And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt 28:18–20)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Homeschooling is much more than a method of educating children; it is a way of life. It sometimes takes a while for homeschooling families to fully appreciate what that means. But eventually they understand that education is something that is an ongoing part of life, not something reserved for the months of September through June or to be compartmentalized into subjects such as mathematics, science, history, or literature and jammed into an 8:00–2:30 timeframe. The comprehensive nature of the endeavor involves a world and life view that elevates all activities to either “learning activities” or activities where what one has learned is being applied. More than anything else, homeschooling is an excellent method whereby parents can obey the Great Commission as it applies to their children. The main task of producing disciplined individuals who know and apply the law-word of Jesus Christ in their daily lives is more than anything else an activity of discipleship.
I was able to see firsthand evidence of this recently in my younger daughter as she and I traveled back to New York to attend a family funeral. Many had never met her before, and those who had were surprised to see how much three years of growth had accomplished. Sure, there were the expected, “My how tall you are!” and “How pretty you’ve become!” But repeatedly I heard from friends and family alike how impressed and “blown away” they were with her maturity, poise, and demeanor at 13 years old. The interesting part is that she was just acting like herself. This wasn’t her best behavior — this was her customary behavior.
What were the elements that brought rave attention and kudos to me as her mother?
- The practice of looking adults in the eyes when she spoke with them
- The habit of addressing people by name and being interested in their life and concerns
- The willingness to chip in and help even before asked to do so
- The practice of checking with me prior to accepting something offered to her to make sure she had my approval
- Her willingness to talk about things she was doing in her life (repeatedly as she met new people) in an interested and agreeable fashion, regardless of whom she was talking to
- Being put on the spot by relatives, and yet respectfully conducting herself in a way that honored them
True, these are things that well describe my daughter, but I’ve also just described a multitude of homeschooled students I’ve known over the 25 years I’ve been involved in home education. In other words, my daughter is far from being the exception; she is more like the rule.
It is a sad commentary on our times when manners and respect for elders (behaviors that used to be taken for granted) are now viewed as extraordinary. However, one need not look too far to discover why this would be. Subjecting children to the teaching that there are no moral absolutes, that they evolved from apes, and that Jesus Christ has no place in their world of learning and life are good places to assign the blame. Yet, it is a sadder commentary that many well-meaning Christians continue to allow their children to be fed a steady diet of anti-Christian materials and instruction in public schools, without significant measures employed to counteract the deleterious effects. From my point of view, if you are going to have your children in secular schools, you better spend more time instructing them as to the Biblical point of view rather than less. From that standpoint, homeschooling becomes the choice that takes less time and effort. It is far easier to impart the truth from the outset of learning a subject when no falsehoods have to be tackled and removed, rather than after many years into the indoctrination.
As parents, we need to obey the Great Commission (making disciples) first and foremost with our own children. Their responses to the world in which they live, the material that they are studying, and the issues that they face all need to be formulated from a Biblical mindset. That task is something that takes years and years of instruction, application, testing, and refinement, and is best done by Christian parents discipling their own children. You see, first your children should be your disciples, and as they grow and mature, they’ll come to realize that they, along with you, their parents, are disciples of Jesus Christ.
Whose disciples are your children?