Teaching is a risky business. What if your students do not really learn the truths you wish to convey? Worse yet, what if they come up with the "wrong" conclusions about what you instructed – perspectives quite different from your own?
If you are a teacher in a day school setting, you might file this under the category of the cost of doing business. But if you are a home educator, your graduates don't migrate away only to return for periodic school reunions. As a parent/teacher you get to see them and interact with them on a regular basis for the rest of your life. You’ll even be playing with their children someday.
It is precisely for this reason that the homeschool needs to be the place where all things are taught from and related to the Word of God. As in the parable of the sower, the home schooling parent is responsible for sowing good seed and must be more concerned with sowing than on the ground where the seed lands. Nowhere in that parable does Jesus hold the sower responsible for the ground on which the seeds end up. If one's children don’t see eye-to-eye on all matters and concerns, it isn’t a failure on the part of the teacher. By the same token, if children see everything in alignment with their parents without any deviation or disparity, it could mean that both parent and child are mistaken. My point is what they end up thinking does not validate or invalidate the teaching you provided. What we are called to be is faithful; the regenerating and sanctifying work in their lives is under the control and jurisdiction of the Holy Spirit.
I have very definite views on current events that my adult children don't always agree with. Rather than make it so we cannot discuss these things, we often have lively debates that result in potent food for thought. Rarely do we alter our positions entirely, but I am continually amazed at how well reasoned out their arguments are. Just recently, after one such dialogue with my son via email, I inquired, "How did you get to be so smart?" His reply, "My teacher made me think too much!!"
R. J. Rushdoony exemplified teaching the Word of God rather than merely transmitting his own conclusions. His writings and lectures did not have as a focus persuasion. No, his work and mission were much more vital than that. He was convinced that if he presented the Word of God faithfully, the Holy Spirit would lead his listeners into all Truth. We homeschooling parents can learn a lot from him, not only from his message (the Bible speaks to all areas of life and thought), but his also from his method (unabashedly premising all perspectives from an orthodox, biblical perspective). In the end, that's the kind of legacy that is worth recording on one’s lifetime resume: Were we found faithful in raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].