The Firm Foundation
We all come from different backgrounds. We have different jobs; homemaker, office-worker, nurse, teacher, house cleaner, retail associate, waitress, and the list goes on. Our jobs may vary but we all have one thing in common: we are all mommies.
Being Christian mothers, we can have a desire within us to want the very best for our children, especially during their upbringing because we know that these years set the foundation for their life as adults. What children learn from birth through their adolescent years can greatly effect what they believe and what they think is right and wrong. We know that children and teens can easily pick up behaviors and habits from the people around them during this time. It is during this time, and I hope we can agree, that they should receive what matters most: instructions and truth straight from the Word of God on a daily basis. Having a firm foundation is important. By establishing the foundation of truth in the mind of your child and teenager while they are young is necessary so that, when they are adults, they can repress the oh-so-numerous lies that the world throws at them, have a deeper relationship with God, and walk in His purpose for their lives.
The firm foundation that they need is the The Word of God, Jesus Christ.
My Story: Part I
As a child, I first entered my schooling years being taught by my mother. As my brother and I got older and our homeschool venture continued, teaching methods changed from being taught one-on-one to using a video-taught system to finally completing all of seventh and eighth grade on the computer.
As a child I was instructed to memorize scripture while “hiding” God’s Word in my heart. Knowledge was taught from a Biblical perspective and instead of learning about the “big bang” we were taught that God created the world. Instead of learning that we all evolved from monkeys I was taught that God made me and that He loved me enough to sent his Son to die on my behalf. The truth of Scripture was interwoven within the subjects I was taught (Science, literature, history, etc.).
As we neared the ninth grade and our parents experienced a rough divorce, my brother and I found ourselves enrolled in the public school. Life in the public school was not the same. In contrast to the influences we received growing up of hearing scripture and experiencing curriculum written from a Godly perspective, we found ourselves bombarded by “normal” life in the public school.
Worth the Workload?
Believe it or not, there are several amazing perks to be considered in the world of homeschooling. By homeschooling you are able to create your own schedule, maximize time and effiency, feel free to travel without restrictions, choose your own field trips and curriculum, and enable your children to have a better-than-average education. TIME magazine reported that home schoolers have scored nearly 40 points higher on standardized tests and are 10% more likely to graduate from college.
Perks like these might make you consider homeschooling for a few seconds but I have found that, for a lot of moms, the hardships of staying home with the kids seemingly outweighed the perks and benefits of homeschooling in their minds. There are always reasons: “the kids don’t want to” or “they wouldn’t like it.” “We don’t make enough money” or “I work a job.” “I don’t have that much patience to stay home all day with my kids,” or “I don’t feel like I am capable of being a teacher.” I get it. Kids are hard work no matter how much you love them. It would be somewhat of an understatement just to say that homeschooling is a sacrifice. Let’s try huge sacrifice. However, I can’t avoid the question that keeps coming up in my mind…“aren’t the kids worth it?”
My Story: Part II
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” – Matthew 7:6
My experience in public school was interesting. I would like to give you just a glimpse of my time there. In the very first week of high school my language teacher described how to put on a condom. This same teacher was involved in witchcraft and introduced it to us during time spent in class. During my freshman year I hid in the bathrooms during lunch break because I feared that others would see me without friends. The pressures of being accepted were overwhelming. Whether or not you were part of a social clique seemed to silently determine your worth as a person. Perverseness among peers was not uncommon. I remember listening as my homecoming date explained that sluts wore short dresses to homecoming, insinuating his expectations for me to do so. We were taught about evolution and “billions of years” in Science class, contradicting the Bible, and there wasn’t any mention of God. One day I overheard one of my teachers talking about partying with my classmates during off hours. Pressures to drink and do drugs were intense and if you did not join in the “party scene” you just simply weren’t popular. In addition, there was a time when my high school gym teacher touched me inappropriately during class. Being young and inexperienced, I didn’t know what to do and so I did nothing and told no one. I’ll go ahead and save you a little time and not go into detail about the times I was bullied, the discussions I had with high school friends about their sex lives, or about the many times I compromised my values, faith, and own dignity with the influence of my peers. Living in this environment for four years was like living in prison for me. The high school I attended is probably considered one of the nicer schools around, a small country school which was recently awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award as an “exemplary high performing school.” The only image of godliness that stands out in my mind during my four long years of public high school was seeing my fellow classmate reading his Bible alone in the library one day. I remember being amazed at his courage to do so.
Throughout all four years of high school I was an A-B student, participated in sports, and was an Honors graduate. I was a Christian, but as my high school years progressed I found myself acting less and less “Christian” and the morals that I was taught when I was younger no longer seemed important anymore. The environment I was in screamed even louder, “This is normal. Drinking is normal. Drugs are normal. Sex before marriage is normal. Bullying and hatred and slander are normal.” Sadly, all of these pressures grinded me down and I turned to drugs and alcohol to gain popularity and acceptance among my peers. There were several times that I found myself in very bad situations that could have cost me my life.
In college, while working on receiving my bachelor’s degree in Art Education, I spent time in the public schools as both a substitute teacher and student teacher. As a substitute/student teacher I witness increased disrespect from students and a real lack of a dress code. I remember watching as a girl attended high school with a skirt so short her bottom was exposed. During one of my most recent substituting experiences I was instructed to show a slideshow to a middle school class which included images of bondage (BDSM) attire and other grotesque images such as severed heads and blood. I cut the slideshow short it was so dark but technically I was required to show it.
My intentions are not to bash anyone, but I do want to give you some idea of the realities kids go through when parents send them to public school. I want you to know that these types of things really do happen while you are not present. Although it may seem like my goal is to “paint” an ugly picture of the public schools, these are honest accounts of my very real experiences in high school without exaggeration. However, the more important point I want to make is not about all of the negative influences the kids are getting but what they are missing by attending the public schools.
Trading Truth for Lies
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7
You might ask, “what really then are the students missing out on by going to public school?” The answer is simple; they are missing Godly teaching, the truth, encouragement in Christ from their teachers and peers, and the Word of God (Jesus Christ). I do believe there are many well-meaning and good teachers and staff in the public school system that are helping students to cope and who are also excellent teachers and administrators, however, I cannot ignore the fact that these same individuals are simply not allowed to speak about God or endorse the Bible in any way without the threat of being fired from their jobs. Even if students in the public school weren’t being bombarded with a godless atmosphere, they still aren’t receiving biblical truths. You might think that the hour they get in Sunday school each week or the occasional mention of God in between soccer practice, homework, and dinner every other day will counteract the 7 hours per day, 35 hours a week, 1,260 hours per year, and 16,380 hours spent during their entire time in public school but, the simple fact is, children who attend public school spend the majority of their time away from their parents being taught doctrine contrary to the Bible, in an environment that is brutally hostile to a person wanting to follow Jesus. I also want to remind you that you just can’t get that time back with your kids once it’s gone. Likewise, a combination of lack of truth and bad influences don’t equal good footings.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
[Above image: An excerpt from "The New-England Primer," originally published in 1777.]
We can gain some understanding of just how far the public schools have strayed from the original heart of American education by taking a look at the very first textbook used in America, The New-England Primer. The New-England Primer was first introduced in 1690 and was the beginning textbook for students in America in all types of schools (public, private, home, etc.) and continued to be a fundamental text used for many years (there was a 1930′s edition). If you read through the primer you will find that almost every single page references God in some way whether by scripture, praises, hymns, or stories about Christian martyrs. In the second page of the book is written “A Divine Song of Praise to GOD, for a Child” and the alphabet letters are displayed with scriptures. Out of the 238 years that America has existed, only in the past 50-some years have we not been allowed to pray or read the Bible in the public school system. When I think of how the Bible instructs us to raise our children in the fear of the Lord, I can’t help but find a conflict when it comes to the idea of sending kids to the current public schools. If God and His Word isn’t being taught in the public schools anymore, what is? And if we, the American society, have “disallowed” God in the public schools, who exactly are we inviting in? Could it be that the problems we face in America today (rampant immorality, violence, murder of the innocent, increased sexual sin, and unbelief) is due to a Godless education system where children and adolescents never had the opportunity to grow up learning the truth or right from wrong and therefore never had a strong spiritual foundation?
A sad fact, but the public schools have taken the true foundation and rock, Jesus Christ, out from under it’s structure making it an unstable institution. We can choose to ignore that the public schools have “taken God out of” the picture but the thoughts of the kids are this: “My mom and dad send me here so I guess they think the values that are allowed or go on in this place are okay.”
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27
Asking God For His Plan for Your Family
As time moves on, and we find ourselves in the year 2016, the realization of how wicked the world currently is can really sink in for us Christian mothers. In us is a natural instinct to protect our children physically and mentally but what about the spiritual protection? A lot of people argue that children are being a “light” in the public school to others but I like this quote from one of our local non-profit Christian schools. It says, “The best preparation for effective service is to be well grounded in one’s mind before direct engagement of the world.” To me, the very best possible way to give our children and young adults a Biblical head start in this world is to teach them at home where they have time to be nurtured in a safe environment, encouraged to have a relationship with the Lord, and also given a chance to get a grasp of who they are without the bullying and condemnation that often comes from other peers in a public classroom setting.
“What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” – 2 Corinthians 6:15
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:17
Even though staying home with the kids and fostering a learning environment is hard work, when you think about it, we only have our children at home for a glimpse of time in the grand scheme of things. Think about all of the little moments you might miss in the lives of your children if you choose to send them away for eight hours a day for the next eighteen years of their lives. That little smile. Her innocent laugh. Your little boy as he learns about bugs under a magnifying glass for the first time. Times of tears when they’ve had an emotional day or scraped a knee. Times of growing and young adulthood where the decision making becomes harder and they need your mothering advice. When your little girl hugs you and calls you “mommy.” When you and the kids have a blast completing a chore list as fast as you can or when your little one blushes and smiles after you praise their accomplishments. All of these moments are bonding moments. As mommies, we are given these opportunities to soak up and treasure for years to come. Yet, I seem to find many instances where these moments are thrown away for a job that could be worked later in life or because there are wants and desires that override these. Instead, the public school teachers get to enjoy these moments and often, instead of being treasured, they are tossed to the wayside leaving the child feeling worthless and confused.
The question I am asking today is, are we putting our wants and desires above their needs? It is true that they need us. They need us to teach them the Word of God daily, to be their protector, to encourage them to do their best, to remind them that they are special in God’s eyes, to foster confidence and to spend time with them, lavishing our attention and affections on them while they are still at home. What a wonderful opportunity and blessing. When we have our time invested in other priorities there is little to no time for these nuggets of gold.
The Bible instructs us:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
– Deuteronomy 6:6-9
I encourage you to pray and seek the Lord’s direction if you think He may be leading you to homeschool your children. I am not saying that homeschooling is God’s will for everyone (of course, whatever God says goes!), however, I do want to encourage mothers out there who may be feeling the “tug” of the Holy Spirit to honestly seek the Lord for His direction in this area if they haven’t already. I believe that if it is His will for you to stay home and teach that He will work the rest of the details out. Our job isn’t to worry about how to pay the bills. Our job is to obey the Lord and then trust Him in that decision. Yes, homeschooling can be tough, but there is huge potential for unforgettable and fun times packed within those years. You may have to make a sacrifice, but the question you can only answer for yourself is “is homeschooling worth it for my kids?” You’d better believe it!
“IndoctriNation” DVD Giveaway
I am giving away one copy of the “IndoctriNation” DVD – a must see for anyone considering homeschooling or wanting to be informed about the current state of the public schools. Enter by sharing this article on social media or with a friend and then leaving a comment below letting me know you shared it.”
*Winners to be announced March 31st, 2017