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Is Homeschooling a Good Idea?

Every parent recognizes the awesome responsibility of providing for the earthly needs of his or her child. As Christians, we must always be aware that we are only stewards of all that God has given us – and that includes our children. With respect to their education, Christians have dual concerns: we must provide a solid education to enable them to navigate and succeed in this life, but God has also charged us with the sacred duty of leading them into a right relationship with Him and preparing them for the spiritual battles of this world. To accomplish either of these goals, we must also keep them safe. One day, we will give an account for our handling of this sacred duty.

We have all received God's commission to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.* They are His, and He depends on us to bring them home. We owe God our greatest diligence and care when deciding whom to include in the care and training of these children. In an era when public schools have shunned God in favor of evolution, abortion, critical race theory, and the homosexual agenda, every kind of bullying is rampant, drug abuse is a constant threat, and state test scores are at an all-time low, it seems ill-advised to hand over our children to the public sector.

Many of today's parents and grandparents don't realize how much public schools have changed over the last two decades. We can not afford to base our decisions on outdated, nostalgic images of what public school used to be when making decisions that have such far-reaching implications for our children's futures and such massive consequences for the present. Children are incredibly vulnerable, and a parent's window of opportunity to influence their fundamental thought processes is surprisingly narrow. We dare not waste it!

As Christian parents, we have a responsibility to put our children's spiritual welfare first. While there are some fine Christians working in the education field, sadly they are few and far between. It is certain that the vast majority of our kids' public school teachers won't be dedicated Christians. Even if a child is fortunate enough to be assigned to the best, we must be aware that even the finest Christian teacher in a public school is legally handcuffed – not allowed to teach the truth. Thankfully, in all 50 states, we have the right to teach our children at home and we do not need to gamble.

The very existence of the homeschooling option forces us to examine our priorities when we choose an educational path for our children. The study of God's word reveals throughout each chapter a consistent call to excellence for those who would be God's people. Excellence is required in how we parent, and it will be required of our children when they are grown to take up their crosses as well. How will you prepare the children God has entrusted to you for eternity? Someday we will all answer for these decisions.

It has been argued by some that children need to learn to deal with the “real world” and that public school is the best way to accomplish that goal; yet, in at least four significant ways, public school is an environment which has no parallel in adult life. First and most importantly, children enter the public school system young and completely impressionable. They will never be so vulnerable again. Every child who is a Christian is a new Christian. We always advise new adult Christians to avoid situations that might tempt them excessively or lead them astray; why do we suspend such common sense advice when that new convert is a child?

The second problem: they can't walk away. God tells us how to deal with temptation: we are to walk away. In public schools, children aren't allowed a way out of a bad situation. They have no choice but to walk the halls, eat lunch, use the restrooms, and work with the very people who are causing them problems. Consider the implications of this double standard! An adult confronted with a work situation in which he was threatened physically or spiritually, would be congratulated for quitting and finding a better job, while a child is typically respected only when he can “tough it out” and stay – no matter how bad it gets – in the name of learning to deal with all kinds of people. Why do we not recognize the dangers of this scenario when those involved are children? God promised that with every temptation He would provide a way of escape. Homeschooling is often the only way of escape, but only a parent can open that door for a child in danger.

The third problem: while they are in school, our children are the captive audience of a professionally trained educator. They are required, at times, to learn error and repeat it or face failing grades – and parental dissatisfaction. How confusing this must be for our kids! Our children do need to learn how to defend their faith, but why do we expect the public school system to teach them how? They can not teach what they do not know.

We don't send young men to the front lines against hardened professional soldiers to learn how to fight because we know very few would survive. Looking at the statistics, we see that few young people survive public education alive in their faith. We shouldn't be surprised. What sort of basic training do we give them? We daily send our little ones against the behemoth of the education system armed with little more than Bible story coloring pages. They have to be strong enough to stand against a well-organized curriculum literally designed to destroy their faith delivered by a trained adult teacher they are taught to respect. Is your child ready for that? Are you ready?

Lastly, children face this whole collection of issues alone. Parents, their God-ordained protectors and rightful teachers, aren't there to defend them or show them how. The social dynamics that now exist in schools lead hundreds of children every day to the brink of suicide because of bullying and intimidation from their peers if they, in any way, fail to conform to the worldly standards that we as Christians are called to reject. Occasionally, one gets upset enough to kill not only himself, but as many others as possible. This is a stressful environment for a child to have to grow up in.

What about Christian schools? While Christian schools can certainly be an improvement over public ones, the truth remains that they are not part of God's original design for educating children. The vast majority of religious schools are funded by, and owe allegiance to, a particular denomination. These schools typically teach man-made creeds which can be just as confusing as worldly ones. In an attempt to appeal to more people, they may compromise the word of God – sometimes leaving out Biblical teachings they fear will not be popular, and sometimes misapplying scriptures or adding ideas that are outside of God's design. Any of these issues can become divisive within your family and hinder your relationship with your child – which is the most important thing because it is the parent's duty to lead the child to God. Our attitude towards our relationship with our children should be as Paul told the Corinthian Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:1. “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

As we homeschool our children, we are not always able to provide all the worldly attractions we're accustomed to in public schools. There may not be a strong sports program or a long list of clubs to join, but we can teach our children the word of God and the value of a rich spiritual life. We can provide a far safer environment, and a stronger academic program. We can build an enduring family culture that will bring us all joy through the years. These should be our top priorities.

God designed the home for the raising of children. In Deuteronomy 6:7, parents are told to teach their children diligently as they sit down, as they walk by the way, as they lie down to sleep and as they rise up – all the time. It is not only for the sake of our children that God designed it this way. God ordained that we should parent our children, taking full responsibility for them before Him for the purpose of our becoming all that we can be for Him. We are all learning together. To refuse any part of that calling limits our growth and our relationship with God, because every aspect of every relationship was designed to help us understand something about our relationship with God. Homeschooling is surely the best choice whenever it is possible. It is worth many sacrifices to claim the joys that await us - at home.

These are troubled times we are living in. Your children are on the front lines, but you don't need to wait for a presidential or congressional decision. You can bring your children home today!

Ephesians 6:4 And, you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:7 And 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 up.

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