Why I Believe In Homegrown Kids {Part 2 in the Homegrown Kids Series}.

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I actually don’t really know where to start with this post. Sometimes a belief goes so deep it is very difficult to articulate into words. I think this is especially so when there are a myriad of reasons, which is the case for us. Also, this journey for us seems to have layers and levels – the reasons we’re heading down this path and our belief in it just keep transforming, and cementing, and growing.

If you haven’t read how raising homegrown kids kicked off for us, read Part 1 here. Otherwise, I just want to enter this post with these words:ย 

This is our journey. Though I believe deeply that it is ideal, I know that it is not always possible. The reality of families the world over is very different. And God is the God of all families, and will lead us all differently. I write our conviction to encourage, challenge, and inspire – not to judge or condemn. I really pray and hope I can bring you along with love, humility, and friendship.

So, why do we believe in homegrown kids? Get comfortable, and possibly grab a sustaining meal ๐Ÿ˜‰

My early life story is one of a settled childhood, both in the city and the countryside, and of chaotic and uncertain teenage years, when I lived in a suitcase and had no place to call home for long. So, when I started married life and we eventually had children, I came at both roles with a determined passion to bring security and devotion, and to do all that I could to give my family a place to call home.

Despite painful years, I am thankful to God for the story He has written for me as I believe our children would be having a different upbringing than the one they are having. I certainly wouldn’t be as counter-cultural or have the perspective to look beyond the here and now like I do.

I’m also thankful to have had both parents in different aspects of the education system {in NZ} for the last 30-40 years so that, through them, I am able to see how – in the end – government’s can never make up their mind as to how children, in a school environment, learn best. Through the experience and working history of my parents, I can see how educational philosophies are like fashion – they come and go within the ministry of education like flare pants and big hair.

So, with this background and our own experience of early education, questions were raised about how our kids were going to be educated pretty quickly into our parenting journey. Neither of us had ever considered homeschooling; pre-kids, we have always been adamantly pro-public schooling. Post-kids, we sing a different tune ๐Ÿ™‚

As we began wrestling and reading and talking, a train of thought settled in our minds and hearts that became the fundamental driving force behind our decision to keep our kids home. Essentially we believe that today’s fractured family – parents working here and there, kids at school and a thousand different activities – is not how it is meant to be. Especially as Christians, we believe that sending children away to be under the strong influence of people not of their family is not how God intended children to be raised.

An initial objection to this thought would be to say, “Well, the Bible never addressed education as we know it. How can you make such an assumption?” I used to think this way too, that is, that education of the family is not spoken of in God’s Word. But now, along the track, I actually think it does – when you’re looking for it and have a heart open for what it says.

I could quite easily go into a maze of tangents in regards to what the Bible says about education, but I will stick to the one basic point that is quite clear when one reads into what God says about the upbringing of children:

It is the parents that are to raise their children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

In his tome of a book, Man and Woman in Christ, Stephen B. Clark says,

“The term ‘discipline’ (paideia) in this passage is particularly significant. The word could also be translated ‘training’, ‘instruction’, ‘punishment’, or even ‘formation’. The Hebrew equivalent (musar) appears often in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament… ‘Training’ in the scriptural sense is an educational activity which changes the way a person lives. It does not mean only knowledge or mental understanding. It means training to act in a certain way.

…Training in the scriptural sense is an educational activity which changes the way a person lives.

This means that true education is whenย the entire person of the child – his body, mind, heart, and soul – are to be disciplined, trained, taught, instructed, and changed to the man he is to be.

In the ancient world that Jesus grew up in, sending children to an environment that was run by Caesar-endorsed teachers for most of their formative years did just not happen. In those days, children were in the primary care of their mother until five- or seven-years-old. At this point, boys would spend the rest of their childhood with their father learning the trade and how to be a man. Daughters continued on at home with their mother until marriage, learning how to run a home and how to be a woman.

“The boy was not really raised until his father had equipped him to function as man.” Stephen B. Clark

A five-year-old – or even an eleven-year-old – is not fully trained. They are not men or women. But they are learning how to be every single day of their lives.ย By implication, if they are spending the majority of their time at school, it is obvious who they will be learning this from: from their teachers, the government-endorsed curriculum, and their peers.ย 

It’s not that I think public schooling is wrong or that homeschooling is the only option for Christian parents. I have been public schooled and Christian schooled, and I am alive ๐Ÿ™‚ But, I firmly believe that Christian parents need to be sure that the place they are sending their children to be educated at is a place that will further, rather than hinder, their work they are doing at home in their children to equip them into manhood/womanhood as a godly person.ย 

“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

What is the Bible’s definition of a fool? Someone who says there is no God {Psalm 14:1}. And if there is any other time in history since Scripture was written that these commands be more pertinent, wouldn’t it be now?ย 

Because of all the above, this is the main reason why we will be homeschooling our children. If you have been thinking of as well, or have been wondering what true education is as a Christian parent, I hope this encourages you on your journey. It’s posts like these that started me on ours, like this one from Abiding Woman, or this one from The Unplugged Family.

**Tune in soon for how to children without going crazy.**

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14 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading both this post and part 1. I grew up homeschooled. I knew I wanted to homeschool my kids. When the kids came, I knew I wanted to homeschool. We homeschooled preschool and the first part of Kindergarten with my oldest, but then some things changed and we decided to send her to finish kindergarten in the public school system. I remember VIVIDLY one time she stood at the fence- at 5- and SCREAMED for me… talk about having to harden your heart. Ugh! She survived and finished 1st grade at this school. Our situation once again changed and we brought the kids back to the home. Fast-forward about 7 years and our situation had changed again (haha) and we enrolled all four of our kids into the small, local, Christian private school. We’re finishing our first year here. And I’m ready to bring my kids (finishing 9th, (2)6th, and 3rd) home. Both “experiences” had were good experiences. Good teachers, etc… But there were things (like you mentioned and more) that just didn’t jive with us and what we truly felt God wanted for our family. Anyway, I didn’t mean to write a novel- just that I understand what you’re saying. lol

    1. Hi Erika! Thank you for your “novel” – I love readers to interact like that ๐Ÿ™‚ I think there can be some really good schools out there that really do have a child’s best interest at heart, we just have to find them, lol. It really is a personal seeking of the Lord and I totally agree that circumstances change and you just take it year by year. That certainly is what my husband and I are thinking. Thank you for encouragement! x

    1. Thank you, Prue ๐Ÿ™‚ I know we differ slightly, but I so appreciate our conversations. And thank you for taking the time for reading, you inspire me so much, so I feel honoured! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. You made so many good points. We homeschool our daughters too. However, the main reason initially was because both have special needs and would have had a challenging time in a regular classroom. Could they have done it? Yes, probably. Would it have been in their best interest. No. It has been wonderful to accompany my daughters on their educational journey and watch their character grow, and see the many ways they’ve given back to the community. This wouldn’t have been possible had they been going to a traditional school.

    1. Thank you Ann for your insight and experience. I love how you mentioned how your daughters have given back to the community, I see that as another important aspect of keeping kids in real, community life.

  3. The beginning of your post really caught my attention. How your homeschooling had many layers that were changing and cementing. I found the same to be true of our experience. We started for academic reasons, but found that spiritual reasons were what kept us going. Glad to have found your site.

    1. Yes, we’ve barely begun and already our reasons have changed to what they were when we initially began thinking about it. I’m sure that must be true for everyone.

  4. I appreciate your insight! My husband and I both grew up in public schools and I have taught in public and private schools, currently staying at home to take care of our kids. It is helpful and interesting to hear what other parents have experienced because each family is so different and has different circumstances that will affect their decision about schooling (finances, widowhood, disabilities, etc.). It’s always helpful to bear those things in mind and not jump to any conclusions about what other families have chosen! I think you did a good job of graciously expressing your convictions without judging others.

    1. Wow, thank you Jessica, that was really encouraging. I definitely don’t think homeschooling is for everyone, for the very reasons you mentioned, and more. But as we go further into the journey, and as I see the state of public schooling, I believe it ought to be an option that Christian families consider more than they have in the past. Thank you for leaving such a considerate and encouraging comment x

  5. Sarah, 5 of our grandchildren are home-schooled and I’ve seen the benefits, not just in the early years, but one is in college and another about to graduate. They are both solid in their faith, well-adjusted, and a joy to be around! I do understand families make a variety of decisions, but I do believe it’s the best whenever possible.
    Donna Reidland recently posted…โ€œOn โ€˜Forcingโ€™ Religion on Your Childrenโ€ April 18My Profile

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