Monday, August 4, 2014

Answering the Questions

My family has been in the homeschooling arena for about 30 years and we have seen the changes in society as it has responded to homeschooling during this time. One way of measuring these changes is the questions we hear when people discover that we homeschooled.

Is It Legal?
Originally the question was, “Is that legal?” The first reaction of our society was to question our right to homeschool. Back then the legality wasn’t clear in every state so as fathers we had some tough decisions to make. But God granted us victories wherever homeschooling was challenged. Laws were changed and only a few families ever lost their children (temporarily) or went to jail for homeschooling. This was an important time for homeschooling.  The movement grew because parents decided to do what was right, even if it wasn’t easy.

How Will You Teach...?
Once it became well established that homeschooling was legal, the next set of questions focused on academics. “Who will teach them calculus? What about biology lab? How will they get into college?” Homeschoolers’ creativity found ways to deal with each of those questions. In fact, homeschoolers are doing so well academically that colleges are recruiting homeschoolers and many are offering homeschoolers generous scholarships. As we fathers and mothers have set our families up to follow the model that God established – parents directing all aspects of their children’s upbringing - we have been blessed with good fruit for our labors.

What About Socialization?
Since homeschoolers began demonstrating that they could meet the academic tests, the questions shifted to, “What about socialization?” This was a very easy question to respond to since one of the most anti-social beings in the world is the typical American child. By teaching our children their social habits in the family, rather than in their peer group, they have developed excellent social habits and are turning out to be leaders. God shows us the power of an upright and godly life on our part when we see mature parental behavior reflected back in the lives of their children. As Christ has given us the freedom and wisdom to be servant-leaders, we find our children stepping into the same roles.

Not For Me!
The next question was really a statement, “Well homeschooling isn’t for everyone.” My response was usually, “Why not? It may not be the favorite choice of all parents, but it certainly will deliver the best results for any child.” I would then get excuses like, “What about single moms, or two income families?” We homeschooled long enough that I have met at least one family in virtually every family structure and economic situation who is homeschooling quite successfully.

It is interesting to see that when confronted with truth, people will grasp at anything rather than apply it in their lives. Our experience has been that God honors His Word. When you order your life according to God’s directives or patterns, He will meet your needs. (Incidentally, He also promises persecution, hence all these questions.)

The "Real" World
Homeschooling has answered these questions and the comment I often hear now is a belligerent, “Well, I want my kids to grow up in the real world!” Dads, be ready to face this one head-on.  We don’t want our children to grow up confined to the “real world” of the present day American pop culture.  We want them to be able to discern what in this “real world” is good, just, and holy, and what is evil and immoral.  To do that they need training in righteousness.  Our society is unprepared, possibly even unable, to provide that training. We, as parents, have the ability and the mandate from God to ensure that our children are brought up to be straight and true arrows in the quiver. As such, when it is time for battle and they are released, they will strike a decisive blow.

The questions keep changing, but the underlying issue is the same. Generally speaking, our society is unwilling to accept the responsibility for raising its children. We would rather give them to the state (or village) and go off to play. However, God called us to something higher when he granted us the privilege of becoming parents.

Written by Ray Sheen

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