Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

8.10.2010

Optionless


Many years ago, my parents made a radical decision to keep their children home with them—no daycare, no preschool, no kindergarten, no elementary school, no middle school, no junior high, and no high school. Their brave decision then will change generations for centuries, because each one of my siblings and I are equally committed to homeschooling our children, should the Lord so bless us. The reasons for my personal decision to homeschool future children are myriad. I could tell you about my own experience—how I never scored below 90% on an achievement test, or how I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series as a five year-old, or how I scored in the 96th percentile on my SAT, or how I had the freedom to compose novels and practice piano and violin to my heart’s content. I could defend my socialization skills (I always love it when people ask me that—am I not socializing with you as I speak? Are “socialization skills” so nebulous that you can’t analyze them for yourself when they’re right in front of you?), my diploma, my lack of interest in the prom, and the legality of it all. I learned Spanish, I had science labs, and I took tests like everyone else. No, I didn’t sleep in—I woke up between five-thirty and six every morning with every fifteen minutes of my day scheduled on a piece of paper.

But, when it comes right down to it, I’m not going to homeschool my children for superior test scores or geeky bragging rights. My children will meet the state requirements and they will learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and beyond. Hopefully, they will exceed requirements and soar above average percentile scores. (On average, the approximately 1.5 million homeschoolers in the United States consistently score in the 80th percentile, compared to their public school counterparts who come in at the 50th percentile [1].) That’s just a bonus, though.

That’s just what I keep in my back pocket to tell all those non-homeschoolers who cannot fathom why I would be horrified to let my children sit in a humanistic, God-hating classroom for 14,000 of the most formative hours of their lives. That’s what I say when I know my acquaintance will count catty cliques and bratty bullies as part of the experience. That’s what I report to those who are obsessed with IQs and Ivy League colleges.

But to those who seem the least bit interested, I’ll gladly expound on my real reason: I will homeschool my children to disciple them. Just as I grew up beside Mama, listening to her read Miller stories at lunch, helping her feed squash to baby sister, and learning a spiritual principle for every letter in the alphabet, so I want my kids to do the same. Just as I grew up knowing that every morning, like it or not, Papa would be kissing me awake before the sun was up, teaching a tableful of sleepy children about God and Scripture, so I want for my children. Just as I realized my responsibility before God as a human and a sinner and submitted my life to His Lordship at an early age, so I pray with all my heart will happen for my children.

While I know that God is sovereign, and He has and will continue to use government and Christian schools mercifully in children’s lives, I don’t want my thirteen year-old girl to worry about attracting cute guys, and I don’t want my ten year-old son to know who Taylor Lautner is. I don’t want to spend the hour between seven and eight every morning seeing my children off to school and the time from three to eight every evening doing damage control against worldly-wise kids, “health” class, and a secular humanist worldview, only to repeat the same process the next day.

In Matthew 22:36-38, Jesus quoted directly from Deuteronomy 6 to provide the greatest commandment in the Law. The verses after that command, however, provide a sobering reality check to anyone who is or aspires to be a parent:

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).”

I will homeschool because I belong to Jesus and His Word commands me to disciple my children. Is there any other option?





If you are interested in homeschooling, please visit You Can Homeschool to learn more!

Picture Credit
[1]
Homeschool Progress Report 2009

16 comments:

  1. Another bright blog that made me think beyond myself. Again, thank you for being open with your viewpoints and candid!

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  2. Well said! well said! As a recent homeschool grad I can say that when I was in the public and private schools in my elementary years it was a waste! My parents and the Lord had to draw me away from the humanistic teaching that was taught. Praise the Lord for Him telling my parents to teach me when they rise up and when we lay down! God bless you for posting about this and praise the Lord for putting it on your heart. I too will be homeschooling Lord willing I am blessed with a husband and children.

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  3. I teach in the public school system- I guess I don't consider my classroom a "God-hating" classroom." I'm sad that you see public education that way.

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  4. I am 42 years old and am humbled to say that your writing inspires and encourages me. May God continue to bless you beyond all measure my sister.

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  5. I love it! I was homeschooled, and plan to do the same. I have so much that I want my kids (when I have them) to know and experience, I can't imagine trusting someone else to do that for me!

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  6. Although I wasn't home-schooled, God has been planting the thoughts in my heart lately that when I do have children, it's something I will greatly consider. Australian schools are a bit more trustworthy, from what I can tell, and my husband will be teaching in them. I love that he's going to teach in them, but I do feel a strong pull toward home-schooling when the time comes. Thanks for the post.

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  7. I liked the post, though I find it somewhat 'selfish'. I agree with your decision to homeschool, that is your choice, although as a public school teacher I have to say my class is not a God-hating one, to the contrary, as much as I can, I talk about God (though I may not call Him that).

    I guess I see the selfishness in your decision to separate yourself and your family from the world we live in. True, the first commandment is to love our God with all our heart, soul and mind (which by the way is impossible to do), but if you continue to the next couple of verses( Matt: 22:39,40), the Lord tells us that the second commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is on these two commandments that whole of Christianity hangs on.

    If I am charged to love my neighbor as myself, I must tell him about Christ and the good news of the Gospel. I want to get to know the Lord and get to heaven, I should want the same for my neighbor. But how can I do this if all my neighbors are Christians like me, and and I do not associate with anybody who is not a believer?

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  8. Amen girl! I believe home-education is the most important part of growing up and becoming a godly christian adult. I thank God every day for my parents decision to do what was unpopular and seemed "crazy" to their family, friends, and other spectators. Most of the people who criticized my parents in the beginning have now come back to say "Wow! That really does work!" It's amazing what God can accomplish through us when we just listen to his leading.! Thanks for the amazing post :)

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  9. I know God will bless you with your decision and with the world sometimes growing chaos, parents should be wise enough to seek only good thing for their children so that they would be worthy of God's love. Thanks for sharing this one.

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  10. Mikaela, thank you for another great thought-provoking post. Of all the reasons I have heard in support of homeschooling, I believe the one you presented - the discipleship of our children - is the best. To entrust our children to strangers for most of their upbringing, is really disobeying God's command to teach them His ways at all times.
    And, as far as the socialization argument - that one makes me laugh. As my dad often said, at what other time in your life, are you spending the majority of your time with your peers alone (as is the case in a public school setting). When we were growing up, Leah and I had plenty of opportunities to socialize with all ages in various venues.
    Sorry for the long-winded comment. But, again, great post! I enjoyed the video, too.

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  11. I wish I had the time to respond to each of you individually! Since I am just catching up on my comments, I don't, but I thoughtfully read each one. Thanks to each of you for considering my somewhat unusual stance and giving me your input. I greatly value your respectful, encouraging, inspiring, and humble attitudes.

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  12. Beth and Alessandra,
    I believe you that your classrooms are not God-hating—and praise the Lord for it! This is a marvelous opportunity for you to brighten your corner, and I am excited that you do just that. I have aunts that teach and well over a dozen friends that teach (many, many of my music friends teach in the public schools). Unfortunately, as a system and a whole, the public schools are humanistic and God-hating. They worship man and mock God (the definition of humanism and God-hating) by teaching that men are accountable only to themselves, have no Divine Creator, and are capable of self-improvement. Do all classrooms, teachers, textbooks, and schools subscribe to this worldview? Certainly not! Classrooms like yours shine like a beacon in the darkness, and I am thankful for your ministry.

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  13. Alessandra,
    We strive to follow the second commandment with as much fervency as the first commandment, though we certainly have not achieved perfection. My parent’s choice to homeschool my siblings and I, and my choice to homeschool future children is not to isolate ourselves from the world in selfishness, but to prepare them to go into the world “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).” Most children in a public school setting (please note that I say “most” because I have certainly witnessed exceptions) do not emerge on graduation day as triumphant missionaries who have converted their classmates, but as defeated and worldly men-pleasers. Public schools cultivate exactly the worldliness I John 2:15-16 warns against: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
    Together as a family, we minister to the world, and we continually ask the Lord for a greater compassion for the lost souls. It is our greatest desire to fulfill the Great Commission every day of our lives, but we also believe that our own families qualify to receive discipleship and teaching:
    “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).”
    Just because I was homeschooled, or my siblings were homeschooled, does not mean that all of our acquaintances are “just like us” or are already Christians. We develop relationships with unsaved, witness to the unsaved, and love the unsaved. We are not perfect in this, but after we fall, we repent and ask God for His strength.
    I do not believe that typical children from the age of five to eighteen can withstand a constant onslaught of Christless teaching and—worse—peer pressure. As the oft-quoted Proverbs 22:6 goes, I will “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Children are a precious gift from the Lord, and He requires careful stewardship of these impressionable lives. Their upbringing, their worldview, and their souls are not something with which to be trifled, and carefully leading them in the paths of righteousness is not selfishness, but good stewardship.
    Homeschooling to shelter one’s children from public school is not a selfish decision—it is a choice to prepare these unformed arrows into mighty weapons. Along the way, they show God’s love to all in their path (God uses children all the time!), and once the straight, formed arrow is released from the bow—watch out world!
    Lauren and I have shared a few times on how God has used us to show His love to others—please refer to these posts if you’re interested:
    The New Salt Lake City Dictionary
    The Death of Jack
    Those Who Know Me
    A Life of Remembrance
    These are just a few--click on the "evangelism" label on the sidebar for more!

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  14. I love your reasons for homeschooling, I for one can say that it is quite difficult for a child to wonder whether or not they fit in. I have two girls, a 17 year old and a 6 year old....yes very big age gap. I see the struggles my teenager has gone through and can recall the years of elementary and high school. KIDS (not all ofcourse) can be so very mean and if you are following the LORD it can be even more difficult. I was saved at 16 after a very difficult experiance and I THANK GOD that there was a Christian School that I was able to switch to, even though I graduated with only 6 people in my Senior Class and learned most of my work out of pace books (at the time this was a homeschooled of sorts at my church) I THANK GOD that I had the opportunity. So grateful that you had this post and that you blog, THANK YOU for "Living Out Loud" as I call it. ~Karina

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  15. Thank you for this post, Mikaela- it is encouraging to read the words of a likeminded sister in Christ!

    ~ Molly Anderson

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  16. I have found that people choose homeschooling for many different reasons, but I really appreciate how eloquently you delivered the true reason why we are called to home educate. Sacrificing our children to the world is far too high a price to pay in exchange for being "politically correct"! I enjoy reading your responses to commentors who disagree with you, almost as much as I enjoy your blog posts! :) You are wonderful example of how humility and boldness CAN and should go hand in hand. May God help all of us to give a gentle answer, while never compromising on what we believe to good and true according to the Word of God!

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