There is a huge difference between those raised in the faith and those who have not had the benefit of Christian teaching from the time they are very young. I'm reminded of a song Judy Rogers wrote, Why Can't I See God?. The refrain goes like this:
Teach me while my heart is tender;
Tell me all that I should know;
And through the years I will remember,
Wherever I may go.
Since culture is religion externalized, there are many manifestations in our lives that reflect the culture in which we were raised. If we came to faith after childhood, there are a number of things that need to be re-thought out. Often we don't think about these things until some event or circumstance brings them to our attention. For example, there are movies I loved before my conversion that when I went to show them to my children, I discovered were not only inappropriate for them, but for me as well! It took encountering the message of the movie in real time before I had a chance to reevaluate it.
Once, while reading to my five year old daughter, this lesson was cemented. We were going through the science volume of a child's encyclopedia that I had used with her brother six years earlier, a time prior to my embracing the reformed faith. We loved these volumes and I couldn't wait to share them with Rachel. As I read to her from the book, we came to a section that I dutifully read in its entirety. The only problem was that the text was giving the earth's formation as having occurred millions and millions of years prior as the result of a "Big Bang." When we got to the end of the section, I dutifully informed her that as Christians we take the biblical account of origins as correct and that this section was wrong. I then turned the page and began to read the next section. She stopped me dead in my tracks and asked in her "Rachel" style, "How do you know this page is right, when the other one was wrong?" She got me.
Why was I teaching her from a book that had incorrect, anti-biblical presuppositions and therefore incorrect conclusions? That's when I began my "obsession" with building a home school library. From then on, I resolved never to use materials that weren't consistent with our biblical faith if there were other alternatives. Where there weren't, I would teach the subject without the use of texts or books that taught lies, and present the information to my children only after I had "taught" myself.
Just the other day, I was talking with a woman who told me a story that demonstrates the sometimes unexpected benefits of raising children in the culture of the Christian home school. She had been reading a story book to her five year old son which began, On Monday morning it was raining and.... Before she could finish the sentence he protested,
"Oh, no, Mommy! That's wrong!"
She was surprised. "What's wrong?"
"It isn't raining, Mommy! God makes it rain!"
She corrected herself, but was laughing inside. This was no small insight on the part of her Christian child -- one that she had missed entirely. She realized that in this homeschooling adventure, she could expect to learn as much from her children as she would ever teach.
Homeschooling parents are positioned to raise their children with solid biblical training. When the Word of God is presented and faithfully taught, children will reach conclusions consistent with their faith. As the Bible informs us,
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Despite the mounting opposition we face, from the humanistic culture around us, the future will be bright indeed, as covenant children make their mark on the surrounding culture in Jesus' name. All the more reason for the church to support and encourage Christian homeschooling!
- 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].