Where does our decision to homeschool fit into God’s larger purposes in our lives? Are we to homeschool as a matter of preference, or of conviction? Should we homeschool at any cost, or are there times and places where other educational options should be considered?
The Wisdom of Homeschooling
I believe in homeschooling. My late wife, Sono and I have homeschooled our own children since 1981. I’ve continued to homeschool even through hard times. My decision is based, not on a view that homeschooling is morally superior or mandatory for my salvation, but rather because it is wise.
When we can demonstrate that homeschooling is in fact a great example of the goodness and wisdom of God’s ways, we win more young parents to homeschooling, and for that matter, to faith in Christ Himself. We don’t have to homeschool; we get to homeschool because it is better in every way.
The Witness of Homeschooling
We are called to shine as lights in the midst of the darkness of this world. Shining as a light involves being a stark contrast to whatever is going on around us. Our decision to homeschool our children should be part of this adventure of shining as lights in the midst of the darkness of this world.
The way we go about homeschooling also allows us to shine as lights in the midst of the darkness. There are many philosophies of education represented even in the homeschooling movement. I personally embrace what I call delight-directed study. My role as a parent and as a teacher is to protect their mental appetites from being ruined by mental junk food and to instead spread before my children an educational feast. This approach is inspired by the proverb which tell us, “Great are the works of the Lord, they are pondered by all who delight in them.”
So, even within the homeschooling movement we have opportunity to shine as lights by providing a clear contrast between what we are doing and what others around us are doing. But this shining responsibility is not a license to be judgmental or legalistic. To the contrary, it is a call to respect the rights of others to do things differently.
Under the Lordship of Christ we are free to do whatever we believe to be most glorifying to God. We have tremendous liberty to do what we believe will bear the best fruit as a display of his goodness and his wisdom in our circumstances. When we choose to do something that is startlingly different from those around us, it should not be a cause for pride or feelings of superiority. Rather, it should be our opportunity to provide a better way for others to consider. Our goal is to win others to the goodness and wisdom of God rather than to offend them and drive them away.
We are living in a time of great social and political transition. The world in which we live is racing rapidly toward greater darkness, calling good evil and evil good. Unless we see another Great Awakening in our nation, our children and grandchildren will have to live in a much darker world. There is no reason for us to be discouraged by the changes we see in the world around us. When a jeweler wishes to place his diamonds in a magnificent display he will often spread out a piece of black velvet on the tabletop and spread his diamonds out over the cloth. Each diamond shines with a stunning magnificence because of the backdrop provided by the darkness. Our God is a great jeweler. He is not frustrated by the darkness of this world. He has provided a way for us and for our children to shine as lights in the midst of the darkness. “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” And because of the Gospel we not only can live well in this world, we can bring others back to God through our ministry as ambassadors for Christ.
Homeschooling is one very important part of my lifestyle as an ambassador. It is for that reason that I homeschool my children. It is wise. It is as a matter of conviction because I want to shine.
By Gregg Harris
Gregg’s greatest delight is to explain the Gospel to someone who does not yet trust God enough to obey Jesus Christ as Lord. He and his late wife, Sono, have been involved in the Christian homeschooling movement since 1980. Gregg introduced Christian homeschooling to over 180,000 families through The Home Schooling Workshop, and wrote The Christian Home School. Hear from him on April 2 as he shares via a free webinar on “Raising Your Family in Light of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” and don’t miss his featured sessions at the 2013 Homeschool Conference!
“Shining as Lights.” From Noble Institute and Gregg Harris. © Gregg Harris, 2013. Website: http://nobleinstitute.org/.
“Be Different,” © 2009 Robinn / GK. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. “diamonds,” © 2011 Judy van der Velden. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.