Monday, 4 October 2010

Why we home educate

We haven't always home educated. Our older three went to nursery aged either two or three and have then been to academic private schools. As time has gone on, we have become convicted of the need to "Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6 v4) and that we should "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22v6) and of the admonition on Deut 6v6-7 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou riset up.".

We had also been increasingly convicted of our compromises in having the children in school. We were, perhaps, not interventional enough and Christians we love and respect have the courage and ability to challenge over more issues. We felt compromised by attempts at "worship" in school-nativity plays, "hymns" sung which certainly weren't reformed, the children being asked to colour pictures that were irreverent and depicted the Lord even when a travesty of Christianity was taught, other religions being taught as more than equal to Christianity, the Lord's name being taken in vain by children all the time and there being no rebuke for this. I haven't arrived at evolution and the non-teaching of creation as a credible alternative, atheistic geography and population teaching, sex education from an amoral perspective etc etc.
We had spoken to staff about issues such as witches in books, about the issue of irreverent pictures, about amoral sex education and about trips/orchestra on the Lord's Day. Our older children have missed several trips due to them being over the Lord's Day.

Almost eighteen months ago now, we withdrew our second son from school and made plans to home educate him and the younger two. We didn't have a Christian school alternative. We made the decision to leave the older two in school due to the fact that they were closer to the end of their education and major exams.
The last eighteen months haven't been easy. It isn't easy taking a child out of school, buying curriculum for a child several years into school, researching ways of teaching and explaining. It hasn't been easy starting home education with a baby and toddler. It hasn't been easy facing opposition to our decision. God hasn't promised us an easy ride.

We have been blessed with encouragements; the many people who pray for us often older people with little personal experience of home education, the home educators and Christian teachers both in the state sector and in Christian schools who have spent time and effort talking us through curricula and methods of teaching subjects from phonics to art to Latin nouns.

We know that home educating is not a guarantee that our children will be converted, anymore than not home educating is a guarantee that they won't. God is sovereign. We can only cry to Him for mercy on our children. We realise that we can teach our children at home but still teach them from a worldy and not Christian world view. Our job is to be faithful and to follow His Word as closely as we can.

10 comments:

  1. God bless you for your faithfulness and I pray that others will follow your example.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for sharing this, Sarah! It reflects very well our own issues with state-schooling.
    I know several Christians that are sceptical of homeschooling because they feel that the Christian presence in schools is paramount. Whilst I agree that Christians should be trying to influence, it is increasingly difficult to do so. Chris and I do not have personalities strong enough to influence other adults, in the academic setting, and we feel that damage control after school may be more challenging than actually educating them at home. This is one of the reasons why we've decided to homeschool, too, Lord-willing.
    Another reason why we want to is the influence of the worldly children in the schools at the impressionable ages. The children in the school behind us (ages 5-11) regularly beat one-another up, use profanity in everyday speaking, and have interests that are seemingly cemented in pop-culture and entertainment. Marriage is relatively unheard-of and probably discouraged for the sake of education. Two unbelieving friends have considered home-educating from before we did.

    We, too, do not make this decision based on what we think will convert our children. We do want to obey God in the way we raise them and, with His help and mercy, give them good grounding and challenge in spiritual things, which is of utmost importance.

    May He bless and keep your children and bring those that do not yet know Him into His Kingdom. May they all be protected from our Enemy's attacks on their souls and characters. May they grow to be Mnasons, living a life that is characterised by laying-hold of Christ from their youth.

    So, hey, I agree wtih Jonathan Hunt and perhaps you could say that our family is an answer to his prayer. I thank the Lord for His work in you and your example, Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your encouraging post Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just to encourage you, we have found it gets easier and easier every year, that confidence grows steadily (your own and other people's in you) and answering God's call will ALWAYS bear fruit. Have a great week this week!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Angelicscalliwags-thank you. That is very helpful. It is certainly easier starting with children who haven't been to school. For the younger ones, I didn't have to do any guessing about where they were at or making decisions about whether to use curriculum that had been used in school for continuity.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you have made the right decision, and I pray that God gives you the strength, wisdom and grace that you need, day by day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kondwani, thank you. We need His grace so much.

      Delete
  7. I am seriously considering home schooling my daughter as I am becoming unhappier by the day at the 'wordly' influences that she faces at school - the horrible unkindness and attitude that children should simply toughen up and accept it and the influences of television and music on vocabulary and behaviour. My daughter is currently in Year 4 and I know for certain that I do not want her to attend any of our local secondary schools. I am a single mum who works full-time (at the same school my daughter currently attends) so I am praying for God to guide my path and provide the necessary finances if/when it is his will for us to home school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous-home education is such a big decision and I well remember feeling increasingly unhappy about school. I will pray that you will have clear guidance about the right thing to do and also around the area of finance. I know that there are single mothers who home educate but that finance is often a major challenge. Last year, I read the book "Flourish" by a Christian single mother who home educates her four boys. I don't think that I could spin as many plates as she does but the book has some helpful ideas particularly around managing time.

      Delete
  8. Thank you so much - I will look up the book that you mentioned. We have had a period of home education in the past (although for very different reasons) and it was a struggle financially. Thank you for your prayers - grace, peace and love to you and your family :)

    ReplyDelete