Done At Sixteen: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 6)

How long does it take to get a basic education? If you answered twelve years, you are thinking school. What I would like to do today, is show you how home educated students can complete a formal program by the time they are sixteen.

School may say it takes twelve years to get an education, but we need to ask where that idea came from. Furthermore, pretty well every private school and nearly every curriculum follows the pattern of needing twelve years to acquire a basic education.

Most jurisdictions in the world have sixteen as the legal school leaving age, including the Province of Alberta. Yet, the peer pressure is to go the additional two to three years.

The standard claim is that it takes six years to learn the basics in elementary. Students are then subjected to three years of academic purgatory in junior high, where few new concepts are learned as children negotiate puberty.

Finally, students are required to do three additional years of high school before being “approved” as ready for the post-secondary world.

Most students starting high school are already tired of going to school. They are not likely thinking, “Oh boy, now we’re in high school where we will be treated as adults!” Rather, what most have in their mind is, “Three more stinking years and we are out of here.”

I know this! I spent a lot of years watching students go through this process, as I taught high school. Most students either didn’t have enough gumption to care or cared just enough to buckle down and do whatever was necessary to put this experience behind them.

One thing for sure, if students were not coerced into believing that it was necessary to go, most would just skip high school and get on with life.

Once school students have put in their time and if they have followed directives, they will get a diploma that nobody will ever ask for.

While celebrating their accomplishments at the graduation party, they will often chant about how they have made it! They will congratulate each other on being academically proficient and prepared to take on the world!

Actually, this is not true. The reason for the big party is much the same as one finds when someone has gotten out of jail. It’s more a celebration of parole, of having served the required time, rather than of being accredited for the next phase of their lives. I exaggerate, maybe, but not by much!

How long does it actually take to educate a child? Does it really take twelve years? It actually only takes about a hundred hours to learn the basics or primary skills. Why six years of elementary?

Junior high is where students go through puberty while teachers go through mental issues. Well, maybe not all teachers, but it is fair to say that this is a very difficult group to work with. No wonder that few new concepts are introduced!

Ever think that God, in His wisdom, may not have allowed parents to have litters of children at a time, in order to avoid the “junior high school pubescent circus” we see in school?

By the time school advances to the “completion of the student’s formal education” in high school, most students are actually more ready for life than three more years of learning things they will likely never use will make them.

If we take those twelve years and throw out the three years of junior high, we are left with nine years of formal education.

If we really exaggerate and say that the children are actually learning and advancing academically during half of their school time, it means there are only about four and a half years of actual learning time during a twelve year school term, or shall we call it, a twelve year school “sentence”?

Seriously, we could start teaching our children at home at ten and send them to university by fifteen. In the meantime they would still have a life. This is not a joke! My wife and I have seen it happen time and time again.

We have observed that if children have been home educated from the start, they are usually done with their formal education by sixteen. That is, they are working at a similar skill level to “school graduates,” completing their secondary level of training by this time.

Home educating parents making their children do “school” beyond sixteen, will likely run into difficulty convincing them they need what really amounts to additional busy work, keeping them from engaging in more meaningful activities. Even the government believes they are old enough to drive a potentially lethal vehicle at age sixteen, so it’s okay to set them free.

Parents may be guilty of asking their children to retreat in order to advance when employing the “you’re not finished until you are eighteen,” school thinking. This is especially the case when the students are sent to high school.

We do not want to waste their time. Home educated children are more likely ready to start post-secondary studies by now than regressively chasing that elusive goal of an accredited grade twelve.

I encourage you to trust God and not put your confidence in man, who no doubt knows enough math to be able to see that extending a short process into one longer than necessary, also extends the potential of the education industry to both indoctrinate the children and increase its income!

Alternatives to Accreditation: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 5)

Now that we have established that parental ignorance of the systemic use of accreditation, largely motivated by the increased funding associated with it, is to blame for the normalization of public school credits at home, I would like to provide an alternative to public accreditation.

Once the accumulation of “high school” credits is started, whether at home or at school, there is no turning back, as anything short of the full completion of all requirements for a high school diploma deems the student a dropout, much the same as the GED does.

That is, if a student earns a single credit either through school or a school-based program, a provincial transcript is created that is attached to the individual’s Alberta Student Number (ASN).

Parents should be warned that home education providers who offer high school credits usually do not reveal this information, as it is not in their best interest.

While it is imperative that parents understand that accreditation is not essential to successfully transition to the post-secondary level, it is also important to note that to seek accreditation is to embark on the most demanding and frustrating option for the secondary level of a home education.

This is due to the challenge of trying to complete a program designed to be delivered by a teacher in a school, forcing students and parents to jump through the hoops required to complete a high school program.

Parents or students motivated by wanting to outperform regular school attendees at school programming, need to consider that demonstrating the ability to do better at school work, comes with questionable benefits.

Students “schooling at home” place themselves in competition for post-secondary admission with every other accredited student. Since it is more difficult to “honestly” do better with “school work” at home than at school, students often find themselves handicapped with lower marks.

Also, if the focus of the family faith is biblical, parents should be aware that the accreditation route does not follow biblical principles.

Christian parents should, therefore, be concerned when a school claiming to be “Christian” offers public programming as an incentive to attend or register with their institution.

Parents should also be wary of schools and home education providers “pretending” to meet the course requirements in order to award credits. Although doing so greatly benefits the school, students rarely complete the requirements for a high school diploma and usually do not merit the marks required for post-secondary admission using this approach.

Whether credits are honestly or dishonestly obtained at school or at home, public accreditation returns us to the secular world for our future direction, acknowledging the state as lord of our education.

It is far better and easier to allow a student to be who God has created than fitting him or her into the “one-size-fits-all” expectations demanded by those who know nothing of the child.

Completing secondary training at home, without government accreditation, is a much better option because there is no time wasted on subjects that are not needed. Students are allowed to be comfortable with who they are, can specialize early and by the time they are old enough to drive, are usually ready for the world to receive them.

Meanwhile, their school friends are putting in time awaiting the day when they are paroled from the institution with no greater access to post-secondary options than those who chose to continue their preparations at home without the burden of meeting that which is required for accreditation.

Even though most post-secondary institutions will advise that credits are needed for admission, (due to the fact that most applicants come with a school-based education), most usually have alternative admission criteria that take alternative students, including the home educated, into account.

Alternative students following alternative home education curricula that more closely compares to first year post-secondary programs than to a school grade 12, have a definite advantage over standard school students.

When taking into account the fact that the traditional home educated, who have been given the freedom and opportunity to advance at their own speed, in keeping with what interests them, usually have a higher level of maturity and a more highly developed work ethic, it becomes easier to understand why most excel at the post-secondary level.

So, is there a need for government accreditation at the high school level? No! Alternative students use alternative methods to gain access to post-secondary opportunities, whatever that may be.

Once ready, post-pubescent students will begin to show signs of ownership and self-motivation, resulting in a great deal of learning usually taking place in a very short time. This should be the parent’s cue to back off from “programming” and allow the child to mould into their future, without neglecting to provide new opportunities for learning.

Finally, please understand that only in a traditional home education setting, can a student truly follow an individualized program which cannot be obtained through public accreditation.

To Be or Not To Be Accredited: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 4)

To be or not to be accredited? That is the question most people ponder as their children enter the secondary phase of their education.

Mostly as a consequence of having our eyes focused on the future rather than eternity, we quickly default to the only known solution for future preparation, which is government accreditation.

I do not believe there is a home education issue more plagued with misinformation and manipulative traps than this one, and there will be no lack of encouragement to go the credit route.

There are three main reasons that this concern arises. The first is, unfortunately, your doing! Another is systemic. And then there is… the money!

Going to school has become so normalized, so entrenched, so unquestioned as the only way to educate children that the mere suggestion of doing otherwise often brings confusion, laughter, derision, even open hostility. After all, when you are doing something differently your actions are saying that you believe there is a better way, without even saying a word.

The possibility of damaging your children’s potential future options, whether real or perceived, creates real fears and concerns that will challenge your resolve to continue to teach your children at home.

After all, your initial motivation was to provide them with the best preparation for their future. Now that it is here, what are you going to do? It is much easier to simply “go with the flow” and default back to doing what you have experienced and to follow what most everybody else is doing.

The second reason that accreditation arises at this stage is the systemic belief that only government accreditation can qualify students to move on to the post-secondary arena.

Once again, it is important to understand that when only one choice is presented, people come to understand that this is the only option.

Made worse by our being continually discouraged from questioning what we are being told, accreditation is believed to be the only way a student can succeed in life.

All that needs to happen to break free from this manipulative systemic belief is for people to question why this is so and to come to understand that while government accreditation is most certainly the accepted standard, it is not the only approach available to home educators.

To understand how money can often be the driving force behind the normalization and advancement of the need for government accreditation, one needs to know that up until the “high school level” is reached, Alberta funds students on the basis of attendance. This means that from school grades K-9, a registered child is a funded child.

Once the high school level is reached, funding is no longer based on attendance, but rather on the number of credits being offered in the child’s program. Even if the child fails the course, funding is advanced to the school for having made the accredited course available.

The only exception to this rule is if students are home educated, in which case funding is still based on attendance (registration) and at the same rate as K-9 students.

To successfully complete a high school level program, a student must acquire a minimum of 100 credits. The actual prescription of what is needed to acquire a high school diploma can be found by going to https://education.alberta.ca/graduation-requirements-credentials-credits/high-school-diploma/everyone/diploma-requirements/.

This complicated website address alone should show you that to accomplish this feat, one is best to simply attend school!

One more thing to consider with “high school” level programming, is the fact that while home education funding remains at 25% of the base funding to public schools, credits are funded at the same rate as public school (100%) or private schools (70%).

One does not have to be a mathematician to understand that to offer or advance credits will triple or quadruple the income of the school that “helps” the parents with “their” accreditation concerns!

Therefore, when you combine the fact that most parents have only experienced “high school” using government programming, likely never having been exposed to possible alternatives; with the fact that the vast majority of Alberta students follow government accreditation, adding to that, the powerful lure of much higher levels of funding, it becomes easier to understand why accumulating credits is so commonly advanced by providers as the only possible way to complete a secondary level education.

While the Godless, status quo education system can be forgiven for pushing an agenda that benefits itself, one has to question the motivation of private schools and their associated home education agencies. How can they justify claiming a Christian foundation, then take advantage of unsuspecting parental ignorance by advancing the much higher paying credits of a Godless, unbiblical, anti-Christian system?

More importantly, we should ask how anyone claiming a biblical foundation can exploit the ignorance of the people they are supposed to help, encourage and instruct. I believe Christians and Christian schools should be advancing God’s accreditation rather than the world’s, even if it pays less.

Transitioning Responsibilities of Parents and Students: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 3)

Following his famous dissertation on love in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul points out that things had changed in his life, as one would expect of every life.

His description of this change was summarized this way: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

A child “grows up” to become a man or woman, eventually ending childlike behaviour to begin speaking, understanding and thinking as an adult. As the child demonstrates greater amounts of responsibility, mommy and daddy morph into mom and dad, taking on a different role.

There comes a time (not a point in time) when children should be looking to the Heavenly Father as their source of life and to parents for godly wisdom in living it.

Growing up means the adult student must eventually assume all the responsibility for seeking and coming to the knowledge of the truth.

Increasing self-motivation will soon lead children to take ownership of their own education. As this happens, the parental role as the teacher diminishes into more of an advisory role as a mentoring older brother or sister.

Although all adults must understand the importance of respect for others and the roles we play in life, it is also critical to understand that we all want to be appreciated as equals. Children morphing into adults greatly desire to be treated as equals, even if in the eyes of parents, they demonstrate moments of immaturity.

This is the reason they so much desire to be a part of some kind of social group, school if necessary, and want to join the adults in conversation in family social events. They just want to be treated as equals rather than dependent children.

The solution is simple. Treat young adults as adults in need of relatively more guidance from older mentors. Scolding parents is not what they need now, but rather friends, more importantly, someone who believes in them.

This is the common cry of the human heart, the very thing parents of pubescent children need to prioritize, especially the father, whose job it is to validate all of his children as the super special beautiful creations that they are.

Everyone needs to know they have an intrinsic value, an important purpose and a place in God’s kingdom. Obviously, how this important task is done will depend on whether the father is validating a man or a woman as well as the individual’s personal character and love language.

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it must be stated. In failing to validate children, fathers fail in their role as God’s representative on earth. Nothing has a more lasting negative effect in the life of a man or a woman than the father’s failure to lovingly validate him or her as the most important person in his world.

God’s loving his children so much that He would be willing to die on the cross for them is the example dads need to follow.

Even more important is the fact that children will judge God by how parents, fathers in particular, behave. When the father fails to demonstrate a perpetual, unconditional love, acceptance and pride for his child, that child moves forward in life with a vacuum in his heart that cannot be repaired outside of divine intervention.

However, no one is perfect and all one can do is the best that one can do. That is all that is required of anyone, including mom and dad.

Now that we have addressed the spiritual needs of the pubescent child, we need to look at the most common fear and concern related to having a child transition to the secondary (or high school) level. This concern has everything to do with the child’s future, which, incidentally, nobody but God really knows much about.

One of the most confusing aspects of parenting is that while we need to prepare our children for their future, we are mostly clueless about what that future entails. It escapes most of us how, while fully aware that we have little knowledge of our own future, we could even have an idea of someone else’s!

This is because we have confused two things. We mix up “eternity” with the “future.” God asked us to direct our children to Him, the eternal God who is the only one who knows the future.

Schools, mostly operating outside of an acknowledgement of God, have no interest in eternity, so will focus on the children’s future they, obviously, also know nothing about. Our thinking that our task is to prepare children for their future is another hang-up we bring home from school.

Jesus gave us some “good” advice. After questioning our focus on the future need for food and clothing, He states that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (or shall we say, eternity) all our concerns about the future will be simply added unto us.

It should not escape our notice that the future is included within the eternal, therefore it should make sense that if we take care of eternal matters, future matters become non-issues.

However, in fairness, we are all concerned about potentially handicapping our child’s future and so we very often default to what we know and what we know is how the world takes care of this concern.

Once again, it is much wiser to put our trust in the eternal Lord, who knows the future, than to put confidence in temporal man, who does not.

The “Notwithstanding Clause”: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 2)

As discussed in another series of this blog, learning seems to occur in phases. As the word suggests, each phase or stage of learning comes without a distinct beginning or end, simply transitioning to greater levels of learning ability.

Although there are some exciting events that take place in the pre-pubescent years, puberty ushers in dramatic increases in the development of cognitive abilities. In simpler words, as children transition to adulthood, there are some major changes, not only in the way they learn, but the speed with which it happens.

In the primary stage of learning, the fundamental skills are learned. You will remember our exposition of Proverbs 22:6 where we are instructed to “train up a child in the way that he should go” and how it was made clear that most of this training occurs during childhood. You also learned that the foundation of truth was more important than the ABC’s or 123’s.

Now that the children have been trained in the foundational truths you wrote on their hearts and have been taught the basic skills you put in their heads, the time has come to apply these fundamental skills in this next, secondary phase of learning.

This secondary stage of formal learning, what the “school system” calls junior and senior high, generally phases in with puberty and phases out with a driver’s license. There are, of course, variations on this theme, but this new phase of learning means that new directives for home education will need to be employed.

Children need serious training and parenting, but adults are taught and mentored. Please note the differences as these young adults will not respond well to being “trained” as children. The time for that is past. You have likely done the best job possible by simply keeping them home and daily modelling truth to them.

Even though puberty finds the child drifting in and out of childhood and/or adulthood, the balance is now being tipped in favour of more permanent adulthood along with greater demands for independence. This is a difficult place to be, both as the child and the parent, especially when going through this for the first time.

A general rule that can be followed during this transition is that as more personal responsibility is assumed by the child, more privileges are granted.

However, it is not wise to assume that because the children now live in adult body, that they possess the wisdom of adult minds. While we will want to allow them the ability to make more decisions for themselves, we must also be ready and willing to invoke the parental “Notwithstanding Clause.”

This involves the “priestly” role of the father which says “I will encourage and honour the decisions that you make for yourself, but if I determine that you are making a decision that is potentially harmful and not in the long term best interest of yourself or your family, I will exercise my parental authority, I will intervene, and direct you to make a better decision.”

Needless to say, this role also transitions with the maturing of the child.

Even with the “Notwithstanding Clause,” it is a tough call to make, especially if you value freedom for yourself and for your children. This is usually a prayer intensive time for parents and it should also be for the child.

The most common, major issue where the “Notwithstanding Clause” will have to be invoked is when the child muses about the idea of going to school or back to school. Assuming that the foundational premise for home educating was to ensure that the children would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, parents must be prepared to simply say NO.

Girls are usually the ones who want to go to school and the reason is almost always friends rather than academics. Boys usually don’t care, but may also seek school for essentially the same reason, especially if they are the last one at home.

The biggest concern is when parents, themselves, lose their resolve to trust in the Lord and start putting more confidence in man and his institutions.

Whether it’s the girls or the boys or the parents who desire a return to school, the best answer is still NO. In keeping with Paul’s admonishment to the Galatians, having spent the primary years “in the spirit” so to speak, one must ask why we would want to be “perfected by the flesh” in the secondary years?

Besides, if you had even an inkling of what is transpiring in schools today, as a loving parent, you would do everything possible to keep your children out of there.

There is no doubt that parenting during these transitional years will be exciting and at times challenging. It will not be long before it’s all over and the child is gone. This is not likely something that you want to hear right now, but the alternative is not good!

When considering that most parents have always had the greatest influence in the life of their children and the fact that the next four to six years will move at a speed much faster than the last, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about all the responsibility you carry. But is it actually your responsibility?

Simply put, God knew before He gave you children that raising them was going to be a difficult task! That’s why He instructed you to lead the children to Him, so He could lead them in their lives.

Once again, we need to remember that while our parental job description may be simple, it is in fact, not easy. Impossible? Maybe, but what is impossible for man, is not so for God.

Finishing Strong: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 1)

Well, it happened! It seems like you just started yesterday, yet your home education program has become an integral part of your life for some time now.

But things are changing! Those little children that you have poured yourself into are mysteriously changing into young men or women, and with that, your role in their lives needs to be adjusted as well.

Before we discuss this new phase of home education that is coming upon you, we should quickly review what has gotten you to this point in your journey.

I am assuming, of course, that both parents agreed to educate their children at home and that this decision was based on a solid foundation of Christian faith with the ultimate purpose of following God’s directive to teach your children to love and serve Him.

It is also assumed that both parents clearly understood that to bring any aspect of the status quo school system home was to invite trouble into their home education program.

I trust that in those first six or so years of “official” home education, you have discovered resources that fit your family’s specific needs, have come to be comfortable with some sort of schedule, and found a workable familial division of labour, not to mention a reasonable level of expectation of all family members.

Undoubtedly, you have also found that by choosing to be different from the rest, you challenged the status quo mentality, creating many “opportunities” to not only strengthen your resolve to continue on this path, but also to “practice your debating skills” against those who would have you do as they do.

Indeed, you have learned to be comfortable and secure with the way things have been working for you and your family, enjoying what can be described as “home education cruise control.”

Alas, “all good things must come to an end,” it is often said, but sometimes things actually don’t end, but rather change, or transition, or transform into something different, something like how a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly.

Children also go through a sort of metamorphosis. Like the butterfly, puberty may change a lot of things, but the end “product” is still what God originally created, with the notable inclusion of what you have done with them, up to this point.

How this transition or “metamorphosis” will go is anybody’s guess, but it is safe to say that the best place to prepare for and go through it, is with the parents at home.

Indeed, this metamorphic change is an almost mystical transformation into “adulthood.” Parents may find themselves going from being the source of all wisdom to being the target of criticism and challenges. To be sure, this is not always the case. However, we should not only expect this, we should encourage it!

I know. I know. Why not just have the wonderful children you raised, simply transition into wonderful adults without any of these challenges, contests, even outright rebellion stuff? It is true that not all pubescent children will behave in the same way, but when they do “declare their independence,” it may actually be nothing more than the exercising of the inquisitive, questioning mind you encouraged, or a manner of reflecting what they have seen in you!

If you created them to be independent critical thinkers, and I sincerely hope you have, then you can expect them to “bite you” on occasion! If this happens, remember, they are not “biting” as much as testing to see if what you taught them is indeed true.

Observing that there is no mention of God having grandchildren helps us understand why children have to go through this process. This must occur in order for them to willfully establish their own personal relationship with God. Otherwise, we end up with clones, which I am sure you’ll agree, is far too common, nowadays.

This personal understanding of the message of the gospel is what we envisioned for them from the start. We just had no idea how this transition from parental faith to individual faith would happen, so this usually comes as a bit of a surprise to parents, especially with the first child.

As they develop an adult mind of their own, they will start to question and challenge a bit more, occasionally with a little more belligerence than you are willing to accept.

Although you do want to encourage them to personalize and internalize the truth that you taught them, there may be times when you may need to remind them of what constitutes acceptable behaviour.

Writing the truth upon the walls of their hearts during the formative pre-puberty years was the best way to prepare them for this event. Even though you may at times think that was a lost cause, we are promised that “when they grow old, they will not depart from it,” so have faith that those efforts were not in vain.

If we consider that the training of children starts at birth, that puberty takes place around twelve, and that a home education is essentially done by sixteen, it means we have about a dozen years to Run The Race in preparation for the four, six years at best, to complete the job and Finish Strong!

Potentially Losing The Race: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Running the Race (Part 3)

I sincerely hope that this blog does not really apply to you. However, living in this world provides ample opportunity to become discouraged and return to what we initially intended to escape.

The pressure to conform to the status quo never stops. This is true respecting our Christian commitment, as well as our desire to educate the children at home.

By now, you have learned how to address the concerns of loved ones regarding home education. You may have become so weary of the “socialization” question that you have invented a “less than gracious answer” and you have become convinced that you are not ruining your children’s lives!

Still, the pressure is on and life is not fair or particular as to who gets what problems, only that they are inevitable.

Parents can be tempted to quit and they do occasionally “lose their wheels” and trip while Running The Race. It can happen at any time of the year and at any point in the journey, but January and February seem to be the worst times.

Remember the statement made at the beginning, the one about “requiring a lot of effort and faith”? If there is no biblical foundation in your life, you are free to do as you please. If you do have a biblical foundation in place, you are still free to do as you please, only in this case, you no doubt started home educating as a conviction.

Knowing that God has directed parents to train, teach and disciple their children, with no provision to abdicate that responsibility to “hired, replacement parents” in a very dysfunctional “gigantic age-segregated family,” how does one veer from this revelation?

Is God confused? Does He require one thing of us in the beginning and then change His mind and redirect us in complete opposition to His Word? Some parents have even stated that “God has given them a peace” about quitting home education. Really? Who is confused?

It is safe to conclude that, in order to avoid having to admit and deal with our struggles and fears, we deflect the issues by justifying our decision and by claiming that it is God’s will.

This is where confusion has set in, and it is quite often that parents in this situation become tired of Running The Race, believing that they cannot provide what is best for their children.

Is quitting the answer? Do you think that anyone else can do a better job of training children than loving parents? Is being tired an excuse to quit? If frustrated, is quitting the answer or is fixing the issue causing the frustration the wisest thing to do? If the children are “driving you crazy”, is sending them elsewhere a solution?

In making that decision, are you not just postponing today’s problems until tomorrow, when those problems are likely to become much more serious?

Before quitting, consider the following:

Nothing will change the fact that God is God and that He has directed parents to train, teach and direct their children to Him so He can direct them in their lives. Review your reasons for home educating in the first place and ask yourself what has changed.

Everybody experiences a crisis of faith from time to time, and you are no different. If you are in a crisis of faith, remember that it is temporary and in time, will pass. Seek a friend or mentor to encourage you.

Even though continuing on may occasionally seem difficult, Paul’s letter to the Galatians instructs us to “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Remember that the darkest hour is usually just before the dawn.

Trials are to be expected in life. Learn and grow from them.

Finally, hang in there, God is not finished with you or your children. He is allowing you to be tested and He would never allow this testing to go beyond what you can endure.

Quitting may be the easiest solution, but it is a temporary one. As you have undoubtedly heard before, quitters never win. Sending your children to an institution can turn your children’s hearts from God to the world and its views and negatively influence family relationships.

Bringing the institution home is no better and not necessary, as there is no need for high school accreditation. We will address these issues in the next portion of this series.

In the meantime, remember our discussion about having to sacrifice when given children. Remember that we said that this sacrifice can be expressed as parents sacrificing themselves for the sake of the children or children being sacrificed for the sake of the parents.

The enemy wants your children and he wants them bad. He is fearful of fully equipped believers who can inflict damage to his diabolical plan.

The home educated are likely his biggest concern as he has not had the opportunity to poison their thinking to distrust God and His promises. And he has no lack of volunteers to aid him in discouraging parents who have determined to follow God’s directives rather than his schemes.

Perhaps keeping your children home is the simplest solution to keep them out of harm’s way, but nobody said it was going to be easy.

Trust me. You will never regret having kept your children at home, but you are sure to question the wisdom of sending them back to school or bringing that failed human institution home.

It is best to continue on your home education journey, so you can Finish Strong.

Training For The Race: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Running the Race (Part 2)

The most common issue that arises during the “Running The Race” phase of home education is familiarity. The mother is always with the children and the children start to see her as one of them. Fathers have to be especially diligent in having the children keep a healthy respect for their mother during this time.

Dad also can become a little complacent, since mom is doing such a good job. It is true that if “something isn’t broken it is not wise to fix it,” but it is also true that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The overriding principle at this stage becomes “if momma isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Dad should take mom out on a date, giving her a chance to bounce some ideas, vent a little and to enjoy some “adult company.” It is probably a good thing to make a habit of this. Mom needs to be encouraged too and there is no one who can do this better than a loving, faithful, caring and responsible husband.

The father HAS to be involved in the training, teaching and discipling of their children, at all times, as this is HIS responsibility and not the mother’s, even though the mother does most of the work involved in the home education.

The mother’s role is simply to be a helpmeet, that is, to help the father meet his goals for the preparation of his children to be good citizens of this world while serving God in every way.

I have found that if the father is not seriously involved in this part of the training, he is largely disqualified from being taken seriously by the children after puberty. Fathers may not be physically there, in the home, on a day to day basis, but their authority, which comes from God should be omnipresent.

I cannot overstate the importance of having the father take and demonstrate responsibility in the education of his children, with mother actively performing the task on his behalf.

It should also be noted that even though academic study is important, it pales in comparison with understanding who God is and how He desires to be part of our lives.

Let’s take a close look at a couple of Bible verses to get a vision of our goal as Christian home educating parents.

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” is the most quoted verse in the home education world. Although we may quote it often, do we truly understand what it means?

It says train, not teach, up a child, not an adult. Training is just that. The repeating and repeating of things to the young, until it is finally absorbed. Training is aimed at the heart, not the head, which is the target for teaching.

Training the heart is what should take place before puberty arrives. There is plenty of time for teaching the head afterwards. If the heart is not trained before puberty, you may end up with an educated person, yet someone without a moral rudder. This is becoming all too common, these days.

It may be instructive at this point to expose the fact that schools constantly talk of teaching, and almost never, if ever, mention training until the post-secondary level. I believe this shows that the status quo education system is either not interested in training children, or fully understand that the heart is what needs to be targeted, secretly perhaps, with the Godless, unbiblical, anti-Christian message it advances under the banner of neutrality. Think about this.

Back to Proverbs 22:6. I interpret the “in the way that he should go” portion as “in keeping with whom I have created.” God has already created the child who does not need to be improved upon. God saw that His creation was not just good, but very good, after he had created man. I believe God sees every child as complete and very good.

It is not our place to create something of our child, but to develop what has already been created. As stated by Abram’s coach in the movie Chariots of Fire, “it is not a good thing to try to put in what God has left out.”

The training of a child is therefore best described as writing the truth in their hearts. This is done constantly not only in word, but also, in deed.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, also a commonly quoted verse in the home education world, tells us just what should be written in the hearts of children, stating that this is the responsibility of parents, fathers in particular, and that it can only be successful when constantly reinforced in daily living. Sounds like home education to me.

Once the truth has been written in their hearts, even if they deny it, run from it, pretend it doesn’t exist or simply turn their backs on it, it remains etched on the walls of their very being. That is why it states “and when he grows old, he shall not depart from it.”

No matter what, truth written in the heart of a child is there to stay. They may be adults before they return to the fold, so to speak, but it will happen because the truth written in their hearts by loving parents cannot be erased.

Train up a child, in keeping with what God has created, by constantly reiterating, demonstrating, reinforcing and writing the truth on the walls of his heart, before he reaches puberty.

Making this training a part of Running The Race stage of learning will best prepare children for that day when, having gone through puberty, the teaching phase of the home education can proceed in earnest.