Have you ever made a really special meal? You searched and searched for just the right recipes and tried some out ahead of time. You made sure to buy fresh, quality ingredients. A few days before the dinner you began some early preparations. Finally, on the day of the dinner you spent hours working in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. You may have enjoyed parts of the work, but some parts were tedious or even a bit scary as you wondered if you were doing it just right and if everything would turn out as well as you hoped.
Finally, you set the table, set the mood, lit the candles, and presented a marvelous meal.
And thirty minutes later . . . it was gone.
All that time, money, and effort, over so quickly. Just one meal. Was it worth it?
That could depend on how important or special the occasion was. Was it for a normal Monday evening supper, or was it for a wedding anniversary? Probably the more important the occasion, the more it seemed worth the work. Hopefully those who ate the dinner enjoyed the food, noticed and appreciated the centerpiece, and took some pictures so memories could be relived. But still, as the one putting in so much effort, wouldn’t you have wanted it to last longer?
It seems to me that the more we invest in something, the longer we want it to last. Which brings me to homeschooling.
If you’re a homeschooler, you know that homeschooling parents make big sacrifices and big investments in their families. We pray lots! There’s nothing like being with our children 24/7 to keep us on our knees for their souls and our sanity. We search for and purchase curriculum, make plans, and educate our kids on top of all our regular parenting and other duties of life.
Homeschooling takes a considerable amount of time, money, creativity, energy, grace, wisdom, and endurance. Not only for the bookwork involved, but for the day-in, day-out training of our children to stop fighting and bickering, get along, obey their parents, and actually do their work.
Surely, as homeschoolers, we understand that a lot is on the line. The stakes are high. We know it’s a big job to prepare our children for success as adults—in relationships as well as in the work world. As Christian homeschoolers, we’re also well aware of the eternal aspects and responsibilities of raising and educating our children for the Lord.
As a whole, Christian homeschoolers are seeing blessings and rewards for their homeschooling efforts. Studies have shown that homeschoolers test academically higher than their public- or private-schooled peers, and a far greater percent of homeschooled students keep the faith of their parents. Glory to God!
On top of all that, studies have also shown that as adults, those who were homeschooled are more satisfied with their lives and relationships and more active in their communities. On the whole, homeschoolers excel and shine—congratulations!
Homeschooling families have escaped the spiritual disaster zone known as our public education system. And as a result, amidst a culture that is losing its moral and spiritual bearings, we’re winning a great battle. Praise the Lord!
But here’s where it gets puzzling to me. Given the sacrifices in time, effort, and money on the part of homeschooling parents—and the success and blessings homeschoolers enjoy as a whole—why in the world are some satisfied with only one generation of homeschooling? Why are they putting themselves through it all for such short-lived success? Why is it okay with some homeschoolers if their children grow up and send their children into the public school system, complete with its anti-God philosophy and poor academic record?
Of course, once our kids are grown, we can’t make them homeschool their own children, any more than we can make them go to bed or get up on time. We can’t make them be responsible. We can’t make them take care of their health, house, yard, or car. We can’t make them work on their marriage relationship or their relationships with their children. We can’t make them be Christians or live in obedience to God. We can’t make them do anything.
Once a child is grown and out on their own, they have full responsibility for their lives. They make their own decisions. They choose their own path. And that’s as it should be. We can’t, and indeed, shouldn’t even try to, run our grown children’s lives.
But while our children are growing up in our homes, I strongly contend that teaching them to homeschool their children is just as imperative, and even far more important, than many of the things I listed above. In fact, I would go so far as to say that teaching our children the importance of homeschooling their own children, and marrying someone who shares that belief, ranks close to teaching them the importance of personal salvation!
Why? Because raising godly children is important to God, so it should be important to us. In fact, raising godly children is one of God’s reasons for creating marriage in the first place. Malachi 2:15a says, “And did not he make one? . . . And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.”
God wants our children to be godly Christians. And since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we know that not only does He want us to raise godly children, but He wants our children to raise godly children too.
But raising godly children doesn’t normally happen accidentally, especially in an ungodly setting. Education, training, influences, philosophy, and worldview are powerful formative forces. So where and how our children are taught is highly important.
Many parents in our churches say it’s possible to raise godly children in the public school system. To a tiny degree, I partially agree. After all, according to a report from the Southern Baptist Convention, “only” 88 percent of children from Christian families walk away from the church. So some public-schooled children from Christian homes don’t actually all-out leave the faith. But I wouldn’t call that very encouraging news for Christian families—and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that any Christian parents bank on odds like that.
(The statistics for homeschool graduates are far better, by the way, with over 90 percent continuing to attend religious services on a regular basis, according to a 2003 report by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute.)
Homeschooling, on the whole, works and works very well spiritually, educationally, and relationally. But now more than ever, we need to be aware that in the midst of our great victory, defeat could come all too quickly if we think only of the current generation. It is imperative that we gain and hold a vision not only for protecting our own children but our grandchildren as well from a secular, godless education. We need to make sure that we’re not just passing our faith on to our children, but that we’re also passing our vision for Christian home education on to them as well.
If we succeed only in the area of passing on our faith to our children, but not our vision for Christian home education, we are in danger of winning only a single-generation victory. Our grandchildren will be sent to a school system that is destroying the faith and lives of countless young people. As a grandma, that is a heartbreaking thought!
Busy, tired homeschool mama, don’t waste your sacrifices, efforts, prayers, plans, money, creativity, and everything else you’ve invested in homeschooling. Capitalize on it all by prayerfully passing the vision for Christian homeschooling on to your children.
One generation is extremely valuable, to be sure—but one generation is not enough!
Kari Lewis is the "mom" here at Home School Enrichment. She and Frank have been married since 1977 and homeschooled their two sons, Matthew and Jonathan, from their early elementary years through their high school graduations. Together, the four of them started Home School Enrichment Magazine in late 2002. More recently, she's been enjoying her new role of mother-in-law and grandma! You can reach her at kari@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.