When I said it, I confess it gave me some degree of glee. After all, I have for years strongly advocated for home education as the most biblically faithful and ideal model for families, with Christian private education and public education as a distant 2nd and 3rd places. And with the proliferation of very fine home school curricula being published, my opinion on the matter has in no way changed.
In a home school or Christian private school, teachers have far more freedom to personally pour the gospel of Jesus Christ into students. It’s not just the curriculum that educates and provides the worldview, in other words. It’s the parent or teacher himself or herself, as well. Christian public school teachers are in a noble profession, but their gospel hands are tied. This means the curriculum bears the most weight in that system. And the state education curricula in all 50 States are founded upon atheism, humanism, Darwinism, and socialism, and a growing history revisionism. I know of few who even dispute this claim now. Just grab a textbook and start reading if you do not think it so. Add to this the radical sex education curriculum promoted and backed by Planned Parenthood and the powerful LGBTQ lobby, and no Christian should expect a pastor to endorse the public education system. That doesn’t mean we do not love and respect public school teachers in our churches. But the system itself is simply too far gone to endorse.
That said, some of my initial glee is subsiding. While nearly every parent is gaining new respect for home educators, not all the news is good. We now hear reports of increased child abuse, increased access to porn sites, increased child predatory contacts, and decreased student participation in any classroom at all. Some students who do well with in-person classroom instruction are now struggling with the online platform. This has exposed our homes and our parenting as a culture. And I am afraid it is exposing some poor parenting in our churches, too.
I pose these questions to Christian parents of all stripes, as you now find your children at home with you all day every day, and I do so to encourage you to seize this moment for God’s glory in the gospel of Christ!
- Regardless of what model of schooling your children are engaged in now, are you actively helping and encouraging them? Reading with them? Answering questions? Asking questions? Expressing joy in their accomplishments? Helping them develop personal discipline, in every facet of their lives?
- Are you getting to know their teachers? Expressing gratitude to the teachers?
- Are you pushing your child to do well? “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Eccl 9:10).
- Are you correcting every instance of sin or sinful attitudes in your children? This is one of the greatest advantages to home education! You get a front row seat to your child’s sinful depravity, and you get the unspeakable privilege of bringing God’s Law and Gospel to bear upon it. Repeatedly. Multiple times a day! Not correcting sin is a primary way we provoke and discourage our children (Col 3:21).
- Are you micro-managing your child’s screen time? Yes, I mean it. Every evil known to mankind lurks just behind a single tap of that screen. Protect your children! Equip them to use technology in holy ways.
- Are you helping your child discern the worldview in the textbooks he or she is reading? Equipping our children to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” is critical (2 Cor 10:5).
- Are you helping your children engage lies with the truth of God’s Word? Are you helping them learn to lovingly interact with lost peers in a way that reflects Jesus’ holiness and power to save and give hope? 1 Peter 3:15
- Are you reading and discussing the Bible more with your children? Memorizing scripture? Why would you miss this amazing opportunity to get more Deuteronomy 6 into your lives?
- Are you seizing down times to study other interesting subjects that might not otherwise be available to your child? Music? Geography? An unreached people group? A missionary biography? Church history?
- Are you having lots of fun with your family? Playing games? Enjoying God’s outdoors? Exercising? Taking up new hobbies? Planting gardens? Gazing at stars? Singing? Dancing? Goofing off?
- Are you finding ways for your family to serve others? Are you living with faith, not fear? Psalm 139
- Are you praying for and with and over your children more often?
- Are you learning alongside your children how to truly delight in Sabbath? Resting in God’s finished work on our behalf through Christ our Lord, and ensuring all our work flows out of that rest. Sabbath. Trust. Deep, abiding trust in God. Total dependence upon Him for everything. Sabbath. It’s beautiful. And this slower pace seems pretty much “designed” and ordained to force us to relearn and rethink it.
Well, I am sure there are even more and even better questions to ask. But these at least get us started. I urge parents and grandparents to live with your families in these days in such a way that on your last day you will not look back with regret. What a God-ordained opportunity for every family who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and who is empowered by His Spirit and His Word! May we reflect our Heavenly Father in this unique time.
For everything there is a season . . . (Eccl 3:1).