Well. here I am, getting ready to explain "why" we home school. I've considered blogging about this for a long time. A VERY long time! I think the greatest fear holding me back is that, I want to do it right. I truly want you to understand where I am coming from.
I have very strong beliefs about children. I revolt against the way of thinking that makes them out to be nothing more than accessories for our picture perfect lives. People get married, they decide to have a couple (or even a few) children, they are then tied down by responsibilities, unable to live life how they would choose, suddenly all they want is for their children to grow up, move out and be "successful and happy" . And the trend starts all over again. I hear it ALL the time. In Christians as often as not.
Let me tell you right now, I REFUSE to aim for "successful and happy" children. Why do I use the word aim? Because that is what we do. When Lydia was a newborn we were given a parenting seminar on CD by Pastor Dee Duke. It made a profound impact on me and I am so thankful to have begun my parenting journey with this mindset. He gave this excellent word picture.
If you have a mutt, you have very clear expectations for him. You want him to not jump up on you or your visitors with muddy paws. You want him to not bark all night long. And you want him to not go to the bathroom on your carpet. As long as you can carry on with your life without him making problems, you're both happy. All is well. Mutt's purpose~ You have a cute dog. Cool.
Now let's say you have a seeing eye dog. You have a goal and purpose for this dog, and it's not just to make you look good! The training is crucial and with specific purpose. "Okay" is never okay. This dog must be perfectly trained because someone else's life will be in their paw. Seeing eye dog's purpose~ to guide, pilot and protect a human who cannot see.
Hopefully you can see throughout this word picture, different dogs~ different goals. Now the great and scary thing about parenting is, we get to choose our goals for our children. Some parents truly have no goals. They want to get through parenting with as little damage done all around. Some say "As long as they make it to kindergarten!". Some say, "As long as I can get them to college!". Some say, "They are headed for a great career that will make them incredibly prosperous with a terrific retirement.".
Our goal is simple. We are endeavouring by the grace of God to raise children who will love the Lord their God with all of their heart, and with all of their soul, and with all of their mind and with all of their strength. And our second goal is like it, that they would love their neighbor as themselves. Why is that our greatest goal? Because that is what Jesus said He wanted from us. This may be of very little value to the world, but I guarantee you, a college degree, a successful job and a hefty retirement are not going to impress the Lord very much when we stand before Him.
Now, in my last post I mentioned several areas that have the ability to drive people apart. While our decisions should never override our love for each other, we are called to be wise in the way we live our lives. I choose to feed my children healthy food (most of the time!) not because being healthy is the end goal, but because it will assist them to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. I choose to train my daughters life skills, not because being the most talented wife or industrious daughter is the end goal, but because the Lord looks very poorly on idleness and someone who has learned diligence can be greatly used. We choose to home school, not because "being home schooled" is the end goal, but because we see it as by far the most efficient way to bring our children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Now, I need to make sure that I impress upon you this fact. I do not think that home schooling is as trivial as using a microwave or not. Nothing anyone could say could convince me to send my children away for 1/3 of their life to be influenced by people who believe contrary to the very foundations of our lives. But home schooling is a means to an end.
So WHY do we home school? There are many reasons. We don't want drugs, dating, evolution, disrespect, and tolerant attitudes to be "normal". We don't believe children should be placed at the front lines of battle without support. We don't want our children to be part of the 75% who walk away from their faith. We don't want to miss 1/3 of our children's lives. But mostly, we want to take full advantage of the time we have with our children to train them in godliness. Home schooling is one of our greatest tools to shoot our "arrows" towards the goal.
Mark 12:28~31 ~ "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, " Is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."