We absolutely believe that the best place to teach our children is at home. We are to love the Lord our God with all that we have, we are to teach our children the commandments which God has given us in His holy word. We are to teach them when we sit, walk, lie down and when we rise up. For our family, we believe that the only way we can teach our children diligently is to teach them at home. We believe it’s difficult to do those things if we send our children out of our home to be educated by someone else 8 hours a day.
Before I get too deep into this discussion, I have to first say we come from a family of public educators. In our family, you’re either a nurse or an educator and we have lots of both. Secondly, my husband and I were public schooled and thirdly I think public teachers have very difficult jobs. My goal is not to tell someone why we’re right and they’re wrong in their educational choices, but to tell you why it’s so important to us that it’s become part of our family vision statement.
If our most important goal is that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for many generations come to know God, then we should be teaching them as such. My husband and I went to a small public school in Kansas. We were both raised in the church and we went to school with most of the same kids in our youth group, yet the 2 environments were not in unison. We were taught ideas, theories and standards in public school that were contrary to the Christian faith ideas we were being taught at home, Sunday morning and Wednesday night. We were tested and drilled on those ideas, they were presented as fact and were treated as such. When the issue of faith was brought up with was quickly quelled with “separation of church and state” talk or the “I have to teach this to you” argument and it wasn’t discussed. There was no place for reconciliation, no place for harmony.
When our oldest was ready for kindergarten we sent him to a small Christian school that used to operate in our church. It closed half way through the year and we brought him home to learn. We had read the statistics about how homeschoolers did better on tests and academically than their public schooled counterparts. There are several studies from independent sources that support this, and we thought “well that’s good enough for us”. However, through God’s grace He began to show us that homeschooling is more than just teaching our children at home, but it’s an opportunity for discipleship with our children. It’s an opportunity to come along side them and learn together as a family, teach them our family values and give them the best start possible both academically and spiritually.
Discipleship is modeling and teaching Christians, and our children, the precepts of the Bible; mainly prayer, doctrine, Christian living, and worship. We build these concepts into our daily education with our children. We spend time with them discussing how the principles we’re learning in school apply to biblical principles in life. We integrate it into our studies, our lives and our home.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It comes down to goals for your children. What are your goals for when they are old? What kinds of things are you and do you want to train them to do and be? Because what you teach them now will stick around, it will be what they carry with them later. And children will believe what they hear the most often and the loudest. For many those are the messages they get when they’re sitting in a classroom, for some it is the message they receive at home during the school day and for others it’s the message they get watching TV. I assure you though, that they are getting a message.
If you count up the time that is spent in school, let’s say 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 30 weeks a year = 1200 hours of instruction in the public school system per year. Take those 1200 hours x 13 years of school (k-12) means that children are spending just under 16,000 hours under the instruction of someone else (teachers, coaches and peers) other than their parents. That’s 16,000 hours over the course of 18 years that we’re missing the opportunity to disciple them.
If we continue to look at how the rest of the 16 hours a day is spent. The average school aged child gets 9 hours of sleep a day. So now we’re down to 7 hours for the remainder of our time with our children. The average child has between 5 and 7 hours of screen time (computer, TV, phone etc). So that leave about 2 hours per day that the average parent would have to disciple their child if they’re sending them to public school, if that child doesn’t participate in outside activities such as music lessons or sports. It’s difficult to overcome the messages our children are getting with only 2 hours or less a day to disciple our children.
It comes back to what we feel God has called us as parent to teach our children. We have a very serious responsibility to educate the children God has blessed us with. Educating your children is the most important thing you will ever do as a parent. I would encourage you to ask yourself and pray about the following questions:
What are the most important things that you want your children to learn? How do you go about teaching those things? Are you willing to trust that someone else will want your children to learn those same lessons?