This past weekend my husband and I joined the ranks and became a part of the homeschooling community. I guess technically we will start next year when we actually begin teaching our four year old in Kindergarten, but we went to our first homeschooling conference this past weekend so I thought that might count.
I am new to homeschooling. I grew up going to Christian and public school. My husband is the homeschooling veteran, being homeschooled 1st -8th grades. I must say I was very impressed by the spirit of the conference. Humility.
Before our children were born, we knew we would one day homeschool our children. Moving across the street from the local public elementary school confirms that every day. (Between the school’s failing record for the past 10 years, and the random fist fights that break out in the school yard it’s a no brainer.) We have been very prayerful about the decision to homeschool. We understand the pitfalls of home education. One of the major ones being PRIDE. It is very easy to start patting yourself on the shoulder for how great your children are. After all, you are the one educating them. But the conference did a great job of humbling me.
The spirit of the conference was a reflection on my responsibility as a parent to grow my children in the Lord. And this is something that every parent is responsible for regardless of the choice of education. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I comman you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
I was reminded that my first and greatest responsibility to my child is to teach them to love God. Whether they are the best at math, or can read by the time they are four isn’t the goal. If when they take the standardized test and make it to the 99% percentile, but have no love for God and others than I have failed. After all, the reason I choose to keep them home is so that I can teach them Christ right?
The second truth I was humbled by was that my responsibility is to educate their soul. Not just with God’s word, although as I said above that is first, but the truth that all subjects (not just the Bible) are sacred. In other words, I am teaching math, science, reading, literature, history, not just so my children can use them to get a college degree so they can have a well paying job, but I am teaching them these subjects to enrich their souls. Interesting isn’t it. The speaker of one of the workshops said, “Show me a person’s education, and I will show you their view of man.” The speaker made a direct link from our current education system to our cultures view of man. If man has a soul, then we will appeal to the soul when we teach. We will teach them to think logically so that they will have a better view of God, themselves, and the world around them. However, if man is just a body, then we will teach our children to only develop outward skills for the sole purpose of earning a living.
As Christians, our responsibility is greater than a job. We understand that our purpose in life extends past the physical. We want to teach these subjects to the soul. Regardless of what job this lands them or if they go to college in 12 years is irrelevant. I want my child to see all subjects in light of their Creator so that they will have a deeper understanding of who they are, who God is, and enjoy the world that is around them.
So, now you can see why I was humbled. But at the same time I am excited. I am looking forward to starting this journey with my children. I know I won’t just be teaching them, but I will be learning myself. And I can’t wait.