10 Lessons I've Learned from Thirty Years of Homeschooling
- Friday, July 13, 2012
If you want your children to share any of your convictions—biblical convictions, political convictions, or homeschooling convictions—it is not sufficient to just model these things or to teach them the facts in these areas. You must explain why. When they are 6, they rarely need to know why. By the time they are 11 or 12, the process of explaining why you believe what you believe should be a regular part of your conversations.
Children will be convinced of what you believe by the way you act. Children will share your beliefs when they understand the reasons that underlie the beliefs.
9. Teenage boys need men.
When your son gets to be about 13, it is time to expand his instructors beyond Mom. Dad is ideal. Other men can also help. Co-op classes can be considered.
I am very grateful to Dr. Tom Larry, who has taught my three youngest sons courses in chemistry. He is a PhD scientist and did a great job with a small group of homeschooled kids.
When your son is learning to be a man, Mom can still play a role in the instruction, but your son and your wife will be a lot better off if there are some men involved in the active instruction of your son.
10. Don’t let anyone tell you that homeschooling is distracting you from more important spiritual duties in the church.
There is a problem in the homeschooling movement of being too insular. You are not raising your children to sit quietly under a tree reading great literature while sipping genuine southern iced tea.
You should be raising warriors who have the courage to take on the world for the cause of Christ. If you want your children to be witnesses, you should be modeling witnessing. You should also give your children instruction and opportunities in sharing their faith. In other words, you should be discipling your children in Christ so that they will engage the world for the cause of Christ.
There is little doubt that some homeschoolers have become spiritually insular to an inappropriate degree. But, the reaction to this is not to turn discipleship of our children over to the church. Nor is it to shame the parents of homeschooling children into performing so many functions in the church that they have little time left for discipling their own children.
Every command in Scripture about teaching children—specifically teaching them the things of God—is directed at parents. This is not to say that the church can never teach children. That would be like saying the church can never use loudspeakers because they are not directly mentioned in the Bible.
But it is clear error to argue that the church is the primary means for the discipleship of children. We can discern an emphasis for the family from Scripture even if it pushes too far to claim that the family is the exclusive means of teaching children.
And, just take a look at how church-based discipleship is working. Fifty-eight percent of young adults who attended church every week when they were teens do not attend church at all by the time they are 29.1 Among born-again teens, only 9% believe that absolute truth even exists. And only 12% of born-again teens say that they make their moral choices based on the Word of God.2
Think of what would happen to the management of a soft drink company that shared the following facts with the board of directors: “Well, we have a recognized market share of teens who drink ‘Dr. Delicious’ every week. But, by the time they are 29, we have lost 60% of those consumers to other products. And when surveyed, only 9% say that they like the taste of the product now. And 12% say that they would purchase Dr. Delicious for themselves at the store while the other 88% simply drink it because it is the drink their parents bring home.”
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