I’m going to write a few posts on home education. They won’t be intended to tell everyone everywhere that they shouldn’t send their kids to public school. First of all, some people (single parents, for instance) may have to. Secondly, I don’t think I could say that and be faithful to Christ’s Word. There’s no chapter and verse that say it’s always sinful to send your kids to a public schoolhouse. All I’m going to do is try to plainly expound some of my own convictions and thoughts on parenting and education, all of which played into why we home educate our 4 kids.
Today’s is a simple collection of things my wife and I teach our kids, around the dinner table and when we’re driving somewhere and during family worship and while we’re running around the backyard, that I believe American public schools would undermine or outright contradict. I write this as somebody who graduated with an undergrad education degree and spent a year teaching middle school in inner city Cincinnati before moving to ministry. I love and respect many of the teachers I’ve known, and I love education. But there is no doubt in my mind that the vast machine of American public education, from its Washington headwaters through the majority of the colleges raising up its teachers down to the local schools themselves, is teaching many things the Bible-believing Christian would say are false. And in other respects American public education is simply telling a different story about what the world is, why it exists, and who we are in it.
We who are Christians need to consider this. Think about it. Pray for change in it. We can’t just accept, without thoughtful and prayerful reflection, that dropping our kids off at a building to be taught by people we don’t really know for 6-8 hours 5 days a week is the only way to go. It may be what many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ choose, but it is not the only option, and it certainly is not the norm throughout most of human history.
Again, for today’s post I’ll simply offer some very important things I teach my children that I think my local public school would (perhaps unintentionally) undermine or deny.
- “God made people.”
This is fundamental to how you will view yourself and how you will approach your neighbors. Humans did not come from mere natural selection; they were and are made by a good Creator. God put humans on this planet, and God knits individual humans together in the womb.
- “Every human is valuable because they are all made in God’s image.”
Humans are not a blight on the planet; they are the most valuable thing on it. And each of them, from the womb to a nursing home, is valuable, whether anyone thinks so or not.
- “God is good, He saves bad people through faith in Jesus, and someday He’ll make this scarred world totally all better.”
Our kids aren’t born good, and the world around them isn’t so rosy, either. They need a Savior, so do all their friends and neighbors, and so does this groaning creation.
- “It is good to know things because God made us to know things, He made the world we can know about, and He is a God of truth.”
Education isn’t just about getting a good job so you can have more disposable income. It’s about knowing God and knowing His world. We want to read good books and do well at math and eventually be good at our vocation and spend money wisely and have a lot of fun all to the glory of Jesus. We want to learn and love and have the full human experience as people who intimately know the God who made humans.
- “A boy is someone God made with special inside and outside boy pieces, and a girl is someone God made with special inside and outside girl pieces. And God has special things for boys to do and be and special things for girls to do and be. But there are a lot of things that both boys and girls should do and be.”
No one is a boy by choice. No one is a girl by choice. Neither is it by therapy or surgery or self-identification. God made (and makes) human beings male and female, and God is good and wise.
- “Sin brings death, Jesus brings life.”
Things that are evil are evil, and things that are good are good. This is basic human knowledge. It is fundamental to approaching the world with wisdom. Good and evil are not opinions; they spring from the very character of God.
I’m responsible for the education of my children, and I want them to know the most important things in the world. I want them to know them through and through, and to love them from their deepest hearts. I want them to know the God that authored them, the God who made the wide and interesting and unexpected world around them, the God who can forgive and remake them through His good plan called the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We’ve been home educating each of these kids He’s given us since his or her first drive home from Good Samaritan Hospital. The truth is we are always walking them through this world of math and science and words and art as best we can with the help of the God of Truth, who by mercy happens to be our Father and Friend and Lord. Whether we’re pumping gas or reading a book or cleaning the living room or having a fight, our little kids are always learning something for us. Sometimes I just have to repent of what it is! But each of us who are parents are already home educating to some degree; the question is just whether we’re also handing the reigns to someone who will back up what we’re giving to them.