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HOMESCHOOLING

A 5-Part Series

by Dr. Paul M. Elliott

 

Public Schools’ COVID-19 Response Reveals A Grave New Danger to Christian Schoolchildren

Thanks to COVID-19 mandates, the public school environment has become “big brother”. Children’s behaviors and beliefs are being monitored, massive amounts of data about them are being accumulated, and there is no effective control over how that data will be used - or by whom - to prey upon young people now and in the future. For Christian parents to not take personal responsibility for educating their children is to barter away their souls.

August 2020 - Over the years we have received many communications from Christian parents asking about homeschooling their children. They phrase their questions and concerns in many different ways, but most of them revolve around these four issues:

Quality: Is homeschooling really a better choice? Can my children obtain the same quality of education they would in the public schools?

Finances: If I homeschool I will still be paying taxes to finance the public school system and will receive no aid from the government. I (usually the mother) will need to give up my job in order to homeschool, and we are not sure we can make this work financially.

Capabilities: I do not know if I can do it. I wonder if my children will do well with it.

Socialization: I am afraid that if I homeschool my children they will be stunted socially.

Public Schools’ COVID-19 Response Reveals a New Grave Danger

In addition to these concerns, the closure of schools under coronavirus restrictions and the resulting implementation of “homeschooling” in many public school systems has brought a new phenomenon to many homes: Parents are now much more aware of the dangerous, anti-Christian, anti-Scriptural propaganda their children are receiving as “education” every day courtesy of the government-run school systems. What some parents are not aware of is this: Most public school systems were able to quickly convert to “homeschooling mode” because they were already using dangerous learning tools from Google in the classroom. This made the conversion to the use of Google tools for distance learning relatively easy.

What is the problem with Google for education? Actually, there are many. Eighteen months ago, 80 million educators and students around the world were using Google Classroom and 30 million more were using Google Chromebooks inside and outside the classroom. With the advent of COVID-19 and the closure of public school classrooms in many nations, the use of Google’s tools has skyrocketed. What are some of the dangers? The Google curriculum supports abortion, homosexuality, same-sex “marriage” and euthanasia; denigrates Christ and the Bible; ridicules the Genesis creation account; revises the histories of the United States and other countries to exclude their Biblical foundations. And that is only the beginning. Google tracks students’ performance, thinking patterns, and many other kinds of behavior. Columnist Michelle Malkin, not a Christian but a homeschool mother, has conducted extensive investigations. She writes:

Tim Berners-Lee, who conceived the first internet browser 30 years ago this week, warned of its increasing threats to “privacy, security and fundamental rights.” To mark the anniversary, he argued that demanding transparency is key to stopping the web’s “downward plunge to a dysfunctional future.” So, where to start?

Berners-Lee specifically cautioned against the dangers of internet browsers’ keeping “track of everything you buy.” The world’s top browser is Google Chrome. But spying on our purchases is the least we have to worry about with Google and its $800 billion parent company, Alphabet.

It’s bad enough that the company’s executives match your offline credit card purchases to your online user profile without full disclosure, employ mobile tracking apps that collect location data even if users have turned off location tracking, hide and downplay massive security breaches (like the photo-sharing “bug” and hacker-friendly browser “flaws” revealed this past week), bow to Chinese communist censors and exhibit explicit bias against conservatives. No, it’s much worse. Google’s predation starts early, often with the most vulnerable members of society: our children.

The Silicon Valley giant has hooked legions of children and teachers into its data mining products through lucrative partnerships with public schools across America. Learning no longer starts with A, B, C but with G, G, G:

G Suite, Gmail, Google Cloud, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Hangouts, Google Vault, Google Jamboard, Google Chromebooks and Google Classroom.

Don’t forget: Google now [this was March 2019] has 80 million educators and students around the world using G Suite for Education, 40 million students and teachers in Google Classroom and 30 million more using Google Chromebooks inside and outside the classroom. Despite a report last fall from the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general blasting the feds for failing to investigate a backlog of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act violations, the Trump White House has done nothing to repair the damage to FERPA done by the Obama administration. The Democrats’ tech-chummy bureaucrats busted open the door to third-party sharing of children’s personal data with government agencies, nonprofits and private educational technology vendors.

This is how Google has gotten away with unauthorized scanning and indexing of student email accounts and targeted online advertising based on search engine activity, as well as auto-syncing of passwords, browsing history and other private data across devices and accounts belonging to students and families unaware of default tracking.1

Now more than ever, Christian parents who are not yet homeschooling their children need to face these facts and take action. At this time of year when many parents are considering whether to begin or continue homeschooling, let me briefly address each concern in a series of articles.

The Realities of Public Education

Is homeschooling really a better choice than public school? Consider these facts.

All education is spiritual education. All education has a theology behind it. In the public school system, the spiritual, theological component is entirely humanistic and pagan. Christianity is excluded.

The public school environment is not only self-consciously secular, it is openly and often maliciously anti-Christian. Children are bombarded with the God-denying, God-opposing thinking that the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul describes in Romans chapter one as the reason that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all of humanity apart from Christ. Today the public school agenda very openly and defiantly includes two things that Scripture condemns specifically in that chapter: the denial of God as the creator of mankind and thus as the sovereign, holy Lord to whom all must give account, and the “normalizing” of the sexual perversion which that chapter describes in detail. The public education system has now produced more than a full generation of pagan souls who have no idea what it means to have been made in God’s image, and who see no reason to subject themselves to any “morality” except some form of situation ethics.

In the last twenty years, public schools have become increasingly dangerous places. Of course the rise in the number of school shootings receives the most media attention, but student-on-student violence has become far more common and is truly pandemic. Educators’ and law enforcement’s efforts to create “drug-free zones” around public school campuses would be laughable if they were not such a consistent and tragic failure.

The public school environment has become “big brother”. Children’s behaviors and beliefs are being monitored, massive amounts of data about them are being accumulated, and there is no effective control over how that data will be used - or by whom - to prey upon young people now and in the future.

We could cite many more evils of the public school system, but they all stem from its inherent paganism.

We Must Not Barter Away Our Children’s Souls

How should Christian parents view these things? Let me answer that by pointing you to the words of the Lord Jesus:

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)

“What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The sense of Jesus’ question is this: “What will a man barter away as the price of his soul?” Let me submit to you that the same question applies to parents in relation to the children God has entrusted to them. What will you barter away as the price of your children’s souls?

Furthermore, Jesus condemns the parent - or anyone else - who “causes any of these little ones who believe in Me to sin.” The sense in the original is to place a spiritual stumbling block in front of a child, to cause a child to begin to distrust and to desert the one whom he ought to trust and obey - on a human level, the child’s parents; on a spiritual level, the God of the Bible.

Dear Christian parent, do not barter away the souls of your children by committing them into the hands of the enemies of God, those who “take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords [i.e., restraints] from us’ “ (Psalm 2:2-3). We must always remember that we are in a warfare:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

You must take up the armor of God yourself, and you must see to it that your children are equipped with it. This is not something you can merely subcontract to pastors or Sunday school teachers; you must build the foundation at home.

You may agree with these exhortations, but wonder how you can implement Biblical homeschooling in your own household. Dear friend, you can. We shall examine that aspect of the homeschooling question as we continue.

References:

1. Michelle Malkin, “How to Protect Your Kids From Google Predators”, Conservative Review, March 13, 2019, as viewed at https://www.conservativereview.com/news/malkin-protect-kids-google-predators/

 

Homeschooling: An Issue of Biblical Separation

As James writes under divine inspiration, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”

The contributors to online Christian homeschooling forums and parents’ blogs offer hundreds of reasons, and thousands of examples from their own experience, to support their personal decisions to homeschool and to encourage others to follow that course. They communicate with commendable enthusiasm and sincerity. However, much of what they write is purely subjective.

Parents Must Stand Upon Objective Biblical Support

It is disappointing to find that very few of them give objective Biblical support for the imperative of parents’ taking direct responsibility for the education of their children. It is hardly a matter of, “Well, that goes without saying...” It must be said! I wonder if it is too little said in those forums because it is too little said from our pulpits. If Christian parents have no Biblical support for what they do, they are no better off than unsaved parents who decide to homeschool their children with a secular curriculum, or send them to a private school that has no commitment to the authority of Scripture.

As we saw in the first article of this series, homeschooling is, far above all else, a spiritual decision for Christian parents. We must not barter away the souls of our young people by committing them for six or more hours a day, 180 days or more in a year, into the clutches of a system that is vehemently opposed to all that we stand for as believers in Christ and people of the Word. To do so is to place our children back in bondage to that from which Christ has freed us. As Peter wrote to the early Christians,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:2-9)

We often think of these words - and many other such passages - only in a “church context.” But they have just as much to do with the everyday issues of life such as the education of our children. As we said in our first article, all education has a theological basis - whatever that theology may be.

The Essential Core

Homeschooling parents offer all sorts of reasons why they remain committed to their course. But this, I believe, is the essential core: The quality of an education that in all areas is grounded in the truth of God and the message of the cross as revealed in His Word, and views all of life and all of knowledge through a Biblical lens, far excels anything the world can offer. The Word of God veritably shouts this to us. Once again, many of the passages we tend to only think about in the context of the visible church apply just as much to the education of our children, including these:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)

Surpassing Quality

The book of Proverbs, especially in the first nine chapters, speaks frequently of the emptiness of worldly wisdom in contrast to the surpassing value of knowledge gained by godly means and through a Biblical lens. Later in Proverbs we find many passages such as this, which aptly describe the distinction between the world’s methods of indoctrination and education grounded in Biblical wisdom:

A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit. (Proverbs 14:6-8)

Indeed, much of what is taught as fact in the public school environment - including evolution, sexual perversion and promiscuity, pagan environmentalism, judgments in all areas based on feelings rather than facts and immutable laws — constitutes the cruelest deceit of our young people. We must not do this to them.

The Imperative of Biblical Separation

Homeschooling is very much an issue of Biblical separation. Again, a passage we often think of only in “ecclesiastical” terms very much applies to the education of our children:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [Satan]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Christian parents, will you immerse your children in the uncleanness, lawlessness, darkness, and idolatry of public education, or will you raise them to be proper temples of the living God in this present evil age? What are you asking of God for your children - worldly honor or glory to His name? James by divine inspiration wrote these words to believers:

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:3-6)

 

Do Not Bother to Homeschool If You Intend to Squander Its Benefits

Christian homeschooling involves not merely a curriculum, but an entire way of life for both parents and their children.

Some readers will immediately question the title of this article, so let me begin with an explanation. It is fine to think that you are doing your children good by homeschooling them. But many parents are squandering the benefits of removing their children from the pagan public school system by their own actions, and lack of action, in other areas. Sad to say, churches sometimes aid and abet this undermining of the benefits of homeschooling. In this article we will discuss three particular pitfalls. I suspect that some readers may object to the things I am about to say, but I have seen these dangers many times, and Scripture clearly shines a spotlight on them.

Pitfall 1: Lack of Discernment About the Materials You Use

The first pitfall is being uncritical of the materials you use in homeschooling. You cannot trust everything that is called “Christian.” It is increasingly common for homeschool materials that bear a “Christian” label to lend support to such evils as pagan environmentalism, radical feminism, the social gospel, the homosexual agenda, and religious syncretism. You have removed your children from the public school system to protect them from these evils and to equip them with Biblical truth on these issues. Do not use “Christian” materials that will undermine your efforts.

Once again, passages of Scripture regarding Biblical discernment that we often mentally restrict to “spiritual” matters in fact apply to this issue. In this as in all else,

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.... They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1, 5-6)

Many parents purchase a packaged homeschool curriculum covering all subjects without regard to the potential pitfalls. In such programs the mathematics, for example, may be fine - although evil agendas can creep in even there - but the history, literature and social studies modules may be tainted or even thoroughly riddled with ungodly agendas. Take the time to be critical of the material for each subject. Do not be afraid to select materials from different sources in order to assemble what is best for your educational goals, and safest spiritually. Be constantly on guard; this is an area in which parents cannot merely “subcontract” their children’s education to a packaged curriculum.

Some parents have asked us for curriculum recommendations. We hesitate to do that because homeschool materials, especially in the era of electronic publishing, are constantly changing. Programs that may be fine in one school year may undergo poisonous changes in the next. We urge parents to prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, and to consider carefully - but no less critically - the advice of other homeschool parents, pastors, and other advisors. Ronald Reagan’s cold war axiom comes to mind: “Trust, but verify.”

Pitfall 2: Hypocrisy Regarding Worldliness

Christian parents need to constantly ask themselves this question: Have we truly cultivated, in ourselves first of all, a love for spiritual things and a hatred of ungodly things? If you have not, you will not cultivate such things in your children even if you give them the best homeschool education employing the most rock-solid materials.

You must be able to say to your children - and daily demonstrate before them - the same admonitions the Apostle Paul gave to his spiritual children in the church at Philippi:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Do not take the trouble to homeschool your children, if you are only going to introduce worldliness to them in many other ways - through the television, movies, books, and online content you permit them to watch and read, the music to which you permit them to listen, or the so-called “Christian” imitations of worldly activities that may even be promoted by your own church.

Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. (James 3:11-13)

Christian parents, do not send mixed messages to your children. If you do not resolve, by the grace of God, to be consistent in these matters, if you think that you can say one thing but do another, the Word of God calls you a hypocrite. You are probably wasting your time and money on homeschooling by undoing all of its potential good. You cannot protect your children from the world’s evils with one hand, and drag them through the world’s uncleanness with the other.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

In the original Greek of the New Testament, 1 John 2:15 actually reads, “Stop loving the world.” It is a strong imperative. Love for the world is a pitfall that every Christian continually faces. And so we are commanded to continually strive to stop loving it. These verses explain why we must stop loving the world.

The word that is translated “love” in both cases in these verses is the Greek word agapeAgape love is a love that springs from a sense of the preciousness of the object that is loved. The way in which agape love manifests itself is in self-sacrifice. A good working definition of agape love is this: Agape love is self-sacrifice on behalf of that which you consider to be precious.

If you are exercising agape love - self-sacrificial love - toward the things of this present evil world, you are demonstrating that you consider them to be precious. Therefore, the Holy Spirit says, “the love of the Father” is not in you. Literally, in the original language, “the love that the Father possesses is not in you.” And what is that love? It is the love that is set before us in John 3:16 - the redeeming love of God in Christ. The love of God that would sacrifice His own Son upon the cross in order to redeem the entire created order from the curse of sin, and to redeem men and women and boys and girls from their sin, so that they may live forever as the citizens of the New Heavens and the New Earth - the redeemed, reconciled, and renovated created order, in which righteousness will dwell under the lordship of Jesus Christ forever.

The self-sacrificial redeeming love of God in Christ and the self-sacrificial love of this present evil world are diametric opposites. The two are totally incompatible. You cannot have God’s redeeming love for His created order, you cannot truly have His redeeming love toward your children, you cannot truly long for their deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, if you have embraced fallen mankind’s self-consuming love for this present evil world-system - and communicated that love to your children through your own ungodly example.

Pitfall 3 - Lack of Discipline

Discipline - especially in the form of self-discipline - is one of the most difficult aspects of homeschooling. Often parents tend to make the deadlines for completing homeschool work far too elastic. Young people who have not been trained in the discipline of meeting deadlines have difficulty performing when they enter the working world in which the pace is rapid, deadlines are fixed and unforgiving, customers both inside and outside the business are demanding, and you cannot simply say, “I can get it done tomorrow.”

Many parents tout the absence of hard deadlines in their household’s homeschool environment as a great advantage. But I have known of many homeschool children who barely finish last year’s materials by the time they are supposed to begin the next - and in extreme cases can even fall a year or more behind.

Parents must set the example through self-discipline. Once again, this is an area in which the great danger is hypocrisy - to effectively send children the message, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Self-discipline is a Biblical virtue. Once again we have no less of an example than the Apostle Paul. The members of the church at Corinth suffered severely from lack of personal discipline in many ways with dire spiritual consequences, which Paul addressed in his letters to them. And in his first letter he sets forth the principle of self-discipline and then gives himself as the example:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Not Merely a Curriculum But a Way of Life

The most successful Christian homeschooling parents never become complacent about their children being spiritually “safe” in any of these areas - discernment, separation from the world, self-discipline. As we have said previously in this series, proper Christian homeschooling is the outworking of the imperative of Biblical separation. It is not merely a curriculum. It is an entire way of life for both Christian parents and their children.

 

Homeschooling: The Myth of ‘Poor Socialization’

Are Christian homeschooling parents in danger of raising children who are “socially stunted” or “hothouse Christians” who cannot function in the “real world”? What does Scripture say?

Christian parents often express the fear that their children will be “stunted socially” if they homeschool them. Some parents scorn the Biblical separation that must be the imperative behind homeschooling because they say they do not want to raise “hothouse Christians” but children who “can function in the real world.” These are among the greatest myths used against taking responsible, Biblical action to protect your children from the public school system and from fellowship with darkness generally.

Blessed Are the “Socially Stunted”

Is it “socially stunted” for your child not to know the details of the latest R-rated movie? Is it “socially stunted” for your son not to be trained in how to get girls to engage in sexual intercourse with him before marriage? Is it “socially stunted” for your daughter to be constantly made fun of because she is a virgin? Is it “socially stunted” not to know the vile lyrics of the latest songs on MTV? Is it being a “hothouse Christian” not to learn, from the example of unbelievers, a host of other sinful thoughts and practices?

Blessed are your children, if they are thus “socially stunted”! If you do not train up your children in the way they should go, the unbelieving world will gladly train them for you. It will not be in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) but in “following a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

Self-Esteem, Or Esteem for Christ?

Often parents will express the fear that if their children are homeschooled they will have “low self-esteem.” The vast majority of self-described evangelical churches enable and support this false notion by constantly putting the Christian life in false psychological terms - “avoiding low self-esteem” - “having a positive self-image” - “having a high view of your self-worth” - “loving yourself.”

But of what does Scripture speak? It speaks of humility, of esteeming others (especially within the family and in the body of Christ) better than ourselves - and gives Christ as our perfect example:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery [a thing to be grasped at] to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the Earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father....

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of life... (Philippians 2:5-11, 14-16)

We also find this in the Old Testament:

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools. (Proverbs 3:31-36)

For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15)

Both James and Peter cite these passages in their epistles:

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober [self-controlled], be vigilant [always watchful]; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:5-11)

It Is Actually Public School Students Who Are “Stunted”

Who are the ones who actually lack “socialization”? I would submit that it is the young people who are in bondage to the public school system. A spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association has written on this phenomenon:

Academically homeschoolers have generally excelled, but some critics have continued to challenge them on an apparent “lack of socialization” or “isolation from the world.” Often there is a charge that homeschoolers are not learning how to live in the “real world.” However, a closer look at public school training shows that it is actually public school children who are not living in the real world.

For instance, public school children are confined to a classroom for at least 180 days each year with little opportunity to be exposed to the workplace or to go on field trips. The children are trapped with a group of children their own age with little chance to relate to children of other ages or adults. They learn in a vacuum where there are no absolute standards. They are given little to no responsibility, and everything is provided for them. The opportunity to pursue their interests and to apply their unique talents is stifled. Actions by public students rarely have consequences, as discipline is lax and passing from grade to grade is automatic. The students are not really prepared to operate in the home (family) or the workplace, which comprise a major part of the “real world” after graduation.

Homeschoolers, on the other hand, do not have the above problems. They are completely prepared for the “real world” of the workplace and the home. They relate regularly with adults and follow their examples rather than the examples of foolish peers. They learn based on “hands on” experiences and early apprenticeship training. In fact, the only “socialization” or aspect of the “real world” which they miss out on by not attending the public school is unhealthy peer pressure, crime, and immorality. Of course, the average homeschooler wisely learns about these things from afar [and, we would add, through a Biblical lens] instead of being personally involved in crime or immorality or perhaps from being a victim.1

Dear Christian parent, the next time you have doubts about the “socialization” of your homeschooling children, or think you are in danger of raising “hothouse Christians” who won’t be able to function in the “real world” - consider these things!

References:

1. Chris Klicka, “Socialization: Homeschoolers Are in the Real World” as viewed at: https://www.ichea.net/socialisation---homeschoolers-are-in-the-real-world.html.

 

Homeschooling: The Issue of Finances

Trusting in God’s provision rather than focusing on worldly prosperity is vital for homeschooling families. This is not merely a pious platitude but a command of God - and one of His greatest blessings.

Over the years I have spoken with many parents who are considering homeschooling, but wonder if they can afford it. Most often this fear stems from the fact that both father and mother earn an income from a job outside the home, and wonder if the loss of one of those incomes will sink the household financially.

Parents Must Stop Thinking Like the World

It is usually the mother who would be giving up a job outside the home in order to facilitate homeschooling her children. What I am about to say is entirely counter-cultural to say the least, but I believe on the basis of the Word of God it needs to be said.

The thinking of the Christless world-system has even many Christian women convinced that they are worthless unless they have a position, title, and salary outside the home. Sadly, the visible church often reinforces this false notion. I have even heard and read self-described Christian commentators who say that the “Proverbs 31 woman” is the “Christian professional woman” or even the “Christian feminist.” Christian women working outside the home is, in the vast majority of cases, principally a matter of expectations and appearances, of acceptability in a world with a perverted value system, and not a matter of true necessity.

The same world-system thinking has many men convinced that they need not be the sole provider for the household. But in 1 Timothy 5:8 we read that “if anyone does not provide for the needs of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” The original language is clearly masculine, speaking of the male(s) of the household. The word translated “provide” is the Greek pronoei, which speaks of provision for the household through forethought and planning. It is a key aspect of genuine male headship in the home.

If prospective homeschool parents are truly economically dependent on two incomes — or at least perceive themselves to be — it is often because they have chosen to place themselves in that position. It will take forethought and planning to make the transition to the Biblical model of male providership in order to facilitate homeschooling. It will require taking a Biblically honest look at what is really important in life, and what truly honors God.

I can tell you based on many personal contacts that couples who have prayerfully committed themselves to making the transition to male providership have often found it less painful than they anticipated, and have been amazed at the Lord’s provision for their needs. Often parents find that many of the expenses they are able to reduce or eliminate stem from worldly involvements that clear-eyed, Spirit-led examination convinces them they must abandon for their own good, and their children’s — even apart from the homeschooling question.

“But We Still Pay Taxes”

Some object to homeschooling because the parents of homeschool children continue to pay the taxes that support the public school system, but receive no benefit from it. But how can any Bible-believing Christian see sending a child to public school as a “benefit”?

Also, we all pay taxes for many things from which we do not personally benefit, and often in present-day society for things to which we as Christians firmly object on Biblical grounds, such as government-funded abortion. But the same was true in Jesus’ days on earth. The Caesars and kings of Israel in that time were some of the most pagan, ruthless, bloodthirsty men who ever ruled nations. But Jesus’ instruction could not have been more clear: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Part of “rendering unto God” for Christian parents is to take personal spiritual responsibility for their children’s education.

Creative Approaches to Curricula

Many parents are concerned about the cost of homeschool curricula. Some of the packaged programs are quite expensive, and at times we cannot help wondering if the producers see their work primarily as an activity to enrich themselves or to enrich the people of God and their children. But there are many choices that are not as expensive. For example, homeschooling parents whose children have finished a particular grade level often offer their used materials to others, in perfectly acceptable condition, at a greatly reduced price.

There are many other lower-cost options. This is an area in which I have seen parents become very creative, and their children have benefited. There are many online sources, as well as Christian homeschooling conventions, umbrella groups, and other support groups, that can aid parents in this.

Seek, and Rest in, God’s Provision

Finally, let me encourage both present and prospective homeschooling parents to trust in the Lord’s provision. That is not merely a pious platitude, the Word of God shouts it to us again and again. For example, in Psalm 37 David’s theme is that the one who trusts in God need not look at the prosperity of the unbelieving, but must focus instead upon the Lord’s provision:

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday....

A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives. For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.

Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. (Psalm 37:1-7, 16-27)

 

Christian parents across the United States and in other countries who have successfully homeschooled come from all sorts of cultural and educational backgrounds. Some of them, the world (and even many in the church) would say, could never homeschool successfully. But by God’s grace they have.

As we conclude this brief series on Christian homeschooling, we take up another question that is on the minds of many prospective homeschool parents - and it is a question that does not go away during your children’s homeschooling years: “I, as a parent, do not know if I am capable of doing this.” Behind this question are a wide range of other thoughts, such as these:

  • “I only barely graduated from high school myself!”
  • “I never completed college,” or “I only have an A.A. degree.”
  • “I have a college degree, but not in the field of education.”

Many parents are also unsure of their state’s or local government’s legal requirements for homeschooling.

Let us look at these issues together.

Parental Educational Requirements

Within the United States, the educational qualifications for homeschool parents vary in each of the fifty states, but most are not as strenuous as one might first think. Many of the qualifications relate not as much to a parent’s level of education as to the subjects and number of hours the mother and/or father commit to provide. Some states stipulate no specific qualifications.

Some states require the homeschooling parent(s) to have a high school diploma or GED (a General Equivalency Diploma which can be acquired by taking a battery of standardized tests). Some states do not even stipulate that, or parents can meet the requirement by membership in an umbrella group which provides the assistance of people who meet the state’s qualifications.

Several homeschooling websites provide details on parental qualifications in each jurisdiction. These include The Old Schoolhouse (Christian emphasis), the Coalition for Responsible Homeschool Education (a secular organization), Successful Homeschooling (also secular), the Home School Legal Defense Association, and the education section of FindLaw.com.

One thing that is very telling is that most states require parents, in one form or another, to “remove” their children from the public school system in order to homeschool. The assumption of most state laws is that the government effectively owns your children, to indoctrinate them as it wishes, from kindergarten or even pre-kindergarten upwards. Removing your children from the “ownership” of the God-defying state represents no small incentive to homeschool!

For this reason, it is preferable to begin information-gathering about parental qualifications with non-governmental sources like those above, rather than by first contacting state or local governments. Those governments have a vested interest in protecting their supposed “right” to keep children in the public school system. Therefore, many educational bureaucracies make it unnecessarily difficult for parents to ascertain and assert their homeschooling rights.

Qualifications The World Cannot Understand

A vital element that is nowhere codified in man-made laws is the fact that Christian parents possess, and need to develop and nurture, the spiritual qualifications to homeschool their children. And fathers, do not forget that the responsibility for educating your children does not belong to your wife alone. Male headship in the Christian home is no less vital in this area than in any other. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Christian parents, you are qualified to teach your children because God has given them to you, and you know them better than anyone else on earth. Strive to know you children well. Strive to understand their interests and direct them in God-honoring ways. Strive to shape the required discipline according to your knowledge of your children as individuals.

You are also qualified because you have the Word of God in your hands, the Spirit of God living within you, and the tremendous privilege of prayer. Be in the Word yourself, systematically and continually. Seek the illumination of the Holy Spirit as you read and study it. Many homeschool parents find the opportunity to study the Scriptures together with their children in the homeschool setting one of its greatest joys and privileges. Seize the great privilege of prayer for your labors, and intercessory prayer for your children.

These are essential elements of the educational picture that the unbelieving world cannot understand, but which you as a believing parent must seek to fully understand and effectively employ.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base [insignificant or lowly] things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

“I Can Do All Things Through Christ”

Dear friends, it can be done. I know Christian parents across the United States and in other countries who have successfully homeschooled, who come from all sorts of cultural and educational backgrounds. Some of them, the world (and even many in the church) would say, could never homeschool successfully. But by God’s grace they have.

One lady I know married a man who had been stationed at one of the United States’ embassies in southeast Asia. She came to this country and became a U. S. citizen, and became a Christian. When she arrived she knew very little English. But she homeschooled her sons for over twenty years and they have done well academically. One of them now holds a Christian university degree in cinema production and is pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking, another is a skilled automotive technician and talented church organist, and another plans to pursue a career as an announcer and voice actor.

Another case in my personal acquaintance is one of the more extreme ones. A young woman I know was the product of a broken home. She was abandoned to other relatives from birth by her biological parents. In God’s providence those relatives were believers, and she received the benefits of a Christian day school education through the elementary years and came to know Christ at an early age.

In her early teens her birth parents, who sporadically attended church but were not believers, decided to retake custody of her. In a very dysfunctional home situation this young girl prayed for God’s help and provision. With limited but providential help from people associated with the church school she had previously attended, she had to essentially homeschool herself through the remaining grades without meaningful parental involvement - in fact, in the face of ungodly opposition at home. During the high school grade levels, she actually had to select and buy her own curriculum materials and completely self-educate. By the grace of God she succeeded, completing the last two years of high school in a single year.

After graduation she worked for a time in the office of a Christian ministry as an administrative assistant. Today she is a nursing technician, is well on her way to completing a college degree and other training that will qualify her to be a registered nurse, and has married a fine Christian man.

The forces of Antichrist will be at work to thwart your homeschool efforts, and to tell you that you cannot do it. But “you are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). May you be able to continually rejoice in God’s work in your life and in your children’s, and may you be able to say with the Apostle Paul,

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased [literally, how to live humbly], and I know how to abound [how to live in prosperity]. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Copyright 1998-2020


Author

Dr. Paul M. Elliott Dr. Paul M. Elliott is a founder and president of TeachingTheWord Ministries, and the regular speaker on The Scripture-Driven Church broadcast.

Raised in a Christian home, Dr. Elliott came to personal saving faith in Christ at an early age in the 1960s. He was a manager and consultant in the business world before God called him to the ministry. A frequent conference, seminar, and pulpit speaker, he holds a doctorate in Biblical exegesis, and has written four full-length books and hundreds of articles and booklets. Dr. Elliott and his wife live in Westminster, Maryland and their home church is in nearby Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1998, TeachingTheWord is committed to the task of evangelizing the world and edifying the saints, which is Christ’s Great Commission. TeachingTheWord seeks to support individual believers and the local church by carefully communicating Biblical truth, and addressing issues confronting individual Christians, families, and churches.

TeachingTheWord’s ministry is based on the proposition that Christ’s church must be the Scripture-driven church; God’s inspired, inerrant Word must be our sole authority, and our infallible critic, in every area of life and ministry.

TeachingtheWord Ministries
Box 2533, Westminster, Maryland 21158, USA
In North America, toll-free: 888-804-9655



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