Dear Christian Parents,
I’m sure that you have seen television programs that give you the instruction, “Don’t try this at home.” Usually, the program depicts a person engaged in some dangerous activity, and therefore a disclaimer is necessary to protect the viewers from harm and the producers of the program from any liability. Those producers don’t want to be blamed and sued by a viewer who gets injured while trying to imitate the program. Therefore, the producers insist that viewers should leave the dangerous activity to the professionals who are trained to handle it properly.
This reminds me of a common opinion about homeschooling, which essentially says to parents, “Don’t try this at home.” Parents are told that attempting to educate their own children is dangerous. They are often made to think that if they teach their own children at home, then their children are likely to be socially awkward and woefully unprepared for adult life. To avert this disaster, parents are convinced to entrust the education and training of their children to the professionals who are equipped to teach children properly.
One of the chief proponents of this opinion is the National Education Association (NEA). The NEA is the main labor union that represents teachers and other educational professionals. The 2007-2008 NEA resolutions stated, “The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience” (resolution “B-75. Home Schooling”). The resolution also declared, “Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.” In other words, the NEA believes that parents cannot adequately teach their children, parents should be licensed in order to teach their own children, and parents should not be allowed to teach their children anything that is not approved by the state.
The NEA’s opposition to homeschooling is self-serving and wrong, for their resolution against homeschooling conflicts with the truth of God’s word and research evidence. Regarding the word of God, the Bible tells us that God designed the home as a place of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (Proverbs 24:3-4), which makes it quite adequate to provide a comprehensive, godly education for children. Rather than calling on civil governments to license the teachers of children, God’s word simply designates parents as the teachers of their own children. God commands fathers to bring up their children in the His discipline and instruction (Ephesians 6:4). He requires mothers to bring up and love their children (1 Timothy 5:10; Titus 2:4). He calls on parents to provide instruction, training, discipline, and correction for children so that they will learn wisdom, godliness, and self-control (Proverbs 1:8-9; 10:13; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Hebrews 12:7-11). Regarding curriculum, God doesn’t require state-approval, but instead He calls upon parents to continuously teach His word to their children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). (For a full exposition of the Biblical pattern for education, see my book Dear Christian Parents: An Appeal for Homeschooling.)
To put it succinctly, the word of God addresses the matter of education by saying to parents, “Do try this at home.” This message should counteract the anxiety created by the fear-mongering of those who speak against homeschooling. The God who created us and grants to us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) has provided an effective way for children to be educated. His way of teaching children gives them the best, most comprehensive, godly education they can have, for it encompasses all of the knowledge of God’s creation and teaches it in a context of truth and righteousness. How could any education be better than that?
Not only does God’s word affirm and advance the practice of homeschooling, but there is copious research evidence that confirms the goodness of homeschooling. Academically, socially, civically, and morally, homeschooled students are excelling versus students who are educated in formal schools. I suggest that you read some of the material from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) at www.nheri.org. You will be pleased with what you find.
However, our society has other plans for children and their education. Society’s model for children calls for their parents to turn them over to be trained by other people. Children are to be practically abandoned to schools, day-care centers, and babysitters while their parents pursue other interests. Society tells us that “it takes a village” rather than a home to raise a child. We are told that children need trained professionals to raise them properly, so we shouldn’t try it at home ourselves. Instead, the home is simply to be a place where children may eat, sleep, and play.
The choice of many people to accept society’s models for their home and their children’s education rather than God’s models is now bearing its fruit. This is the universal principle of sowing and reaping in action, which cannot be violated. Many parents have sown their children to the world, and now they are reaping godless adults who are likely to generate more after their own kind. Even many Christians have made the mistake of turning their children over to be raised by others, and they have suffered the spiritual loss of their children as a result. They may be dismayed over these results, but they should not be surprised, for they have reaped as they have sown.
Dear Christian parents, do not waste the stewardship that God has given to you for your children. Your home is the best place to educate your children in godliness, and you are the best person to provide that education. Consider your goals for your children: Do you want them to have worldly educations, esteemed careers, exorbitant incomes, or temporal success in the world? Are these your priorities for them? If so, then turn them over to the world, and they might reach your goals. However, if your goal for them is that they become servants of the Most High God, then hold on to them with all of your strength and make your home a haven for their godly training. The world cannot provide what God can give them through you, so make every effort to bring them up in a godly home. If you will do this, then you and your children will be rewarded eternally.
Regards in the Lord,
© 2011 Dear Christian Parents