Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Reason #1 Not to Homeschool: Fear

             

 (This post was revised at 12:30 pm on August 20.) At my church we homeschool. This post is addressing one problem I have seen with homeschoolers.

                Don’t homeschool out of fear.  Don’t take your children out of public school because you are afraid of what they might hear or be taught or see.  There are of course many evils that a government school student will see. There are things in those classrooms that we do not want our sons and daughters exposed to. But why we do something is important and homeschooling motivated by fear is dangerous.  By fear, I mean fear of the world. I am in favor of Christian education in all forms. So this post is not discouraging homeschooling. It is merely reminding all of us that why we do something is just as important as what we do. 

When we homeschool out of fear we assume that the problem is out there somewhere. If we just remove our children from those contaminating situations then they will be fine.  The Devil loves this ploy.  We take our children out of government schools and assume all is well. I can just train them in the right things to do and they will be fine because they are removed from sinful influences. Wrong. The greatest threat to your child is your child and you. It is not the world, evolution, the girl in the mini-skirt, or the sex education class at public school.  When we homeschool out of fear we refuse to teach our children to fight the battle in their own hearts. The greatest threat to your child is sin and that sin lives in them and in you. When you homeschool your child you are not removing them from sinful influences. 

When we homeschool out of fear we do not teach our children how to properly interact with the world.  We over shelter them.  Instead of teaching them how to fight evolution, we simply say, “Evolution is bad. Stay away.” Now that is fine for a six year old. But if a sixteen year old is saying the same thing there is a problem.  One day our children will be exposed to lies. Will they be able to properly defend the truth? Will they have interacted with the best arguments from their opponents? Or will they have listened to straw men that we set up and not be able to properly defend the faith? Will they know how to think through Biblical ideas for themselves? Or will we force them to parrot our own ideas?  Do our children, as they grow, read and listen to people who disagree with Mom and Dad? If the answer to this is no, then you are homeschooling out of fear.

When we homeschool out of fear it keeps our boys from becoming men. Boys were made to take risks. They were made to be brave. God created them to plunge into the darkness, sword in hand, ready to do battle. But fear binds us in chains. And parents who homeschool out of fear bind their sons in chains.  Homeschooling boys are often weak and afraid. I see this in my own sons at times.  If we homeschool because we are afraid of the world then our boys will end up no better than a 30 year old man living in his mom’s basement playing Call of Duty.  They will not go out and fight because they have been castrated by fear instead of strengthened by faith.

When we homeschool out of fear we make our home a fortress instead of a place of service. The home is the center of our lives, but it must be the right kind of center.  The Bayly Brothers mentioned in a blog post, which I cannot find, that homes are either bunkers or hubs. A bunker is a place where everyone hunkers down to escape the coming apocalypse. Those huddled in a bunker are not interested in serving. They are interested in saving themselves. The home becomes a fortress to be defended instead of place where the light of the Gospel shines out. This is a terrible way to live the Christian life. A hub is a place of service, a place where lots of people come and go. A hub does not put family at the center, but puts people at the center and the kingdom at the center. When we homeschool out of fear, that fear bleeds over into the rest of our lives so our life becomes self-centered. We cloak this self-centeredness in biblical language. But in the end we are really just afraid and too self-centered to serve others.

So what is the answer to this fear? Faith: A faith that trusts in Jesus and trusts in God’s Word. A faith that is not na├»ve about the world, but also is not afraid of the world. A faith that knows that God is mighty and his word is mighty and his world is magnificent. A faith that is interested in conquering, not shrinking back in fear. A faith that understands that we are training our sons and daughters to fight, not to hide until the rapture comes. A faith that is ready to tear down strongholds. A faith that is not afraid or defensive when our children disagree with us. A faith that prays to the Lord knowing that he is sovereign not us.  A faith that knows that the greatest threat to my children is my sin and their sin, not something out there.  A faith that wants our children to learn to think on their own and not simply be parroting mom and dad’s ideas.  A faith that serves. With this kind of faith, a homeschool can prosper, honor God, and build his Church. If your homeschool life is dominated by fear repent and turn from that sin. If you don't your homeschooling could end up doing more harm than good. 

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8