As I served with my care group this evening, I was asked this question: Why are you homeschooling? This question had only four words, but has had me thinking all evening. Why indeed? I know exactly why in my heart and mind, but I haven’t been asked to articulate it to anyone.
Why do any of us make drastic changes in our lives? Something isn’t working, so change is worth the risk. What’s not working that caused our change? Our public school system? Maybe. But, as a public school teacher, I know the system inside and out. My fellow teachers are working harder than ever, and while school problems are plentiful, my kids go to a fantastic school with an amazing principal, who cares about kids first and foremost. A problematic school system may seem to be the obvious answer, but it’s not the heart issue.
How did I answer? Simple, yet complex: I am concerned about my kids’ foundation. Hannah’s 11 and Owen’s 8. As I talk to them, I realize they do not have a solid Biblical foundation. I know, I know. Many of you could say…I didn’t know any Bible at age 8, and I turned out just fine. Or, they have plenty of time to learn about and grow in Christ; give them a break. Just think…after Owen spends a few more years in UpStreet (our children’s ministry at First Baptist Church of Williamstown) and Hannah spends a few years in the Vine (our youth ministry), they’ll be good to go. They’ll learn Bible stories, virtues, and life-applicable lessons. Just relax, Farish’s – your kids will be fine; they’re at church every time the doors open.
Maybe that’s true. They are pretty good kids. But, I’ve felt more and more convicted that it’s not FBCW’s job to lay my kids’ foundation. In fact, I know it’s not and have known that for a while. But, in the midst of school, dance, soccer, and all that church going/serving (ironic!), when am I supposed to sit down with my family and discuss Daniel in the lion’s den or John the Baptist or even what they want to be when they grow up? We have token prayers before meals, and both kids often ask me insightful theological questions about heaven, hell, angels, and salvation. But, really, when do we study the Word together? Sadly, never.
So, back to the question: Why am I homeschooling? I am homeschooling so I can begin each day with my kids in prayer and in the Word; so Steve and I can fully take responsibility for our children’s Biblical foundation; so Hannah and Owen are equipped to be lights in the world; so I grasp what they know and what they need to learn; so I can REALLY know my kids – who they are, what they love, what they dream.
Now, there are many other, smaller factors related to the decision Steve and I made to homeschool. But, that is the true heart of the decision. While I’ve tried to articulate it here, I think Tony Foreman, children’s pastor at FBCW, does a better job in his recent blog Views from the Front Porch. I hope you’ll read it too:)
I also hope you’ll comment and share ways you take responsibility for your children’s foundation and faith. Do you feel it’s more the church’s responsibility? Yours? A mix of both? How do you make time? Tips? Helpful hints? I bet we can all use help and practical advice on this one.