Why Do You Educate Your Own Children?
by: Rodger Williams

Christian father, why does your family educate your own children? If you  do not have the reasons firmly established in your mind, then when the  hard times come -- and they will -- you will be unprepared to weather the  storms.

One reason we make the sacrifice to educate our own children is for the  better education they get with individual instruction. Even when it  appears that chaos reigns, our children end up being able to think  better because of their increased meaningful interaction with parents  and others who are not their same-aged peers. The strengths of home  education end up outweighing any inefficiencies. And our children are  the better for it.

But there is a much more important result that a Christian father should  want for his children: We want them to be God's people, loving the Lord  and obeying Him throughout their lives. Home-based discipleship should  be the ultimate reason we educate at home.

If you are like me, you feel very insecure in this area. We do not put  the time in with our children that we want to. All of us are caught in  the undertow of life's responsibilities and events. We do what we can to  disciple our children, but it seems so meager. And there is always the  nagging realization that some other fathers are much more organized  about encouraging their children in the Christian faith.

But God is gracious to us and uses the home education environment to  make up for many of our deficiencies. For one thing, we do not  constantly have to counter anti-Christian influences that many other  families face. The osmosis of our Christian faith has a chance to take  up some of the slack as our children spend time with their Christian  mother and siblings rather than in a godless-by-design classroom. And  your personal example, such as reading your Bible at night, somehow  counts for more.

That does not mean that we just go on autopilot, depending on home  education by itself to disciple our children. We need to give deliberate  attention to guiding our children in their walk with the Lord, thinking  about how we can do a better job of it. Teaching our own children at  home gives us a unique opportunity to carry out that home-based  discipleship.

So, this is what is really at stake: The home-based Christian  discipleship of our children.

What can interfere with that purpose of discipling our children at home?  The first thing is the stress it brings onto your wife. The mothers bear  the burden in most homeschools. So when she is frustrated, tired or  discouraged, you need to be there to support her. She is on the front  line daily, and she needs your encouragement and intervention when  necessary. I know you are drained when you get home from work. But you  need to reserve some energy for lifting up your wife when she needs you.  This is a duty you need to take seriously. Be aware of your  responsibilities in this support and leadership role as a husband and  father, and determine in your own mind to do what is necessary to help  your wife keep going in the face of the inevitable adversities of home  education. We can't afford to fail our families at this point; we have  too much riding on the outcome.

Another area that interferes with the home-based discipleship of our  children is money. Home education costs money, not only in direct  expenses but more forcefully in lost income. None of us go into this  blindly. We know we will have a lower standard of living than a  two-income family. But the recurring problem is this: The father gets  tired of paying for curriculum and educational activities. And there is  this convenient local public school program designed for homeschoolers.  Everything is free there.

But public school at home has the same agenda as public school in the  school building: It is godless by design. Neutrality of curriculum is a  myth. Your children will be taught that God is not relevant to their  education. They will be tested on materials increasingly more designed  to further the public school social re-engineering goals.

Your wife cannot catch and counteract everything they throw at your  children. She just does not have time to teach two different  curriculums: the slanted materials they will be tested on by the public  school program and the counter-balancing truths they need to absorb to  become disciples of Christ.

You can save some money in this way, but it will destroy your purpose of  home-based discipleship. The irony is that the money you save is on the  minor part, which is curriculum and activities. The bulk of your home  education money investment is the lost income of a second wage earner.  So you are trading your major benefit for a lesser savings. It is a poor  bargain.

Better to economize on curriculum and activities while building up your  children in their Christian faith, than be reduced to servitude to the  public school.

All of this goes back to the foundational question: Why do you educate  your own children? For a Christian father, the right answer is  home-based discipleship. That is the driving force why we make the  sacrifices we do. That is what we need to focus on. That, in the end,  will be what makes it all worthwhile: knowing that we have helped our  children to love the Lord and to obey His call on their lives.

May God help us to faithfully carry out our duty as Christian fathers.

(c) Copyright 2005 Rodger Williams. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.