Friday, April 27, 2012

Is Homeschooling a Biblical Command?

Is homeschooling a Biblical command?  My best short answer to this question?  No.  But, is there strong Biblical support for Bible-centered homeschooling?  Yes.  Obviously, this is a complicated issue, and one I have been asked recently, so I am going to do my best to attempt to answer it.
When I first began homeschooling Isaac as a preschooler in 2008, I can't say I necessarily felt "called" to homeschool.  I also didn't think it would be a sin for me to send him to public or private school (I still don't).  But, fast forward four years, and I can undoubtedly say that God has blessed me in my decision to homeschool a thousand times over.  The blessing comes not only in academic results that I see regularly, but in the relationship I have with my boys, and the path of learning God's Word and developing a Biblical worldview that they are on.  Believe me, there are days that are challenging beyond what I think I can handle.  But, those are also days I see God's Blessing in my decision to homeschool my children.  It is in my weakness that He can become stronger.  This isn't just a Christian platitude...I have seen it's application over and over in my daily life.  Just when I think I don't have the strength to do it anymore, God meets me at the point of my greatest need, and I can go on. 
I'm not one of those homeschoolers that can make a blanket statement that every Christian parent needs to homeschool their children.  There is strong evidence that it is effective in academic pursuits and in helping our children keep a Biblical worldview and have a relationship with God as adults.  There is an overwhelming amount of children, raised in Christian homes and going to public school that end up leaving the faith of their family in adulthood.  That statistic drops way down when the child has been homeschooled.  Do I believe that children can be salt and light in the public school system?  Yes, I firmly believe that.  It happened with me.  Because my faith was challenged in many ways throughout my public school education, I believe it made me a stronger Christian.  I had to know why I believed what I believed so that I could defend myself.  My faith became much more watered-down when I went to college at a Christian school.  I was a child that needed opposition to develop my faith.  My kids could be those type of children as well, but I am not willing to take the risk.
So, I have already stated that I believe God has blessed my decision to homeschool, He walks the path with me, and the empirical evidence strongly supports homeschooling as being academically and spiritually positive for my children.  But, is there an actual verse that one might cite as giving grounds for homeschooling?  Most in the homeschooling community would cite Deuteronomy 11:14-20
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  Teaching your children is a command given by the Lord in this verse.  And, because of it's constancy (when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up), it can be practically applied to a homeschooling situation.  I have much more time with my children than if I were to send them away to school.  Are we constantly meditating on scripture?  No, but I do try to incorporate a Biblical worldview into many parts of our day.  I want the Bible to be so ingrained in them by the time they leave my nest, that living it is as natural as breathing.  There are no guarantees that my children will be the brightest and most spiritually sound people when they are ready to venture into adulthood, but I want to give them the best chance possible to achieve this. 

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