The Heart of Christian Homeschooling
- Thursday, March 06, 2008
Thus, another change we've made is to not have a "Bible curriculum." While we will occasionally use Bible study materials or take part in a group study, that's not our typical method of growing in God's Word. We read the Bible daily (both independently and as a family); we seek God in prayer for guidance and direction in our reading; we delve deeper by using concordances and dictionaries; we challenge each other with thoughts and questions; we enjoy speaking and living God's Word to the best of our ability. This is what we want for our children. We don't want our children's faith to become just another academic subject, or something to check off in a daily assignment book. We want it to be what they live and breathe.
The question we've returned to again and again is the same one that we challenge you to consider afresh today: "Why do we homeschool?" Our short answer? It's the only way we can do what God asks of us, which is imparting His Word to our children all day long! We feel that, Biblically, it's our responsibility to do this, and it's just not possible to accomplish this successfully in a public school paradigm. God wants us to homeschool so that we can teach His Word and raise our children in a lifestyle of authentic faith. All else is secondary. And it isn't a part-time endeavor. The Word must be both taught and lived in order for it to travel the 18 inches from the mind to the heart.
This active instruction in God's Word must move beyond the academic if it is to be effective. It is through "doing life" in an authentic way that challenges and conflicts emerge. And it is only through these trials that we have the opportunity to make our Biblical instruction real (see, for example, James 1:2-4). There is no better way to prepare our children to succeed in this world than to impart to them a solid, Biblical character.
Our answer to the question, "Why homeschool?" is indeed significant, but even more indicative of our true priorities is how we homeschool and how we're living out the beliefs we profess. It may be that we clearly see both the academic and "sheltering" benefits of homeschooling; as a result, these become emphasized because they provide obvious goals and measurable results. However, if we neglect the essential element of constantly immersing our children in the Word of God and a lifestyle of faith, they may suffer the consequences of a misapplied focus.
God cares little if our children score well on their SATs or go to an Ivy League school. He wants their hearts and minds to be centered on Him. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't properly prepare our children to be functional adults, or even that we should restrict them from experiencing success in a higher learning environment. However, it does mean that we can't neglect the essential element of everyday Biblical living as we pursue the academic and social aspects that can often become the focus of our homeschooling.
We would challenge all of us, then, to re-examine both why and how we homeschool, and to be mindful of God's heart for all of our families on this homeschooling journey:
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God (Psalm 78:2-8).
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