Do I think that parents who aren't homeschooling are sinning? Weird question? It's a fair one if you follow me regularly and know how much I base homeschooling on scripture. So I think it's important to talk about. That's exactly what I do in this video.
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Here is the transcript:
Well, hi there, it's Kelly Harbaugh with Working Homeschooler. And this week, we're going to tackle a question. That question is "do I think it's a sin to not homeschool?" That might seem like a little bit of an odd question, but if you follow me in any way, you know that I cite a lot of Scripture about education and about parents raising children, that I talked a lot about biblical discipleship as part of education. And I cite the Bible as a lot of my reasoning in homeschooling so I think probably it's only a natural question that some have, and if you are on this page, kind of just checking things out that might make you a little bit uncomfortable. So let's go ahead and talk about it. Okay?
So, let me tell you about a radio show. I listened to on the way to work, I would. I would love to tell you the guy that was being interviewed but his was probably about 20 years ago, I was on my morning commute to work. And the man who was being interviewed, he - he offered some type of dieting prod product, but he was talking about the biblical diet. And basically, his feature for this interview was the 10 foods that you should never eat. And he talked a lot about the foods that the Israelites were told that they could and couldn't eat. And for those banned foods, he gave a lot of scientific things that we know today were probably reasons why God did not want them to eat those foods. And you know, a lot of the health risks, he made a pretty good case. And in fact, if you really love lobster, and you listen to this show, you probably still couldn't eat lobster for at least a few weeks or maybe a month afterwards because he was pretty graphic.
So At the end of the show, he was asked, Well, what does this mean? What about grace? Does this mean that you have to eat the biblical diet, you have to eat a kosher diet, stay away from pork, stay away from shellfish, if you, you know, want to be a Christian?" And here was his answer. He said, "Oh, no." He said, "I get asked this question all the time. And people say, what about grace? Can't you still go to heaven if you eat bacon?" And his answer was very simple. He said, "You can eat all the lobster and pork and all of these foods, you can eat all of it that you want to, and you will still go to heaven. But you will just get there a lot faster." Made me stop and think.
So, his point was that he did not believe it was a sin to have bacon for breakfast. He believed that God laid out certain things because he was knowledgeable about the best way to take care of our bodies, and that we should be aware of those things. And at least, at least treat those things from a standpoint of honesty about how good they were for our bodies. Of course, his recommendation was that you didn't eat those foods at all.
So, let me talk about that in regards of educating our kids. Scripture is definitely very clear that parents are responsible for the education of their kids. Scripture is also very clear that the model God laid out from the beginning was for children to be at our side, working alongside of us learning alongside of us that the family was the primary method for education and discipleship of children.
And this model was actually followed for a very, very long time well into the founding of our country. In fact, many of our, our ancestors, our founding families of our country, believed very strongly in parental education. And we had a very well educated population early on because of this, because children were trained to read at home because they were to read the Bible. And there was even a period of time when the job of pastors was actually to go around to families to make sure that fathers were teaching their children and discipling their children. So this isn't an outlandish view. It's just something we've gotten away from over time because of many systematic things that we've put in place in our culture that we don't really have time to discuss. But suffice it to say that this was considered a no brainer for a very long time, even as late as the founding of our country.
So now you have where our culture Is today and public schools the default and a lot of people don't even consider - even Christians don't even consider any other option because that has been ingrained in our culture. Well, here's the thing. I eat shellfish, I love shrimp. I eat bacon. I'm not an under any impression that bacon is a healthy dinner for me. So when I do those things, I also take that in context of what my entire lifestyle should be.
And so we can't be under some type of misunderstanding that public school is neutral. We can't be under some misunderstanding that public school education is - even if you live in a conservative district - is neutral. on teaching your kids a worldview. The absence - all education has worldview attached to it. And the absence of the Bible does communicate a worldview. That's on the very that's that's probably the very lowest end of the spectrum that you could put a school on today. And I think we all know that most schools are are much further along than just being able to say, the Bible is not present in the teaching, that we go all the way to the opposite end.
So, knowing that you have some "bacon" in the diet there, what you have to know as a parent, if you have prayerfully decided that you are going to have a child in public school, is that you can't you can't do that passively. It's going to take a lot of work. You're going to have to undo a lot of things before you start teaching the things you need to teach your kids. You need to be on the constant preparation and the undoing before you disciple. And you're going to have to be very active and very aware.
And my point is, that's a lot of work. It is a lot more work to raise children when you are not the person who is their primary teacher. It's a lot more work and it takes more time and it takes more effort. I know parents who have done it, I know some great parents who are just by building their children well, but it takes more time. And I almost want to say it is easier for stay at home parent to do than a working parent to do. It's not impossible. I never want to say impossible. Every situation is different. As a working parent, you need to understand that it is not actually easier to send your child off to a system like that and raise them. It's harder, it will take more of your time, it will take more of your effort. And as long as you understand that, just like I understand that my bacon for breakfast isn't a part of a healthy diet, then you can compensate for that. Okay?
And you need to be aware of how much work that is. And that is why I really try to encourage parents to consider homeschooling, especially if they are working, especially if they are working full time. Because you only have so much time with your kids. And it is so much more focused and streamlined if you have control of that time. And you are not spending so much time responding to what the school has sent home that you don't have any time for your own parenting. When you're working full time and you're homeschooling you have so much, you have so much more input, so much more control.
It doesn't mean that you're teaching everything. It means that you're the decision maker, that you're the director, that you are making sure that only good things go into your child's education, and that they are getting a good solid foundation. That's just easier to do if you're not trying to do that on top of things that are coming at them eight hours a day that might be contrary to what you're trying to teach them. So does that make sense?
My final encouragement to you is that you first of all, take a realistic view of what your options are and what that really means. And that you make those decisions accordingly. If you're taking a realistic view, if you're being very prayerful, if you are not considering public school to be the default. I wrote a blog a couple months ago called "Should all parents homeschool?" and you can find it at workinghomeschooler.com. And basically what I say in there is that my position isn't that all parents should homeschool, but I think our default position is wrong. I think our default position that most should be in public school and homeschool is for, homeschooling is for the select few think that's backwards.
I think that our default position should be the "diet" we find in the Bible. And if we decide to veer off from that, then that needs to be considered the special situation, the one that is going to take a little more oversight and a lot more work to make sure that things that don't go off track. So my final plea to you is to make sure that you are making whatever decisions you make from that standpoint. That you are not making with it with a blind eye to what it means to have your kids in school all day. And if you are starting from that standpoint, then it's not my job to tell you, you're wrong. It's not my job to tell you that's a sin.
My job is to make sure that we're all being realistic about what your choices are, what they really mean, and what you actually can do as a parent. That you should never make the decision to do public school just because you think you can't, you can't because you're working parent - that's that's wrong. You can. You can homeschool your kids and I will do everything I can to convince you that you can and to help You to do that. And so don't ever make that decision from a position of fear. You always want to make your - you always want to make that decision about the education of your kids from a position of really true and honest knowledge about what the choices are, what they mean, and what your ability and your rights are. And as long as you do that, I think you're going to be okay. Have a great weekend!