I had the opportunity and blessing to grow up in a home where my parents took my education seriously. Very seriously. Yes, that’s right. I was a homeschool kid. They took the Scriptures pertaining to the instruction of one’s children to heart and taught me themselves (along with my younger sister).
Homeschooling is one of those topics that’s sure to ruffle feathers, even within Christian circles. Is it pro-family? Anti-public school? What about socialization? Sure, a homeschooled kid might be a total brain, but can he or she interact with the world at large?
Those questions (and more like them) are important, but to be honest, I’m not really interested in exploring them here. There have been studies and debates on this topic elsewhere. We’ll leave those discussions in those places.
For the purposes of our theme, I’ll simply delve into my own experiences with homeschooling and the deeper issues that I encountered at the desk of my parents’ tutelage.
Instilling a Christian Worldview
Starting out, my parents chose to homeschool us based on a couple of different reasons. Foremost in their mind was the desire to instill in us a worldview consistent with their faith. As Christians, they believed that the responsibility to raise us with the mind of Jesus began with them. They didn’t want to leave that formation up to a teacher, whether from a public, private or Christian school.
Additionally, my folks were skeptical of our local school system. Without naming names or localities, the schools surrounding our home had very bad educational reputations. Test scores were low; the rating systems had these schools near the bottom of the pile when compared to similar schools around the country. At this point in time (the mid-80’s) it was a pretty bleak situation.
So Mom and Dad prayed about it and began the journey of homeschooling. At that point, they only planned on doing it for a period of two or three years and then I would enter the “normal” school system. But with each passing year things continued to work and so they kept training us at home.
With the time in between finishing my homeschooling experience and where I am now (over 10 years), I can reflect back on what my parents accomplished and, to a certain extent, the depth of the impact it’s had on my life.
Obviously it wasn’t a perfect situation (nothing ever is) and homeschooling isn’t for every parent or every child. Yet there were principles established early on in my development that started at home.
First off, Mom and Dad always challenged me to think for myself and to never accept what someone else said as truth, simply because they said so. For someone coming from a Christian background, this might seem like an odd lesson to teach. Aren’t we supposed to walk by faith, trusting in the Lord?
That’s true, but an authentically vibrant life lived following Jesus will be one that is filled with questions and doubts. All you have to do is check out the 12 disciples who followed Him during His time on earth. They saw Him on a daily basis, heard His audible voice, touched His clothes and skin, smelled His body odor…they knew the tangible Jesus and STILL had a myriad of questions.
Secondly, and just as important as the first, my folks spurred me on to the find the answers to those questions. It’s not enough to just throw hypothetical queries around and postulate what the solutions might be. No, the search for truth and faith involves finding the answers and then taking the greatest risk of your life to follow them.
Again, our faith played a huge role in this. If God is who He says He is and Jesus is who He says He is, then at some point each of us must wrestle with the life-altering implications of their claims.
God at the Center
Early on, I chose to embark on that adventure of faith, through the training and encouragement of my parents. Which brings me to the last aspect of the education that I received at home: an overarching way of looking at the world.
While I am still working out that Christian worldview as I grow and change as an individual, husband and father, Mom and Dad planted the seeds of that growth way back in my childhood. They demonstrated how everything finds its root and genesis within a worldview that places God at the center.
And that, at its core, is the potential power that parents have in influencing their children. They have the opportunity to change, in a positive way, that their kids view and understand this world. Will it be centered on Jesus or based on something that passes away? Regardless of where your child goes to school, the foundation of their education can begin at home.
If you are interested in taking a more active role in the spiritual development of your children or the lives of children around you, click here to learn more about Dare to Be a Daniel, one of the cornerstone ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
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