Presentation at Peninsula Bible Church; May 1993; panel discussing issues surrounding parental selection of various educational venues. (We were asked to offer the home school perspective.)
Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
We began home schooling in September 1983, and are concluding our 10th year. We call our school, PS-209, a little joke on the New York public schools. PS-209 is short for "Pilgrim School at 209 Cowper Street."
Textbooks from various Christian publishers have served us well. We have primarily used Bob Jones University Press (excellent), some Mennonite textbooks (also quite good), and occasionally, we have devised our own courses for art, art history, etiquette, local history, music appreciation, etc.
We have observed that any parent can successfully instruct their own children if they have lovingly established their parental authority over them. We further believe that parents are mandated by the Lord to instruct their children in a worldview consistent with His own. By this, we mean a worldview that is based on the revealed Word of God - the Bible.
• What is ultimate reality?
• What is the true nature of a human being?
• What is the basis for morality?
• What is the meaning of history
As parents, we believe we are also obligated to teach our four sons to be active contributors to society, politically informed, and to support and provide for their own families when grown. God's people are not to train their children in the ways of the world. Yet they will be trained by the world unless Christian parents recognize that spiritual maturity is a necessity for a child to resist the worldly indoctrination that comes in any non-Christian setting for training. You might ask the Lord to protect your child from these philosophies, but don't lose sight of the fact that parents are the protection God has already provided.
All young students, whether they are five or fifteen, are in the formative years of their lives. Jesus called attention to the importance of a sure foundation when He pointed out that the house the wise man built withstood the storm because it had been built on a solid rock. (Matt. 7:24-27). Paul also emphasized that the household of God be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-20). Continuing to apply this metaphor of a house under construction, a child's education is the foundation for his life.
When a one considers the lifelong impact their education will have on a child, a parent has to ask, “Who is sufficient for these things?”
It is estimated that a child in a formal educational group setting receives only 5 adult responses a day, while there will typically be much greater adult/child interaction in the home. It is our belief that most social skills are acquired by training and example; therefore, we try to be careful about who sets those examples for our children because Jesus guarantees that a student "will be like his teacher."* (Luke 6:40)
Having school at home also helps put loving controls on any weakness of character before it takes root. An invested, caring mother and father are able to closely observe these issues as they emerge, and can address them with immediacy. It is a process rather akin to being an arborist. For just as a newly planted tree may require a control string until it is able to stand straight on its own, so a child needs to be trained through corrections and restraints. The many demands of a large school setting precludes the adults involved from a prolonged and finessed response, and as often as not, from even making the observation of the need to intervene.
In our homeschool (and many others), the one-room school house has been the model.
• Younger children, playing or working nearby, learn from the older ones' lessons.
• Older and younger siblings help each other and gain both leadership experience and opportunities to be good team players
Following is our honest (and brief) appraisal of the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling:
1. Peer pressure is virtually nonexistent, so children are more free to be themselves and develop their own interests, style, likes and dislikes.
• The pressures of a "consumer culture" are also curtailed. Our sons will wear any functional, comfortable clothes or shoes with no thought to the status a designer, style or label may impart. (They do have color preferences, and we've enjoyed watching them develop their individual styles.)
• They are not pressured to favor any particular form of music. Our boys like many kinds of music from classical to Beach Boys to current genres.
• No pressures for "gotta' see" this movie or have this video game, etc. (They can enjoy a good old black and white movie from the '30's just as much as the latest appropriate offerings.)
2. No hours of homework, so lots of time for the family to read aloud together.
3. Virtually no childhood stress.
4. Restored childhood, e.g., time to play, work on hobbies, pursue their own interests (music, cycling, electronics, etc.)
5. Time to work and help out at home
6. Socialized mainly by adults
7. Time for helping others (service)
8. Morally superior atmosphere. (I refer as much to teachers, as to other students. Since we file a private school affidavit with the State of California, we receive a monthly notification of fresh new criminals and perverts that are licensed teachers and who may seek employment at our school. There are literally hundreds of new names every month.)
9. The innocence of childhood is preserved.
1. You don't get sick often enough to build-up antibodies to all the many virus circulating.
2. Negative attitudes of fellow Christians. We expected it from the world, but not our friends! Even without a word being spoken, just having made the choice to homeschool appears to be regarded as an attack on the choices others have made.
To summarize, the 4 main benefits we have enjoyed are:
1. Closer family relationships
2. Protection from ungodly peer influence and false teaching
3. Superior education
4. Correctly balanced socialization
The following scriptures were influential in formulating our theology for the education of our children. Experience has taught us that you do not convert evil by co-mingling with it. Our family of six is "in the world" at all times, but we are taking care that our young ones are not being trained to be "of the world" in their formative years. We picture them as young "squires" in training to put on the armor of God and become "knights" in the army of the Lord. They are not yet equipped for spiritual battle.
Col. 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
I Tim. 6:20 "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,"
Josh. 1:8 "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."
Deut. 6:6-7 "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
1 Cor. 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."
Eph. 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
Prov. 1:7,8 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."
Psm. 1:1 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers."
Josh. 23:7-8; 12-13 "Do not associate with those nations which are still among you, neither take thought of the names of their gods, nor swear by them, but cling to the Lord your God as you have until this day. . . . . for if you turn away and join with the rest of these nations which are still among you, intermarrying with them and associating together, be very sure that the Lord your God will not continue to drive back these nations in your behalf. They will become a trap and a snare to you, a whip in your sides and thorns in your eyes, . . ."
II Cor. 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
*Jesus guarantees that a student "will be like his teacher":
Luke 6:40 "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."
Prov. 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
I Cor. 15:33 "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character.'"
I Cor. 10:23 "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is constructive."