by Julianna Dotten
Homeschooling won’t save us.
I know that may sound obvious (after all, we wouldn’t change our creed to “I believe in the power of homeschooling …”). But somehow, the thinking tends to creep into our lives. We get so excited about this new life calling that it begins to dominate everything. We blog about it. Talk about it. Make friends with those who do it.
And it becomes all too easy to begin believing that it’s homeschooling that will save our children’s souls.
I remember this danger hit home hard when my family made friends with a Muslim family at the park. Their middle-school-age daughter was struggling in school, and finding out that our family homeschooled, they wanted to learn more. We, of course, excitedly invited them over for dinner and gave them the run-down of how great homeschooling was.
The only problem was, it soon became apparent that homeschooling was not what this family needed. Their daughter’s struggles, though they may have been masked in academics, were at their root attitude problems. And tragically, the parent’s lifestyles would have almost made it better for her to be in school all day than to be at home with them. Ultimately, our family realized preaching homeschooling was not going to cut it. Only Christ would.
A few months later, God graciously opened up the opportunity for us to have a long discussion regarding their eternal state and demonstrate that anything good they saw in our family was because of Christ, not homeschooling.
But while it might be obvious that homeschooling won’t result in godly children if the parents aren’t believers themselves, isn’t it too easy, even as Christians, to begin trusting homeschooling to somehow transform our children?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love homeschooling. I am a homeschool graduate on staff with a state homeschool organization with a second job of homeschooling two students for a local family … and I plan to homeschool my own children someday.
But as I’ve watched the children of pioneer homeschool families grow up and launch out into life on their own, I have seen tragic results from those who trusted homeschooling, not Christ, to raise godly children. Rule-based living breeds antinomianism, and the results aren’t pretty. However, those parents that loved Christ first and decided to homeschool only as a result of wanting their children to love Him better often reap an abundance of fruit, multiple generations passionate about Christ.
As John Snyder discusses in this excellent talk, the danger isn’t in rejecting Christ altogether but in creating a “Christ-plus” religion. Yes, we want Christ. But we think we need something more … be it homeschooling, courtship, parenting techniques, and the list could go on.
Rather, Snyder suggests that we come to know the character of God, we fill ourselves up on Christ, and then allow the specific applications in our lives to flow from that. Homeschooling then becomes an overflow of our excitement about Jesus and desire to see more worshippers of Him! When we’re satisfied in Christ, Deuteronomy 6:7 is going to happen naturally, You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (NKJV).
Someday, I want my children to look back and say, “our family life revolved around Christ,” not “my parents’ greatest passion was homeschooling.” Let us homeschool, but only as a means to point our children to Christ, not a formula to automatically make them godly Christians.
When Christ is the focus, everything else falls into place.