The most difficult part of any job or venture is starting. No matter how much you have researched, observed, planned, imagined, thought or prayed about this new venture, the fact that our world view is corrupted with misinformation means that any decision is usually accompanied by unknowns, bad ideas, hang ups and baggage that bring about fears and insecurities. Determining to educate your own children at home is no different.
The common act of sending our children to perfect strangers, separated from parents and family, to be “trained” in the ways of the world is so ingrained that it is rarely questioned. When it is, you will discover that the system is broken and bringing it home won’t fix it. To home educate requires a paradigm shift in thinking, otherwise it is bound to challenge, frustrate, and eventually terminate your resolve to teach your children at home.
Although I personally believe home education is the best option for training, teaching and guiding children, I am not so naive as to think that everyone can do it. In a perfect world those who can would assist those who can’t, but this world is hardly perfect.
Having said that, I still believe the best decision will undoubtedly be to do the job yourself. No doubt the best time to make this decision is before the children start “school.” Starting from the beginning means there is no need for repair. The longer children are in school before coming home, the more difficult the task.
However, the biggest issue with keeping or bringing the children home will nearly always be that the school comes home as well. There are very few home educators who were home educated and even fewer who do not normalize the school’s way of approaching education.
That is why we spend so much time on this topic. Time keeps me from telling of the many home education programs that started on the right foot, only to be sabotaged at some point by schools, or people who trust government as the source of wisdom for the education of children.
What is even more disappointing is how many start home educating, claiming that they are doing so in obedience to God, but simply don’t trust Him to see the process to the end. Many lose their resolve to continue once the children get to the high school level.
This is a classic real world example of the apostle Paul’s statement to the Galatians when he called them foolish, who having begun by the Spirit, expected to be finished or completed by the flesh.
Simply put, this is either a lack of understanding or more precisely a lack or crisis of faith. When nearly every student and parent has experienced nothing but some variation of school, it is easy to understand how this can happen. After all, you have a much, much better chance of people encouraging you to return to what you know than to continue with what you don’t.
The most troubling words I can hear when meeting a family just embarking on their home education journey is when one of the parents tells me that he or she is a certificated teacher. Not that this is bad, but it means that they have not only experienced twelve years of classroom learning, but an additional four years of Godless, unbiblical, anti-Christian indoctrination at college!
Make no mistake about this. A “Christianized” version of secular thinking is still secular thinking. Believers should understand that there are no versions or variations of the truth. It is either the truth or it is not. A critical look at school will provide ample opportunity to question the logic, sense and “truth” upon which it is based.
Since nearly all those choosing to home educate are indoctrinated to think, normalize, defend and/or emulate school, our biggest and most frustrating job is the deprogramming of parental school-based thinking while encouraging them to have faith in God.
No doubt it would be easier for us to simply prey on this misinformation, and while it may earn us more clients and money, it would not earn us the “well done thou good and faithful servant” we want to hear at the end of our journey here on earth.
So, let’s sum this up. In a nutshell, for home education to work, both parents have to agree to home educate; both need to be involved, at least in some capacity; and it is a mistake to bring school home, either in philosophy or technique.
Without a clear desire to do something different, you will end up with the same. To desire to outperform the school, you may end up with a better “product,” but like any other thing, it will still be a “product.” If school is not based in biblical truth and philosophy or shall we say, is “bad” from a Christian perspective, then to do the same, only better, results in a “better bad,” not an alternative.
Understand that compromising Christianity with school philosophy produces a logical inconsistency that will eventually undermine our commitment to God and consequently, our home education.
Training, teaching and raising children is no small task and deciding to do it yourself at home makes this task easier than having to live with school, but you had better have a plan or you may be planning to fail. We will talk about this next time.