Are you tempted to join government homeschooling (a charter school or public school independent study program) or do you know someone who is?
These days, Christian parents who are thinking about homeschooling are often unaware that you can homeschool in most states without public school control. And those who do know are often tempted to join government homeschooling for the supposed goodies. The bait of free materials or the perception of getting help from "real teachers" seems inviting, but having public school employees overseeing your homeschool dramatically alters the spiritual dynamic of the home.
You need to know that there is another form of homeschooling; one that is scriptural. Private biblical homeschooling strengthens God's design for the family and helps ensure the future right of our children and grandchildren to freely homeschool in a Christ-centered manner.
Homeschooling has always existed in this country -- from the native Americans to the first Europeans to form colonies in the New World. Yet it was mostly forgotten as state funded schooling, the purpose of which is to create obedient productive citizens, pervaded the land in the 19th century. But in the late 1970's and 1980's, a resurgence in homeschooling began among parents who were mostly Christians. These "pioneer" families often resisted the idea that the state was supposed to control the education of their children. They blazed a path few dared to follow - with parents at the head of their children's learning.
More than that, they discovered that biblical homeschooling changed everyone in the family, bringing them through God's refining fire and helping strengthen their relationship with Jesus, and with each other.
Those who hated God were incensed at the idea that bible-believing parents were taking back the headship of their homes. Not only that, but the behemoth of public education was taking a financial hit whenever a child was withdrawn from public school or never entered in the first place. Strategies to stop homeschooling failed, and homeschooling was proven to be legal in all fifty states. As the fruit of raising children in the love of the Lord became evident, more and more families started doing it.
But Satan is clever and whenever Christians have fruit, he delivers a strong counter-punch. He was not going to sit back and watch generations of children being brought up in the Lord Jesus. We believe his counter-punch to homeschooling was to lure Christian parents back into the public school fold via government homeschooling. When a family goes that route, not only is the public school still financially supported, but that family is put under the control of an institution that denies the lordship of Jesus Christ. Spiritual revival of the Christian family is not likely to come out of this humanist matrix.
While we do not question the walk of those believers who enroll in government homeschooling -- any more than we question the walk of the Christians who have their children enrolled in regular public school -- we urge them to consider the spiritual fruit of their decision. We urge bible-believing Christians to refrain from becoming yoked with government homeschool programs for many reasons, and to instead discover the blessings of a non-government biblical home education:
In government homeschooling, you place those who hate God over your homeschool. God is the head of the husband who is the head of the wife. The divine lines of authority established by God are disrupted when you insert the public school system into this holy order. The public school and public school mentor you are assigned in government homeschooling install themselves in the headship position -- that is where the buck stops. They become the provider, director and accountability of that homeschool instead of the husband and God.
There is no free lunch -- when you take public school money for homeschooling, you are agreeing to allow the state be the head of your children's education. Education is not a neutral endeavor, but a highly spiritual matter, and one that is not separable from discipleship. God sets up "governments" in the Bible -- individual, family, church and civil government -- and gives responsibilities to each. Imagine the government being in charge of serving you communion or giving baptisms. Ridiculous, you would say! Those are spiritual matters God clearly gave to the church. Well, no where in scripture does God give the civil government authority over the raising of children. When God speaks of training up children -- for example Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." He is speaking to parents, not bureaucrats.
In private homeschooling done biblically, the buck stops with the dad (or mom if there is no dad in that family). If the dad decides he doesn't want his kids taking a certain standardized test, does he have the ultimate authority? If he picks out the textbooks and decides they are to all be Biblical, is he able to do this? If he decides he wants a child of his to skip a certain subject this year to concentrate on another, does he have the power to make that call? Only in private biblical homeschooling does the father have this authority.
Government homeschooling puts the mother under the counsel of humanists. Even if she happens to be assigned a public school mentor who is a Christian, the curriculum, methods, and goals of public education are designed to produce a carnal man of the world. Psalm 1 says, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked."
A family on the educational dole undergoes a spiritual change in authority as government homeschooling has no use for the husband. Homeschooling becomes "her thing" -- something Mom and the public school mentor implement. He is under them. Just like in the welfare system, a dad who realizes that he is not the provider and protector soon zones out. It may seem like a subtlety to women, but this undermining of a man's role is a powerful "dis". When Dad checks out, Mom is left with all the work in the homeschool. If you want your husband to be actively involved in the homeschooling, don't emasculate him by choosing government homeschooling.
In contrast, biblical homeschooling is about fathers being restored to their rightful role as heads of the homes.
Supporting a Corrupt System
We implore believers in Jesus to totally leave the public school system, which is responsible for devastating the minds and hearts of millions. Statistics from several ministries show that the majority of Christian kids who are sent to brick-and-mortar public schools will renounce their faith in Christ and quit going to church after high school graduation. The public school has long proven itself a producer of the most rotten fruit we see in society today -- so why would a Believer want to prop up a system that is so obviously of the kingdom of darkness?
When you enroll in government homeschooling, your child is legally considered a public school student. Even though you are doing all the work, thousands of tax dollars are diverted into the public school system on behalf of your child. A bit is kicked back to parents for secular materials. Christians are inadvertently ensuring the survival of a blatantly anti-God system.
In contrast, a family that chooses private Christian homeschooling can tell their neighbors they are a blessing to taxpayers -- and they do not have to feel guilty about contributing to the delinquency of America.
We need to stop viewing public school as neutral, and assuming we will have no consequences from aligning ourselves with a demonic system. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:18: "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit."
Promoting Humanist Curriculum
When you take public money for homeschooling, you are not supposed to use Christian curriculum or teach from a Christian worldview during school hours. This is true even if you bought the religious materials yourself! Federal and state laws prohibit the use of sectarian curriculum during school hours. You are agreeing to run a non-religious public school in your home during set hours when you take their freebies.
There are many who tell us "we'll just do what we want in our home" but once you put yourself under the government, you are a sitting duck for increasing control. For example, in 2004 a charter school in North Monterey County, California lost its license to operate. One of the reasons cited was that parents were using religious texts during school hours. Parents were told that, "any religious instruction during class time for which the school received state money is against the law regardless of the source of funds used to purchase materials." (The Monterey County Herald, March 27, 2004)
In Canada, the same thing happened -- parents thought that since they were at home, they could do what they wanted and teach during the day from the religious books they purchased themselves. That was true until someone decided to enforce the law. Read the story here.
Many Christian parents just settle for using the secular texts. But nothing is neutral -- secular texts actually present a worldview that says truth has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, or the books are blatantly pro-evolution or full of other prevarications.
Christians joining government homeschooling are promoting another unintended result. Since government homeschooling vouchers are only supposed to go for non-sectarian materials, the homeschool marketplace is experiencing pressure for more secular texts, even from Christian households that otherwise would purchase decidedly Christian materials. Many of the openly Christian materials produced during the recent upsurge in Christian homeschooling are being bypassed by parents in favor of non-Christian materials -- which can be approved for inclusion in the portfolios that government homeschoolers must turn in to get the continued approval of the state.
Everything you present to your children influences them. When you continually introduce conflicting worldviews in the main subject matter, this gets into the heart of mind of your child. This ad says it all when it comes to why Christians should not let their children be discipled by non-Christian curriculum. This Bob Jones University advertisement very clearly illustrates this point.
At the founding of this country, books were scarce. Often families only had the Bible to teach their children to read from. And a look at the writings of children in those days shows they were more educated than modern children who have bountiful fancy equipment and curriculum.
Yoking with the Unsaved
With government homeschooling, you become unequally yoked with the unsaved. Not just in the task of educating your children by being guided by a humanist system, but in the other associations you and your children make. There are meetings and activities sponsored by the government homeschooling programs. These expose your family to ungodly peers -- both for Mom, and for the children.
2 Corinthians 6: 14-17 says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" Therefore, "come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord."
Some Christians are under the mistaken belief that since they are homeschooling and since unbelievers are homeschooling, that they are doing the same thing. But shouldn't what we are doing be radically different from what the unsaved homeschooler next door is doing? Is this about homeschooling or is homeschooling a means to an end (in our case, raising up a child in the Lord Jesus?) Educating children cannot be severed from discipleship. Everything we teach should be in light of the lordship of Jesus Christ. Studying mathematics, for example, should be done for the purpose of being a blessing to others through our ability to say, build good bridges. And in the wonder of mathematical rules, children should see the glory of God. But unbelievers are homeschooling for very different reasons -- to create what the public school is creating -- a worldly child.
When you look into the eyes of your children, what do you see? An eternal being who is fearfully and wonderfully made. What does the unsaved mom sitting next to you in the government homeschooling group see in a child's eyes? A product of evolution who lives only for this world?
When you are meeting with a public school teacher or have unsaved homeschooling friends, it makes you less likely to follow your Christian convictions. For example, you might eschew biblical discipline, knowing those in your government homeschooling program disapprove.
Some Christian families think they need government oversight for "accountability". Since most of us are grown up public school children, we cannot fathom a situation where the government does not have its hands all over our lives. But we need to think about this biblically -- no where in the Word does it say the civil government is to be responsible for keeping believers "accountable" in raising their children. Rather, the wife is to be accountable to the husband, who is to be accountable to God.
As government homeschooling becomes prominent in an area, the Christian groups often disappear. The biggest threat to the survival of the private biblical homeschooling movement, by far, is government homeschooling. Why? Christians in government homeschooling have other activities they must attend, and when they do attend private biblical homeschooling groups, there often is tension. In a homeschool support group, Mom tends to talk about her head, her goals, the activities they do and the curriculum they use. The spiritual disparity between the freedom of private biblical homeschoolers versus the bondage of the government homeschoolers becomes evident and can easily explode a good support group.
Also, Christians who join government homeschooling usually stop supporting the Christian homeschooling movement and Christian homeschooling conventions. If a public school employee picks out and pays for your curriculum, and they have their own social activities -- why associate with other Christians at conventions and support groups?
Focusing on Worldly Standards
If you enroll in government homeschooling, you are agreeing to follow the agenda of a system that does not recognize Jesus as Lord. In private biblical homeschooling, you follow God's standards. The first set of standards strives to raise up a child loyal to the state, who views all of life from an evolutionary worldview. The other seeks to raise up a child loyal to Jesus, who views all of life from a biblical worldview.
Some Christian parents claim they will act like the are following the government standards, but try to outwit them by secretly teaching God's standards and getting the government goodies at the same time. But standards are conveyed in many ways -- by the curriculum, by the teaching methods, by the teacher, and by the head of the homeschool.
Jesus made it clear that we cannot follow two masters. What kind of confusion does it foist upon a child to see the conflict of pretending to follow one system, but really attempting to follow another? Why not be openly Christian in all you do in your homeschooling? Why not just reject the world system?
Why does a Christian need government homeschooling, anyway? The pioneering generations of homeschoolers who came before you did it on a shoestring and without government oversight. Many were poor, had lots of children to homeschool, and had to make their own curriculum as most textbook companies would not sell to them back then. Private biblical homeschooling has a record of outstanding academic and spiritual results -- we urge families not to "go back to Egypt."
Burning Out and Giving Up
When you first hear about government homeschooling, it might seem like it would make homeschooling easier -- someone guides you and pays for stuff. But the pressure of humanists regulating your homeschool changes what you do during the day. And possibly running afoul of the government in your homeschooling can create great anxiety. Shadowed by required paperwork, diverted into doing lessons that she would never do if not for a secular institution looking over her shoulder... Mom starts to feel like an employee of the public school.
In government homeschooling, when Mom is feeling stressed about accomplishing her goals, it is Big Brother, not Dad or God, whom she is afraid of disappointing. When she has those inevitable days of feeling overwhelmed, whom does she go to for support? When she says she cannot do it, when she goes to her head for help, does she get prayed for and directed to Jesus? Or, does the public school mentor suggest the next logical step for a government homeschooler -- the brick and mortar public school? Government homeschoolers are a very short step away from the physical public school, and many wind up there within a short time.
There exits a vast network of Christian homeschooling support groups in many areas of this country. If you cannot find a Christian homeschool support group near you -- start one, or find one on-line. Or find a church that has private Christian homeschoolers. Pray that God will provide at least one other family to come alongside you.
Handing over Parental Rights
Currently, there is no greater threat to the biblical homeschooling movement than Christians enrolling in government homeschooling programs. The hard-fought parental rights won by the "pioneers" of the homeschool movement are at risk from Christians who are being lured into public school homeschooling programs. Satan hates independent Christian homeschoolers precisely because they are raising up a godly generation of young people who are serving Jesus with their whole hearts and minds. Since he who controls the curriculum controls the hearts and minds of the children, there is a deliberate push to get all homeschoolers under the control of the public school system.
Government homeschooling weakens our parental rights by drastically reducing the number of homeschoolers willing to put up a fight politically. When parents are on the educational dole, they become concerned with getting more plunder, not defending freedoms. Those who voluntarily put themselves under bondage do not understand the threat of greater government intrusion. Government homeschoolers often say things like, "Why shouldn't all homeschoolers be required to take all the standardized tests? I'm required to. Why shouldn't all homeschoolers be evaluated by a public school teacher? I am."
Once there is a "critical mass" of government homeschoolers, there will be no one left to hold back the onerous regulations that all homeschoolers will be subject to.
The politicians know that government homeschoolers pose no threat to their humanist agenda. Once you accept government money, you give up your rights -- dependents have no motivation to fight the system that feeds them. You have agreed to homeschooling on their terms. Anti-homeschooling liberals have made it plain they will want all homeschoolers under their authority. God never gave that authority to the civil government, only to parents. We do not have a right to delegate away the responsibility God has bestowed on parents alone.
Getting a Vision to Restore the Christian Family
We see biblical homeschooling as a Christian family restoration movement. The Christian family, and thus the nation, is in disarray, largely due to parents allowing the government to raise their children. A spiritual revival of the Christian family can only come through God and His divine order for the family, not through an anti-God system.
Earlier generations made such great sacrifices -- they were hauled into court, almost had their children taken away -- they fought for your right to be free of the public school bureaucrats. You need to look beyond the bait of government money and your fear of being an independent homeschooler. Look at the spiritual state of your family and consider the long-term consequences for future generations of Christian homeschoolers.
Commit yourself and the success of your homeschool to the Lord Jesus Christ. Allow your husband his rightful role as head of the home and homeschool. Instead of becoming a dependent on government educational handouts, become an advocate of protecting our God-given rights to give our children a biblical education, free from government control.
Families who have never experienced homeschooling in the Lord without answering to the government need to know that God will provide -- whether it is materials, hope, courage, or wisdom. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
The good news is that we have found that most Christian parents who homeschool will NOT go into public school homeschooling IF they are educated on the biblical reasons not to before they get into it. Once parents are under the control of the public school system -- whether it be in a brick and mortar school or a government homeschooling program -- they are often fearful to leave even when they see the problems with it.
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