Sunday, August 21

Not Back to School pt.2

What is our Biblical responsibility towards our children regarding education? Does the Bible even address public vs. private schooling? Did Moses forget the 11th commandment "Thou Shalt Homeschool"? (giggle)

The Bible is silent regarding phrases familiar with our modern modes of education but it is not silent on feeding us principles that we can use to direct our decision making. It is late on Sunday night and I have so much readying to do to make our FIRST. DAY. AWESOME! (of lessons tomorrow) and so without delving into a huge three layer Hebrew or Greek study, I'll toss some nuggets I hold dear your way and urge you to continue the study on your own.

First, we can read scripture (because it is life GIVING!) and see that God created a basic unit of society called the family. A man was to leave his parents, love his wife, have children and this was how life was to be. A family. Living together, children under the care of their parents. All God's design. Then we skip forward and see that children are clearly a gift from the Lord. God gave children to parents, not to a village or a school board or even to a church. Let's consider together: right now if you were given something you absolutely desire or need, perhaps a dream vehicle, a new post baby wardrobe, a farm (!), or so on, how many of us would really even consider saying, "thanks, but you know I think so-and-so down the road would take better care of this vehicle so they can use it all day, or she would wash these clothes more carefully so I think I'll let her wear them during the day, or I don't want this farm during for eight hours of the day because it might be too much work" - what???? How ridiculous do these scenarios sound to our ears? How much more precious gifts are our children than things.

We can see God's view of teaching taking place in the family unit in Genesis 18:19, Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (also see Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 11:18-21) , Isaiah 54:13.

How might these scriptures direct our education decisions for our children?
2 Corinthians 10:5
Romans 12:2
Psalms 1:1-2

I'd urge you to read the wisdom in the book of Proverbs. I like that there are 31 chapters in proverbs because it works easily to read one a day and countless nuggets to include in our walk with Christ.

Sean and I agreed that we could not read what scripture has to say about friendships and push our children out of our home at their most impressionable ages, into an environment where their peers would be the most influential people in their lives. When American children go to school, they are not thinking, "I must get the most education I can today and learn to love learning...", they are anxious to see their friends, wondering what so-and-so will be wearing, waiting to hear about the weekend, wondering if that boy or girl will talk to them...

Finally, friends, there is no place in scripture where we are taught or where we can pull principle from regarding sending our children out as little missionaries, as salt and light, so the saying goes. I suppose some parents might have well intentions to send their children into public school hoping to enlarge their own area of influence and to reach out, but I would venture to state that visiting the same library every week, choosing the line with the same clerk at the grocery store, inviting neighbors over for coffee, volunteering together as a family - any of these would be much better ways to make an impact on our community without sending our children away for the majority of their day.

It is late. Thankfully, my stepmom made me a beautiful iced coffee a few hours ago and I'm ready to tackle what I need to. I hope these thoughts find their way gently into your hearts and give you food for thought. As always, nothing I write here is representative of the church we attend and where my husband is on the board of elders. Our thoughts and conclusions are our own.
Have a beautiful night,


Sally said...

Hannah, this post is spot on. How often do we look to other sources for answers to our questions and concerns because "the Bible doesn't tell us?" You respond to this directly -- you tell us as readers that God might not have added that 11th Commandment (chuckle!), but He created us as beings that to THINK. Take the information and words of wisdom and APPLY them to our lives. We are given the choice to follow Him or the world. He desires our affections and our heart -- and this is possible because He knows that to truly give ourselves over, we must "own" the decision, in a manner of speaking. We have to seek out, throughout the Bible, His wisdom and think through it all and make that decision. He's brilliant. Wow.
(and I apologize for rambling!)
The other point you made taht I had to WOOP WOOP at was your thoughts on the "reason" for inserting children into the system -- to be the Salt and the Light. So that I don't make this short comment longer (HA!), I will say that I ADAMENTLY agree, and this very has been in discussions with other homeschool mothers with whom I attend co-op. Are they little missionaries? Hmm.. Food for thought.

Thank you so much!!

Unknown said...

Love it! We also homeschool and ahhh... I have tons to do tonight in order to make our day run even a little bit smooth :) I never thought of that the way you put it about giving/sending our gift away! And I totally agree with the light part... my daughter is no where near ready to accomplish that yet and her little light would be blown out over and over again in public school. Have a great first day!!!

Your Wife said...

A beautiful post - if only I could shake this worldly belief that I will be doing my children a disservice. I so want to protect them from losing their childhood too soon !

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...


I am in agreement with you. Our children are such precious gifts, and as such, I am careful during these growing up years as to whom I allow to have influence in their lives. God gave them to us to raise. This does not mean that they do not have any contact or influence from others, just that we have learned (the hard way) to be very, very careful.

God bless your school year!


Tonya said...

Well written Hannah. Simple and to the point. I follow your heart on homeschooling, and love seeing what you guys are implementing, as you are a few years ahead of me with your kids ages... I am starting this year with 2 preschoolers, so its baby steps for us! Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hannah, for your words and thoughts. That was so well put. We are home schooling our 4 little ones (6 and under) starting after labor day. This will be our first "real" year...if there is such a thing. :) We are in MN and have far less regulation on home schooling, which is nice. I have been reading your blog for about a month and have been so encouraged.
Thank you.

Abby said...

Hi there,

I recently found your blog, though how I'm not sure. I have been near to tears today wondering if I am doing the right thing to homeschool my kids, hearing about everyone's first days of school, seeing pictures, etc. This was what I needed today to reaffirm what I already know. My prayer for reassurance was answered through this post. Thank you!


Susan Cowger said...

Wonderful post. We so often assume our culture is right--culture is rarely questioned. It occurs to me we need to question culture. Dare to be anti-cultural--not obnoxiously, just choosing a different path.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly, and am so happy that you included scriptures to refer to (to remind myself from time to time when it's been a tough day!)

Alison said...

I loved the way you phrased this post and wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for the Scripture references.

Unknown said...

Great thoughts! I agree!!! Thank you for sharing! Can't wait to check out all the Scripture!

Annie said...

Hi Hannah,
Though in love with the idea of homeschooling, I've come to wonder if really we are supposed to be in charge of EVERY minute of our children's day, with our own active eye. While also accomplishing the myriad other homemaking tasks. And having lots of babies, with the physical and emotional toll that takes. And doing it all with a smile, and supper on the table by 6pm.

I think it's an amazing calling, and I'm drawn to it. And my own circumstances are so extraordinary (I have a school age child with special needs, and a baby with life-threatening medical complexities who requires round the clock skilled nursing care, and a child in the middle) that I don't know if I can really judge this. Clearly the demands on me are extreme, and maybe if they weren't I'd find my way to thinking that doing EVERYTHING is reasonable.

Still, I don't find your analogies with clothing and other stuff really compelling. Yes, I'd trust a dry cleaner to do a better job cleaning my winter coats... and a skilled auto repairman to fix a treasured car, etc.

Similarly, I think it's ok - in the right situation, NOT in a school system known for it's vice, for example - to allow others to minister to our children, others who may have a skill we don't have, or the time, or even just the God-given predilection to prefer, and draw energy, from this or that task regarding homecare or children. Medical care is a good example of having to entrust your children's wellbeing into the care of someone else.

I don't think women should feel they are not answering God's call for them because they don't feel they can educate their children at home. But I feel like that is the message so often from this and like-minded blogs.

Just some thoughts. I love this blog.

In peace and Christ's love,

Me said...

Sally, thank you taking a minute to say hello and comment. While we want our children to learn about God and develop a relationship with Him, I don't see how this could best be done with the majority of their waking hours in a system intent on removing God and denying His existence. You are so right, my children's job is not to be a little missionary, though I certainly expect them to be gracious and kind and show God's love.

Leila, I went to a public highschool and as strong as my faith was, the most regrets I have in life are tied to that time.

Kerrie, I love that our children are free to be children, not running around with computer games attached to them, enjoying their siblings... I love that my nine yr old son still reaches for my hand in public and doesn't know how "uncool" this is. :)

Mrs. Rabe, you hit on an important point - that our kids are not meant to be hidden away under rocks for their childhoods then suddenly dropped into the shock of the way the world is. I think, on some subjects, our children have more clarity of thought and understanding, just because of the time we spent fostering and the ugliness of sin evident in each case.

Tonya, the preschool years are sooo fun! Enjoy! I love seeing our toddler's eyes light up as he understands something new or the simple delight our daughter takes in watching her caterpillar each morning.

Christine, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to stop and say hello! Thank you for encouraging me this morning!

Abby - you can do this! AND you can have first day pics too if that's what you want. :) I saw some cute first day pics where the parent had photoshopped data about their child at this age/grade such as height, fav. food, fav. book, etc. and thought that was a great idea.

Goat - question culture - you are so right!

Hi HannahRuthie! Thanks for taking time to chime in! Have a beautiful day!

Alison and They Call me Mommy, thanks for taking a moment to comment and for encouraing me.

Annie, I think this is where we differ - I don't believe I have to do it all. Some nights we have scrambled eggs for dinner. Some (ok most) days the laundry is piled high to be sorted and put away and we're grabbing from the basket. The lawn needs to be cut and I don't post pics of my garden because the weeds are the highlight. :) I would rather let all those things go, let my sewing machine gather dust and be able not feel I have to send my children away to get things done at home. I agree with your statements about having a winter coat laundered or a car worked on but those are a one time, or seasonal thing, not for the majority of the day for the majority of the week for the majority of the year. Our kids spend time at friends homes, take swim lessons, co-op lessons, play soccer and so we're not under the delusional impression that we are the only ones good enough to pour into their lives. (smile) We do believe we have to be very careful about who sows into their hearts and what friendships we allow to bloom.
I don't write to condem others but to gently explain our way of life and the why, since we are asked all the time. We know of plenty of situations where one spouse desires to homeschool but the other does not and so public school is chosen. I would encourage anyone who has a spouse on board, or who is willing to give it a go, to do so because it is a way of life that is a blessing to the home and family.

Lastly, you mentioned having a special needs child, and I don't know what those might be, but we've dealt with some learning issues here at home and your local school district will send therapists to your home if it is a developmental issue. In our state there is a whole LEAH portion dedicated to teaching special needs children, so perhaps there is in your state too. It is always nice to know you're not alone.(smile)

Blessings, everyone, on your day.

Annie said...

Hi Hannah, Thanks for the kindness in your response. I do know you don't condemn, and have never felt that. I think you're too polite to mention the obvious defensiveness in my comment - not towards you, but my own ideals, and my confustion that they are so very hard to live up to. Why would I want a big family so much, but have such a hard time having children? Why would I want to homeschool, but have overwhelming therapeutic and medical needs that making cooking dinner impossible? etc. But I know God is leading us to something important, it just may look different than I thought - but maybe not so different in the end.

I will look in to therapists coming to the home. That, together with some other developments I am working and praying towards (full nursing care at home) and perhaps, just maybe, we could do this too... all best, and thanks for this blog. annie