With the holidays behind us and those New Year resolutions still fresh on our minds, it is a good time for each of us to take a step back and remember why we are enduring the joyful and rewarding pain of home education. For example, teaching our children academic skills is important, but I hope you would agree that there is more to home schooling than just academics. Protecting the hearts and minds of our children in an ever-increasingly perverse society is important. I hope you would agree that there is more to home schooling than simply sheltering. Educating our children at home is every bit of those two goals but not as ends unto themselves. They serve, rather, as the means toward equipping our children in terms of a larger vision that believes our children, when trained and educated in the proper context, can make a difference in the course of our nation’s future.
Changing the overwhelming momentum of the way 266 million people think and behave may seem like a laughable notion. After all, who am I and who are my children that anyone would give us a serious ear? One might liken our small voice to one crying against the thundering, uncontrolled stampede of a herd of buffalo about to run over the edge of a cliff. Humanly speaking, it seems useless to raise one’s voice against the deafening thunder of such momentum. Additionally, to actually take action by stepping in front of the crowd, waving one’s arms in warning, and pointing to a new direction can be deadly.
To produce the kind of generation that has the vision, confidence, and courage to face the challenge of God’s calling is the reason we home educate. The academics are important–we must not lose sight of that. We must agree with Paul, however, that the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5). Purity of heart and mind, as well as a mature faith that thinks and acts biblically, are critical ingredients in the making of a generation that hopes to change the course of a nation.
Innocence in Decline
The age of childhood innocence is quickly vanishing before our very eyes. Sexual crimes, murder, physical assault, drug abuse, and suicide are crimes committed by and against children at an increasingly younger age. The reality of this trend is shocking to the senses. This moral deterioration is the product of a society that has expelled God from the public arena and is bent on exploiting the finances of adults by marketing toys and entertainment toward the foolishness of children.
Parents who take seriously their duty to guard their children’s hearts do so proactively in at least two ways. First, they honestly evaluate their own moral failings as young adults and the consequences thereof, determine the avenue in which the moral failing entered their life, and then determine to shield their child from the same events and subsequent consequences. Morally defrauding events might be broadly classified as obvious events, not-so-obvious events, and unforeseen events.
Obvious defrauding events include the typical all-American boy/girl date, watching any NFL football game with commercials, and most of the comic books in today’s grocery store. Not-so-obvious events might include nighttime sleepovers where someone else provides the comic books or array of sultry jokes, billboards along the highway, and magazines at the grocery checkout stand. Unforeseen events might include the youth group meeting or a church camp at which an unforeseen boy, girl, or worker decides to prey upon your son or daughter.
Clearly, parents cannot shelter their children from every threatening event that might come along; therefore, the second step of the proactive parent is to bring a mature and biblical analysis to bear on moral issues that confront our children. To do so is a must for the parent; he cannot ignore the issues and hope the child will get through unscathed. Be assured: someone or something will define the issues for the child. The parent must face the question of who or what is going to be the defining force in the life of the child–the parent or some stranger.
Educating for Effectiveness
Those of us who determine to be the ones who define the issues for and with our children have several challenges before us. Most of us have to come to grips with the implications of the education we received from a godless, governmental system. The public schools did not teach us to think correctly. All of us who are teaching our children, therefore, should be challenged to jettison the system of accumulating and analyzing data we were taught in school and to replace it with a radically biblical worldview.
A biblical worldview agrees that wisdom and knowledge have no beginning point other than the fear of God; therefore, all known facts and knowledge owe their very sustenance to God, Who is the definer of everything that is known. Accordingly, the fact that two plus two equals four and that it does yesterday, today, and tomorrow cannot be known truly by our children unless they know it from the foundation of godly fear.
The point is not to get into a discussion on the theory of knowledge. The point is to assert that the assessments and solutions offered by our children to the problems of society will be no more appealing or effective than the next guy’s solution unless the solution originates from the objective standard of God’s word. All other proposals are arbitrary, man-centered solutions.
Solutions based on the objective word of God will be even more convincing because of the confidence our children will have in the truth of their solutions. These young people will know how to avoid answering a fool according to his folly while answering the fool in accordance with his folly (Proverbs 26:4, 5). They will be the means by which God turns the wisdom of man into foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:20) by the strength of the eternal truth of His word. That is not to say there will not be naysayers or that the naysayers will not prevail in a debate; it is to affirm that God is the One who determines the voice of even the naysayers and that our Christian duty is to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) in spite of the perceived outcome.