I’ve been asked several times recently why Tim and I are going to homeschool. I find that, depending on who I am talking to, how I answer can be different. The choice to homeschool will be made for a myriad of reasons – some practical, some spiritual, some relational. I am no different. I have reasons from all the above categories.
But, above all else (and aside from the belief that we feel led to by the Lord), the reason I hold closest to my heart about homeschooling our children is this:
We want to give our children the time, space, and training to be rooted as the persons God has made them to be.
What do I mean by that?
Let Sally Clarkson explain:
“They [our children] need time to grow their roots in love, innocence, kindness, truth, morality, and trust. When they are strong and tall, then they will be able to withstand and battle the forces of life, but not until they have been established first in their root – heart – systems!”
There is great wisdom in Sally’s words and experience. In God’s very own creation, among His plants and trees, He has designed root systems. These roots, from baby seeds, slowly grow down and outwards so that, by maturity, they are anchored into a strong foundation. This strong foundation allows the plants and trees to stand tall, to be rocked about by winds, storms, or earthquakes and withstand those forces. There are very few forces that annihilate those root systems.
What Childhood Is For
I don’t believe that God intended for children to be apart from their parents like they are today. I don’t mean a few hours here or there – I mean the hours upon hours that children spend apart from their parents at schooling, programmes, childcare. None of these institutions are wrong and have great benefits if used wisely. But the abandoning of children to these institution to replace personal parenting is absolutely detrimental for both parents and children.
Childhood isn’t for preparing them for the next stage. One mother said to me the other day,
“It seems we’re always preparing our children all the time. There’s a mentality that, say, my child is turning two and is going to preschool more, so I need to put him in for more hours so he can be used to it by the time he starts…Or, my child is starting school soon so I need to put him in preschool full-time so he is used to that kind of day before school starts.”
Instead of allowing children to just be and to just enjoy childhood as children, we’re pushing them out of the nest earlier and for vast amount of hours. Instead of giving children time and space to adjust naturally to the next stage of life, we’re thrusting them into the kind of life they’re just not prepared for.
Did God really create families for this kind of existence? When He thought of childhood as He created the world, did He envision what we have made it to be today?
Don’t Hope For The Best
“Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed. Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching…”
I don’t believe that homeschooling is the only way a parent can do this. Not at all. Schools can be excellent with amazing teachers, good peer programmes, and a safe environment for children to develop.
But for many families – us included – we don’t have the option of a good school. So, for us to stay close and help our children grow their heart-roots deep into a strong foundation, homeschooling is the best option for us. And it may be for you, too.
Please don’t hope for the best and risk those fragile baby roots getting rooted into wrong soil because homeschooling is scary or hard. Our children are worth the cost.
We Are The Keepers
“Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
Our children do not know how to keep their hearts. So we, as parents, have to – with all diligence, until they are ready to do it on their own. This is so important, the rest of their lives depend upon our own hard work and commitment as parents.
This is one reason – but the most important one – that we are homeschooling. We want them to be able to stand tall, stand strong, and – by God’s mercy – be warriors for His Kingdom when He deems them ready.