Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why My Wife and I Will Homeschool

This morning I read a blog post on Facebook ( that provoked me to write a post I have had developing in my thoughts for a while now. It's about homeschooling. You see, I've got two children now. One is four, which means that a year from now, he will be of the age where most parents will be getting ready to send their child off to a public school to start Kindergarten. Kristen and I have decided to homeschool our son. We will also be among the group of parents getting ready this time a year from now to take our son to a public school and watch him start his first day of kindergarten there, probably to be sad all day about how quickly our son is growing up, and awaiting the moment we can go pick him up and see what all he did during the day. Maybe you're confused. You read above that we were going to homeschool Ben, only to read after that that we are planning on sending him to a public school. You read correctly.

As a parent, and then even more so as a Christian, I don't really see how anyone can escape the necessity of homeschooling their children. I may send my child off to a public school to learn knowledge about the world, to meet (and hopefully influence) other people his age that come from different backgrounds and cultures, and too enjoy many good friendships that come from such a place, but that never takes away the necessity for me to continue to teach him in the home as his father, and to have that be his main source of learning, and comfort, and growing as a person. I can't say that I know much about education of young people in the ancient world, but I can't help but think of Deuteronomy 6:5-9 when I consider my role as a parent. Moses said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." You see, regardless of any sort of teaching situation, the parents of children were commanded to teach their children through word and example about God. It isn't an option. Ben WILL be homeschooled no matter what because Kristen and I don't plan to abandon him as he grows.

In the article above, Andrew Warnes noted that he planned to homeschool his children in the sense that they would not be attending public school. He also notes though that quite often we can get into an unwarrented and unneeded firestorm over the issue within the church. At one point, those within the church that homeschooled might have been thought of as outcasts. They were trying to take their children out of the world. They had unrealistic expectations, and were keeping their children from being able to function in a world marred by sin. Certainly some families have had that result by the methods they have chosen.  Sometimes it seems the tables have turned though now, to the point that it often seems like those who choose to make use of public education are showing a lack of concern for their children's future, that they are throwing them to the wolves, and placing worldly knowledge in their mind while setting the children up to abandon God and His church. Again, there are certainly those who have achieved just this by the methods they choose, but just like with the homeschooling assumptions mentioned above, this is not usually the case at all, and all of us, regardless of what we choose for our children in the area of education, need to remember this.

If I were to be honest, Kristen and I haven't talked much about our decision to send Ben to public school simply because of worrying about what type of reaction we would get because of it. It would be nice to just be able to put off this feeling of worry on other people, but having conversation over this issue, and others that Christians may practice differently but aren't matters of salvation, is important, and it is something that I don't need to avoid either. It really seems that sometimes we get so worried about this issue and others that we cut off any ability to grow, and share the pros and cons of any decision we may make. Kristen and I know that there are a lot of issues that will come about because of public schooling that we will need to be ready to deal with, but there are also many positive aspects. The same could be said about homeschooling. Are there issues with homeschooling that could have a negative affect if handled improperly? Certainly, but there are also many positive aspects of it, and Kristen and I are not above homeschooling in both senses if public school doesn't work out for Ben.

Regardless of any future education situation we find ourselves in, Kristen and I will (hopefully) homeschool Benjamin still, simply because that is our role as parents, and along with this, I pray that we will be open and patient with those that may differ in decisions made for their families.

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