In recent months, I have had the opportunity to speak to several parents on both sides of the homeschool debate. I often feel like a fish out of water. I don't know that many families that homeschool, at least not near me!
However, the argument I often hear from parents about why not to homeschool their children is that they have a child that they clash with. A child that they apparently can't stand the thought of spending the whole day every day with.
The tricky part about this argument is that most parents who favor homeschooling can't, or won't try to disable this line of reasoning. It's a very personal thing about their family dynamic and often says to the homeschooling parent, "Don't cross this line or ask anymore questions."
Well, I'm going to try.
First of all, the type of child that most parents find challenging is the strong willed child. The child that seems to constantly dig in with their heels to disobey constantly. Yes, these children are challenging, but as strong personalities, don't we want them to be so for Christ also? It seems like strong willed children should be even more protected from the influence of the world, as they may take it more to the dangerous zones if left to themselves, or placed in the hands of the enemy (state schools),(note: if you feel that enemy is too strong a word, start reading about the philosphies of John Dewey and Jean-Jacque Rousseau, who are the "founders" of modern education, and you'll see what I mean. Absolutely anti-family, and atheists.)
As Christian parents, we should be concerned with the spiritual state of our children. We should also realize that the kind of person we are, is the kind of person our child will be. If we won't consider homeschooling because we are afraid it will be too "hard", that smacks of American Consumer Spoilism. Do we give up or not even try when other things are hard? Starting a business, overcoming anger, overcoming drug abuse, p*rn, or alcoholism, starting to exercise, quit smoking, eating healthier and on and on. Lots of things in life are hard! I would be even willing to say that most good things ARE hard. The best things are probably the hardest! What are we teaching them if we can't purpose to do a good, hard thing?
The Scriptures indicate that we are to teach them all the time (ie when we walk by the way, when we lie down and rise up etc). THat is very hard to do in today's rat race to accumulate stuff, power, and prestige. That is hard to do when they spend 40hours a week somewhere other than with mom and dad.
This is the clincher(at least it was for me). God knows what I need to make me Christ like. My children challenge all my abilities, my patience, my understanding, and my discernment. It would be "easier" to let someone else teach them. But as I am walking through life with them, I am challenged to Christlikeness in a new way, because I know they are watching me, nearly every hour, every minute. They are learning how to follow Christ, as I try to. Sometimes I really wonder if the real reason parents are scared off by homeschooling is the fact that when their children are elsewhere, it allows us to be lazier, perhaps with a secret sin or habit we can indulge in when they are not there to see. Or perhaps we don't want to be bothered with them. We can get so much more done alone. Yes children slow us down, but if we want them to learn godly attitudes as they work, as they serve, as they obey, it has to be in the day to day, walking along of work, play, pray, and worship. Yes, you can worship while cooking, holding the baby, folding laundry etc. We are commanded to do so! Do we? Most probably not(myself included). But as our children watch us, let us be aware of this and strive to incorporate God into every aspect of our lives, and bring our children with us.