Aaron Smith of the Mises Institute wrote a very good piece entitled “In Praise of Homeschools” about the motivations, struggles, and prejudices homeschooling families deal with every day. Jenny and I have been homeschooling our children for almost 10 years now in 2 different states. While we’ve never been under the kind of persecution that Californians and New Yorkers endure, we’ve certainly had our share of looks and 3rd degree interrogations due to the choice we’ve made.
Smith lists 4 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of the average homeschooling family — Academics, Socialization, Finances and Values. He’s spot on in all of these, but the 4th KPI — Values — is what motivated Jenny and me most to choose homeschool.
Have you stopped and looked around recently? Notice the “clothes” that young girls wear today. Listen to the language on TV during prime time and subsequently out of the mouths of our youth. How about the utter disrespect that children have for their teachers, parents, elders, or siblings? The moral backbone of our country has all but disappeared as so-called Conservatives and Christians have thrown up their hands in surrender to the godless liberal agenda — but not just in the schools. Their attack has permeated our homes, our government, and our churches as well.
So why do we homeschool? What values do we espouse?
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Jenny and I knew many years ago that the foremost goal of our children’s education should be for them to understand and hold fast to our values. We had purposefully chosen not to conform to the shifting standards of the world but we cling to the unchanging standard of God’s Holy Word.
Many have asked how we feel about Private Schools / Christian schools. My response would be that our values are not only grounded in WHAT we teach, but HOW we teach as well. Even if the school professes to have Christian values identical to our own, Even if the teachers are some of the most godly men and women around with superb academic credentials — age-segregated, herd mentality classrooms are just breeding grounds for moral corruption.
What is this fascination that we have with age segregation? Is there anywhere else in life that we isolate ourselves to those exactly our age? Do you work with only people your age? Shop in store for the 35 year olds only? Restaurants? The gym? The roads? Sadly, the only other place that I can think of where age segregation is considered normal is in some churches during Bible class.
It’s nonsense to believe that sticking a bunch of 10 year olds together is the best way for them to learn. My children are constantly surrounded by those younger and older than them because that’s how life is. This teaches the older ones responsibility, to help the younger ones, and it reinforces the lessons that they should have already learned. The old adage goes “the best way to learn something is to try and teach it to someone else”. The younger ones learn from the experiences of their elders. They see what’s expected of them not just now but what will be expected when they age.
Scripture clearly teaches us that it is the responsibility of the elderly men and women of the church to instruct the younger generations.
Titus 2:1-8 (NKJV)
1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
What a shame and a waste it is for us to ignore the wisdom our silver-haired prophets in our congregations and communities! We’ve pushed away our parents and grandparents, telling them that they’re old fashioned or behind the times to our loss. At the same time, we’ve convinced ourselves that our lifetime of labor should culminate in retiring on a golf course somewhere or sitting idle watching TV all day.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NKJV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
In my previous post, I wrote about the ever increasing intrusiveness of government in our lives. But this is our own fault. We have become comfortable letting government take over our responsibilities.
I understand that homeschooling may be ideal but not practical for everyone. I’m not one that thinks everyone must homeschool. It is a sacrifice and it is not easy. But I know that there are many more people out there that COULD be homeschooling their children than are. You don’t need a PhD in education or Calculus (in fact, it’s probably better if you don’t.) As for me and my household, it is a simple choice of priorities and values.