Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homeschooling ... Why (continued)

I received a comment a few days ago from a post that I wrote two years ago. While I fully expected to receive debate when I wrote the original post I was somewhat surprised to get the comment. I welcome the point of view and it has given me an opportunity to share my heart on this subject.

Here is her comment from my post, Homeschooling ... Why?

Hmmmmm... interesting argument. But you do realize that you have put everyone who does not homeschool into the category of not doing right by their kids, and not following scripture. Taking our kids out of public schools does little to help the situation. We can't be salt and light when we are standing in salt and surrounded by light. I hope my kids learn to stand up for themselves and be different, just as I did. And I also turned out OK... no, not just OK, but blessed! It takes all kinds and all situations. Thank the dear Lord for that. Just some food for thought...

I'll take this bit by bit:

"But you do realize that you have put everyone who does not homeschool into the category of not doing right by their kids, and not following scripture."

I read and then reread (a few times) my post so that I could be certain in saying that I never put anyone else into categories. While I know that when others choose differently it can spur our conscience into questioning (if they don't have a TV then they think I am wrong if I have a TV?) But, if your own decision is well-grounded and you are confident that it is in accordance with scripture, then there should be no insecurity.

By the way ... we have a TV ... shhh ...

I agree with with this statement:

"Taking our kids out of public school does little to help the situation".

If my desire was to help the public school system it would be detrimental for me to remove them. Most certainly. As a matter of fact, I spent many years on the other side of this argument trying to make valid this very point.

It was by God's grace that I came to realize that my obligation was not to the system or even to the children who attend public school. Raising my children while being obedient to the Lord set up different standards than those which I had previously used.

The cultural measure of academics and socialization paled in comparison to the measures set forth in scripture. As I wrote in my previous post,
"I believe that my responsibility to teach my children doesn't end when they are five. I believe it is a biblical mandate to teach your children the Word of God ... above everything else. Everything. Not one thing should take precedence. Not socialization, not high level trigonometry, and not my freedom. Once I surrendered to that truth there came a realization that I could not possibly adhere to this teaching with such time constraints and outside influence. Public education would not work for me. Ever again."
It was clear that in order for me to obey God in the raising of my children, I (the momma of: Hannah, Emma, Samuel, Benjamin and baby Voiles #5) could not do it that way any longer.

My dearest friend, L, has her children in public school. We have had countless discussions about this topic.

Have mercy.

She believes all the same things that I do. She agrees with what I have written about the biblical mandate for teaching God's word. However, she also believes that she is called to keep her children in public school. She has been called to the same standard of accountability to scripture and obedience to God and yet the means to that end are different.

Admittedly this was difficult for me at first and my zeal was more than obnoxious ;)

By God's grace I am reminded of God's grace.

In order to keep this short, I will address the further points from the comment in a post for tomorrow. Through writing I have shared convictions that the Lord has impressed in my life. Through reading the convictions of others I have learned so much and sought Him in the areas that were not clear.

Homeschooling is most certainly an area that was unclear for me and I am grateful for those who were willing to share their convictions, even when I was not yet ready to make that leap.

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Anonymous said...

"By God's Grace"....yes. Only, always and in all things, by His Grace.

My goal is that His Word and His Grace would be a thread that runs through every conversation, interaction, correction and discipline that occurs in our home. My goal is to teach them to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their might. To be diligent in teaching the Word as we sit in our house, as we walk to ball practice, as they lie down at night and when they rise each morning. I do not believe that the goals of keeping a Holy home and setting a firm foundation in the Word are mutually exclusive with the goal of a public school education. After myriad conversations on this topic, I have come to believe that my children are in school to receive an education, not to be salt and light, not to be socialized, not to be missionaries. I believe the commandments in Deuteronomy 6 apply to all believers, as does the Great Commission. But as with the Great Commission, the means can be different. Some are called to distant peoples, some are called to the cul-de-sac. But all are called. The desire of my heart is to be obedient in all things as I raise my children. And I believe that as in all matters of religious liberty, each of us must search our hearts for the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

And by God's Grace, I call you friend. I love you, Lea Ann

Kim said...

See why I love her so much?

(my word verification is "misshir" as in "miss her")


I think not ;)

Lisa writes... said...

What Lea Ann said. And how could you not be best of friends?

My children are in public schools, something I have been ashamed to admit on certain sites because of the militancy that sometimes marks some (only some!) homeschooling moms. I appreciate so much your grace and humility as well as the depth of your conviction. May we all demonstrate such gentleness even as we walk in obedience to the conviction of the Spirit in this area of our lives, as in all things!

Anonymous said...

And let me say to you, and for the record, I have never felt judged or put in a category by you. Although, yes, at times, you have been obnoxious :) in your zeal, there has never been any question in my mind that your actions and conversations were born out of anything but genuine love and concern for my family. You have spurred me to make sure my decisions are grounded in fervent prayer and thoughtful consideration, to make sure I am not just doing the "next thing".

If you can't be obnoxious with your closest friends, what good are they?
Love ya, Lea Ann

Jill said...

Great conversations ladies! How wonderful to be able to talk our different opinions without judgment.

Kim said...

Great thoughts and I could not have said it any better, my friend!

Did I hear you say baby number 5???? Did I miss something?!

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Good post. I admit, I NEVER believed in homeschooling until we HAD to with a special-needs child. Now, three years into it, I KNOW that we are called BY GOD to do this for our children and I now homeschool for completely different reasons than I did when we started. Read "The Marketing of Evil." He confirms that we almost need to create a sub-culture and the way to do this is to homeschool. Another thing I'll admit- I have a hard time NOT juding those who choose not to homeschool. We have sleepovers and anyone walking into our house can EASILY separate the homeschoolers from the formal schoolers by their attitudes and what is important to them (Hannah Montana, Sponge Bob,etc). I really struggle with this attitude of judgement that I have!!!

Amy said...

We have much in common...I am due with #5 in 5 weeks and I homeschool. I appreciate your post. I also have 'struggled' with some of the same arguments...we also don't have t.v. Does that mean I feel like everyone should have a t.v., no. Some people also get zealous over adoption (I've seen this a lot in the blog world). They think because they have adopted that it's everyone's scriptural and christian obligation to adopt.

I feel like God has "called" our family to homeschool. That makes it easier for me to understand that some families are NOT 'called' to homeschool. We're not all called to be missionaries to the Amazon, but those who are know they are called.

I'm way over the socialization argument. The salt and light one is interesting and I would challenge thsoe who play that card to research the stats. They all show that a very small minority of Christian kids have a positive, godly influence on their peers, while MOST of the time, the opposite is true. Christian kids end up being dragged down and negatively influence by their peers. Futhermore, if Christian adults were REALLY honest, how are they themselves doing as salt and light in their workplace. How effective are they as grown, mature Christians??? Yet we think we can toss a 6 year old to the lions and he will be salt???

Well, that's my piece for now. Keep up the good work!!!!

Anonymous said...

I loved our time in public school with my three kiddos...well except the part where I signed up to be the PTA president for a year...shutter... BUT I adore our time now that we are nearing the end of our second year of homeschooling. It for sure...for me...is a calling, and one that I do not take lightly. It isn't easy by any means, but I've easily(well most days-tryin' to keep it real!) made ever effort to make it happen even more so now that I find myself single and raising these three on my own...working nights to make it happen. The sacrifice is great, but my Lord's sacrifice was so much greater and makes it possible for me to live with true strength and JOY that are coming only from HIM!

We also got rid of the tv for over half a year...wow huh?...and loved it, but now are back to it enjoying the few things we watch...even partaking in Spongebob at times.

It is hard not to judge, or feel judged, but I know that as different as God has made each of us for HIS purpose we can try to give each other some slack and love each other in our differences.

It is hard to not want to share our enthusiasm when we find a great bargain, sale, or read a good book or see an amazing movie, or find the latest/greatest recipe...and I think in the same way we as women can naturally get our "obnoxious" on and want to share! :) It is often my own pride and need to be right that keeps me from hearing and just at least listening my friend's advice and thoughts.

I'm more than thankful for the way that you Kim and Lea Ann have shared your ideas, thoughts, convictions, and love with me over the years!

Obnoxiously yours,

Tiff :)