Dear Christian Parents,
I often hear Christian parents doubting their abilities to educate their own children. They reject homeschooling simply because they don’t believe they are capable teachers. They acknowledge that homeschooling is a very good, godly way of educating children, but only for other more qualified parents. Because of their severe lack of confidence, they typically dismiss any notion of teaching their children at home, and so they send their children into the public schools.
I want to use this letter to discuss this lack of confidence and assure all of you that you can homeschool. I touched on this issue in chapter 17 of my book Dear Christian Parents: An Appeal for Homeschooling, but let’s revisit the matter here and give it a little more thought.
For those of you who lack confidence in your own abilities to teach your children, I urge to find your confidence in God rather than in yourself. God-centered homeschooling is about following God’s will in the matter of education. The Biblical pattern for children’s education is summarized in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and it calls upon you to teach your children “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Be assured that you are able to follow this pattern, for God does not require of you more than you are able to do. If you trust in God and follow His instructions, then you will be able to homeschool.
Let’s consider a principle found in 2 Corinthians 9:8-11. These verses of Scripture speak of giving and charity, but the principle involved can be applied to our children’s education. Notice this passage:
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
Did you get the principle? Here it is again: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” If you have determined that it is right in the sight of God for you to educate your own children at home, then be assured that God is able to give you sufficiency and abundance to do the good work of homeschooling.
So then, your confidence should not be tied to your own abilities to teach, but rather to God’s ability to make all grace abound to you. When you view the prospect of homeschooling in terms of God’s ability, then your confidence should be unlimited. Many times in the Bible, we are told that God is faithful, which means that He is trustworthy and true to His promises. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” If our faithful God promises to make you sufficient for good deeds, and if teaching your own children is a good deed according to the Biblical pattern, then you should have all the confidence in the world.
Now let’s view your abilities to homeschool in a practical way. You have established your confidence through God, but how does that translate into getting the job done? It isn’t enough just to feel confident about homeschooling. You will have to work hard to succeed, but remember what success really is in the matter of your children’s education. The main goal of God-centered homeschooling is to cultivate faithfulness to God in your children. The way to achieve this goal is to educate your children with a Biblical worldview, use your own godly influence and examples to guide them, and keep them from ungodly influences except for the purpose of exposing the truth about evil.
To succeed in homeschooling, you will need to use the right resources. The first and foremost resource for your God-centered homeschool is the Bible. When you love God with all your heart and stamp God’s word on your heart (Deuteronomy 6:5-6), you set yourself up to succeed as the teacher of your children. Beyond the Bible, seek and find those resources that will help you accomplish your goals. We are blessed to live in a time when there is an abundance of homeschooling materials in the marketplace. There are products available for every subject in every grade and for every level of teaching ability. There are even “school-in-a-box” products that will do virtually all of the technical teaching for you. Just be sure that any resources you use are compliant with the Bible and that you remain involved as the primary administrator of your children’s education.
If you need more encouragement, then let me attempt to answer a few specific objections that are common among Christian parents concerning homeschool.
- “I’m not a good teacher.” On the contrary, you are the best teacher for your children. God has given you a unique position with your children that no one else can fill. Recognize your blessed assignment as your children’s teacher and embrace it.
- “I don’t know enough.” You don’t have to know everything to homeschool. You just have to know more than your children. Stay at least one step in front of them in everything they are learning, and you will do fine. Make use of the many homeschooling products that I mentioned before. Most importantly, study the Bible as this will be best for both you and your children.
- “I’m not smart enough.” Give yourself more credit. It doesn’t take a genius to teach children, but it does take conviction. If you truly want to teach your own children, you can.
- “I don’t know what to do.” Immerse yourself in the word of God and find the Biblical pattern for educating children. Make a plan according to that pattern and follow it. For a thorough explanation of this, see my book Dear Christian Parents: An Appeal for Homeschooling. After you study these things, you will know what to do.
- “I might be able to teach my children when they are small, but I can’t teach high school level.” Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Don’t refuse to teach your children first grade lessons just because you are afraid you can’t teach twelfth grade. You will grow as a teacher just as your children grow as students. If your children eventually get into subjects that you are not prepared to teach, then buy resources that teach the subjects for you. There are books, CDs, DVDs, and software on just about any subject you can imagine – calculus, physics, economics, computer skills, etc.
- “Teaching is a profession, and I’m not a professional.” Teaching other people’s children may be a profession, but teaching your own children is a natural responsibility that you have from God. You don’t need a degree from a teachers’ college or a teaching certificate to teach your own children.
Are you feeling better about homeschooling now? I have no doubt that you can successfully teach your own children with the help of the Lord. All you need is the conviction, the will, and the effort to make it happen in your family. Go forward without fear, and do what you know to be right. May God bless you and your family.
Regards in the Lord,
© 2011 Dear Christian Parents