I was surprised to see the range of emotion that passed over my new friend’s face when I mentioned that our children had married homeschool graduates and would be homeschooling their own children. First, there was a slightly startled look, followed immediately by genuine excitement as she enthusiastically said “Wow! Your kids are going to homeschool too?!”
Suddenly, her sincere smile seemed to freeze. I watched as a searching uncertainty began playing across her face. It showed first in her eyes and finally made it to her voice. Slowly and quietly she formed her words. Haltingly, almost like a question, she said. “I don’t know if my kids are going to homeschool their kids or not. We never really talked about it.”
I don’t know about you, but I find that absolutely tragic!
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 relationships 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 children are grown and out on their own, they have full responsibility for their lives. They make their own decisions. They choose their own paths. 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 contend that teaching them to one day homeschool their own children is as imperative, and even far more important, than many of the things I just listed. In fact, I would go so far as to say that teaching our children the importance of homeschooling the next generation, and of marrying someone who shares that belief, ranks right up there with 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” (emphasis added). 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 will want our children to raise godly children too.
But raising godly children doesn’t 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 Christian parents in our churches say that 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 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.)
I went to public school, and while I’m thankful that I was technically one of the fortunate few, I can hardly call myself a success story. Strictly speaking, I held to the faith—somewhat. But it didn’t affect my life much, and I certainly was not a poster child for Christianity.
When you think about it, what can we expect from a public school education—even for the few who don’t walk away from the faith? Public school students grow up in classrooms. Hour after hour, day after day, year after formative year, they are fed curriculum thoroughly steeped in religion, but totally devoid of the One True God. Without a doubt, their minds, perspectives, and lives are unavoidably affected.
They are sent, for the lion’s share of their lives, to be taught and shaped by a system that is openly against our God. Is it likely that family devotions, Sunday school, and youth group meetings will really negate all the wrong teaching and influences these children are subjected to year after year? It wasn’t enough for me, and in view of the worldliness we see in churches and in the lives of many who profess to be Christians, it appears that adding Christian focus here and there simply isn’t enough to counteract the daily ungodly barrage coming from public school and society.
Many years after high school, as I finally began to get grounded spiritually, I found that every sphere of my life and thought was tainted by evolution, ungodly philosophy, and the incorrect worldviews that I had been indoctrinated with during my school years (even though the public school was not as liberal and godless as it is now). By the time I began seriously living for the Lord, many years of my life had been wasted, major life decisions had been made, and my children had not had a godly mom.
Thankfully, Christian homeschooling has a much greater degree of success at raising intelligent, well-rounded, and godly children! In order to have godly generations as God’s Word commands, we need to raise godly children, who will in turn raise godly children. To do that, we’ve got to pass the homeschooling vision and commitment on—we can’t leave the raising and educating of our future generations up to a godless system!
It’s time we realize and embrace the fact that homeschool mom is a far more important “profession” than whatever careers our peers are pursuing—and the rewards are eternal and greater than any paycheck they’re bringing home too! But sometimes during the busy days of raising children, keeping a home and homeschooling, something as big and important as passing a generational vision on can sound daunting. And make us tired! I know—I’ve been there. But let me share some things that worked for us.
First, we became convinced that the worldview embraced by the public school, the religion-steeped, God-absent curriculum, and the peer influences inherent in the system were extremely pervasive and horribly damaging. It was therefore wrong before God to place the children He had entrusted to us to raise for Him into that system. So, we determined, first within ourselves and then openly in front of our children, to homeschool no matter what—for God. Our kids saw us stand firm against pressure from our peers, but we believed that homeschooling was the right thing to do. There was no going back. Ever. Period.
We became passionate about teaching our children the truth about human origins, the trustworthiness of God’s Word from beginning to end, our nation’s Christian heritage, and our purpose here on earth as Christians. Such big, important, true topics were interesting and alive for all of us! We discussed the importance of worldviews and were able to see the outworking of wrong worldviews in the decaying, immoral, sinful culture all around us, and in the worldliness even in Christians and churches.
This type of education wasn’t just during certain hours with certain books; it spilled over into all areas of life and all hours of the day. We had long lively discussions around the dinner table, in the car, in the living room, and sprawled on our bed late into the night. We often talked about creation, worldview, marriage, homeschooling, philosophy, politics, theology, and more. It’s important to note that in our discussions, marriage and children were always talked about in the context of “if it’s God’s will for you to have them.” But it was always openly discussed and accepted that if God gave them children, homeschooling was a certainty.
Our kids knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, why we were homeschooling. They saw the truth, the passion, and the importance. And it became their own!
Passion and truth are contagious! May we each, by the grace of God, cultivate them in ourselves so our children will be more likely to catch the vision. As a homeschooling parent, passionately embrace the vision for Christian homeschooling and pass it on—now, later, and always!
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.