Over the last two years, America has seen a shift in the way we talk about education. Public schooling has become a less popular choice for many parents, and homeschooling seems to be rising in the mainstream. According to a new poll, nearly two million fewer students have enrolled in public school this year. That’s huge news for both parents and children, and the Church.
For decades, Christian parents have naïvely given their authority over their children’s education to the state. That’s because, as a society, we’ve normalized co-parenting with the government. For most, the idea that we, as parents, have a right to cut ties with the government and steward the hearts and minds of our children on our own seems foreign, unnatural. We come up with every excuse in the book as to why homeschooling may not be the best choice:
“I can’t teach my kids, I’m not a teacher!”
“Educating my kids at home will ruin their social skills.”
“As a Christian, I have to keep my kids in public school so they can be salt and light.”
While the idea of homeschooling can be daunting and all of these concerns are valid, all that most parents need is a little more information. In this article, we will discuss these very objections and show why data points, logic, and Scripture prove a different, more reassuring reality.
Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
This passage not only informs us as to how to guard our own hearts and minds, but also how to guard the hearts and minds of our children. If God instructs us to train our children up in the way they should go, we can be certain that He will be faithful to “equip us with everything good that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).
Is it more important for a child to be socialized or have a biblical worldview? Is it more important for a child to experience early exposure to drugs, sexual promiscuity, and bullying or have parents equipping them with the wisdom to address such things when they are ready? Is it more realistic for a child to be socialized by sitting still in a room full of 25 other people their age, or would it be better for them to be engaged with other kids who are also learning a biblical worldview on field trips to sporting events, museums, the library, the grocery store, and the like?
I previously wrote an article addressing in full why it’s not a child’s job to be salt and light in the classroom, but I will summarize here why this question should be the least of your concerns as a Christian parent considering homeschooling.
We homeschool because we want our children to be salt and light. Being salt and light means being distinct and set apart from the world — not assimilating with the culture. Scripture is clear in Matthew 5:19, just after Jesus spoke of being salt and light, that those who encourage young ones to go astray will be the least in the Kingdom.
As parents, we have a responsibility to ensure that our children are not led astray by equipping and training our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Children in Scripture were never considered to be the disciples sent out into the world to be salt and light, rather, they are the discipled, learning from their parents, being trained up in the way they should go.
When we urge our children to go out into the world as salt and light, we are recklessly casting them out as sheep among wolves. We are expecting them to harness the discernment and the wisdom to endure a worldly, humanist curriculum implemented by Caesar.
There are plenty of other common objections and hesitations that Christian families have when it comes to homeschooling their children, but the benefits of homeschooling far outweigh the current state of depravity that thrives in our classrooms. Christian parents have a responsibility to ensure that the hearts and minds of their children are being stewarded well. For far too long, we’ve passed that job off to the government and abandoned our role as teacher to our children.
Hopefully, this will not be the case for much longer. The Church should be encouraging families to homeschool and helping them find the resources and the means to do so. Parents should be tending closely to their child’s growing mind and rejecting any suggestion that they should co-parent with the government.
And we should all carefully heed the words of Jesus in Luke 6:40:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
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Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.