Our motto is “Seasoning our children’s souls through Christ”. This sums it all up. How am I to season my children’s souls through Christ if I don’t keep them at home to fill them up with salt, so that it is good and flavorful? (Matthew 5:13) We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) therefore we shall train our children so that when they are older they are set in their ways for life. (Proverbs 22:6) rather than sending them out into the secular world (public school system) before they have been trained to be set in their ways for life, lest the salt lose its savory properties and is cast out to be trampled under people’s feet.
For us, homeschooling isn’t simply an alternative to education. It’s a ministry we’ve been called into. It’s a discipleship to heed the Bible and raise our children the way God himself instructed us to do so. In essence, by homeschooling, I am obeying God by seeking a Christ-centered life for my children. This is also why we chose My Father’s World. It’s truly Christ-centered. Oh, we do drool over catalogs from WinterPromise, Sonlight, Timberdoodle, and so on, but none of these compare to how truly Christ-centered this curriculum is. We prayerfully make many choices on our children’s behalf as it is.
That being said, we looked around at how we can rear our children according to the Biblical model, by having them marinate themselves in God’s words from waking up to bedtime. Public school is no go because the Bible isn’t allowed to be openly discussed in the educational setting. Some schools are even forbidding students from praying. This is an non-supportive environment to a child’s floundering faith. Therefore, we investigated the local Christian schools. We liked what we saw until we looked at the price tag. We dropped that idea like a hot potato. They are simply out of our budget; period. Now, if God blesses my husband with a lucrative job, we will reconsider the private Christian school idea. For now, realistically, these schools all are beyond our ability to pay for it. It’s a struggle as it is to afford each year’s curriculum.
Also, I’ve noticed that if we do send them to a private school, there would be the dilemma of making sure our family comes first. It will become a lot more difficult to do so when everybody is gone at school/work for 8 hours a day, five days a week. A family centered lifestyle is possible doing this, but it would be a challenge. It made more financial sense to homeschool in order to have our children close by rather than surrendering them to the government.
Oh, speaking of the government, I’m doing a roundabout on my thinking. I think it’s wrong to release our children to authority figures before they can clearly understand the intricacy of right and wrong. After reading several books about protecting our children from predators, I learned that it’s simply too risky to allow a child to be away for many hours a day while a child is still in the developmental stage of learning about obeying authority figures. Children begin to comprehend the concept of telling another adult if they feel something is wrong at approximately age ten. Coincidentally, this happens to be the same age required for a child to be in order to go off on activities without the parent present, such as camping with boy scouts, sports in schools, and such.
Back to the authority figure point. I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that the parent is to be the authority figure in a child’s life when they are a child. I learned that Hebrew children in Biblical times did not go on to tutorships under teachers until they were 13, after their manhood rites. Wow. They learned everything else at home up to this point. This means if I am to follow the Biblical model, the family is responsible for their children’s education up to age 13 then that’s when they go on to learn from teachers, schools, synagogues, and such. I have friends that are sending their children to school beginning in preschool with the intention of pulling them out when they’re 12-13 years old. This is the reverse of the Biblical way children such as Jesus, David, Solomon, Samuel, and such were reared.
I believe the Bible to be relevant today, so I must obey it. If I am to raise my children to perceive their father as the authority in their lives, aside from God, who am I to introduce a teacher into their lives before they’re ready. I learned this the hard way, when a teacher disciplined my daughter for correcting her on a sign that the teacher was signing inaccurately. Yes, perhaps the public school teacher happens to be also a Christian, but the issue is that the law specifically forbids them from discussing the Bible with my children. My daughter had her britches in a bind for weeks after this incident and even a year later, she continues to be shy about using my language, ASL. All because I forced her to have another authority figure in her life. This greatly saddens me and frustrates this household to start over on learning how to communicate with each other. I am their mother. My language should trump your language in all instances.
My daughter would come home with the light gone from her face and that’s when I realized school was sucking the joy out of learning. I want both my children to become excited about learning. It’s a gift! Everything in this world and beyond is a gift to them from God for the discovering. How can learning not be a joy, when it brings one closer to knowing our Creator? With public school, it was not going to work out this way. However, with homeschooling, we have the ability to ignite a flame within our children’s minds and let them fan it into a blazing fire with hunger for learning. Homeschooling would allow us the flexibility to just be, to let the journey wind to and fro wherever God leads us, not what some curriculum tells them to do at this time on this day. God knows my children’s hearts, not some bigwig that decided all the children in public schools shall know this by first grade, but not this until second grade.
I am beginning to realize that homeschooling would allow me to make the educational experience a wholly-encompassing IEP for my children. No more hair-pulling IEP meetings where I must fight with the school to hold my child back in this subject, but push my child ahead in another subject. It’s a maddening lock-step system. Homeschooling enables us to have the freedom to dawdle on a concept if the children are having trouble grasping it right off the bat. They would have the opportunity to mull it over and hammer it firmly into their memories for retrieval later in life. Also, if they get it right away, we would have the freedom to quickly move on to the next concept, whereas in school the children would be bored while being stuck at the same level waiting on their peers to grasp what they already had.
That’s the thing. Children are individuals. 30 years old adults are not all the same with the same knowledge database. Why do we expect all children to know a certain set of concepts by invented due-dates according to when they were born? I am a grown woman and there are still many concepts I’m finally grasping that were gibberish to me when I was a teenager in school. Each child has an unique personality and a God-given purpose. They aren’t meant to be thrown into the oven of cookie-cutter education.
Another point on the cookie-cutter concept. In my school growing up, after each physical education class, we were required to change in the locker rooms. Those rooms were not set up like the ones at the YMCA where there are lockers set up in smaller rows creating many smaller private areas for friends to share and change in. The locker room at my school was one big room with showers along one wall. I was uncomfortable that the coach kept poking his head into the girls’ locker room and touching a few of us girls while we were nude. Even when he wasn’t being a nosy busybody, it was uncomfortable because I didn’t know where to put my eyes. If I stared at my feet, they would make fun of me for being shy, but if I looked around at the other girls, they would accuse me of being gay, when in fact, I am not. I ended up figuring out that their bra straps was a “safe” area to stare at. We also compared bodies. This girl has a chubby belly, but that girl has a big butt. Why does the boys like her? She’s fat! I do not want my daughter to experience this. Now, I am not saying I don’t want my daughter to ever experience a locker room. She’s been in several at the pool, the ymca, and such. But these locker rooms were set up differently and there were not any female adults present.
As my children’s mother, I wish to be fully informed of their health, since I am financially responsible for their medical bills as it is. I am concerned that more and more public schools are helping children obtain STD testing, prescriptions for birth control, and even abortions behind their guardians/parents’ backs. We, the parents, should have rights. Not the schools. I also worry about schools beginning to “help” families catch up on vaccinations whether or not they intentionally left a few vaccinations off their schedule because of religious objections, such as my family does. I would be sick to my stomach to discover schools have began to vaccine children against an unnecessary one such as the HPV. I am protective of my rights as a parent and I worry the schools are helping to erode them bit by bit.
Oh, I don’t mean to imply that schools are out to get our children. They aren’t. There are many good schools that truly care about the students. The problem is the government is growing too big as it is. Do they really need the additional responsibilities of trying to educate the nation’s children? They will fail dismally. The common core frightens me and I will not give them a chance to fail my children in the first place. It is a sad matter that the very good teachers are the ones that are paid a pittance and they also are the same ones that buy extra materials out of their own tiny paychecks and they devote their own unpaid time to help students. If all teachers begin sticking to only the government allocations and the lesson plans laid out by the government without supplements, you will see education decline. This is why curriculum choices should remain within each school district, decided upon by the school board, whom are voted for by the public.
There’s more, but that can wait for another blog post.