With the beginning of the school year, as is so often the case these days in Christian circles, parents all around me are agonizing over their decisions to homeschool or not to homeschool. Homeschooling is a great thing and a growing trend. However, in response to that positive trend, I’ve noticed people homeschooling their children for the wrong sort of reasons, and as someone who has worked in education, this causes me great concern. Perhaps the word homeschooling brings to mind multilingual 3rd graders doing calculus for fun, but it rarely turns out that way.
I sent my children to Christian school for three years, I homeschooled for five, and now my children are about to enter their seventh (oldest is in college now) year of public school. So, I have seen the pros and cons of all the choices. That’s exactly what it comes down to. Pros and cons. Each system of education has advantages and disadvantages. No one should feel pressured by anyone else into making a choice that doesn’t fit their family. I firmly believe that schooling decisions should be made year by year and child by child according to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. However, if you are struggling with your choice, I’ve put together some checklists that might help you discern God’s will in this area.
Good Reasons to Homeschool
1. Peace and faith that God is calling you to homeschool
2. More quality time with your children
3. Flexible schedule and relaxed educational environment
4. Individualized educations for your children
5. You love to teach
6. Your child is involved in a time consuming extra-curricular activity
7. Making relationships with other homeschoolers
8. A chance to help your children grow in the Lord
9. The cost of private school in your area is excessive
10. Your area’s public schools are particularly dangerous or blatantly promoting an ungodly agenda
Bad Reasons to Homeschool
1. Fear for your child’s safety
2. Fear of the financial pressure of private school
3. Fear of the “liberal agenda”
4. Desire to shelter your children
5. Desire to be the only influence in your child’s life
6. Pressure from church, family, or even spouse
7. You think it will fix your relationship problems with your children
8. You will feel guilty if you don’t
9. You don’t really see the need for so much education, especially for girls
10. Desire to impress others with your self-sacrifice
Good Reasons Not to Homeschool
1. God is not calling you to homeschool
2. You have peace and faith about a different choice
3. You can not adequately meet your child’s needs at home
4. Your child desires more socialization
5. There is no homeschool community and support system in your area
6. Your child needs special education or advanced opportunities
7. Your child needs a structured environment or experienced teacher
8. God’s calling on your life conflicts with homeschooling
9. You have great public schools in your area
10. You have great Christian schools in your area and God has provided the finances or the faith that he will supply the finances
Here’s what it comes down to: the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin. If your decision for this school year has been based on fear, guilt, pressure, laziness, or pride—it’s sin. Turn back now while you still can!!! If your decision for this school year has been made based on faith, love, and hope, then proceed with confidence that God will supply your needs, and that where you are weak, he will be strong.
Yes, there are specific school districts that are truly dangerous, or that purposefully promote an ungodly agenda, but these are few and far between. At the end of the day, the vast majority of teachers, principals, and administrators in this nation place the well-being and education of their students as their first priority. And where they might have weaknesses, God’s strength can see your children through. Homeschooling should be a lifestyle choice and a response to God’s individual call for you and your children for that specific school year, not a theology or political agenda.
If you do decide to homeschool, for the love of all that’s holy, do a good job at it! Your child should receive an equal or better education at home than they would in the public school system. Otherwise, you are withholding opportunities from them that they deserve. No matter your personality or the personalities of your children, God can give you the wisdom to be a good homeschool parent. And he will do so, and give you strength in your weakness, if this is something he has called you to do.
And remember, while your children should be your first priority, you should also give consideration to your own health, well-being, and calling. You are just as precious in God’s sight as your children. If you are depressed, unfulfilled, or overwhelmed, not only will you not be a good homeschooler, you won’t be a good mother or wife either. So ultimately, you are serving your children’s best interest by taking good care of yourself.
I loved my homeschooling years, until I didn’t anymore. I felt called to homeschool for a time. When that season was over, I put my children into public school with faith. Our experiences have been great. My children loved homeschooling during that time, and now they love public school. As I mentioned, the two oldest even went to Christian school for a season and loved that as well.
And so, let me close with a list of tips that will allow your children to succeed wherever God might call them.
1. Plead the blood of Jesus and angelic protection over your family daily
2. Pray that your children will be salt and light in a dark world
3. Teach your children to always be a blessing and encouragement to their teachers and friends
4. Teach your children to see the best in others and not be easily offended
5. Teach your children to extend God’s love to everyone
6. Teach your children that while we respect the beliefs of others, God’s word is our personal standard for truth
7. Make time each day to disciple your children in the word of God
8. Take ultimate responsibility for your children’s education
9. Encourage each of your children to be the individual God created them to be
10. Nurture the unique gifts and callings God has given your children
Any thoughts on homeschool, public school, or Christian school?