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Father and Children

Why Homeschool, Part 1

Alan Wilson

My wife and I have been deeply encouraged lately by reading Ann Voscamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. If you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage you to get it and do so over the summer. She is a homeschool mom of six, the wife of a working farmer, and an author. As such, she immediately commands my respect.

In a recent article she wrote: “I was a third year university student, taking a concurrent degree in Education and Child Psychology, when I began to consider the possibility of home education for our future family. Sitting in child development classes, studying how a child needs a close attachment with his or her parents, especially before the age of ten, if they are to emotionally thrive through adolescence, I began to question whether it was best to be separated from young children for the majority of their waking hours. I came to agree with Dr. Neufeld who writes that the problem today is that ‘parenthood is no longer lasting as long as childhood’ — that our children need parents to be intimately involved, moment-by-moment, not till they are only four years old and leave home for school and possible peer dependency, …. ‘We need to hold on to our children and help them hold on to us. We need to hold on to them until our work is done,’ writes Dr. Neufeld. 'We need to hold on, not to hold them back, but so that they can venture forth.’ 

For us, forging a deep attachment to parents was a key factor in our decision so that children had a strong foundation for their own sense of self, saw parents as more important than peers, and as we modeled the preeminence of God in our lives our children could see too how to live out that faith model. Was there a way to home educate that could nurture whole, innovative, creative, well-read, skilled young persons who were passionate Kingdom builders and people lovers? That was the environment we sought to foster.”

In the middle of the school year some homeschool families re-evaluate as to whether they will continue or if they have made the right decision for the education of their children. That’s hardly surprising since diligent parents find this enterprise to be hard work, and at this point it can be easy to lose perspective. I would like to suggest that this might not be the best time to decide. I have been told by many young mothers who just delivered a baby that they have no intention of ever going through that again! Yet, in a short few years they usually realize that the difficult experience of childbirth is worth the effort. 

Never forget that producing an educated person with a biblical worldview and a heart for Christ is a long process with some stages much more difficult than others ~ but in the end, it is worth the effort. Keep in mind all the reasons you chose to homeschool; most of those reasons haven’t changed. It is still the best option for the education of your child in the context of your Christian convictions and family priorities. Mrs. Voscamp goes on to point out that teaching your children at home is hard work, “extremely messy and sin-scraped at times.” The fruit may not be evident for years, but it is worth it! 

Keep this verse close to your heart: “Therefore my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:58. Take heart. Look up. Know that the labor of teaching your children is NOT in vain. Trust God for the fruit – you just keep sowing the seed.

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