Thursday, May 24, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Homeschool?

Mention homeschooling and many people immediately picture a classroom at home with parents handing out assignments at a chalk board and their children working busily at a desk. The idea of keeping up this scenario all day, every day, seems very daunting. “HOW do you DO it?” these people admiringly ask.

The answer is simple: We don’t do it that way.

When you stop to think about it, many of the trappings of institutional schooling are simply there for crowd control. Desks keep children stationary in their places so the teacher can keep track of them. Chalk boards make it easy to instruct 40 people at one time. Requiring a student to raise his hand to talk is a way to keep a crowded classroom quiet.

So many of these trappings are completely non-essential time-wasters as far as education is concerned. Standing in line. Moving from classroom to classroom. Waiting for the bell to ring. Passing out papers to the whole class. Taking test after test, with the purpose of helping the teacher keep track of what each student actually learned. NONE of this is necessary in homeschooling.

There’s a difference between “schooling at home” and “home schooling.” There is no reason to bring school home. School is crowd control, dumbed down to the slowest person in the class. Home education, on the other hand, is a parent customizing the learning process to their child’s needs.
No child needs formal education for 8 straight hours a day! Even institutional schools aren’t actually giving 8 straight hours of education. For every 3 hours of actual instruction, they’re giving about 5 hours of crowd control, mindless crowd activities, and unnecessary tests.

How Does Homeschooling Work? - Elementary Level
A typical day of elementary education in our family was something like this. We got up, had breakfast and then spent an hour on chores - doing “home ec” by helping Mom make beds, clean the kitchen, and tidy the house. Then we had school time until lunch. If we needed to write things, we sat at the kitchen table. If we needed to read things, we sat on the couch, laid on the floor, sprawled in the grass outside or flopped on our beds. If we needed to interact with Mom on a subject, we sat together wherever was convenient. “Manipulatives” and science experiments were with simple things like blocks, beans, or other household supplies. Our curriculum was basic and inexpensive and Mom supplemented with her own little worksheets if we were confused or needed more practice. (Nowadays a homeschool mom can easily download free printables online.)

After lunch, we were on our own to use our creativity and energy in playing outside, doing crafts, reading fun books, or playing instruments. Though there were rules about good behavior, this time was largely unstructured. Yes, we sometimes got bored. But you never told Mom you were bored because she gave you chores! Instead, you used your brain to come up with something interesting to entertain yourself until supper. No electronics - we didn’t have a TV or VCR and computers were still in their infancy. After supper, we had read-aloud time with Mom or Dad and then went to bed.

How Does Homeschooling Work? - Junior-High School Level
When we hit our junior high and high school years, school time was longer as the workload was heavier. Academics time might last another hour or two after lunch. But often the time it took was up to us. I can remember days when I moaned and groaned over a math assignment or reading I didn’t want to do. I managed to drag the process out till nearly supper time. But that was my own fault. On days when I was motivated to finish on time so I could do my own projects, I was usually done by 1 or 2 pm.

Yes – even with a heavy course load of physics, calculus, biology, history, economics, literature, political science, and music. Mom worked out a doable plan where subjects we went through quickly were on the schedule once or twice a week, while subjects that took us longer were on the schedule every day, in small doses. This way we could finish all our books within the year.

Homeschooling Is Flexible 
Each homeschooling family can choose a schedule that works for them. Many homeschoolers keep their homeschool going year-round. This gives them the opportunity to take longer breaks at Christmas or other family holidays, while still finishing the necessary school work. Though we didn’t go year-round, our family always took a month off a Christmas, for instance, and used the time to focus on extra crafts, holiday baking, and making special gifts for people.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of being able to plan their field trips and vacations around times that work best for their family, instead of being tied to an institution’s schedule. For instance, we did a lot of our sight-seeing when public school was in session, thus cutting down on the crowds and sometimes saving money on admission prices too.

Homeschooling allows you to take time off for illness or work around family problems. It allows you to take two weeks off to go visit an ailing grandma or spend a few weeks on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe. You can homeschool on the road, at your doctor’s office, or even at your own office if your workplace allows children.

Homeschooling lets a parent slow down on a subject their child is struggling with, or speed up on a subject they have easily grasped. I remember every year Mom bought literature books from two curriculum providers because we were voracious readers and always managed to get through two year’s work in one year! Now math, on the other hand, was a subject we often spent doing through the summer even when other topics were done, because it just didn’t come as easily. Homeschooling gave us that flexibility. We learned our academics far more thoroughly this way, instead of being forced to go at a generic classroom pace.

How Much Time? What Works For You!
To answer the opening question, how long does it take to homeschool? It’s simple: It takes just as long as your family needs. You can customize it to fit into your lifestyle. Education is not limited to a classroom. In fact, a classroom often limits education!

So put away those out-dated paradigms of hours of classroom work. Take all the time you need for your children’s academics – and you will find that it needs far less than we’ve been led to believe!

Written by Heather Sheen
Originally published in the Times Examiner, Greenville, SC

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Homeschooling: Yes, YOU Can Do It!

Government-run public schooling is a recent, weird experiment. Up until the late 1800s, it wasn’t even mandatory in most of the United States. For centuries before, in America and Europe, schooling was generally done at home by the parents or a tutor. If a young adult wanted a college education, they typically were ready for it by age 12-14. By their late teens, they had finished their education (including college or apprenticeship to a trade) and had started their career.

This education system turned out some amazing results. The American founders (many in their 20s and 30s), who created an entire government from scratch and won a war against the mightiest nation on earth, went through this system. Some of these founders wrote newspaper articles (the equivalent of today’s Facebook posts) explaining to everyday Americans their philosophy of government. We now call those newspaper articles The Federalist Papers – and most of today’s college students can’t read or comprehend them. Yet everyday American farmers and traders who went through homeschooling in the 1700s could easily understand them.

“Well, that’s great for them,” you might say. “But what about parents today? I sure can’t teach my kids. I was a lousy student myself and have forgotten most of what I learned in school anyway!”

Yes You Can!
You, yes YOU, can teach your kids. That’s not just my opinion, it’s backed up by data from the last four decades of the modern homeschooling movement.*

Study after study has shown that homeschooled students out-perform institutionally schooled students – by a LOT. Public schooled students’ average score is in the 50th percentile. Homeschooled students average scores are 15-30 points higher. That’s an average, meaning some score even higher than that. This high performance also applies to the SAT and ACT. Most colleges love homeschoolers and actively recruit them.

Study after study shows that parents’ income and education levels have no effect on how well their children do in homeschooling. No college degree? Making low wages? Doesn’t make a difference.

Study after study shows that homeschooled students are better socialized, more emotionally and psychologically developed, and have better community participation than public schooled students.

All of this sounds like a strange miracle to our modern sensibilities. HOW do homeschoolers achieve all of these amazing results without EXPERTS teaching their children? The answer is both philosophical and practical.

Philosophically speaking, a system works best when you operate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. God is the “manufacturer” of children. His “instructions” tell parents to be the primary teachers in their children’s lives. When you follow God’s model, you receive God’s blessing.

Practically speaking, all studies of educational systems have shown that one-on-one tutorship is the best educational model, period. Homeschooling is a perfect example of this type of teaching. You as the parent become the “expert” on your child, something you’ve been doing anyway since he or she was born. You use your expertise to customize the curriculum to your child’s needs. This isn’t something hard or mysterious. It’s as simple as saying, “Johnny had trouble with decimals this week. I think we’re going to slow down and repeat a few lessons until he understands them better.” Or maybe saying, “Sally loves history so much that I think we’ll do a more in-depth unit study approach to history this year and give her a chance to read some extra biographies and go to some historical reenactments.”

Every parent, whether “highly educated” or not, is capable of using common sense and love for their child to choose what’s best for them. “But what if my child has GAPS in his education?” you might ask. Do you have gaps? Did you learn all of your school subjects perfectly? Did your teachers always finish every school textbook within the school year and do all the extra experiments and assignments with you? Of course not! And yet, you are a functioning, capable adult. You filled in your own gaps where the gap needed to be filled.

A good teacher is not someone who tells the student everything he needs to know. A good teacher teaches the student how to learn. How to look things up. How to think things through. How to weight evidence and reach a conclusion. How to find knowledgeable sources from which to learn more. When you have these skills, you can learn anything, any time, all your life long. Homeschooling is a perfect way to create a lifelong learner who grows in wisdom and knowledge all his or her life.

With the recent rise in school shootings, many parents are considering homeschooling for the first time. It can be scary for folks who don’t know the history of homeschooling, and don’t know that it has a centuries-old track record of great results. So let this be encouragement – homeschooling is the best option for every child. And you CAN be the parent who gives your child that option!

*For studies and statistics on homeschooling, a good place to start is the National Home Education Research Institute at

Written by Heather Sheen

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Serving the System

Recently a friend and I were lamenting that children have their innocence invaded at younger and younger ages due to the methodical efforts of the left to promote immorality as something normal. I think that parents should take overt steps to protect their young children in this regard by turning off the TV, carefully supervising their reading material and Internet activity, and keeping them from harmful peer influences. “Yes,” sighed my friend, “But unfortunately, you have to prepare them for public school so they’ve gotta know about this stuff.”

Excuse me?

Since when are parents supposed to be preparing their children for the public school system? Isn’t the whole point that the system is supposed to be preparing the child? Just who should be serving whom? If the system is so corrupt that little children are being routinely exposed to sexual deviancy, whether from the curriculum or from the other kids, why in the world do we accept that? Why are we so tied to our paradigms that we simply try to “prepare” kids for the worst, rather than remove kids from the corruption?

There is, of course, a time and place to prepare children to encounter immorality. Thanks to the perversity of our culture, this preparation may have to take place at younger ages than we’d prefer. However, if you as the parent are the one in control, you have much more flexibility as to when the conversations take place.

Even if the timing wasn’t one of your choice—say, your young child encounters a transgendered person in a public restroom—the content of the conversation is completely within your control. You can give your child an age-appropriate explanation. You can give them the biblical perspective and leave them with no doubt that sexually deviant behavior is wrong.

Your flexibility is much more limited if your child is in public school. The teacher, the curriculum, and the other students can decide at any time what your child should know about sexuality and can influence what they should think about sexuality. Is this what you want? Deep down in your heart, do you think this is best for your child? If your gut is telling you that there is something wrong with the current system, that’s because there is something wrong. Trust your judgment.

Again, the purpose of an education is to prepare a child to be a successful adult in the real world. That is, what a person should be at age eighteen is not what he needs to be at age eight. The purpose of an education is not to thrust a child into the so-called real world (or what the left would like you to think is the real world) at an age when the child is very impressionable.

In this regard, the left is smarter than we are. They know that if you capture a child when he is young, you are much more likely to have him for life. Why do you think there are preschooler books like Heather has Two Mommies? While conservatives talk about “preparing” a child, the left is aggressively working to convert a child. The left believes (correctly) that children are much more open to influence than we sometimes give them credit for. Just because your child can agree with you that same-sex people shouldn’t marry doesn’t mean they aren’t being impacted in subtle ways by the constant bombardment of sexual deviancy that is encountered in public schools.

You can protect your child. You can remove harmful influences. You can let your child enjoy their innocence. You can be in charge of the conversations. You can choose to stop serving a system that isn’t serving you.

You don’t owe the system anything. You owe your child everything.

Written by Raquelle Sheen

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Given Over To A Lie

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. ~Romans 8:28-32

Pick up a newspaper today and you can find the above behavior described in article after article. Our culture is becoming progressively more wicked the further we get from God, isn’t it? Romans 1 offers some key insight into this process. It starts when people know about God but don’t thank or glorify Him (vs 21), when they exchange the truth of God for a lie (vs 25) and when they don’t think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (vs 28).

God’s corresponding judgment isn’t what we might expect. We tend to expect a dramatic outpouring of wrath, such as fire from heaven. Instead, God often simply gives people over to what they want—they want a lie and God gives them over to one. They want to believe their own way is better and He lets them believe it and try it. He gives them over to sexual immorality (vs 24, 26), which is the lie that physical lusts will satisfy you. He gives them over to a depraved mind (vs 28), which is a mind corrupted by sin and unwilling to accept or obey the truth. If you see a person sold out for evil and wonder why God doesn’t judge them, you’ve missed it—God already has judged them by letting them continue unchecked in their wickedness, believing lies about God and lies about themselves.

Being given over to a lie is no joke and no light punishment. It can literally send you to hell.
Sadly, many Christians will acknowledge the horror of being given over to a lie and then turn right around and give their own children over to a lie, willingly, cheerfully, and unapologetically. Five days a week they put their kids on a yellow bus and send them straight to a government-sponsored institution that is dedicated to teaching the antithesis of God’s truths.

I am not criticizing the many dedicated, caring (and often even Christian) teachers that are in the government school system. I think they need to be there. But the children of Christians do not need to be there. The government schools teach children a systematic series of lies, either directly through the teachers and curriculum or indirectly through peer socialization with other foolish children. The children are taught the lie that God does not exist. They are taught the lie that we evolved from amoebas. They are taught the worldview that man is basically good and is only brought down by society, not by the evil in his own heart. They are taught the lie that gender is a social construct. They are taught the lie that sexual immorality in both its ordinary and deviant forms is a fun thing to do as long as you do it safely. They are taught the lie that killing an unborn infant is a woman’s right. They are taught the lie that true femininity means beating the guys, not rejoicing in your uniqueness as a woman. They are taught the lie that being true to yourself is more important than being true to your duty. They are taught the lie that there is no such thing as objective truth.

These lies are having a measurable effect on the church. According to a variety of Barna research studies, two-thirds of young adults in their twenties who regularly attended church as a teen do not currently actively pray, read their Bible or attend church. Are we to attribute this to an epidemic of astonishingly boring pastors? Could it not be because these young people are daily bombarded by lies about God and His principles from ages five to eighteen? In that environment, is it at all surprising that more than half of children raised in church walk away from it as an adult?

Many Christians argue that they send their children to government schools to prepare them for the real world. Friends, handing someone over to lies is not preparation. It is punishment. Every time Scripture talks about someone being given over to a lie, it is a judgment on that person. It is a sentence—sometimes a death sentence. Dwelling with lies is not a nice little training tool meant to prepare Christians for godly living. If you want to prepare your children for life, steep them in the truth. Proverbs 23:23 tells us, Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. Truth, wisdom, discipline and understanding are not found in the halls of pagan, humanistic teachings. They are found in the Word of God.

One other lie deserves mention. Many of us often believe the lie that our actions will not have consequences. We pretend to ourselves that we can sow one thing and reap another. God warns us explicitly not to be fooled in this manner: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7). You cannot send your child to a godless institution for his whole life and assume that nothing will happen. While it is true that by God’s grace some Christian graduates from government schools do stay in the faith, you cannot count on that. Two-thirds of them do not. Scripture also tells us that when a prudent man sees danger, he takes refuge. (Proverbs 3). Be that prudent man! Don’t risk your kids! Prioritize the truth and determine that they will grow up steeped in and surrounded by the truth. Don’t give them over to a lie.

Written by Raquelle Sheen

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

School Shootings: What Can You Do?

There have been many suggestions offered in the last few days about how to stop school shootings. Some make sense, some are just plain stupid. The fact remains that since 1990 our government schools are federally-mandated gun-free zones, perfect for maniacal shooters.

When considering this problem, most people's focus seems to be on getting "them" to "do something" about it. But waiting on "them" could take years for a helpful solution. What about you? What can you do about school shootings? 

Here are some ideas for parents, grandparents, kids, people without children and bystanders.

Parents: Homeschool your children. This is the ideal for every family. In the beginning, God created a father and a mother and children. There were no school teachers, social workers, coaches, or pastors involved. God gave parents the job.

We can see the fallout today from ignoring God's design – herding children together in schools (even "good" schools) is simply pooling ignorance. "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools will come to harm." (Proverbs 13:20) All kinds of harm happens, from simple foolishness to cheating, bullying, abuse, sexual misconduct, and yes – school shootings.

There are many people in today's society who will try to convince you that homeschooling is second class or even impossible for your family. But God is smarter than they are, and He is the one who created the family. Statistics show us that God's design really does work best. Homeschoolers consistently out-perform institutionally schooled children in literally every area of life from academics to civic responsibility to finding satisfaction in life.

Many entities exist to help beginning homeschoolers if you feel you need guidance. There are websites with free curriculum, blogs with helpful suggestions, videos, tutorials, co-ops, support groups, conventions, and more. If you're not sure where to start, the website is a good way to get connected with organizations in your state.

Grandparents: Be involved in your grandchildren's lives. Work with their parents to find ways to spend quality time with them. It's easy to give kids ice cream or take them fun places, but take the time to invest in their minds and hearts as well. Talk with them about God's love, about God's principles, about how to live wisely. Listen to their questions, their fears and their dreams and offer a godly response. Particularly if your children are unable to provide your grandchildren with a stable, loving home, make sure you are the constant in their life: the one who is always there to love them and hold them to a higher standard.

Grandparents, it's possible you may even be able to homeschool your grandchildren if your children are unable to. Check your state law at to see what guidelines they have regarding grandparents homeschooling.

Kids: There may be some older children reading this article. As schools continue to be hunting grounds for maniacs, you may feel like adults have let you down. Some have. But many adults are out there desperately wanting to help you and your classmates. Get to know those adults. Become friends with teachers, security officers, and responsible adults around your school. When you see something, say something to these adults. If one adult doesn't respond to the problem, move on to the next adult until you get a solution.

Be a friend to lonely kids. Don't bully. Don't let others bully. Report bullying.

Learn how to handle an active shooter situation in your school. Find out things you can do to stop him or slow him down. Learn how to give first aid to a victim. Learn how to be a leader and help in a crisis. Pray for wisdom to know what to do if a bad situation ever happens in your school.

Singles, Childless and Empty Nesters: Look for kids that need a friend, a role model, a mentor – an adult to love them. Seek out the quiet kid in the church youth group who seems to be neglected at home. Spend time with the kid next door whose parents are never around. Become a foster family. Counsel at a crisis pregnancy center. Offer to babysit for the working single mom whose kids live at daycare all week. Find the lonely, neglected kids that are everywhere crying out for adult attention. Pour love into their lives. Pray for wisdom, pray for opportunities.

Every Adult: Learn the skills to respond to a crisis. Do you have a gun? Get a concealed carry permit and learn how to respond to an active shooter. Learn how to give medical aid to wounded people. Learn how to spot potential terrorists and get help as fast as possible. Learn how to lead people during a crisis.

Too many tragic events have happened where bystanders were either unable or unwilling to step in and help. Don't be like them. Be a person who can help. If you are literally physically unable to do anything, be the person who prays through the crisis. Our society needs prayer even more than we need guns, medical aid or leadership.

It's time for us to stop waiting on "them" to "do something" about the problems in our society. We need to step in with the Lord's help and do it ourselves. That's the American spirit that has always accomplished incredible goals.

By Heather Sheen
Originally published in the Times Examiner, Greenville, SC

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Public Education: A Pagan System?

I was talking with friends recently and made reference to our nation’s "pagan indoctrination system," meaning the public schools. Several friends immediately got indignant, wanting to know why I was calling public school teachers "pagan." After all, many of those teachers are hard-working, child-loving people who sacrifice tremendously for the kids in their classes.

I quickly clarified that "pagan system" does not mean "pagan teachers." But I didn’t back down on my original claim – our public schools are a pagan system. Christian teachers are fighting an uphill battle to provide good education in a godless system that fights back against them. Here’s why I say this.

God’s System

When God created the universe, He put certain laws into place. The law of gravity is a good example. You can disagree with it, you can defy it, you can try to work around it, but it’s still there and it still governs the outcome of all our physical actions. Another law God put in place concerning human behavior is that a person who is unfriendly usually winds up with few friends. This God-ordained law is so self-evident that even non-Christians agree it exists.

But there are many other laws of human nature that people try to ignore. Just as there would be chaos and pain from everyone ignoring the law of gravity, we see the chaos and pain in our society from ignoring those God-given laws. One of them concerns raising children.

This law of human nature is that God created the perfect education system in the beginning: Families. When society as a whole operates as a support to parents training their children, that society tends to flourish. When society ignores and usurps the role of parents in their children’s education, that society will likewise see chaos and pain in the outcome.

Nowhere in the Bible do we see God giving authority for children’s education to the government, the community, or the church. But He gives it repeatedly and clearly to parents.

This doesn’t mean that parents don’t need help, encouragement and training in this task. But that’s the key – help parents do the job. Don’t take their job away.

  • Parents naturally have the most vested interest in loving and helping their children to succeed.
  • Parents know their children better than anyone else on earth, including "child education experts." 
  • Parents have the ability to spend one-on-one tutorship time with their children.
  • Parents are uniquely positioned by God to be a child’s best educators. 

Unless, of course, you mess up God’s system.

The Pagan System

Home education, properly supported and encouraged by the state and the civil community, is the best, least expensive, and most efficient way for children to be educated and integrated into the adult world. So there is only one reason why the state would want to interfere and get involved: Power.

He who controls the education process controls the eventual makeup of society. People who want to control society, therefore, have a vested interest in first controlling the education system. It’s interesting to note that every totalitarian dictator in modern history has quickly moved to take over his nation’s school system.

It’s easy to see the outcome of 100+ years of enforced government schooling in our country. We now have a nation that ranks below many other nations in basic academic skills. We have a society that, by and large, believes “diversity” is more important than excellence, so people are hired by race and gender quotas instead of skill level. Our nation is becoming a place where sexual deviancy is not only allowed by law, but encouraged and promoted in every level of society. Our culture believes that parents are outdated and authority is something to be flaunted. And of course, it goes without saying that the Bible is unwelcomed and even banished wherever possible.

Further, we now have a society that has no problem with murdering millions of unborn children. We have a culture that regularly produces teenagers and young adults who go on shooting rampages and commit suicide. We have a country that is narcissistic and materialistic, empty and shallow. Children grow up into adults who have no idea what functioning marriages and families even look like. Family units are disintegrating all around us.

This is the fruit of leaving our education system to be designed by government. This design is not God’s way – it’s the pagan way. And we’re getting pagan results: pain and chaos.

Return to God’s System

When communities and nations practice education using God’s system, blessings follow. It’s simply a law of nature that God put into place when he created the universe.

One of the most bright and shining times in our nation’s history occurred when home education was widely practiced. The Declaration of Independence (the first document of its kind ever produced in history) and the Constitution (which has become a model for nations around the world ever since) were produced by a society that was largely home educated. Missionaries who brought the gospel for the first time to dark places around the world had their start in our home-educated society. The financial foundation of the United States, which has become the wealthiest nation on earth, was formed on principles laid down by largely home educated Americans. Some of the brightest minds, the freest society, and the greatest rags-to-riches stories came from the first 100 years of America’s history – when society was largely home educated.

Using God’s system appears to have worked pretty well in America’s history!

If families were supported in their role of educating their own children, so much of what people complain about today would go away.

1. The quality of education would be far higher.  After all, parents have a much higher vested interest in their children's education, plus they have ability to work one-on-one with each child at the child's own pace. Studies have shown that even poorly educated parents who do very little "educating" still wind up with their kids outperforming institutionalized kids.

2. Diversity and cultural heritage would be preserved. All those cultural traditions that should be passed down through generations will have a much better chance of surviving intact - from religious beliefs to family stories to language to respect for elders.

3. Social responsibility would be much higher. You value what you pay for. When education is "free" you don't value it nearly as much as when you have to put something into it.

4. There would be much more individual independence and courage. Herd mentality or peer pressure or following the crowd - whatever you want to call it - is cut way back when a child is raised among loving family members rather than bullying, critical, immature peers. This has also been demonstrated by studies.

5. Many of today’s health problems would be significantly lessened by children being raised in a calm, loving, supportive home. The fast food diets of many American children stem from constantly being on the run with the schools’ schedules. Parents who prepare all three meals for their children are far likelier to create a healthy menu than school cafeterias. Stress from long schedules, school bullies, and peer pressure would cease to push young people into behavioral problems like ADD and depression.

These are just some of the benefits our nation would gain from going back to God’s model for education.

You can have good people in a bad system. There are many American teachers who genuinely love children and want to give them a good education. But good people in a bad system doesn't make the system good. The system intrinsically works against families and against God’s design for education.

The government, the community and the church were designated by God to provide supporting roles for parents to do their job. They were not given a mandate by God to usurp the parents’ job altogether. Our nation is going to continue experiencing chaos and pain until parents take charge of their own children's education instead of letting the state control it.

Home educating parents can already tell you of the blessings on a small scale that God has given their families when they followed God’s design. We need to pray for those blessings on a large scale for our nation, and work to support and encourage parents to take back their role in their children’s education.

Written by Heather Sheen

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Education: Disputable Matters?

Go to nearly any modern Protestant church in America and there’s one subject that gets avoided pretty carefully - the education of children. There is often good reasoning behind this avoidance. American Christians tend to be divided over whether to use homeschooling, private schooling or the public schools. The Bible tells us not to divide ourselves over disputable matters, or gray areas, of theology. So, churches decide that it’s better not to even bring the subject up.

BUT there’s a big assumption in this. The assumption is that children's education is a biblically disputable matter. Is it?

What the Bible Says About Education

We don’t have time in this article to cover every biblical passage on children’s education. I’m going to just hit the highlights.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8: And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This passage is one of the most explicit in the Bible about teaching children. It’s helpful because it not only tells parents what to teach – the Word of God – but also when to teach it. At home, not at home, at night, during the day. That basically covers all of life, 24/7. So early in Scripture we see God’s model of parents being the primary instructors of their children.

Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 1:8-9: Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs, written by the wisest man who ever lived, talks a great deal about how young people can gain wisdom and learn to live a godly life. Over and over again Solomon refers to parents being the primary educators and children needing to listen to their parents’ teaching.

Psalm 78:5-8: He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

There are many Psalms that talk about parents passing on the heritage of the Lord to their children. This one in particular notes that godly parental education is a guard against a rebellious, anti-God society.

I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus - All three of these books are called the pastoral epistles because they were written to two pastors, Timothy and Titus, and contain many instructions on how a church should be led. It is interesting to note that there are commands given to pastors on how to deal with men, women, slaves, slave owners, basically each section of society. But the only reference to children in these books is when the Apostle Paul instructs parents to teach their own children. It’s pretty clear that teaching children is not a main mission of the church, according to Paul. It’s a main mission of parents. In fact, it’s such an important mission that God, through Paul, declares that an elder/pastor must have done a good job raising his own children before he is put in a position of authority in the church. (I Timothy 3:4-5)

Matthew 18:5-6: Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

I’m ending purposely with the words of Jesus Himself. Jesus loved children and even rebuked His disciples for preventing children to come see Him. He wanted the best for them. Jesus could have updated the past model of parents educating their children, but He didn’t. He said He came to uphold God’s Word, not change it. In fact, all He added to it was this stern warning about causing children to sin. If you wonder what that has to do with a child’s form of education, consider the godless pressures from peers and the ungodly curriculum in many institutional schools today and ask yourself if it’s reasonable to expect an immature child to stand up to these pressures.

Education Is Not Neutral

Generally at this point in the discussion of children’s education a common retort is made. “We do teach our children God’s Word! We simply allow a school system to teach them secular subjects.”

Unfortunately, that’s another assumption that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Education is not neutral. Education is not simply a set of secular facts to memorize. Education is the preparation of a child for life by teaching him how to think, how to learn, and what worldview (or lens) through which to view all information. There are no “secular” subjects.

Mathematics assumes that absolute truth exists and is knowable – a difficult subject to teach if one presupposes that truth doesn’t exist. History that is truthful tells the story of God’s work in mankind from the beginning of time. That’s tough to teach if you don’t even acknowledge God – a “secular” curriculum has a vested interest in obscuring God’s hand. Science in our era is either based on the truth that God created all things or the lie that all things evolved by chance. Dramatically different conclusions can be reached depending on which premise you start from. I could go on through each school subject, but hopefully you get the idea. Nothing in life is neutral, because God created and sustains all things.

Salt and Light

If the conversation on children’s education lasts long enough, another retort is inevitably brought up: salt and light. God commanded us to be salt and light, correct? So shouldn’t our children be His salt and light in the school systems?

It’s helpful to go back to the original passage on salt and light, where we see that God did not command us to be salt and light. Instead, He stated that we already are salt and light and commanded us not to lose our saltiness. Flavorless salt is not only tasteless and therefore unnoticeable, but it also doesn’t do the purpose for which it was used in the first century: preserve food. Just as salt without saltiness allows food to rot, Christians who pollute themselves and water down their thinking also fail to preserve the culture in which God has placed them. Understood correctly, the scripture regarding salt and light is actually support for the idea of godly parental education.

Not Everybody Can Do It

The final retort I always hear in this discussion is that not every family can homeschool. The examples brought up include families that only have one parent, families in financial straits needing two incomes, and families with serious marital problems that would interfere with homeschooling. There is a simple, though not necessarily easy, answer to this found in the Bible. The church needs to support families in doing what God has called them to do.

When a missionary is called to the field, the church supports him with prayers, contributions and volunteer work. A parent is as much a missionary as someone called to Africa or China, and the church has the same opportunity to offer support. If churches provided counseling, volunteer work, financial help, and prayer to struggling parents, nearly all the reasons for not homeschooling would disappear. It’s time for the church to step up and provide support for God’s work in families, rather than enabling excuses to avoid that work.

Parental Education is Mission Work

The gospel is spread first in Christian homes and then spills over to the rest of the world. The gospel is not merely an altar call. It is a life-changing, life-lasting work of sanctification that begins at salvation and continues through the rest of our lives. When Christ gave the Great Commission, He didn’t merely tell us to get people down the aisle. He told us to “make disciples.” That is a daily process that involves countless hours, efforts and prayers on the part of the mentor. What better place for that to happen with children than in their own homes with their own parents?

We can see over 100 years of fruit of ignoring God’s model in our culture. Nearly everyone has heard tragic stories of missionaries and pastors who neglected training their own children and as a result their children left the faith. Our modern churches are seeing the millennial generation leave the church in droves. That is in large part because Christians have farmed out the primary part of their children’s education to other people, most of them non-Christians.

When parents educate their children in the fear of the Lord, society is blessed and preserved through their influence. When parents abdicate their role and leave the education of their children to others, especially to a godless government school system, society suffers and becomes a “rebellious generation,” lacking the light and salt of a robust Christianity.

Considering all this, I think we can make a good case that churches do need to be teaching about children’s education from a biblical perspective. Though the actual outworking of parental education will differ from family to family, providing it is not a disputable matter.

Written by Heather Sheen