Should You Put the Kids Back in School?
by Barbara Smith
When well-planned lessons continue to bomb, when routine household
chores pile up, when bills and other family responsibilities multiply,
homeschooling parents may look for other schooling alternatives. They
recoil from introducing chemistry, Shakespeare or fractions to children who
refuse to complete simple workbook assignments. Watching their homeschool
dreams founder, frustration, fear and frenzy overtake some parents. They
worry, as pressures increase, about their children's futures and the family's
present. "Should we put the kids back in school," they wonder?
Home education will conclude at one point or another. However, may I
encourage the parents who are frustrated or fearful, or at their wits' end? If
fear and frustration were not sufficient reasons to choose homeschooling,
neither are they sufficient causes to stop home education. The call to
homeschool must come from God. So, too, the command to continue or make
alternative arrangements must come from God. Stay the course until the Lord
removes you from this duty assignment. Will you seek this call as
carefully as you decided to homeschool?
Solomon, the master builder wrote: "Any enterprise is built by wise
planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by
keeping abreast of the facts." (Proverbs 24:3-4 LB) Building
and strengthening your children's education program means keeping abreast of
the facts. What are the facts of your homeschooling enterprise?
1. Did You Ever Define an
In their exuberance to begin teaching their children at home some parents
skipped over defining the name of the game education or what it was they
planned to do. They jumped in without thinking about what an education is, or
why an education is valuable, or what God thinks about training children. What
is your definition?
2. Whose Supposed to Do What?
An effective student is one who takes responsibility for learning the
information, even if the material is dull, the text complicate and the teacher
frustrating. An effective student is one who willingly submits to authority
because his or her heart is not puffed up. (1Corinthians 8:1) Whether
at home or "in school," is the student willing to do what it takes
An effective teacher is one who edifies students because knowledge is not
an idol. An effective teacher is one who fears God, keeps His commands and is
willing to do what He says. Is the teacher willing to be taught some
3. Who IS in Charge?
Parents have biblical authority and responsibility to teach. They must not
leave their children with any excuse for thinking that parental responsibility
is something mom and dad improvised. They should examine Deuteronomy 6:6-9,
Ephesians 4:29-32 and 6:4. Children should understand
that taking on mom and dad also means taking on their Father who is in heaven.
4. Review Your Goals:
One day the knowledge that traditional and home schools promote will pass
away. (1 Corinthians 13:8) What do you want your children to learn that
they are not learning at home? We want them to be able make their way in this
world! We want them to be able to earn a living and take care of a family we
hope God will give them. Do you want them to be able to teach the Gospel to
5. Assess Yourself
Some homeschooling parents who rushed to start homeschooling forgot to
assess their strengths and weaknesses, and the drawbacks that homeschooling
will impose on their freedom. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Some parents forgot to look at the emotional and spiritual cost of
educating their children at home, and now are feeling "sticker
shock." What is shocking you about homeschooling?
Some parents doubt their intellectual or academic ability to teach their
children. God gives wisdom to HIS servants (Daniel 1:17-20) Wisdom is a
gift that God gives to those who fear Him and are willing to learn; who are
willing to receive instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7) Parents model wisdom
in humble dependence on Go who gives it in power and love and discipline. (2
6. Discipling and Disciplining
Remember Jacob's failure to discipline his children? Seventeenth century
commentator Matthew Henry said of Jacob's troubles with his sons, in Genesis
34, "things never go well when the authority of a parent runs low
in a family."A willful child who rejects a teacher's authority can
stop any kind of schooling dead.
The issue of effectively educating a rebel is not who teaches them, or
where we teach them. The issue is the heart, not the brain. Those who do not
fear God despise wisdom and are fools, no matter how many degrees from
prestigious institutions they win. "Whoever loves discipline, loves
knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1
) Praying for a child's heart to soften to Christ is the single wisest tool a
parent can apply to training their child. Children who resist their parents'
authority are resisting God's rule of their lives and will struggle with
learning from anyone.
If parents still wonder what educational path to follow, ask God, and
trust Him to do it. He is always available for free consultation. The
psalmist knows that God answers such prayers and rejoices: "Good and
upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way . . . He will
instruct him in the way he should choose." (Psalm 25:8,12)
© 1998 Barbara Smith From Growing
Up Homeschooling, (or taking to heart what we wanted the kids to know) due
out summer, 1998. Please email Barbara to request permission to reprint
Barbara Smith has also written Teach Me Lord That I May Teach...
(or what we learned thinking we were homeschooling the kids) which we
highly recommend! Read our review.
Her articles and ministry have been such an encouragement and blessing to us.
You may purchase her book online from our CHFWeb Favorite
Books Bookstore in association with Amazon.com (find it in the Homeschool
section!) or order it directly from Third Floor Publishing.
For more information and helpful articles, visit the Smiths' new website! Third
Floor Publishing at: http://www.chfweb.com/smith
Third Floor Publishing PO Box 827 Arnold, MD 21012 410-431-5279
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how
you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as
His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."