Life success is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as yourself. It is a life defined by peace, faith, true joy, and legacy – making a difference in this world for Jesus Christ.
Parenting success is doing everything we can to prepare our children for life success.
The gospel of Mark puts things into perspective when it says, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) Let me rephrase the question from the perspective of a parent, “what good is it for my child to gain the whole world – wealth, prestige or power, but lose his soul?”
I believe that many children lose their soul when they are in school. Well-meaning parents send their child to a reputable school to get them educated for future success but there is always the danger of one or more of the following:
– The loss of innocence and purity
– Negative influence of peers
– Emotional disconnection or distancing from parents and siblings
– Pressure of materialism and having to keep up with trends
– Emphasis on the wrong values
– Internalization of or confusion due to a world-view that is not biblical
Call me paranoid, but I’m not willing to risk my child’s soul. Schools may give children a foundation for worldly success, but they cannot guarantee life success. The Bible, however, guarantees that parents who “train up their child in the way they should go, will ensure that their child will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Whether you homeschool or not, keep in mind that the responsibility of teaching our children to love God and follow him is not optional for parents. It is a command. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 tells us that we are to love God and teach our children to love God. The question is, what kind of environment provides the most optimum condition for shaping our children’s hearts? Is it school, where they are away from us, interacting with their same-aged peers, learning from a person who is teaching content we may or may not agree with, and spending their afternoons doing homework or studying for tests so that family quality time is relegated to the weekends if at all? Or is it home, where we get to decide on how, what and when our children will learn, and we have plenty of time to answer their most pressing questions?
When Elijah was three years old he asked, “what if there is no God, what will happen?” In the same year he also asked how babies go inside a mommy’s tummy. Would I have wanted a teacher or friend to answer those questions for him? NO WAY!
If I could find a school that really taught my child to love God without all the dangers I mentioned, then I would actually consider it. Oh, wait a second, I have found it. It’s called home school!
Homeschooling is like a preventive method of parenting while schooling often leads to prescriptive parenting. I have seen parents try to “repair” the damage that wrong and bad experiences have had on their kids because of the school set-up and it is so much harder than teaching a young child to discern right from wrong, to stand against peer pressure so that when they are older, they actually can.
I remember one parent telling me that their young child was being coerced by school peers to look at pornography. Another parent asked me to counsel their daughter who was raped by other students. I have also had parents ask me how to explain Christianity to their child when day in and day out they are taught a different theology in their school. Several times, parents have used the argument, “well, don’t you want your child to be exposed to the ‘real’ world?” Is that the purpose of school’s these days? Give kids a dose of fornication, violence, hurt, and confusion and see if they develop immunity to these things like a vaccine?!
I’m not saying that my kids are never going to have to deal with the dangers I listed if they are homeschooled. The real world surrounds us all the time with or without school. And I’m not a school-basher. I went to school, too. And I enjoyed many good things about school. But admittedly, all the bad things I learned, I actually learned from my peers while in school.
What homeschooling allows me to do is give my kids the optimum environment to fulfil God’s command to teach them to love Him. How so? T-I-M-E and relationship. Because I have more time with my children, I am able to develop a deep connectedness and relationship with them. This naturally gives me more influence. And influence gives me the power to shape the hearts of my children – to encourage them in the right direction.
And yes, having a lot of time with them means they see all my flaws, too! But I like how a fellow homeschooling mom put it when she said something like this, “homeschooling allows me time enough each day to repair any damage or wrong I do in my parenting. If, I lose my patience in the morning, I don’t have to wait until they come home from school to talk to them or say sorry. I can say sorry, then spend the whole day undoing what I did wrong.”
Don’t be fooled by the word “homeschooling.” It is so much more than educating your child on subject matter in the home. It is about preparing your child for life success by educating their heart to know, love and follow God and His ways.
When I become discouraged, overwhelmed or concerned about whether my kids are “okay” because they are homeschooled, I ask myself a simple question. Are my children learning to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and are they learning to love others? If there is progress, then I keep going.
At the end of my life when God asks me if I did my job as a parent, I’m pretty sure he is not going to ask if I sent my kids to the best school, if I made sure they finished with top honors, if I provided them with material comfort or taught them how to make money, or what accolades they received. He is not even going to ask if I homeschooled them. He is most probably going to say, “Joy, I gave you Elijah, Edan, Titus, and Tiana to raise up to know me, love me, and serve me. Did you do so?” I pray that I will be able to answer yes with all my heart. That’s the reason why I’m homeschooling. You might want to consider what YES would mean for you and your family. Maybe it’s homeschooling, maybe it’s not. But it definitely means that you have to do your best to prepare them for life success.