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Do you ever feel as if home schooling is just so overwhelming and you donít know which way is up or down ? We've home schooled our children for 22 years and have read every book on burn out and joyful home education that there is on the market. Recenty, our family was talking about our conviction to home school and what made us want to continue. My eldest son reminded us about the blessing God has given us in our freedom to be able to train our children in the Lord here in this country.
When we become overwhelmed, the Lord has made us promise to think back as to why we were doing this in the first place. Many, many years ago... God placed a conviction upon our souls. He showed our family that it would be a sin if we didnít home educate our children.
I know in this day and age, that to say "something is a sin" about something that is such an unpopular notion (educating your own children) is politically incorrect, but the Lord placed this upon our hearts, and for us, it is a sin not to home educate our children. When we read the Bible through for the first time, we found that Godís mandate to parents is to train their own children in the knowledge of the Lord (not the knowledge of the world) from the minute that they get up until they go to bed at night.
"Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates; that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him." Deuteronomy 11:18-22
"Come, teach your children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Psalms 34:11
When we read the Scriptures which told us that we were to teach our children the ways of the Lord and to walk in his statutes and commandments, we found out that taking them to church one day a week and having someone else teach them for 20 minutes about God, just wasnít enough.
According to God, we are to do it when we get up, when we sit in our homes, when we walk about our day, and even when we are laying down. The Word of God tells us it is to be a continuous process. We found out that if we gave our children over to a secular education, we would be breaking the very commandments that the Lord has given us regarding the training of a godly generation.
God wants all of us.
We are told in His Holy word to love God with ALL of our being. He says to love Him with ALL of our minds.
If we are educating our children in worthless fluff that the world believes is important we are hindering our children in their minds. We cause them to love the world a little bit more than they should.
I believe that one reason many parents are giving up home educating their children once they reach their teens is because they fell into the trap of copying the public schoolís way of educating their children in their homes. They are bringing into their homes the very thing that they were trying to get away from.
Not only is there a great spiritual danger in educating children in the secular education process, but it is also a great stumbling block for the future.
Iíve seen young mothers bring home huge teacherís manuals and piles of books from their Christian Book store or their state home school convention for the school year. They believe that they are doing the right thing, because this is how they were brought up. Instead of seeking the guidance of the Lord, they are simply following the knowledge of their peers and the habits of the secular system.
As believers in Christ, we are not to compare our children nor ourselves to the world. Sometimes this is so hard as we as home educators seem to be under such scrutiny by the rest of the world. Many of us feel that we must be better in the academics to prove to others that we are "ok" and that our children are "normal".
When Christian parents try to "keep up" with the public school system, that is in educating them right along side in a comparison attitude, it is no wonder that they eventually "give up" and stop home educating. Many quit because they have placed themselves under so much academic stress that they simply no longer can bear the burden.
Why we are home educating our children?
We have been called to train our children in the knowledge of the Lord. We have been called to fill them with the knowledge of our Heavenly Father even if the world will call this foolishness.
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taken the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
Sometimes we get sidetracked with scare tactics from humanistic philosophies such as, "they must be prepared for college, they arenít going to be able to make it in the normal world.
In WHOM do we place our trust?
Our trust is not in academic saturation of worldly knowledge. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our trust is in God through His Son. Thinking that a humanistic education will give our children a "successful life" is mere folly, not to mention idolatrous.
It is God who places us where he wants us. The Scriptures tell us that we are to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and to NOT LEAN on our own understanding. In all of our ways we are to acknowledge HIM and then HE will direct our paths.
Many times God blesses us IN SPITE of ourselves. We think that we can plan our lives out and decide for ourselves "what we are going to be when we grow up". We urge our children to figure out "what they are going to do when THEY grow up" and this question in itself is a humanistic belief.
We, as believers, should be on our knees asking God, "Lord, what do YOU want me to be when I grow up? What manner of woman/man do you want me to be? What occupation do you want me to have that is pleasing to you and also provides for my family where I will still have time to train my children (men)?"
Then, our duty before God is to train our children in His ways, not the worldís.
Just as it is important to teach our children to read, write, and do arithmetic, it is even more pertinent to teach children Godís moral laws and to know and fully understand the examples of godly humanity written for our edification and example found all throughout the holy Scriptures.
Many believers have floundered in many areas of their lives as they have listened to worldly opinions and advice regarding child training. It is so important that we gain confidence in God, and start trusting Him in the area of our childrenís education rather than wade through the muddy waters of a socialized education being taught at home.
Which is more important, Academics or our children's spiritual growth?
Many parents are so concerned about their childrenís academic level, but shouldnít we be more concerned regarding their spiritual status?
The Bible tells us that what is it if a man has gained the whole world but has lost his soul? Isnít this what happens to our children when we teach them that having secular knowledge above all else in order to earn money is the major goal of life?
The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. But most parents educate their children with the end goal of "making money" in mind. The world teaches that we are to find the highest paying career and then pursue it with all our might through education and then job climbing. It doesnít matter what Godís will in this. In fact, Godís will in the area of making money usually isnít really being considered today.
As believers this shouldnít be. We should find out from our Heavenly Father through soul searching, reading the Word and prayer where the talents lie in each of our children.
Our family believes that a young womanís high calling is to follow the Biblical mandates of Titus 2 which tell us that the young women are to be sober, to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste and keepers at home. Teaching anything else causes the word of God to be blasphemed. Our daughters are working towards their careers as women at home.
We are trying to educate our daughters with high standards in mind. They are being taught all eclectic reading, writing and arithmetic skills in order for them to be equipped so they can teach their own children.
Our sons are being taught basic academics, but we have also been so convicted to teach them how to lead Bible studies, to make decisions based upon Godís Word, to learn to be knowledgeable with their hands in handiwork and maintenance work, so that not only will they be able to take care of their own home some day, but to also be able to help out those who are in need, one way or another.
We also believe that each man should have his own business, and are preparing them for ownership of their own occupations.
As believers who love God, it is so important that we do not overwhelm ourselves with the cares of this world and the riches thereof. This is where we become "overwhelmed" with home schooling the children.
If we have Godís goals for our childrenís standards rather than the worldís we are unfettered and free to live as God would have us live. It is a shame to teach our children that high paying, high stress jobs are the only way of life. We must have Godís heart in the preparation of our childrenís careers, not the worldís. Godís Word tells us that we are to learn to be content in any state that we find ourselves. Whether we abound with much, or if we are abased with little, we should be thankful to our Father!
We are not Mennonites, even though I love their beliefs and persuasions, and have used Rod and Staff since the very beginning of our home school. I have always pondered on why they only wrote their curriculum until the 8th grade. Recently, I asked a Mennonite friend. She said that many of the different Mennonite affiliations believe that skills are to be acquired after their formal schooling. Many apprentice their young men in preparation for jobs in their own businesses, such as automobile repair, accounting, farming, agriculture and many more jobs that are so needed in our world today.
Are you overwhelmed in your home school? If you take on only Godís expectations for your childrenís education, and rid yourselves of worldly comparisons and pressures, you will be surprised at how much freedom you will have in our Savior.
Our goals should be Godís goals.
When you become overwhelmed, ask yourself, "Are my expectations what God would want for my children? Are my goals worldly or of the Word? What is the most important thing that I can teach my children today in the eyes of God? Am I doing too much so that I am not keeping at home? Am I giving in to worldly pressure and not standing for the Lord?"
When you answer these with a pure heart, and line your life up with what God wants for you, peace that passes all understanding is yours to be had!