How often do we find ourselves observing the public school kids who are going astray? We mourn and pray for the ones who have abandoned their parents, family and faith. We hear of girls who end up promiscuous or pregnant and boys who are disrespectful of authority and only seem interested in the pursuit of money and women. We know that the schools are teaching more and more evolution, tolerance, and “safe-sex,” but less and less reading, writing and arithmetic. Hearing those examples makes us shake our heads in acknowledgement of why we are plodding down the homeschool road of life.
Being a homeschooling family can be a daunting task, and in order to stay committed, we develop a strong conviction of what we are trying to do in our children's lives. We hope to raise Godly children who love their families, are involved in their churches, and who make a difference in both their communities and across the nation. We also hope to have a strong relationship with our children both now and when they are grown, and eventually wish to be able to see the outward fruit of many long years of teaching and training. Without that goal, we would have to wonder if it was all worth it.
My resolve and determination is a little shaken, however, when I meet and get to know kids who have been public schooled and still seem to exemplify the goals I have for our own children. They exhibit character qualities that are God-honoring and genuine. These kids go on missions trips, help take care of their elderly grandparents and are actively involved in the youth group at church. I find myself wondering if homeschooling is all I have set it up to be, or if the same goal could be achieved in a much easier way. When I was sharing these thoughts with my mother, she wisely stated that many kids do well “in spite of” being public schooled.
“In spite of” is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “in defiance or contempt of; without being prevented by.” As I contemplated my mother's statement, I suddenly realized why our decision to homeschool should not waver because of kids who are doing well “in spite of being public-schooled.” How many other situations would we be willing to put our kids in and hope that they succeed “in defiance or contempt of” or “without being prevented by”? Let me give you some examples of what that type of attitude might look like:
- We're thankful that our daughter is growing in the Lord in spite of unbiblical teaching by her Sunday school teacher.
- We're praying that our son will be able to support a family in spite of the fact that he doesn't have a high school education.
- We're hoping that our kids will not be affected by the bad language and attitudes of the kids at camp in spite of the fact that they will be with them for the entire month.
- We hope our children will view the church and God's people as important in spite of our negative attitude towards many in our church body.
- I'm hoping that my kids will be intelligent and independent adults in spite of the fact that I don't manage our time and energy well at home.
These examples may be overstated, but they do make my point. I don't want my children to succeed in spite of the schooling and training they receive; I want them to excel because of the schooling and training they receive! I want them to look back at a home where they learned positive attitudes about the Lord, manners, responsibilities, relationships and academics. I want them to know that their dad and I were willing to take the road less traveled because we thought it was the best for their childhood. I want them to be capable, hard-working and honest because they saw those characteristics modeled in our home every day.
I know that homeschooling itself does not guarantee children will never struggle spiritually or relationally. There are examples of homeschooled kids who left home with bitterness in their hearts and contempt on their lips. Most of the homeschool students I have met, however, are just the opposite. They recognize the importance of what their parents have chosen and enjoy the many benefits of homeschooling. I am responsible in my conscience before the Lord to do everything I can to lead and guide our children in the way He would have them go. I don't want to put them in school, cross my fingers, pray earnestly, and hope that they reject the world's philosophy in spite of being inundated with it for several hours each day during their formative years.
As you begin this next school year (or continue it for the year-round schoolers), I pray that you will realize that you have taken hold of your children's future and determined to make it successful to the best of your ability. You have decided to go against the council of the majority and believe that your children learn and mature best in your home under your watchful eye. You have taken on the roles of mother, spiritual advisor, teacher, curriculum planner, purchasing manager, housekeeper, chauffer, wife and counselor. And because of all of this (not in spite of) your children will have the very best opportunity to grow and develop in the light of their earthly parents and heavenly Father.
Tori is privileged to be married to J Rollins and together they homeschool their four children. Tori and J live in the Imperial Valley of California and are active members of Western Avenue Baptist Church. Besides caring for her family, Tori also teaches piano lessons and enjoys scrapbooking.
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