to excel in Math but you will find that it is a child that honors God that most glorify Him.  For too long our focus on education, as Christian parents, has taken us away from what should be our primary purpose, that of raising children to honor and glorify God.  Yes they may do so in the current educational paradigm but I think if we are honest we will have to admit that glorifying God as He is wants to be glorified is often not done as it should be and we need to realize that how we disciple our children is one of the causes of this.

Let me add here that this does not mean we should not train our children to read, speak or even be able to add and subtract.  The Puritans, before they let their focus on education get the better of them, saw that training children to read was for the primary purpose of them being able to read God’s Word and understand it and thus called for by God. Just as reading is important so as to be able to read God’s word writing and speaking (speech) is important for the clear communication of the Gospel and the defense of the faith.  I should add here that when I say “speech” I am not talking about formal events or debate but that through the reading and use of God’s word we can teach our children how to communicate in both written and verbal forms.  We need to regain that focus.  So that when it comes to reading, speaking and truly any thing we teach, we see the true purpose of all teaching is to lead them to best glorify God.  The primary purpose of discipleship/education is not so our children can have a good job or so they can get into a desirable college and when we become focused on that goal we have lost our way and truthfully we will in the end often lose our children to the world.  One of the main reasons we often lose our children to the world is that they learn early that worldly standards are given precedence over God’s glory, even if not done purposefully, and this stays with them.

Is there a place for math and the sciences in our teaching?  I guess that is a yes and no question.  I do not want to sound like I am necessarily anti-technology but we really do need to remember why we do what we do.  If math and science add to ones appreciation and devotion for and of God then what greater joy could there be than that.  However, all too often, even in Christian households, that focus, if there at all, is often lost in the routine of the process.  I will also add here, and will touch on this more later, that we also need to begin to rethink what we view as desirable futures for our children.  The future of many children in Christian Homeschool families is little more than sanctified humanism with goals being very much the same as those in the world, but with a Christian veneer.

So, what about curriculum?  Well, much has been said by many about the subject and much more money has been spent, and lost, trying to find the “perfect” one.  Many simply want to give up because they cannot choose between one “Christian Based” curriculum and another with each one telling you it is the best.  I want to add here that often the intentions of the people that put out curriculum are good but I think they too have often been indoctrinated by a faulty worldview about what a “Christian Curriculum” should be.   I am sure that many that are “professionals” in the area of curriculum may scoff at this but I have a simple plan for a curriculum for at least the early years, maybe up to 8-10+, of a child’s discipleship.  We are a people that have been guided to turn over what we need to do ourselves to “professionals” and this happens in how we disciple our children as well.  So what is this revelation I think we need to get hold of – The Bible.  Yep, you heard it here, the Bible.

Just think about it for a moment.  What do your children need to learn so as to walk in the way of the Lord, God’s Word.  Where do you learn the Word of God?  Well, in the Word of God.  Before there was curriculum and most every family had a Bible, or pieces of it, that is what they used to train their children.  Yes there may have been small books people used but they were minimal and mostly biblically based.  Stop and think about it for a moment.  You can teach your child to read, spell and, yes with some ingenuity, even do math using God’s word.  The great benefit of using the Bible is that not only will your children learn to read but also they will be sealing God’s word in their heart.  That cannot be said about reading “Cat in the Hat” or “Jack and Jill”.  Again, I think it is a fear that our children will be different from others around us, yes even in the church, that tends to make us balk at such a simple curriculum.  But different from the world is what we want.

With regards to how long you use just the Bible, I am not sure and would not to set out a time.  In one sense it does not end and I also realize for example at some time one may want to teach other subjects such as maybe geometry as it is greatly helpful to carpenters and other such trades.  The issue then is not necessarily what is taught but how and for what purpose.  Thus, as one moves to possibly other subjects the child has been well grounded and knows the goal of all education.  This understanding will greatly benefit whatever direction one is led in the lives of their children, however never leaving the Bible as the foundation for all that is taught.  My hope is that by starting with the Bible we will progress from there keeping the Bible as the center of all that is done.  As I said in the beginning I do not have all the answers but any answer has to start and end with God’s Holy Word.  

Let me add here that as a family we did not do this with our children.  Others we looked to for guidance at the time did not lead us in this direction.  Also, even when we, well my wife, sensed we should go this direction we let peer pressure get the better of us.   Looking back I truly wish we had gone in this direction and fought the fear of doing so. I can tell you that if I could do it all over again we would follow this plan and I am encouraging my children to follow this path with their children.  

Now to the next step, as I touched on it in the last post, what do we do about college?  Let me start with our mindset because as Christians it needs to change with regards to college.  For far too long we have taken on the world’s perception that it is not only a right but also a necessity for everyone to go to college.  Without dealing with the issue of whether one needs to go to college we should agree it is not a right and it is not for everyone.  We often talk about how great, and productive, America is but that productivity came from a strong work ethic often displayed in trades rather than degrees.  In the early years of the US, and even today in some countries, a youth’s direction was set early in life and a trade was sought after and they were trained in that field.  This direction led people to be trained to produce and not simply consume.  Unfortunately many of the educational choices that many make in secondary education today end up creating consumers and not producers.

I think another issue is that we have become a people that seek to avoid work, especially hard work, even if we do not want to admit it.  Many farmers do not want their children carrying on with farming because it is hard.  Much of the direction of industry is to make work “easier” and many degrees that are sought after are the ones that avoid strenuous work.  I am not saying we need to work in a way that is not intelligent and wastes energy but when we seek to avoid hard labor in work we often end up moving in a direction that avoids hard work all together.   As Christians we need to see that working in a trade is not below us or our children and we need to move them in that direction as God leads.  Once we see that being a farmer, carpenter, plumber or some other tradesman is an honorable profession college becomes less necessary and we have then dealt with a large part of the “What about college?” question.

For those that are called to such things as medicine and such where college may be required then we have to work at rethinking how we accomplish that.  I am not sure there is a quick fix answer in this case but we need to be working towards one.  We as “the church” need to work towards creating truly “Christian” institutions.  Not just institutions that have “Christian” in the name but also have it in focus and doctrine.  Presently most, if not all, universities, and even some labeled “Christian”, that one may need to go to gain the degree they require for some professions are laden with evolutionary thinking and humanistic philosophy.  To send a young person to such a place is in most cases very dangerous and unwise.  We often think we have prepared our children for the challenge of college but in truth I have found very few young men that are ready for the challenges facing them by the onslaught of humanistic pressures and teachings facing them.  As I touched on in the last post if a more classical educational approach has been taken it is even possible we have primed them, albeit unknowingly, to be greatly influenced by the humanism that will surround them on the college campus.  I am sure there are some that can face the struggles and survive but from what we see of youth in the church today those numbers are very few and far between.

So you may say I have not given an answer with regards to college.  But, in some ways I have and that answer is to lead our children in directions that do not need college, and there are many.  I could add that many people, while maybe starting off at less pay and at a lower starting level, have been able to do the same jobs as the college educated – often better.  So if you change your mindset so that monetary gain is not a prime objective then college again becomes less important.  If a trade is the direction of your children then college again becomes a non-issue.  Then, if at the end of all this you still think college is necessary you must spend much time in prayer and then decide what is best for your child’s spiritual welfare, over their financial welfare.

I want to add here that I am not dealing with women in college as I think that is a topic for anther day, not sure when.  But sending ones daughters off to the halls of humanistic academia is extremely dangerous and I have to say unwise.  I am sure that does not sit well with today’s understandings of things but it has not always been so.  My encouragement in this area is to study God’s design and direction for women and I think if we are honest we will find something that looks decidedly different than we see in the professing church today.

If I have not answered all the scenarios I did not plan to.  I hope I have left you with some food for thought and that first thought is one that leads you to take a serious look at how we educate/disciple and what the focus and destination of that education is to be – The Glory of God.  No matter the occupation that ones children are led to if they are discipled to be godly and to glorify God in all things (1 Cor 10:31) the work will deal with itself.  If ones children have to work hard, by the world’s standards especially, for all their life that is not a bad thing.

Maybe the gist of this post is not just about discipleship and how we train our children but is also about working on having a biblical mindset with regards to work and vocation.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Book Giveaway: Kevin Swanson's Apostate

After reading Kevin Swanson's new book Apostate: An Expose of the Men Who Dismantled the Christian West I knew this was the next book to give away.

Kevin, as always, does a great job of dealing with world views and how they manifest themselves in
ones lives.  He looks at the lives of a number of men that have shaped our world, many of which Christian Homeschoolers have in their curriculum.  In showing the trajectory of the lives of those he covers we see the outcomes of their beliefs and it is not pretty.

Apostate looks at the lives of men that formed the world views of much of the west such as:

  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Rene Descartes
  • John Locke
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Jeremy Bentham
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Karl Marx
  • Charles Darwin
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • John Dewey
  • Jean-Paul Sartre

  • He also looks at the authors that helped to form the world we have today:
  • William Shakespeare
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Mark Twain
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • John Steinbeck

  • One additional comment:  Once you read the book please put a review up on Amazon.  If you have already read it and have not put up a review please do so as well.  Generations With Vision are trying to get this books into as many hands as possible and the number of reviews on Amazon does a make a difference.
    I will be collecting names until 6PM (EST) on Tuesday (11/19/13).  Here is how you can have multiple entries:
    1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
    2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here. 
    3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here that you have done so.  
    4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here that you have shared it.  
    That makes 4 ways to enter.
    Again, make sure to leave a comment here letting me know the methods you have used to enter.  As a note; liking the Facebook or Goolge+ posts is very much appreciated but it does not count as an entry.

    **This giveaway is limited to the US, due to shipping costs, for the hardback.  However if you do win and are outside the US I will arrange for an E-book version to be given to you**

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013

    A Christian Homeschool Trap – Part 1: A Problem

    Now this may offend some as it may be taken that I am anti-homeschool.  That cannot be farther from the truth, ask many who know me.  I write this so as to help preserve homeschooling or maybe I should be more specific, help preserve “Christian” Homeschooling.  I say “Christian” because by its very name it suggests that one homeschools from a Christian worldview and perspective and does not simply “Christianize” ones schooling at home.  I would go further to say that for homeschooling to be Christian it needs to derive its purpose and precepts from God’s word and not Dewy, Darwin or any of the other molders of our current educational system and society, which sadly many do, even if unknowingly. 

    The trap that many fall into is they partake, knowingly or not, in schooling at home rather than homeschooling.  This happens by taking the way school is done presently and partaking of it in the confines of ones home.  This includes having many of the same goals and objectives; such as going to a “good” college, getting a “good” job and being “well” educated.  This mindset often leads people to raise children that may be, by all outward appearances, more prepared for what is ahead and they may even be smarter than the average Gov’t school indoctrinee but deep inside their worldview is often tainted and that tainted worldview will rear its head when taken out of the confines of the home.  You often see this happen when children are shipped of to some secondary educational facility away from home and begin being discipled by people ready and willing to mold the minds of your children to a different way of thinking.  Most parents may think they have readied their children for the road ahead but often they have unknowingly simply primed the pump to accept the worldview of the schools they are sent to by what they have been taught at home.  If, and I will deal with this more in a follow up post, children are not being discipled that the Bible is the final standard and authority in all of life those same children will be easily swayed by the “enlightened” worldview they are presented with outside of the home.  It may take some time but when you send your children off to college that is exactly what you give the college, time.  Thus much of the curriculum used at home, even if it references the Bible if entrenched in the “classics” teaches contrary to God’s word, even if subtly, and this does have an affect – a negative affect.

    Maybe I am getting ahead of myself here.  I titled this post “A Christian Homeschool Trap” and that trap is not set by the Gov’t Schools, even though it often plays a part in it, but the trap is actually set by the family that falls short of seeking to have the Bible as the sole authority in how to educate, or maybe it would be better to use the term disciple.  All too often our focus is on “education” but what we are called to make, and this includes those in ones family, are disciples (Matt 28:19-20).  In all education making disciples is key and this is true even in the secular community as often one teacher is referred to as a disciple of another.  In scripture (Luke 6:40) it says a student will be as his master so you soon see how discipleship is key in all realms as well as the importance of who does the discipling, or teaching.  The issue for the “Christian” Homeschool then becomes how to avoid this trap and the first step in the process is to know there is one.

    We often fight the Gov’t over schooling and the mandates it places on its citizens, which I would say is prudent but not so as to save the Gov’t schools but to stress that ones children are to be schooled by their parents and how that is done may take a number of forms but at the heart is the intimate involvement of the parents.  .  As I have already alluded to one of the greatest threats to "Christian" homeschooling is not the Gov't but "Christian" homeschoolers themselves.  I say this because if you listen to many “Christian” homeschool families or read much of what is said by them it is clear they have bought into the "educational paradigm" sold by the state.  I constantly hear about how homeschoolers are just as smart, if not smarter, than Govt schooled kids.  Much is said about how colleges and universities are looking for homeschoolers because of how "smart" and "self motivated" they are.  This mindset is one that loses sight of the goal of disciplining ones children.  I will cover this in a moment but this is not a new issue since the Puritans also faced this and failed, thus losing their children to a failed system.

    First, is the issue of the "Educational Paradigm."  Where in scripture does it tell us our children need to excel in "academics."  Where does it say Johnny needs to read by “X” age and Judy needs to spell by the time she is “X”, it does not.  One can see the principle in scripture that our children need to be prepared for life but does "education" really accomplish that.  What we often find is that many of the most highly educated lack in other areas and this is because of an inordinate focus on “education.”  History reveals that many of the great men of faith were often schooled at home and not with any special "curriculum,” many times only having the Bible as their source of education, in the early years at least.  Which brings up the whole topic of curriculum.  

    Next, part of the trap is that far too many professing Christians are quick to want their kids out of the Gov't system but then they simply teach much of the same material at home.  Sure they may avoid such things as evolution and gender roles as the Gov't schools teach them but then they turn to what may be a more dangerous curriculum due to the subtlety of its message.  Many “Christian” homeschool families rely heavily on the "classics" thinking that is the answer to all their problems.  The problem in this mindset is what you find ensconced in these “classics” by Shakespeare, Hawthorne or Twain.  These authors do not write apart from their worldview and even though many use “Christian” words and motifs this does not make their writings “Christian” or conducive to make godly disciples.  I do not have the time or space to cover the issue with many of these writers in this article.  Kevin Swanson has done us a great service by doing so in his new book – Apostate:The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West, which I highly recommend.   In taking this classical curriculum route to education what many well meaning “Christian” homeschooling parents were trying to avoid in the Gov’t schools they have taken their children out of is now introduced to them instead in the comfort of the home via the “classics.”. One might even say that the “classics” may be even more dangerous at home than the blatant and rampant immoral teachings being propagated by the Gov’t schools.  The reason being they indoctrinate in a much more subtle way and catch many unawares since it is done at home and is, at least in the minds of those teaching such material, antithetical to that being taught elsewhere and thus may be seen as “safe.” 

    Then comes the issue of college and university.  One would often think that many "Christians" simply homeschool so they can send their children off to be indoctrinated at the best Universities or maybe better named Centers of Higher Indoctrination.  This is where we look at the Puritans.  Scott Brown spoke at the 2013 American History Mega-Conference on the downfall of the Puritans.  This is an important subject because no matter how the secular world wants to portray the Puritans the fact is they may be one of the godliest generations since the first century church.  It is not hard to see that in all that they did and wrote that Christ was central and living a life that honored God was of prime importance.  So what happened as it was not more than 3 or 4 generations before the mindset of the Puritans had mostly vanished.  I think the reason is a great picture of good intentions having negative results.  The Puritans were very high on education and initially the main reason was so one could read God’s word and understand it.  However this moved to there being laws and fines for not catechizing then from there it moved to the church or other institution taking over the program.  This even moved to the concept of educating so as to ready their children for the university, hmm sounds familiar.  Again, I think the motive or intention was good but the Puritan ideal of seeking to live by God’s word as being all sufficient moved them seeking to add to it to accomplish what they thought was a good goal, well educated children.  If the Puritan ideals could be lost in 3 or 4 generations how much more do we need to be diligent as we do not start, as a generation, anywhere close to that of the Puritans.

    Universities and colleges, as they stand today, are in general a place to avoid.  Their goal is not simply being to teach somebody facts but includes indoctrinating their students to a way of thinking, a way of thinking in the most part antithetical to a Christian worldview.  I know many will balk at this saying their children are prepared to face the challenges of a pagan educational system but the statistics and stories out there speak contrary to this.  Sure if one is forced into such an institution God can work in them as He did with Daniel but that does not give us license to toss our children into the proverbial lions den ourselves.  I realize this will be tough if one wants some sort of professional job since most companies require lots of letters after ones name.  Also, such professions as being a doctor require much education in these institutions.  The answer may be to start truly Biblical institutions, since many of the so-called “Christian” colleges and universities that exist today are not much more than secular institutions with a few more rules and maybe a benediction at the beginning of the day.  The bottom line is one may have to change professional aspirations if the only recourse is send ones children off to Babylon.  Once we see the world from a different perspective that change should be less painful.  Really we should ask what is wrong with seeking occupations for our children that do not require the pagan institutions available today.  Why not raise a generation of Christian farmers, woodworkers, metalworkers and other professions?  There was a time, not all too long ago, when those were the professions looked up to as being noble and worthy. Ok, I think you get the idea.

    The message of the Puritans direction should make it clear that we cannot lose focus and we cannot let up in our diligence to truly make disciples of our children.  We cannot assume that the next generation will simply get it since history shows this is usually not the case.  We need to stand up and say that the profession of our children is not paramount but their spiritual well being and moral compass is.  We need to cease at sending them off to the halls of Babylon and expecting anything but a Babylonian back.  Or as Voddie Baucham has often said: "If you send your kids to Caesar for their education don't be surprised when they come back as Romans."  I do not write this to condemn but to commend, to exhort my Christian brothers and sisters to do what is best according to God, and His word, for our children.  Seek out God’s word and I think you will find it hard to support the direction most in the church have taken the need for education.

     I also want add that for those of you that have committed to not sending your children to the pagans you are not off the hook.  This is not a license to not “educate” in some manner but to do so in a way that prepares your children as God leads.  It is not a license for sloth but a call to diligence and perseverance.  Even if you do all you can you still need to be in much prayer and preparation always being vigilant to not let your guard down.

    I did not want to leave this as all about what we should not do as Christian Homeschoolers but want to address that in another post.  Thus, I will come back later and write a post on how we should face this particular trap.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    A Giveaway of Wick2 in Paperback

    As today is the release of Wick2 in paperback and Wick3 in E-Book I will be giving away a copy of Wick2, see below for instructions on how to get a copy.  I should add you can still get Wick1 in E-Book or Paperback and Wick2 in E-book as well.

    I would also encourage you to buy the E-Book of Wick3.  I had the privilege of reading a pre-released copy and it is even better than the first two books, and they were great.  Michael Bunker has, again, done a great job of melding current events, real world survival tips and aspects of his book Surviving Off Off-Grid within the story line.  Also, if you have read The Last Pilgrims, the book for which the Wick Series is a prequel, you will see even more connections to that book.  All of this not only makes for an enjoyable read but also one that should make us stop and think about our day and what we are prepared for and what, or who, we place our trust in.

    To win your copy of  Wick2 in paperback you need to do the one or more of the following:

    I will be collecting names until 6PM (EST) on Monday (3/25/13).  Here is how you can have multiple entries:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  • Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  • Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so.  
  • Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.
  • Share on Twitter and share here that you did so.

  • That makes 5 ways to enter.

    Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.  As a note; just liking the Facebook or Goolge+ posts is very much appreciated but it does not count as an entry.

    **This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

    Also, while not as active as I would like most of my new articles will be being posted on the new website at:

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Another Giveaway: Michael Bunker's New Book - Wick

    While I usually do not have book giveaways this close to one another I have decided to have another one.

    I will be giving away a copy of  Wick (Volume 1) which is a new book by Michael Bunker, the author of Surviving Off Off-Grid and The Last Pilgrims among others.  This was  very good read with more to follow and it is also a prequel to his book The Last Pilgrims.

    I will be collecting names until 6PM (CST) on Wednesday (1/31/13).  Here is how you can have multiple entries:

    1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
    2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
    3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so.  
    4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it. 
    That makes 4 ways to enter.

    Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.  As a note; liking the Facebook or Goolge+ posts is very much appreciated but it does not count as an entry.

    **This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

    Also, I have moved most of my new articles realting to our move over to the new website so come on over and check it out: