It is important that education does not become an end unto itself, but rather a means to an end.
Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary defines education:
EDUCA'TION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. (emphasis added)
Christian homeschooling provides the atmosphere and supervision to achieve the educational ends expressed in the definition above. A truly Christian education identifies all people as sinners in need of a redeemer. All subjects are taught within this framework and each subject is brought under the guidance and direction of the Bible, with an eye to refining and advancing the talents and gifts God has placed in each student so he can fulfill his calling under God. On the other hand, humanistic education promotes the deception that people are inherently good, but require the guidance and direction of an all-powerful, Messianic state in order to help them reach their fullest potential, which they define as service to the state. The Christian model is firmly planted in the real world. The humanistic model is the world of illusion, a flight from knowledge, and a pronounced escapism, which reaches its fullest expression in the area of higher education.
Rushdoony, in Law and Liberty (p. 123-24), states:
A prominent area of escape for the past century has been the academic world, the university in particular. Men who found the realities of the workaday world unpleasant turned to the university as a way out. It was not scholarship they loved, but the business world which they hated. To them the test of a working world was anathema; they were in a sense a new kind of hermit, running away from the civilized world and renouncing it for a new way of life. Speaking of some of these men in England, the critic Edmund Wilson spoke of them as belonging to the “monastic order of English university ascetics.” Their asceticism was forsaking the world of capitalism and Christianity, the world of the family and its morality, for a new order, an anti-Christian one. Everything in the old world was and is to these men evil and anathema, and they denounce it with religious intensity and passion…
The university is still a major form of escapism. The perpetual student who is unwilling to grow up and leave the university is a common fact today. Most universities are crowded with non-students or unweaned students who cling to the school because they are unwilling to face the hated adult world of work and responsibility.
Parents who have taken on the God-ordained role of teachers in their children’s lives must not lose sight of the fact that the overriding purpose of the educational endeavor is to further the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Thus, ample time needs to be spent in searching out and developing those gifts and talents God has placed in each student, with an eye for effective service in the Kingdom. However, this will not happen unless parents become Kingdom-minded themselves, placing more emphasis on furthering God’s agenda rather than working for test scores, athletic achievements, and potential earning power. Home education needs to prepare students for much more than just being students.
- 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, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].