By Contributing Writer, Bambi Moore
This is not what I intended this post to be about. As a matter-of-fact, I started three different posts about the topic of education, and then deleted each one.
I had some good brainstorms going about how society defines a successful education versus what God says. Yeah, that might have been a pretty decent post.
Then I wrote another one based on statistics of the test scores of homeschoolers, as well as what some powerful CEO’s said were qualities of a good employee. No, it’s not the good grades, but (you guessed it) good character qualities and social skills. Yep, that post might have been encouraging. But it’s now in the recycle bin.
Then I deleted another post about what the ingredients are for my own (large) family’s personal homeschool and how individualistic education really is. Yawn.
I love to talk about education. In fact, I consider myself a homeschool zealot. That’s because I love home educating my children. I love being the one to teach them to read; to watch the light in their precious eyes grow brighter and brighter as they slowly sound out “rrrraaaaattt ssssaaaaatttt”.
I love being the one to lean over my babes and steady their still-chubby hands on a pencil for the first time and show them “This is your name” and watch that slowly sink in. I love grading the chemistry test and telling the teen she got a perfect score and witnessing the delight on her face. I love being the one to choose adventurous, masculine books for a growing boy because I know him so well I can choose exactly what he will enjoy.
What a joy and privilege! And it makes my heart hurt for others to be afraid of this blessing because Satan has woven his crafty lies into our society and caused us to think we aren’t capable of teaching our own children what they need to know to live their lives. Regardless of the big issue of “Is it commanded in scripture?”, if we would just simply see the joy that there is in standing alongside our children and watching the Lord grow their minds! Instead of seeing home education as a “you have to” we can instead view it as “you get to”.
But that zeal I have is not really what this post is about either.
As much as I praise God for the opportunity to home educate my children, and as diverse as homeschoolers are and as unique as each child’s education is, there is something, that if found missing will ruin our children as well as every chance they have to turn out to be God-glorifying human beings.
Homschooling isn’t enough to produce godly children. Only Jesus can. We can give them a great education. We can even give them an education based on biblical principles. But if we don’t give them the gospel we haven’t done our job.
The Three R’s
The amount of families who homeschool is growing year by year. People make the decision for various reasons, but all Christian parents would say they want their children to grow up to serve the Lord and many might even say they are striving to be diligent to teach their kids not to conform to the seductive world around them. I am one of those. I pray that my children will reject this godless culture as well as passionless, watered-down Christianity. I pray that they will be mighty arrows shot out into the world to go do the Lord’s work. But to get them there, what do I have to do?
- I can give them an excellent education and teach them classical languages with the latest and greatest language programs.
- I can require them to read long lists of great books.
- I can start them early. I can start them late. I can unschool or I can require a rigid schedule.
- I can insist they memorize large portions of scripture.
- I can help them identify their unique skills and talents, and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit.
- I can run myself ragged taking them to museums, art shows, music lessons, sporting events and all sorts of awesome field trips.
- I can teach them that education never stops for seasons or ends at a certain age. It’s ongoing.
All of these are good to do. But the truth is none of this stuff matters if I haven’t given them the 3 R’s: Ruin, Redemption and Regeneration
Charles Spurgeon said:
Be sure, whatever you leave out, that you teach the children the three R’s–Ruin, Redemption, and Regeneration. Tell the children that they are ruined by the fall and that there is salvation for them only by being redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Keep constantly before them these vital truths…
We have done nothing for our children unless we have taught them the absolute necessity of a changed heart. May God enable us to keep this constantly before their eyes, that there must be a broken heart, a contrite spirit and that good works will be of no avail unless there is a new nature within them. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
We can wear ourselves out with homeschooling, finding the best curriculum suited to their individual needs, keeping on top of sinful attitudes, protecting them as well as preparing them for the day that we can’t shelter them. But we must always be deeply aware of how very little we have to do with the child’s salvation, but that it is God Himself who must do it, as well as produce the godly fruits of repentance. Again, Spurgeon says:
You are simply a pen: God can write with you, but you cannot write anything by yourself. You are a sword: God can slay the child’s sin with you, but you cannot slay it of yourself.
As I instruct my children, I must work for a higher Teacher than myself or my children will perish. It is not my homeschooling them that will make them godly. Only the saving of their souls will do that, and only the blessing of God the Holy Spirit accompanying me and blessing my labors, will crown my efforts with success.