Homeschooling Is Not One of the 10 Commandments

Recently, I’ve been thinking alot about homeschooling friends who plan to send their children to conventional schools for the coming school year. A part of me was feeling down because I felt that they SHOULD keep homeschooling. I was trying to present to them reasons why they should stay the course, why their kids would be better off, why they should really think through the pros and cons before making a final decision.

As a die-hard advocate for homeschooling, it is often difficult for me to accept the reality that not every family will choose to homeschool. In my mind, it seems simple. Homeschooling is better. Homeschooling is the best way to prepare your children for life success. Why would parents want to do any differently? How can people not see it?

But, God reminded me that homeschooling is not one of the 10 commandments. The Bible doesn’t say “Thou shalt not send thy offspring to a conventional school.” And if I am not careful, I can come across as a fanatic for home education – a legalist who believes that parents who don’t homeschool are somehow “not spiritual,” less loving as parents, less pleasing to God. Whoa! This perspective cannot be right! It is outright cultish!

After sitting through the TMA Homeschool Graduation last Friday, a realization came to me. As each family came up on to the stage and each graduate read letters they wrote to thank and honor their parents, there was a line that kept coming up again and again. The kids would say, “Thank you for loving me. Thank you for teaching me to love God.” That’s it!, I thought…Who parents are and what they teach their children is far more important than whether they homeschool or not.

If parents homeschool but fail to teach their child to love God and follow God, that’s not success. If parents send their child to a conventional school but remain intentionally involved in training, discipling, and teaching their child to love and follow God and their children do so, that is success. (There will definitely be greater challenges with this option, but I will talk about that another time)

At the end of the day, the command is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…and teach this diligently to your children as often as you can, whenever you can, for as long as you can.” (Deuteronomy 6:5,7 paraphrased)

My encouragement for families who decide to stop homeschooling is, don’t forget to still make this your priority.

And for those who want to start homeschooling or want to keep going, here is the truth we must all come to accept. NOBODY CAN HOMESCHOOL WELL. NOBODY CAN BE A SUCCESSFUL PARENT…APART FROM JESUS! We are all the same. I’ve come across hundreds of families and I’ve done all kinds of research over the years about homeschooling and guess what? Everyone feels inadequate and flawed at some point.

I look years into the future and think to myself, how in the world am I supposed to remain patient every single day as I homeschool? How come I can’t be consistent with a schedule? What’s going to happen when the topics and subject matter escalate in difficulty? I think of other families and I ask similar questions like, how in the world can parents really teach their children and do it successfully?

Well, the bad news is, we can’t do it. The good news is, “I (we) can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (us).” (Philippians 4:13)

The key is – through Christ. Christ has to be the center of your life, the center of your family. Edric and I believe in God’s command to love him and teach our children to love him, and we believe homeschooling is the best way to raise Christ-centered children. But when Christ isn’t controlling us, we do a bad job at both homeschooling and parenting.

Remember, when God is removed from the picture, homeschooling does not save a family from the consequences of sin or guarantee that children will be protected from worldly evil and influence. It does not solve relationship problems within the family or cure the character flaws of parents and kids. Homeschooling doesn’t automatically make a person prioritize their spouse and kids. Homeschooling is not even the hope of the world or the solution to raising future leaders who will fix the problems of society.

The only real hope and answer in the world is Jesus. He is the one who changes families and changes the world through families.

So to settle the argument in my mind about whether families should choose to homeschool over a conventional school or keep homeschooling, here’s the conclusion: Whether you homeschool or not, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and raise your children to love and obey God. Will you be condemned if you send your children to a conventional school? Of course not! But will you be held accountable for teaching and raising your children to know and love God? You bet. There is no escaping this reality as parents. Homeschooling is not one of the 10 commandments but loving God is the first and foremost of all. And it is our responsibility to pass on this truth to our children in the best way we possibly can. Are we doing so?


30 thoughts on “Homeschooling Is Not One of the 10 Commandments

  1. hey joy, i watched mum moments on tv the other day and homeschooling (specifically TMA) was discussed. i was wondering how i can get more information. i have used sonlight curriculum for the past year, i like it, but would like to learn more about other possibilities. my husband teaches at faith academy and we may one day send our kiddo’s there, but not yet : )

    what is the best way to get more information about TMA and homeschooling options in the Philippines?

    thanks melissa barlow

    1. Hey there! How old are your kids? If you plan to send them to Faith I don’t think you need to worry about transcripts and records. Faith allowed us to take the OTIS Lennon before we were accepted. We didn’t have any official transcripts but they based our acceptance on age and achievement test results. I don’t know if they have changed their policies. But if you are really interested in homeschooling with a local homeschool provider like TMA, here are the advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are: you get connected to a community, your kids get to attend activities and workshops, they receive quarterly or bi-yearly reviews, and you can opt for U.S. accreditation and Philippine accreditation which gives you the security of transcripts and records. The disadvantages are you have to follow Department of Education requirements like teaching local civics and Filipino (which is a continual struggle for us but we are happy to be doing it), you have to follow requirements of the program like submitting portfolios, record-keeping, finishing within a period of 12 months, attending mandatory activities, and paying for services. Some parents find these systems “rigid” while others prefer having structure. For others, they opt to comply with the structure because the accreditation is important for them. So it really depends on the needs of each family.

      TMA allows parents to select their own mix of curriculum and they have advisors to help parents decide on which curriculum comply with required competencies. Right now TMA offers a range of curriculum from local textbooks which are more reasonable to U.S. materials like Alpha Omega (LA and Math), Singapore Math, Apologia (for Science), Mystery of History (for World History), Total Language Plus (Reading and Language), etc.

      I came across this list of homeschool programs in the Philippines. Maybe this will help. 🙂

    2. Hi Melissa, I live in CEbu Philippines and is very much considerin to use Sonlight. I wonder if you enrolled your chil to FAith otTMA or continued with Sonlight? Hope you can share your experience with Sonlight. One of my major concern is how to get transcripts and eventually diploma. I wonder If DepEd give testings/evaluations for homeschooled child.or do uknow one from America?

  2. Hi Joy! I love what you wrote in your article as I can relate well. As a homeschool advocate too, I have the same reactions to parents considering conventional school over homeschool.

    What a great encouragement & reminder this is! Thank you & I miss you!

    1. Hi Melissa, I live in CEbu Philippines and is very much considerin to use Sonlight. I wonder if you enrolled your chil to FAith otTMA or continued with Sonlight? Hope you can share your experience with Sonlight. One of my major concern is how to get transcripts and eventually diploma. I wonder If DepEd give testings/evaluations for homeschooled child.or do uknow one from America?

  3. Hi Joy! I laughed when I read “Thou shalt not send thy offspring to conventional school”! Being a homeschooling mom for two years, now going on our third, (by God’s grace alone!) I find myself questioning whether to continue teaching our son or not. But when I see how much my son has grown to love God and really imbibed all bible teachings is truly awesome. Last night my daughter was scared to approach me because I have spanked her for disobedience. I overheard our son saying, “Don’t be scared. Mama is not angry anymore. Okay let’s pray that God will be with you when you talk to Mama” … and they prayed. This June our 4 year old daughter will be joining his older brother but she says that she wants to go to preschool with a playground! Now what am i going to do about that??? 🙂

    Thanks for the encouragement. Proud TMA-er!!!

    1. That is so sweet of your son! I’m sure you were so encouraged. It’s so awesome when we catch our kids demonstrating their faith (even without us around)! I love stories like that. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      With Elijah, we sent him to a preschool 2 days a week when he was about 4 years old. He homeschooled the other three days of the week. We asked Abba’s Orchard if they could create a program for him since he would only be there twice a week. At the time, I had a one year old baby boy so it helped alot. It was a great school but after a semester, he decided on his own to homeschool fully. 🙂 Now he wants to homeschool through Highschool! Will see how long God tells us to…

      Maybe you can talk to Abba’s Orchard. They have a school along Katipunan and one in McKinley Hill, in the Fort.

  4. I thank God for using you, Joy, to put things in the right perspective. Homeschooling or not, parenting must be intentional. I have some homeschooling friends who have not been ‘successful’ in raising some of their children to be godly adults for various reasons. I used to be so pushy with regards to challenging others to homeschool their children but like you, God made me realize that He is the One in charge of His children’s lives…every individual, every family is uniquely designed and He has specific purpose for each of His children. Homeschooling our family is His lifestyle plan for us because through it His glory shines brightly. We are grateful to have obeyed Him. May God’s abundant favor be upon you and your family. 🙂

  5. thanks Joy, im really confused at the moment with lots of things to do and homeschool. i dont have high expectations with my kids all i really wanted for now is for them to love learning with me but as i homeschool i see my kids get bored and tired easily there is no fun in what we do… i dont know why? thats probably one of the reason why i want to send them to school but at the back of my head there is a big question as to should we do it or not? pls pray for me and trevor to really hear from the Lord what should we do not our will but GODS will. we need clear instructions from the lord.
    thanks for your blog its reminding me to re align my goal.

  6. hi…i just wanted some feedback please…I have a daughter who has a learning disability n so do I.. I put her in public school but am not satisfied with the school system..she needs alot of 1 on 1..I am so dicouraged because of my learning disability can u please pray for me…I want to homeschool but there is a part that says when she gets to the older grades what am I going to do,please pray!!! I have a daughter 10 yrs.old,son 5yrs.,daughter 4yrs.old…please keep my family in prayer!


    1. Hi Deborah thanks for sharing. I don’t know what your learning disability is but I know that God is greater than our weaknesses. The bible says when we are weak thats when we are strong. Our weaknesses make us prayerful and dependent on God. I may not have a learning disability but sometimes my character is my disability! I am not always consistent or patient. At the end of the day homeschooling is really impossible apart from Gods grace. And the amazing thing is when you homeschooling for the right motives, God generously supplies the grace!

  7. hi joy! I’m living here in singapore is it possible to homeschool my children here while the homeschool program is based there in the Philippines? I really want to homeschool them but I want to teach them according to Philippine education system. Thanks! This post is awesome and enlightening! 🙂

    1. Hi Gem, TMA Homeschool has a lot of families outside of the Philippines. If you are really interested in homeschooling with them, here is the person to get in touch with: Girlie Argosino or 0917-800-8250 🙂 She’s a veteran homeschool mom who is in charge of the Learn program of TMA Homeschool. She can help you.

  8. Hi, we’ve been independently homeschooling our kids ages 4 and 6. My little boy is on advanced kindergarten and my little girl is taking up the grade 2 curriculum because she finds the grade 1 easy and sort of boring. We have a mixed curriculum, online and book based. We have heard that CEM, Inc. will allow homeschooling families to take their basic education competency test and it will be accepted by Dep-Ed. So we contacted them and requested for a test for both kids, we just heard back from them today and they informed us that our request is denied because the curriculum that our kids are using is not inline with the Philippine curriculum. Both my kids have been traditionally schooled since last year and from just homeschooling them for the past 3 months, we’ve seen a great improvement. Both kids are now reading and doing multiplications and I’m quiet confident that they will be able to answer the tests given to them. I’ve tried to get more information from CEM, Inc as to why we have been denied to no avail and although she didn’t really say it outright, the fact that we are not affiliated with any homeschool communities here in the Philippines is probably one of the reason. She kept asking if we are affiliated with anyone and I’ve been telling her again and again that we are independently homeschooling our kids. Anyways, what I want to know is, is there any problem if we continue independently homeschooling them? What happens if we decide to put them back to traditional schools? We are from Iloilo and so far have not been successful in finding other homeschooling family to get in touch with. We want to continue independent homeschooling because it works for us, kids are happier and learning a lot and they’ve been telling us again and again that they don’t want to go back to traditional schools. My girl is really shy and have been getting low grades in school before, not because she doesn’t know her lessons but because she doesn’t want to participate in group activities which sadly is a large part of their grades, her exam scores were excellent and always above 95%, but since we started homeschooling she has been more outgoing and going out of her way to talk to people and she’s going to start ballet this month. My little boy has mild ADHD but is really intelligent, he aces all his exams but does not want to do daily tests and activities and he was always telling his teacher that he already knows what she’s talking about and just roams around their classroom. And he’s really quick to take up lessons it’s just that he doesn’t want it to be repetitive and get frustrated easily if that’s the case. We started unschooling for him and he is now reading and writing really well. What I want to say is, we really want to continue homeschooling them it’s just that I need to know exactly if we are going to get in any trouble if we continue independently homeschooling them, we have been looking at TMA but the fact that we are in Iloilo and won’t really access all the perks made us decide otherwise. Maybe when they are a little bigger we might consider it again… Sorry for the long comment, I just need to vent out… Thanks

  9. Hi Joy!
    I am writing this with the fervent prayer that you find this comment on last year’s entry. We are an expat family living in Doha, Qatar. I have 3 girls aged 9, 6 and 3 all currently enrolled in a Philippine Curriculum traditional school. My biggest problem right now is my children’s education. To be totally honest, I have been researching on and off about homeschooling for quite a while now, this being greatly affected by our financial circumstances. Decent education is extremely unattainable in this country, averaging about US$7,000 per year for international/ American/ British curriculum. There are 3 Philippine curriculum schools which cost about US$2,000 per year. But the quality, I’m afraid to say is not very good. Most of the kids enrolled in these schools struggle when they get back to the Philippines. As you know, residency here in the Middle East is not as permanent as in the US or Europe. We are all dependent on our jobs. The moment we lose our jobs, there is a great chance that we would have to go back to the Philippines or find life elsewhere. You may ask why we bring our kids, here, precisely because we want to keep our family whole, no matter the circumstances. I want to be able to be there for my kids at anytime they need me and not just leave them with a guardian or caregiver. But, as much as I would like to keep them here, I am extremely concerned with their education. Now after much research of the schools here (and how we can’t afford them), I am strongly considering homeschooling. Though not an educator, I sometimes observe that I am even a better teacher than the teachers in the schools here. I have also been eternally frustrated with the school management and administration of the schools, and I believe that should not even be a factor to stress about.
    Oh sorry to bore you with my troubles, but I am sure I am not alone in this quest. A lot of other families are struggling here in Qatar. I would like to be able to get as much information as possible and maybe in the future assist others also by setting up a home school here in Doha by tying up with TMA, if this is possible. I appreciate the information you have provided and I hope to hear from you… Thanks and Regards!

  10. I needed this! I have been homeschooling my kindergarten daughter. I have 3 boys younger than she is that are now 1,3 and 5. I have been praying a lot about what to do next year when 2 will be in school. I have a feeling maybe homeschooling is not for our family right now. We have a lot of other things going on including some pretty big marital problems. I feel tremendous guilt because so many friends homeschool. I have been feeling like I would be committing some huge sin by putting them in school. This reminded me to be still and listen to the Lord, be diligent about teaching them to love him before all else. He is the most important thing always and even if I do put them in school I still can teach them that. Thanks for your post!

    1. Glad you were encouraged, Jennifer! Just prayed a prayer for God to bless you in a special way this year as you and your husband discern what is best for your family.

  11. Greetings!

    I am Leanna Louiza F. Lopez taking up Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Special Eduction. I would like to seek for your help for my thesis entitled “A Case Study on the Attainment of Target Competencies and Positive Class Behavior of Children with ADHD in a Home-school Setting”. I would like to ask if you know someone who has a child with ADHD around Grades 4-6?I am in need of three participants for my study. I hope you could help me 🙁 Thank you very much!

    Leanna Louiza F. Lopez
    St. Scholastica’s College – Manila

  12. Hi Joy,
    Thank you for this. So timely. Thinking of stopping homeschooling altogether as it gets tougher to do so every year. I have only one person as ally, my hubby, who encourages me to keep going. Everybody else keep suggesting that we enroll our only son to a “real” school. I am not perfect. Our system is not either. My son more so. It is harder now and I know will continue to be so. But reading your post helped me to take a step back and re evaluate our decision. Thank you.

    1. Praise God! It does get harder but the rewards get more and more apparent, too! May God sustain you and make you the best teacher you can possibly be. Blessings to you!

  13. Hi Joy!
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder 🙂 I feel so encouraged to still keep on teaching and modeling to my kids to love God, whether we homeschool or not. God bless you always 🙂

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  15. Hi Joy! Im a mom of 3 kids. I have an 8yrs old who goes to exclusive school for boys,6yrs old incoming grade 1, and my lovable 2yrs old daughter. Im a full time momma. Ive been doing my own research about homeschooling. My kids may not excel academically in school but im proud bec.i know how diligent they are when they do there hw or reviewing there lessons. As we are starting a walk with the lord as baby christians i personally lose the interest of enrolling my children to traditional school. Though i want to transfer them to a christian school it is very expensive w/c will be hard for me & esp.for my partner who earns enough for our food & bills. Im still praying if this is really for me. Honestly im a bit confused/scared what would happen to me if i chose to homeschool bec.i know my day will be tied up teaching them. I thank the lord for letting me came across to your wonderful blog. Right now im open to all suggestions,opinions coming from everyone who is homeschooling. God bless!

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