The case for Christian homeschooling begins with Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Godly parents are to teach their children about God all day long, in the course of doing the things you do in life. That is much easier to do if your children are with you, eating meals, working with you, studying with you, going places with you, curling up with you to talk before bedtime. Your ability to point out to your child “God’s fingerprint” on the things of life can be compressed by institutional schooling to the moments before they race off for the bus in the morning and the moments at dinner (if you eat dinner together). After dinner they’ll be off working on homework. Your children are with you for only a season – then they’re off to college and careers. Christians should take seriously that their opportunity to impact their children’s world-view lasts only for a few years.
The case for Christian homeschooling continues with John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Add to it 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
A Christian has the difficult task of living as both a citizen of the earth and citizen of heaven. A Christian child needs training and nurture to be able to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. To send them into the wordliest of settings, a schoolyard, and expect them to model Christ-likeness in the face of worldliness, is asking an awful lot of a six-year-old.
My homeschooled children and I were on a field trip once to a museum and a school tour was climbing onto the displays and disobeying the instructions of the tour guide. One of my children said, “Why do they get to do that when we’re not allowed to?” I said, “Because we represent Jesus wherever we go. We have to live by His standards because we may be the only part of His Body people bump up against today.” A Christian child in the public school system will be “hated” in the sense that their viewpoints, attitudes, and opinions will be mocked and ridiculed. By high school or college a Christian should be prepared to give an explanation for the hope they have and be able to withstand the scoffing of the world in a Christlike manner. But if you have young children who love Jesus and want to love their neighbor as themselves, you might as well put a sign on them that says “Bully Bait” when you leave them off at their classroom door.
Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Public schools have different goals for education than Christian parents. The public school system is in place to mold children to be productive members of their society. The government wants a skilled labor force that will obediently pay their taxes and spend the rest of their income to fuel the economy. I have no objections to that but the government is not interested in training a child for a final Day of Judgment or in an eternity with Jesus ruling in a New Heaven and a New Earth. The government is not interested in whether my children are Ambassadors for Christ but whether they are consumers of goods.
I was once on a field trip with my children touring a famous estate and my nine-year-old asked if the owner of the estate had been a Christian. The tour guide replied with a chuckle, “Well, that depends on how you define a Christian.” My child then graciously and tactfully defined for the guide what he believed a Christian to be. The guide was taken aback and said, “In those terms, I can tell you the owner went to church but I don’t have any evidence that he was a Christian.” After the tour was over, several other adult couples gathered around my child and discussed with him for nearly half an hour what it means to be a Christian. Would that have happened on a public school tour?
But surely a child can be a Christian and succeed in public school or in a private Christian school? Of course, they can. So the case for Christian homeschooling comes down to an individual calling on a family to live a homeschooling lifestyle. You need parents willing to sacrifice their time in the work world to time educating their own children. You need parents who love learning and teaching and being with their own children. You need children who want to work and learn and play alongside their parents and siblings. Life can be chaotic, cluttered, and constantly changing but the bottom line has to be that you have a family that can function together and has a goal of learning to be followers of Christ.
I have asked a lot of Christian home educators why they chose to homeschool. Some have said because their child wasn’t doing well in school, or they were disturbed by the nature of materials being taught in the schools. But the ones I have seen be genuinely successful and satisfied by homeschooling have been the ones who said, “God called me to do it and I had to obey, whether I thought I could or not.” There is an aspect to Christian homeschooling that has to be Holy Spirit led and empowered – and if you’re not convinced that God wants you to undertake this responsibility, you will be overwhelmed by it.
On the other hand, as my homeschooled children graduate from High School, I am very grateful to see them making choices regarding their careers, friends, occupations, hobbies, and ministries that show me I have given them an understanding of God’s attributes and an understanding of how God’s creation works that enables them to both function in the world and live their faith. If I had left that responsibility to someone else, would I have had this same peace as my young adults drive off to pursue the life God has planned for them? For me, that’s the greatest case for Christian homeschooling.