I had one of those days recently where I was constantly frustrated by my children’s behavior. You know, where you expect your kids not to act like kids?
I couldn’t figure out why, at the ages of 9 and 6, they hadn’t overcome certain character flaws that I, a woman approaching her forties, still has difficulty with.
Then, I slipped into this line of thinking: “Hey, I homeschool. Where are these stinkin’ attitudes coming from??”
In this day and age, it’s important and necessary to protect our children from worldly influences so their faith has the best chance of taking root. According to the Barna Group, the overwhelming majority of adults have their moral and spiritual foundations already in place by age nine.
While we would be naive to think that any one provision could act as a recipe for creating Christ followers out of our children, homeschooling is a pretty good investment toward that end.
[we] want our family to meet in heaven someday, and [we] think we have a better shot at it if we journey together as much as possible. God put us together for a reason. – Willa Ryan, Real Learning
But if all we ever do is insulate them from the secularism that pervades our culture by educating at home, we might as well not bother.
It’s easy to look at something good, like homeschooling, and subtly put all of our hope and security in it. Home education in and of itself is only a means and an opportunity though.
We need to ultimately trust the Provider instead of His provision for raising kids to love Jesus.
School at home vs. Biblical Education
As a homeschooling mom, I teach God’s providential rule over creation and history, along with addition, subtraction, reading, and spelling. I have the ability to shape my children’s worldview according to God’s Word, instead of the empty pagan philosophies of the world.
I should not simply be educating my children at home. I should also be discipling them.
That is the key component of home education. We don’t want our children to be like those who are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).
Biblical education involves more than just imparting knowledge. It involves the shaping of character through a close, personal relationship and the application of biblical discipline.
In this setting, parents walk beside their children as they expose them to the world and its many issues from a biblical perspective. Teaching and modeling spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, scripture memorization, and Christian service can help prepare your children to become mature believers who are ready to serve the Lord.
Ultimately, a biblical education is the direct application of the Great Commission in our homes. The Great Commission not only includes the preaching of the Gospel and baptizing new believers, but also the making of mature believers by teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
The Great Commission needs to begin with our family, expand to our friends and extended family, our local community, and then to the rest of the world.
Modeling this life of service and obedience to the Lord before our children has the greatest potential for them to believe in the power of the Gospel. Otherwise they may have an appearance of godliness, but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
Parenting is an investment, not a purchase.
We need to daily place our trust in Jesus, and not in the tool He has given us to accomplish His purposes of raising up faithful children. Because, even with all of our teaching and modeling, we still cannot override our children’s free will. Our kids are depraved from birth and prone to sin.
Homeschooling cannot replace the true, life-altering change that comes only through personally knowing Christ. We are deceiving ourselves if we think our children can be saved by any of our own efforts. Only by true humility and brokenness before God, will there be restoration, forgiveness, and redemption in the lives of our children.
If we’re not careful, we end up treating home education as a recipe or formula for producing godly kids. And formulaic methods for raising children give the mistaken impression that we are capable for these things.
When you bring your kids home and you get into their lives and they get into yours, you will soon discover the task to be impossible, short of the grace of God.
It doesn’t take much faith to paint by numbers. Raising kids is much more like sculpting something out of a piece of rock, however. It requires a lot of faith, and a whole ton of grace.
The Christian life and family aren’t manageable outside of relying on the grace of God. Reducing the process to a man-made recipe or formula always ends in self-reliance. And utter frustration when that “recipe” doesn’t seem to be producing the results we want.
It doesn’t mean we just sit back and do nothing, because everything just depends on God’s grace anyway. We still have the responsibility to disciple our children and raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
It means that we plant the seeds of faith and understand that God brings them to fruition. It means we’re pleasantly surprised that, with all the odds stacked against us, we are able to raise godly children at all.