Once there was a home school family that always got out of bed on time.Their Bible study and prayer time was always refreshing and invigorating. Meals were always sumptuous and healthful. The children were devoted to their studies; they jumped at the chance to do math, literature, Latin, spelling, science, and history. The only thing they enjoyed more was cleaning the house. Everyone was always kind and loving to each other and spoke to each other with the utmost respect. Their clothes always matched and were never dirty. The family’s activities were always historic, artistic, or organic. Their family room walls were covered with ribbons and plaques won from county fairs and community-service organizations, and their congressmen knew them by name.
Now back to reality. I do not need to tell you this home school family exists only in someone’s fevered imagination; however, I suspect they chronically infect almost every home schooling parent’s dreams of the future. Just how much of our vision of the home school family is based on reality, and how much of it is based on wishful thinking? How much is, in fact, an illusion?
Let me illustrate what I mean. Some people make images of God. Besides being an obvious violation of God’s command, the very idea that man could create God is absurd. That is, if God is God. Of course, most gods today are not created by a man’s hands but rather by his imagination. That is why you hear phrases like, “God would never punish somebody” and “God is out to get you.” This is because people have views of God that are not based on revelation but on mental images that were created by man; revering such an image is idolatry. In the same way that we can conceive and nurture an idolatrous image of God, we can cultivate an illusory vision of the family.
Our vision of the family can spring from a number of things. It may arise from a mishmash of sentiments fed to us by advertisements, talk shows, friends, magazines, or workshops. Perhaps parts of it are skimmed from our life experiences. The most accurate, stable and dependable vision of the family is one based upon truth—what God says about the family. However, the most popular ones are based on humanistic principles—what people think is true or desire to be true.
What difference does it make? A family based upon God’s thoughts—upon reality—will be led upward and onward to become more and more what God wants. The fruit of the Spirit will grow, and hearts will be tender toward God. This kind of family will be a steadying influence on their children, anchoring them in truth and pointing them toward the ultimate goal of godliness. These children are equipped to impart this family blessing to their own children and many generations to come. On the other hand, a home school family based upon illusion is at the mercy of two extremes. Either they exist in frustration and despair because their expectations are unrealistic and unattainable, or they subsist on such low expectations that nothing is accomplished and the entire home school experience is a failure. In either extreme, it is a family out of touch with reality and out of touch with God.
Whether you are just starting home schooling or are continuing the course that has been laid before you, let me encourage you to get in touch with reality—God’s reality. Listen. Hear what your spouse is saying. Hear what your children are saying. Most important, hear what God is saying. Listen and discern. Discover His vision for you and your family. God is very interested in how you homeschool your children, but remember, He has something bigger in mind for you. He wants to use you to establish a lineage of faithful servants (Genesis 18:19). Take the time to pause, listen, and pray. You will find that what God does in your home school family is no illusion.
Larry Arnold – has written 4 posts on this site.
Larry and Maureen Arnold as well as their sons Jed and Nathan were speakers at the 2003 THSC Convention and Family Conference. Larry is the author of The Patriarch’s Calling – Establishing a Lineage of Faithfulness. The Arnolds live in Bulverde and have been homeschooling for twelve years.