Homeschool, Not Satanic Public Education
SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN
Unificationists will someday live in communities that have their own schools within walking distance from each home. And because they live in planned co-housing communities the children will not have to walk on dangerous sidewalks next to streets with cars. God wants safe private communities, not the brutal, insensitive communities government makes.
Since the 1960s America has gone through a terrible sexual revolution led by feminists in the media and academia. These 40 years have been a nightmare for God and True Parents to work in. Father loves education and is falsely accused by the majority of Americans as being anti-intellectual. How can former members like Hassan and Maxim not see what is in front of them? The UC has an accredited seminary in New York and a college in Connecticut. He constantly encourages members to go the school. He personally told the author of this book, Claire, to go to college when she talked to him at the age of 16.
What has he done that shows that he wants mindless zombies? Nothing. He wants moral and intelligent leaders. Many of the greatest minds of the 20th century have attended many conferences of many organizations of his that promote education. He is excited about the internet. No totalitarian leader in the world is interested in the internet and talks like he does. Yet Hassan keeps waiting for the day the poisoned kool-aid is brought out and everyone reenacts Jonestown. Hassan would say he is deceiving people? How? Because he doesn't name the organization Professors World Peace Academy with the name Unification Church? He has hundreds of organizations -- most of which he gives millions of dollars to support conferences for the intelligentsia of the world to talk to each other about world peace. What does he get for this? He is labeled a charlatan and Elmer Gantry -- a deceiver who only wants to buy friendship. He, of course, cares nothing for the truth and freedom. He is just a Hitler waiting for the day he will be in charge and then he will create concentration camps like Stalin and take away all freedom from the planet.
We hope that we can shed some light on who Rev. Moon is. Obviously the leaders of the UC have failed for the last 25 since Father came here to explain to America who he is. They have many reasons why they were unable to create a good image of Father and make the Divine Principle a household name. But the truth is that all these little emperors have no clothes on. They missed the boat, like just about everyone else did in the madness of the sexual revolution. The UC is fanatic about abstinence and pats themselves on the back. What they should be doing is being fanatics for patriarchy like the Mormons and Southern Baptists are doing. In fact, they should be even more strong. They should make news for saying that women are not supposed to compete with men in the workplace and church. We are doing so in our books. We are going after the root of the problem. It is depressing that members don't know what the root of sin is. It is the Fall. What is the Fall? It is the woman rejecting God's idea of patriarchy and embracing Satan's idea. The restoration is epitomized in the Three Day Ceremony in which the woman goes from being a feminist to a woman of traditional values.
This should be the core teaching in and out of the UC for members. Sadly, UC literature if filled with feminist statements along side some that are anti-feminist. There is no disconnect in our books. It is black and white. Satan doesn't like black and white. He likes the idea of God and him running the world -- with of course Satan continuing to be the main ruler. The good news is that there is now a backlash to the sickness of feminism. Some people are awakening to the insidiousness of feminism. One of Satan's strongholds is the schools. He has them in his pocket. Let's look at one of the best books exposing the feminist control of education.
The painful truth is that colleges today are dominated by Feminists and no worth going to when it comes to humanities. Roger Kimball in his excellent book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education documents the decline in Ivy League schools that has inspired every other university to follow their paths to the feminist utopia.
He writes, "It is no secret that the academic study of the humanities in this country is in a state of crisis. Proponents of ... feminism studies, and other politically motivated challenges to the traditional tenets of humanistic study have by now become the dominate voice in the humanities departments of many of our best colleges and universities.
"Instead of reading the great works of the past, students watch movies, pronounce on the depredations of patriarchal society, or peruse second or third-rate works dear to their ideological cohort; instead of reading widely among primary texts, they absorb" junk. He says that colleges are now simply in the business of "ideological indoctrination." There is no education going on. It is now just "ideological posturing, pop culture, and hermetic word games." It is "not idle chatter" but "a concerted effort to attack the very foundation of the society that guarantees the independence of cultural and artistic life." Feminists, he writes, teach the youth of America "a blueprint for a radical social reformation that would revolutionize every aspect of social and political life, from the independent place we grant high culture within society to the way we relate to one another as men and women."
HOW BAD IS IT?
Kimball says the state of education is tragic, "To those of my readers who may have heard of the developments I discuss but have not had occasion to become acquainted with them firsthand, I regret to report that the situation is far worse than they are ever likely to have imagined." Ditto for the situation of the UC.
Sending young people to places that spit on Helen Andelin and traditional family values is not what parents are supposed to do. Mrs. Nora Spurgin is with her husband at the UC's high school in Connecticut. Parents spend a lot of money to have their kids live away from for years on end to be with this woman who despises Fascinating Womanhood. Nora is a feminist career woman who is the worst kind of role model for UC children. Lately I heard Father told her to be with her husband. I hope she never leaves him so she won't continue to influence girls in the UC to think it is exciting to leave your home for an office and spend time at the United Nations and traveling around alone giving speeches about family that miss the very essence of what a family is. It is spiritually dangerous to send young people to secondary schools and college now because of the propaganda against the traditional family.
Second Generation Brainwashed by Nora and Friedan?
Have all the second generation in America been brainwashed and had feminist mind control done on them in and out of the UC? Or are they going to be part of the backlash? It seems folly to spend tens of thousands of dollars on college so that young people can be indoctrinated by Liberals. How can they respect their elders who have read extensively and teach their interpretation from Satan? How can they argue all alone in class? Perhaps there might be a Mormon in the class or some strong Christian who believes in patriarchy, but do they have the guts and knowledge and maturity at the age of 18 or 19 or 20 to argue against a professor who grades them? It would be like an Oprah show when she brings on traditionalists to rile up the crowd. Unless a person is going to school for science or a trade, it is a waste of money and time for anyone to go to high school or college, even the University of Bridgeport, for a so-called education in the humanities. Even the UC seminary has had feminists that destroyed the minds of the leaders in the church. They don't know what hit them. Maybe this book and our other books will reach them. God hopes the leaders and members of the UC read and absorb the values we teach. This is not arrogance on my part. I am not a rebellious Cain. I are simply a messenger for God who has revealed to me that the leaders of the UC have no clothes on. I do not want to be a leader in the UC. I want the leaders to see how they have been duped, change their ways and jump-start this movement to begin to move.
Unification Theological Seminary
The church's seminary in upstate New York has indoctrinated the elite of the UC to believe in feminism. An example is Yoshihiko Masuda, a UC member and professor at UTS and Sun Moon University. At the UTS webpage there is an article by him that was printed in their journal. He says,
Now let me elaborate these paradigm shifts in husband-wife relations. It is clear that women were dominated by men for thousands of years. Women were generally viewed as somewhat defective and inferior to men; Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas's description of women as "misbegotten males" is notorious among feminists and indicative of this view.3 Wives were treated as if they were the husbands' property throughout most of human history, not only in the Old Testament but also in many societies' civil laws. Furthermore, there have been many societies whose laws legitimated polygamy, a man's having multiple wives. In short, throughout history women were generally dependent on men.
Consequently, many feminists describe the typical pattern of the husband-wife relations in the United States in the 1950s as the wife's dependence upon her husband. In particular, wives were not financially free. Lacking special skills and education, few women had their own careers.4 In many cases, women could not borrow money from banks without a man's (i.e., their husband's or father's) permission, even if they wanted to start a small business of their own. As a result, many wives financially dependent on their husbands in the 1950s.
The latter part of the 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of the radical feminist movement in the United States. As the rise of the nineteenth century American feminist movement was closely related with the antislavery movement, so the rise of the 1960s' feminist movement was considerably inspired by the success of the civil-rights movement, which struggled to eliminate the racial injustice and discrimination. The leaders of the feminist movement expanded the interpretation of the civil rights and struggled to eliminate what they regarded as the sexual injustice and discrimination. They attempted to abolish "sexism" in a very similar way as the civil-rights movement struggled to abolish racism. As the idea of the innate racial differences (e.g., the innate inferiority of the black race) was severely criticized in the civil-rights movement, so too was the idea of the innate sexual differences (e.g., the innate inferiority of the females) severely criticized in the feminist movement, especially in the 1960s.
Many leaders of the feminist movement in those years promoted equal opportunities between men and women; they spoke up criticizing the discrimination against women in education, employment, job promotions and so forth. By emphasizing the innate equality between men and women, feminist leaders in the 1960s and 1970s attempted to bring about external equality-or equality of results-by eliminating the discrimination against women in society. In other words, they emphasized the exact sameness between males and females and de-emphasized the difference, which the Unification Thought perspective regards as complementarity, between them. Consequently, outstanding leaders of the feminist movement who spoke up for women with a strident voice in the 1960s and 1970s promoted women's striving for independence and self-realization and without any sense of appreciation for men.4 In many cases, they regarded men as women's enemy and the obstacle to their own self-realization, who stood blocking the gate of the equal opportunity for women.
We may well describe the main goal of the feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s as the strong independent woman or the self-realized woman. As a result of the feminist movement in those years, more women gained opportunities to study at distinguished colleges, to work for big business corporations in leadership roles, and to earn as much money as men.
Were American women enjoying the fruits of feminism in the 1980s happier than women in the 1950s? It is difficult to compare the subjective feelings of people from two different generations. It turned out, however, that many American feminist women were not really happy, even though the social environment gave them equal opportunities to work just like men, to earn as much money as men, and to wield power just like men. Women could not become happy by becoming just like men and behaving just like men -- without their own men (i.e., husbands) and family (i.e., children). This was the honest assessment by none other than Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, the founder and the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the so-called mother of the modern feminist movement. Although in the 1960s, she had championed the goal of the self-realization of women totally independent of men, Friedan presented the above sober assessment as in her book The Second Stage.5 She came to have second thoughts about the goals of the feminist movement.
Friedan in The Second Stage advocated a new feminist movement that should transcend the radical feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She referred to the new challenge that the feminist movement must undertake after winning the equal opportunities in many fields as the "second stage" of the movement. She proclaimed the important characteristics of the second stage as follows:
The second stage cannot be seen in terms of women alone, our separate personhood or equality with men.
The second stage involves coming to new terms with the family -- new terms with love and with work.
The second stage may not even be a women's movement. Men may be at the cutting edge of the second stage.
The second stage has to transcend the battle for equal power in institutions. The second stage will restructure institutions and transform the nature of power itself.
The second stage may even now be evolving, out of or even aside from what we have thought of as our battle.6
After the Friedan's bold reassessment of the feminist movement's goals, similar critiques of the feminist movement appeared one after another in the 1980s and gained increasing popularity among contemporary American women. Connel Cowan and Melvyn Kinder in their book Smart Women/Foolish Choices blamed the radical feminist movement for the current women's malaise, because in their view "it created a myth among women that the apex of self-realization could be achieved only through autonomy, independence and career."7 Soon there appeared a flood of critiques of radical feminism in the American mass media as documented by Susan Faludi in Backlash. Here, for example, is her summary of the confessional account of Megan Marshall, a "recovering Superwoman":
"In The Cost of Loving: Women and the New Fear of Intimacy, Megan Marshall, a Harvard-pedigreed writer, asserts that the feminist 'Myth of Independence' has turned her generation into unloved and unhappy fast trackers, 'dehumanized' by careers and 'uncertain of their gender identity.'"8
Faludi went on to summarize the backlash against the radical feminism as follows:
"Other diaries of mad Superwomen charge that 'the hard-core feminist viewpoint," as one of them puts it, has relegated educated executive achievers to solitary nights of frozen dinners and closet drinking. The triumph of equality, they report, has merely given women hives, stomach cramps, eye-twitching disorders, even comas."9
Although Faludi apparently disliked and criticized the anti-feminists' claim that "they can chart a path from rising female independence to rising female pathology," it is noteworthy that Friedan in large part agreed with such a claim. The fact that unmarried single men over thirty who may well be described as independent men have more severe psychological and social problems than do independent women does not nullify the anti-feminists' description of the distress of the independent women who remain single into their thirties and beyond.
Carol Gilligan's book In a Different Voice also contributed significantly to debunking the cause of the radical feminists who struggled for equality of opportunity and results for women on the postulate that men and women have equal innate ability.10 These radical feminists of the '60s and '70s are sometimes referred to as "equal opportunity feminists" by the new generation of feminists who are sometimes called "relational feminists." Pointing out the differences between men and women in terms of their moral reasoning and behavior, Gilligan illuminated women's caring and relational way of moral thinking and behavior in contrast to men's rational and subjective way of thinking and behavior. Gilligan's book reminded many women of the presence of women's special nature that can be regarded as in many ways superior to men's. At the same time, it reminded many women of the physiological and psychological differences between the sexes. Gilligan's book was all the more influential because she was a professor at prestigious Harvard University. Her credentials as an intelligent feminist also contributed to the acceptance of her views by many of her fellow feminists.
What is the new paradigm of the male-female relationship emerging in the 1980s and 1990s? It is being promoted both by many critics of radical feminism and by the new generation of feminists.11 I call this paradigm interdependence. Many women have come to disagree with the paradigm of independence promoted by radical feminism, and at the same time they are dissatisfied with the old paradigm of one-sided dependence. Thus, according to my observation, we can discern two paradigm shifts in male-female relations in the United States during the last forty years: from dependence to independence and from independence to interdependence. In my view, the age of interdependence is now dawning throughout the world, not only between men and women but also in many other fields. Finally, I would like to make it clear that our mentioning of the three paradigms of dependence, independence and interdependence does not completely correspond with the empirical situation of male-female relations in the United States. For example, the paradigm of independence was fashionable and influential especially among highly educated women in the radical 1960s and 1970s, but it never prevailed in the relations between ordinary American husbands and wives of that era. Nevertheless, the main goal of feminist thought about husband-wife relations was firmly in that direction. Similarly, since the 1980s the paradigm among the most influential women has moved from pursuing the goal of the self-realized independent woman towards the realization of genuine interdependent relations between men and women.
He says above, "What is the new paradigm of the male-female relationship emerging in the 1980s and 1990s? It is being promoted both by many critics of radical feminism and by the new generation of feminists.11" He elaborates in footnote 11 after saying, "Many members of the Women's Federation for World Peace belong to this new generation of feminists who appreciate the interdependent relations between males and females." Unificationists, he says, are a "new generation of feminists." This may be his church and it may be the view of the majority of members, but it is not my church. Feminism is as vile a word as Communism. There is no such thing as heavenly feminism or heavenly communism.
Typically, the UC is vague on what "interdependence" is between the new breed of people he says the UC is. Either the woman is dependent on the man or she isn't. There is no gray area. Any variation of women being not being dependent on men is just another feminist scheme to get men to iron and women to be U.S. Senators. True interdependence is the traditional family living in a community of trinities, not some feminist experiment in blurring the roles. Dr. Masuda's criticism of the 1950's traditional family as just "dependent" is satanic. He has been digested by feminism, not gone beyond it to some "new" world. We need to restore traditional family values, not invent new ones. Masuda is intellectually bankrupt. He offers no definition of his "new paradigm" because there is none. He is an emperor at the seminary with no clothes on. This is just one example of many that I could show that the seminary is really a spiritual cemetery. No one should go to the UTS until they start teaching the Andelins.
There are a number of excellent books that are critical of the state of education in America. An excellent one is Thomas Sowell's Inside American Education: The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas. The inside cover to his book says, "Our educational establishment -- a vast tax-supported empire existing quasi-independently within American society -- is morally and intellectually bankrupt, charges distinguished economist and social critic Thomas Sowell. And in this top-to-bottom tour of the mismanaged institutions, cynical leadership, and tendentious programs of American education, Sowell exposes the numerous 'deceptions and dogmas' that have concealed or sought to justify the steep and very dangerous decline in our educational standards and practices across the board.
Among the more serious ills of American education are the technically sophisticated brainwashing techniques now being applied to children and teenager in so-called 'affective education' programs; the special 'peace' and 'nuclear' education programs that actively promote 'politically correct' attitudes...." We don't have the space to go into more detail of some of his views. What we must understand is that Satan is using public education to brainwash Americans to the evil views of the Left. Steve Hassan should not be fighting Sun Myung Moon but those in the UC who have a socialist/feminist agenda. You hear nothing from Hassan about the massive brainwashing that goes on in schools that Sowell exposes to be "anti-American and essentially totalitarian in character." Hassan apparently wants to abolish the UC, but he should be trying to reform it to become completely conservative instead of a mixture of Left and Right. The real enemy of Hassan should be feminism, not Sun Myung Moon. Moon is anti-feminist. He is not working for the vicious, cruel big government that most of the leaders in America fight for.
The worst departments in colleges are those of women's studies. That there are no gender studies shows that feminism is the ruling ideology in schools. Two feminists have been smart enough and courageous enough to write several books critiquing feminist studies: Heterophobia and Professing Feminism.
There are number of good books on how sick the educational establishment is. Here are a few of them.
The following is a very good article about how local, home-based education is what God wants. Mrs. Podles writes in an issue of The American Enterprise magazine about her experience homeschooling. In the ideal world, education will be given by teachers who know and adore each child in their close knit communities. Podles is able to homeschool alone, but it is asking too much for one woman to have many children, as Mrs. Podles does, and then be a supermom and homeschool all of them all by herself. Here is her excellent article in a conservative magazine. Let's pray that the Liberals will some day soon read these kinds of articles instead of the junk they print in their magazines, such as Ms. Magazine.
WHAT I DID WITH MY SUMMER VACATION
By Mary Elizabeth Podles
Every five years, my alma mater sends a begging letter. Not one asking for money; those come every three weeks. This one asks for news. "What have you been doing since we last heard from you? Fill in this blank page which will be sent around to all your classmates." The prospect is always a little daunting. Some of us opt out altogether; my freshman roommate sent in Roz Chasts cartoon depicting Bad Housekeeping without comment. I always need a little prodding to make the effort. Will I make a fool of myself? Will my classmates shake their heads over all that wasted potential? Will they eye me askance when they hear I am home-schooling my shockingly large family, and wonder if I am the first graduate of the college to join the Vipers militia? Every time the members of some anti-government survivalist cult are arrested and their poor home-schooled children paraded across our TV screens, a distinct frost arises in my neighborhood, and some of the local residents begin again to gently query my friends, my near-neighbors, my cleaning lady: Are those children really all right? Are they really being properly socialized?
Some, it is true, have stopped asking. They are the parents of the nine extra children presently in my kitchen making peanut butter sandwiches. Perhaps these offspring have been sent over on missionary work, to help with the proper socialization of the Podles children, or perhaps it is something else. When my own boys recently went away to Scout camp, I found I had inadvertently opened a small-scale boarding house, with five more children and a dog from four different families sleeping over, one of them a cousin of the family across the street who moved in with us for three days of her four-day visit. We have been known to answer the phone at dinner time with the greeting, "Hello, Used Childrens Exchange." I have even learned a little Spanish talking on the phone with a frequent visitors Peruvian nanny.
Some people cynically suggest I begin charging for day care. But these children have enough of that during the school year, and besides, I would not be so unsubtle. Instead I have simply reinstated the bad old practice of conscripted child labor, and we have excavated quite a respectable pond in the back yard. Everybody helped. What I had envisioned as an all-summer project was mostly dug out in a day, long before I had even phoned away for the Lilypons catalogue. True, without some of my helpers, we probably could have done it in half the time, but it was meant as a cooperative project, and it was. It also inadvertently turned into an impromptu science lesson. Psychologists have determined that children around the age of four ask approximately 600 questions a day. I would add that at least half of them begin with the word Why. "Why do we have to level the ponds edges?" Because otherwise the water would spill out the low side. "Why would it?" Its like a cup when one side is up and the other is downwater falls out. "Why does it fall out?" And so on. People ask me when my school lets out for summer. I will let them know when I find out. Right now, though, I am busy researching pond ecology and trying to calculate the proper snails-to-fish-to-plants ratio.
During my researches into the mysteries of water gardening, I discovered a wonderful book written by one of the college classmates I hope not to have let down. She studied landscape architecture in that loveliest of cities, Kyoto, and now designs gardens so elegant and lush that I could scarcely refrain from drooling over her book. I remember her from Mrs. Andersons Early Renaissance Art tall and serene, unruffled by the cruelest exam. When my ship comes in, I will hire Julie to design me a beautiful garden like a harbor, a promontory, an island, a journey of the mind.
I do not know how it will look swarming with all of these children. But in the meantime, I have a backyard with a pond. It does not look like one of Julies archetypal landscape spaces, an image of paradise. It looks a little like a Pictish escarpment with a mild case of drunk staggers. Some day it will be full of graceful, slow-moving Japanese carp. Right now its full of little boys planning to decorate it with frogs, tadpoles, and Lego men in very small cement overshoes.
Still the alumnae questionnaire is on my mind. "Have my children hindered my career advancement?" it asks. Certainly not. They have scuttled it forever, like the leaf boats proceeding towards the pond-sized Davy Joness locker. Do I have any regrets? I will not say I never look back, nor wonder where I might be now if I had chosen otherwise. Most of my neighbors are serious professional women with interesting and fulfilling careers. Might not I fit in better were I still one of them? Maybe, but I would be missing all the fun. And I wouldnt have a pond.
The following are some articles from the Website www.Patriarch.com that published the Patriarch magazine (Patriarch, PO Box 50, Willis, VA 24380) for a suggested donation amount of $25. The following is the beginning of a speech delivered by the editor of Patriarch, Philip Lancaster, to the first "Back to Patriarchy" conference in May, 1996 in Springfield, Virginia, near Washington, D. C.
by John Thompson
As habitual as birds heading south for the winter, a new brood of students takes wing each fall to college campuses around the world. Clearly, this seasonal migration is healthful for birds. But is the flocking of students to college campuses likewise wholesome? Is this recurrent pilgrimage the result of careful reasoning or cultural influences? Before sending our children to flight, our family decided to more thoroughly investigate the campus charisma.
This was two years ago. Zoie, our oldest of three daughters and an aspiring student of music, was beginning her last year of high school. Ten years of home education had raised (and answered) the many well-worn questions about curriculum types, learning styles, father's involvement, relating to the State, relating to the church, preference vs. conviction, peer-group problems and various others. But now we faced a whole batch of new questions:
(1) What precisely is God's purpose for our children's higher education? (2) Does a father's home-education responsibility extend to fully preparing his children for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household? (3) What specific disciplines (in academics, fine arts, life skills and spiritual development) are necessary for "entering adulthood?" (4) How are these disciplines different for young women vs. young men? (5) What role does a young person's God-given gifts, talents and interests play? (6) How might these disciplines be developed during the post-high school years? (home business, apprenticeship, trade/technical school, college programsunder what circumstances?) And most importantly, (7) How do our home-schooling convictions apply to post-high school training?
At some point in our home-schooling adventure, we fathers must deal honestly and faithfully with these seven crucial questions. Otherwise, we will fail to complete (or may even seriously undermine) the child training that God has entrusted to us, resulting in spiritually aborted children. Sadly, I had seen this happen to home-schooled students across the country, graduating from high school and then just floundering at a menial job or being sent away to a compromising setting (usually college). The fruit of hard parental labor was devoured by the locust of humanistic values, never to yield a truly bountiful harvest for the Lord.
Determined that our children would not become just another statistic of spiritual mediocrity, our family set about the task of resolving the hard questions that now confronted us. Here is "our story." It may not answer all your questions, but is intended at least to introduce you to a model for post-secondary education that we hope you will, like the noble-minded Bereans, "examine by the Scriptures to see whether these things are so" (Acts 17:11).
During her last year of high school, Zoie and I spent much time together in study and discussion about her future education, deliberating over these seven determinative questions. Since "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," our investigation from start to finish was guided by the principles of God's Word. We knew that if God's revealed will in Scripture were compromised, His glory through her life would ultimately be diminished. No education program was worth that! Hence, we agreed that any option requiring conformity to the world rather than to Christ simply was not His will. Thus, our journey had begun on solid footing with a common commitment to God's truth.
God's Purpose for Our Children's Higher Education
Our course would largely be charted by the answer to our first and most pivotal question, What precisely is God's purpose for our children's higher education? Or, to broach the issue a little more generally, what is man's ultimate purpose according to the Bible? Surely it is NOT simply to improve himself ("be all that you can be") nor even to serve mankind ("do good works"), though these are unquestionably proper byproducts. Rather, man's ultimate purpose is to bring glory to God in all that we do (1 Cor. 10:31).
Shouldn't the schooling of our children, therefore, have this goal as its principal test? Certainly! What, then, glorifies God in educating our children? Scripturally, it is when their education prepares them to achieve their God-ordained responsibilities in this world, which are (in order of priority):
(1) to be properly related to God through salvation and spiritual growth (Matt. 6:33; 22:37); (2) to be accomplished and devoted in their role responsibilities as a husband/father or wife/mother (Eph. 5:22-25; Gen. 2:18; Tit. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:15); (3) to be a dedicated, active member of a local body of believers (Eph. 4:12; Gal. 6:10); and (4) to bring dominion over the creation (not independently but with their mate) by developing their God-given abilities (Gen. 1:28).
These four life functions define our responsibilities to God, family, church and world. Anything which detracts from glorifying God through these four general responsibilities can have no place in our children's education. Anything? Yes, that is the plain meaning of 1 Cor. 10:31: "Whatever (anything) you do, do all to the glory of God." Immediately we could see that anything secular in Zoie's future education would need to be very carefully scrutinized. Secular education by definition does not intend to relate our children properly to God or help them to grow into the image of Christ. Instead, its stated aim is to glorify man through evolution, self-authority, situation ethics and "global citizenship." Even worse, it is often purposely designed to destroy our children's faith in God.
Unfortunately, however, even most Christian education today works at cross-purposes with God's blueprint for our children. By training young men and women for self-satisfying careers that are independent of their mates or families, Christian schools (though perhaps unintentionally) mimic the world's disdain for the values of marriage, fatherhood and motherhood. Something is desperately wrong when a young person can graduate from a Christian college even a Bible college and view their role as a husband/father or wife/ mother as secondary to some self-pleasing profession, whereas God places those esteemed roles second only to our walk with Him.
Already it appeared to us that Zoie's higher education would not follow any traditional path. But, then, home schoolers should be accustomed to pioneering new trails. That is simply our calling as "aliens and strangers" in a foreign land (1 Pet. 2:11).
The Extent of a Father's Educational Responsibility
But who was I to direct my daughter's higher education? After all, she was of age now, wasn't she? At age 18 wasn't she automatically an "adult" and responsible to make her own educational decisions? These were the kinds of questions leveled at us by well-meaning family members and educational acquaintances, Christian and non-Christian alike. They echoed the anti-family, individualistic philosophy of humanism that has infected even the church today.
Thus, our family embarked upon answering our second decisive question, Does a father's home-education responsibility extend to fully preparing his children for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household? Here, really, was a question of the breadth and depth of our home schooling. To what extent in age and subject matter is a father responsible for his children's education?
It may come as a surprise even to some home-schooling parentsto think that the father has much of a role at all in the education of his children. Isn't Dad just the "provider and protector" of the home, leaving Mom to school the kids while he slugs it out in the workplace? This common picture is fatally flawed! Indeed, every (yes, EVERY) child-training command in Scripture is directed NOT to mothers but to fathers (e.g., Ps. 78:1-8; Eph. 6:4). The mother's role is to assist (not replace) the father as his God-appointed helper (Gen. 2:18). Dads are personally responsible before God not merely to oversee their children's education but also to participate in their training through daily hands-on involvement. Thus, the Bible throughout pictures the father himself frequently with his children, teaching them both formally and informally (Deut. 6:1-9; 2 Ki. 4:17-18; Prov. 1-9). And, much more than just daily devotions, the content of the father's instruction, according to Psalm 78:1-8, encompasses both God's Word and God's worksincluding math, science, language arts, history and all other subjects of God's creation. When the father is legitimately unavailable due to other Scriptural responsibilities, the Bible pictures the mother as his primary assistant for the child-education task (Prov. 1:8; 6:20; 31:1). And when truly necessary, the father may delegate some (not all) instruction to a private tutor who will stand in loco parentis (in place of the parent) by imparting the father's biblical values and submitting to the father's will (1 Chron. 27:32).
Now, if a stranger were to peer into your window and conclude that the mother is the primary child trainer and the father is her helper, then something is drastically wrong in your home. That is NOT the biblical norm. Regrettably, America's home-schooling movement is led almost entirely by women, both in the homes and in the local and state organizations. This is God's rebuke to the men in our generation for their sinful withdrawal from leadership, much as was the case in Israel when Deborah was judge (cf. Jud. 4; Isa. 3:12). It is time for home-schooling fathers to repent of their halfhearted efforts and truly turn their hearts back to their children (Luke 1:17), "that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God" (Ps. 78:7-8).
Plainly, then, a father has the foremost role in home schooling. But, as we asked before, to what extent in age and subject matter is he responsible to teach his children? The extent of "school" is commonly considered to be kindergarten through high school and the subject matter to be "academics" plus a smattering of fine arts. Yet isn't the scope of a father's duty to train his children from birth until adulthood in all disciplines necessary for maturity? The Greek (secular) model of child education, as it is practiced in our modern culture and has influenced us all, wrongly assumes that a father's training of his children is completed when they reach age 18 and complete certain high school academic requirements. He then "graduates" his children from high school and sends them out of the family home to a college or job. They are released from parental oversight, often to godless supervisors and circumstances, with little further opportunity for spiritual or practical discipleship by the father.
The Hebrew (biblical) model of child education considers our children to be "youth" from age 13 until about age 20 (a norm, not a legalistic framework), and charges the father with a much broader scope of child training until the youth is fully prepared for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household. Indeed, that was the scope of the Torah (the Law of Moses), the Hebrew father's primary curriculum for child training. It was a veritable "manual for life" to which every facet of life was related. Not only did the Torah teach one about his relationship to God, but also his relationship to his neighbor, family, spouse, community, government, enemies and, indeed, all of society as well as the physical creation. Being not only revelatory of God but also regulatory of the nation, the Torah guided the whole life of the Jew: his house, dress, food, employment, domestic arrangements, distribution of property, politics, and civil and religious life.
How much more extensive and expansive the biblical vision of child training is! And Jewish fathers (Old Testament believers) assumed this broad responsibility enthusiastically. Indeed, they considered it an honor; and everything else gave way to this most important part of their lives. Modern home-schooling dads must restore the biblical "depth and breadth" of their educational responsibility.
Disciplines Necessary for Release to Adulthood
If traditional "high school graduation" is not the biblical measure of maturity, then what specific disciplines are necessary for a young person's release? What subject matter will fully prepare our children for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household?
This third of our seven vital questions led not only our family but also our whole church toward a new completion point for home schooling which we call Life Graduation. After fulfilling her high school requirements, Zoie enjoyed a family-centered celebration similar to a birthday party and received a high school diploma primarily as a "passport" into college level studies. But her sights were now upon a much more comprehensive targetthe full range of disciplines necessary for adult maturity, which seem to fall into four basic categories: academics, fine arts, life skills and spiritual maturity.
Academics, rather than being an end in itself, is to be pursued for the purpose of understanding God's creation and undergirding training in the other three fundamental categories. Fine arts enable our children to appreciate the beauty of God's creation whereas life skills (applied arts) equip them to exercise the utility of God's creation. Both aspects of God's creation its beauty as well as its utility comprise God's "dominion mandate" (Gen. 1:28) which we fathers are obliged to train our children to fulfill. Finally, our children's spiritual maturity purposes to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Life Graduation signifies that a young man or young woman is entering full adulthood and, though no partner may yet be in waiting, is sufficiently prepared for the covenant of marriage and the establishing of a new household (Gen. 2:24). This is the climax toward which all child training since birth should be culminating. This not some secular substitute is the focus of our educational vision. And, since the whole local church is involved in equipping parents (Eph. 4:12), this is the event for which the entire assembly should joyfully gather to honor the new graduate and to give praise together to God! This now became our family's new destination for our educational journey. We looked forward to the day our daughters' would attain the noble goal of being a "Proverbs 31 Woman."
Education of Young Women vs. Young Men
As our family wondered how to arrive at that new destination we were prompted to address the fourth essential question, How is the education of young women different from that of young men? Even to pose such a question in our egalitarian, post-Christian culture, is to invite ridicule and ostracism by the educational establishment where traditional male and female distinctions are despised. Yet, if the God-ordained role of a woman is different from that of a man, then it follows that her preparation for that role will be different, at least in its content and perhaps in its instructional location as well.
Already we had concluded from our first question that God is glorified in our children's schooling only when it prepares them to achieve their four God-ordained responsibilities (God, family, church and world). But does God distinguish those life functions by gender? And, if so, how? Clearly, there is no gender distinction in our first responsibility of being properly related to God through salvation and spiritual growth. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
But in each of the other three life functions, God plainly differentiates the woman's role from the man's. A young man's education, therefore, must prepare him (in this order of priority) to be a selfless husband and father, a servant-leader in the local church, and a ruler over the social and physical spheres of God's creation in a way that involves his wife as his assistant. However, a young woman's training must equip her (again, in this order of priority) to be a devoted wife and mother, a servant-contributor in the local church, and a helper to her husband in bringing dominion over God's creationthat is, assisting her husband rather than having a separate ministry or occupation.
Precisely how do these gender-specific life functions influence the content of our children's education, and perhaps their instructional location, too? Since God gave us a family of all girls, the young woman's training was our foremost concern. In examining the four disciplines necessary for adult maturity, we saw only minor gender-related differences in the teaching of academics or fine arts to our children. Yes, since academics comprise the support structure for the other three disciplines, there would be some small variation for young women. Still, a woman must have sufficient academic ability to aid her husband in schooling their children to the point of full adulthood. And whereas "keeping house" (1 Tim. 5:14) is part of the woman's role, her training in fine arts may include some applications different from that of a young man (such as flower arranging, stenciling, interior decoration). Nevertheless, the study of fine arts itself (music, art, literature, architecture, landscaping, etc.) is definitely as important for young men as it is for young women if we are equally to appreciate the beauty of God's creation as He intends.
It was in the other two disciplinesthe life skills and spiritual developmentthat we found substantial, gender-related differences which would affect the content of our daughters' education. Since the role of ninety-nine percent of young women is to be a devoted wife and mother (i.e., not remain single, Gen. 1:28), her training in life skills must prepare her to be a capable helper to her husband, trainer of her children and caretaker of her home (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 1:8; Tit. 2:5). Such skills would certainly include all that is involved in the spheres of cooking, sewing, home care, child care, health care, animal care, gardening, and domestic finances.
Further, if a young woman's spiritual role is to be a servant-contributor, the content of her training must equip her to be a submissive helper in the home as well as in the assembly, freeing up the men to exercise their God-appointed leadership (1 Tim. 2:8-15). Training of this sort might include a major ministry to mothers in the church (on Sundays and weekdays too) as well as helping with the church nursery, fellowship meals, home Bible study hostess, music ministry, hospitality, family evangelism, missions helper, visitation of shut-ins, etc.all under parental supervision, of course.
In summary, a young woman's training should be modeled after the examples of Sarah, Mary and the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31, whose lives centered around their husband, children and homeworking (cf. 1 Tim. 2:15). A Christian woman's God-ordained "career" is not just in her homeit is her home (i.e., her husband and her children)!
Where is this training to occur? At some distant school, camp or other educational setting? Decidedly not! The fundamental tenet that distinguishes Christian home education from Christian school education is our belief that the parents are a child's God-appointed teachers (Ps. 78:1-8; Prov. 6:20) and that the family home (and its environs) is the God-ordained classroom"when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way" (Deut. 6:7; 1 Cor. 15:33).
Then when do older children finally leave the family home? For young women, it seems, the Scriptural time for departure is at marriage, and not before (1 Cor. 7:36-38). Because God created the woman to be the "weaker vessel" (more vulnerable, 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:14), He intends for her never to be out from under the protective covering of either a father or a husband (1 Sam. 30:18). She is to abide in the protective shadow of her father (Ps. 36:7) until she moves into the shadow of her husband (S.of S. 2:3). This is the clear implication of Numbers 30 which sets forth only three Scriptural marital states for women: a single woman in her father's house (normally in her youth), a married woman in her husband's house, and a divorced or widowed woman who is under the direct protection of God (Ps. 68:5) and the care of church elders (1 Tim. 5:3ff). There is no biblical marital status (and no normative Scriptural example) of a single woman who leaves her father's home for reasons other than marriage. Obviously, such a conclusion from Scripture had a significant impact on where we would train our daughters and where they would reside before marriage.
What about the education of a young man? How is the content and location of his education unique to his gender? Since the vast majority of young men are intended by God first and foremost to become selfless husbands and fathers, his training in life skills must prepare him to be a bold but loving leader in his home, a skillful discipler of his children and an adequate provider for his household. To be fully prepared for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household, a young man must demonstrate Christlike character, sufficient knowledge to teach his children, and stable employment (preferably a home business) that will support a family (Prov. 24:27; 1 Tim. 5:8). In addition to "income producing skills," he ought also to have "income preserving skills" such as home building (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting, masonry), landscaping and lawn care, auto mechanics, vegetable gardening, animal care, business administration and computer skills. And since a young man's spiritual role is to be a servant-leader, his training must involve leadership in worship (1 Cor. 14:26), prayer (1 Tim. 2:8), doctrine (1 Cor. 14:35), self-sacrifice (Eph. 5:25), decision making (1 Tim. 2:12) and justice, mercy and humility (Mic. 6:8)in the home as well as in the assembly. His father should disciple him in Bible teaching, counseling, public prayer, family evangelism, political issues, organization skills and much more.
Now if the purpose of all education is to equip us to achieve our God-ordained responsibilities in the world, then what kind of occupation provides a young man the framework for attaining these life functions? To put the question another way, Where does a young man's career fit into his four God-ordained responsibilities? Is his career equivalent to "bringing dominion over the creation"? And what should guide his career choice?
Contrary to most Christians' lifestyles today, the Scriptures do not view work (i.e., career, job, occupation) as a priority in and of itself but rather as a means and medium for achieving a man's biblical priorities (life functions). For example, a particular occupation may strengthen his walk with God, provide sufficient income for his family and church, leave enough time (or, ideally, provide the framework) to nurture his family and minister to others, and allow opportunity to govern a particular sphere of God's creation. But a different occupation might tear down his spiritual life, supply meager funds for family and church, leave inadequate time for family nurturing or ministry, and grant little occasion to "subdue and rule" over some area of God's creation.
So, you see, a man's work is not a priority at all, but instead, is a help or a hindrance in achieving his biblical priorities. A father ought therefore to choose a vocation for his son that best enables him to carry out his life functions. Though a man's work should develop and utilize his God-given talents, it should be inclusive, not independent, of his family (Gen. 2:18). Home-schooling families normally recognize the importance of the wife being family-centered; but it's just as biblical for the father to be family-centered, not career-centered. This is why a home business is generally a young man's best choice for his occupation. When compared to working for an employer outside the home, a family-centered home business normally gives a man much greater freedom to meet his God-ordered priorities (rather than the boss's priorities). For this reason, the Apostle Paul urged the Corinthian believers in regard to employment, "if you are able indeed to become free, rather do that" (1 Cor. 7:21). That is, pursue an occupation that gives you the greatest freedom to achieve your God-ordained priorities.
Where is a young man's occupational training to take place? Although a young woman's schooling is to occur entirely under the safeguard of her father (generally in the vicinity of the family home), a young man's training location is a wisdom decision (by the father) based on many factors. Though he is to remain under his father's authority until being released to adulthood (Life Graduation), he may not necessarily remain under his father's direct oversight for all of his occupational training. In Bible times, a son normally learned the trade of his father (or at least a vocation his father could teach him), just as Jesus learned carpentry from his step-father Joseph and Paul tentmaking from his father. However, it was not uncommon for a young man to be apprenticed in a different trade under a trusted employer. Although young men do not have the same physical and spiritual vulnerabilities as young women, still Solomon warned his son of the risk of bad company, particularly the adulteress and the harlot (Prov. 1-9).
So, it seems that the biblical norm (and thus what will most often be wise) is for a young man to complete his life preparation in the family home and under the direct oversight of his father. Even if a father has not yet developed his own home business, perhaps he can help his son start a home business and "learn by doing." Nevertheless, when a son is to learn an occupation unfamiliar to his father, he may be apprenticed (by an individual or school) under certain conditions.
To reach a wise decision concerning apprenticeship, a father must ask a number of important questions. In regard to the son, is he physically and spiritually mature enough for release from parental oversight? Has the son proven himself faithful in small things so that release will not be beyond his moral maturity? Is the father's spiritual discipleship of his son completed, leaving deep-rooted spiritual habits that will not be compromised under trial? In regard to the circumstances, is the son's release detrimental to the household (perhaps he is still needed at home)? Does the father know personally and sufficiently the work environment as well as the persons responsible for his son? Are there serious moral or physical risks? How long is the son being released (days only, overnight, weeks, monthsthe longer the release, the greater the risk)? How far away is the son being released? Is it close enough to know what's going on and to intervene if necessary? In regard to the opportunity as a whole, is this the option that best fits God's principles? Has the father sought the counsel of his elders? The answers to these and similar questions will enable a father to make a wise decision regarding apprenticeship for his son.
After Life Graduation, a young man has the biblical liberty either to establish his own "household of one" or to remain a contributing member of his father's house. We see examples in Scripture both ways, though the latter may have been the norm since a Hebrew father's responsibilities included "instructing his son in the law, teaching him a trade and bringing him into wedlock." Consequently, Isaac remained in his father's household until he was 40 years old when Abraham got him a wife. The words "For this cause (marriage) a man shall leave his father and his mother..." (Gen. 2:24) speak certainly not of the only cause, but perhaps the primary cause of a mans leaving his parental home.
Role of God-Given Gifts, Talents, Interests
If our four God-ordained life functions are to guide our educational choices, then what role does a young person's God-given gifts, talents and interests play? That was our fifth crucial question. Hasn't God given these gifts to be developed and used for His glory? Indeed, yes, for Paul charged Timothy to "kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you..." (2 Tim. 1:6). But practically speaking, most of us have several gifts, talents and interests, each of which may be developed in a dozen different directions. So, a choice must be made about which talent to develop in which direction; and that choice must be in accord with biblical principles, not in violation of those principles.
In practice, then, a father's career choice for his son (yes, it is ultimately the father's decision) must be guided by the larger needs of the family, by what would best enable his son to accomplish his life functions, and by the biblically legitimate training options available. If Scriptural principles would be compromised, then a different talent or a different direction should be chosen for a vocation. Though the world literally defines a man by his occupation, biblically a man's faithfulness to God is far more critical to his success in life. Consequently, we find the most pivotal men in historyChrist and His apostlesin such simple vocations as carpenters, tentmakers and fishermen. And despite Gods supernaturally calling certain persons in the Bible to specific tasks, the idea that God "calls" each Christian to a particular "life work" finds no support in Scripture (see Decision Making and the Will of God, by Garry Friesen.)
Likewise, a father's higher education of his daughter (as is my case) should fit the overall goals of the family, qualify her to carry out her life functions, and avoid all compromising education options. Instead of preparing for a worldly career distinct from her husband's, a young woman should have one primary application in view in developing her gifts, talents and interests, namely, that of becoming a capable wife and mother. And the father must then find for her a husband to whom her talents correspondwhat Genesis 2:18 calls "a corresponding helper," one who completes him in all of life as the two become one flesh.
Secondarily, her higher education ought to equip her to be a contributing member of her father's household until she marries and, in the event of an untimely death of her husband, a self-supporting widow from within the home. This last eventuality may never be needed, for most widows would be cared for by her husband's estate, her children or the local church (1 Tim. 5:3-16). But there are cases historically and biblically (e.g., Lydia, Acts 16:14) where women have needed to support themselves. And she would be prepared to do so if she had skills for a business within the home (Tit. 2:5).
Some fathers may think we have too narrowly understood a young woman's education and work. It is not within the scope of this article to argue that point further, but only to refer you to the forthcoming book by Douglas Phillips entitled "God Calls Men To Be Providers" (first published as a series in Quit You Like Men). Other dads may have cautions in the opposite direction, that higher education for a woman leads to pride, discontent, self-sufficiency, worldly temptation and easy divorce. These are legitimate concerns. But couldn't the same be said of men? A stable marriage is founded not upon a man or a woman's education level but upon an understanding of their biblical roles and their commitment to God. In fact, a strong case could be made that a marriage is more stable when a woman's higher education qualifies her to help her husband more ably. Isn't a woman just as responsible as a man to develop and use (within biblical parameters) her God-given talents to help her husband bring dominion over the creation (Gen. 1:28; Matt. 25:14-30). Douglas Wilson writes in Credenda-Agenda, "A neo-Amish sisterhood is starting to develop in some quarters of the conservative Christian community [which] disparages the intellectual capacities of women." Instead, we should view the intellectual capacity of a woman, blended with godly character, as a valued capability to aid her husband and educate her sons who will stand with their father in the gate, contending together with their enemies (Ps. 127:5).
In view of our studies to this point, our family concluded that not only Zoie but also her two younger sisters (Cara and Kesed) would pursue gender-specific life skills and spiritual development in keeping with their unique role as women. And in the realms of academics and fine arts, they would develop their talents in music (piano, flute, violin and voice) in hopes of serving a husband who would enjoy and need those abilities in his life and ministry. The critical question now facing us was, How? How to advance their musical talents to full proficiency within the environment of the family home and under the watchful oversight of their father?
Post-Secondary Educational Options
Zoie and I could now see the finish line before us as we asked the next critical question, How are the adult disciplines best developed during the post-high school years? As we researched this issue, the educational options fell into four categories. A young person's talents and disciplines could be honed through home business, apprenticeship, trade/technical schools or college programs. After a thorough study of what each option offered in the field of music, Zoie and I concluded that some sort of nontraditional ("at home") college program (supplemented with home business, apprenticeship and technical training) would best equip her to use her musical gift for serving her future family and church. Thus, we began to probe that option through much reading, many phone calls, personal interviews and visits to college campuses. What we learned was both shocking and inspiring.
We were dismayed to discover that many students today flock to college because they have little vision for what else to do with their life. With few exceptions, the remaining students go to college for one of three reasons: (1) to get an education, (2) to get a degree or (3) to "party" (that is, to socialize with peers). Regrettably, the first reason is no longer the foremost reason for an increasing number of these students. That is why many dedicated teachers have become disheartened; and more than a few serious-minded students have sought alternative approaches for their higher education. Here is where our investigation became deeply encouraging.
Before the mid-1970s, a student seeking a nontraditional, "off-campus" college education had exactly two choices: the University of London and the University of South Africa. Since then, however, there has been a virtual explosion of college-level correspondence courses, guided independent study and accredited "external degree programs." In fact, we learned that more than 400 accredited colleges in the United States now offer "nontraditional" degree programs; and over 100 such schools grant fully accredited bachelor's, master's and/or doctor's degrees entirely, or almost entirely, through non-residential study, which are well recognized in the academic, professional and business communities. Included in those numbers are more than 20 Christian liberal arts and Bible colleges that offer many educational programs from a distinctively Christian world view.
As Zoie and I poured over various college guides and course catalogs, we began to see how all of the "general education" requirements (English, history, math, science, etc.) for a Bachelor's degree in music (or any other major) could be acquired through accredited correspondence courses from various Christian colleges. And the "hands on" music requirements of keyboard, voice and ear training could be obtained through "portfolio credit" with carefully chosen (and supervised) local instructors and apprenticeship programs. The remaining music credits in music history, theory and composition were found to be available from a music institute (a technical school) with no humanistic ax to grind. This became the course of college study that our family chose for five major reasons (which apply to young men as well as young women). Any one of these reasons could easily be expanded to many pagesin fact, there are whole books written on several of these issues. But to preserve your patience, let me try to be concise.
If the primary purpose of college is educational, then something is amiss in the classroom. Simply put, research has shown that, for most subjects, tutorial instruction and guided independent study give superior results over classroom teaching. For example, in one study correspondence students consistently outperformed their classroom counterparts by more than ten percentage points on the final exam. The non-classroom approach is also more flexible, allowing the student to use books, audio, video, and computer networks to study at his own pace (intensively, if he chooses), in his own home, according to his preferred schedule, even while traveling. With such flexibility, our goal is that each of our children complete their bachelor's degree in three years or less (and a master's degree, too, if needed), yet without sacrificing our moral, family or financial integrity. Yes, such a course of study demands greater self-discipline and personal scheduling; but, in our judgment, it better prepares the student to be a self-starter, leader and entrepreneur in later life.
A second rationale for favoring an off-campus education is moral. What conditions best enable my post-high school children to continue the pursuit of godliness as they complete their education? Although we do not seek to live in a vacuum, we believe it both wise and biblical to guard against negative influences upon our lives (this is insulation, not isolation). The average residential college thrusts very impressionable youths under the persuasion of typically liberal professors and libertine students. Confused minds and compromised morals are nearly guaranteed! But by cautiously selecting our tutors and courses, we can maintain, to a very high degree, an education from a Christian world view. And by choosing off-campus studies, we avoid the immoral peer influence which pervades the typical college campus, even to the point of serious physical and moral harm. What should we expect when youth with raging hormones are told they are nothing but evolved animals? Crime statistics reveal that the average college campus is now more dangerous than New York's Central Park! How much wiser, we think, to study under the care and protection of godly parents.
The third convincing reason for selecting non-residential study is family. Frankly, we enjoy one another's company in our family; we delight in each other's educational experiences. That is why we have pursued home business and home schooling for the past 11 years. Moreover, since the parents' task involves preparing their children to be well-educated, self-supporting, highly capable mates and parents-to-be, we believe the parents' role has seldom been completed when their children reach age 17 or 18. In short, we have more parenting to do; and we do not believe it either wise or biblical to delegate this responsibility to an alma mater (literally, a "foster mother"). In a personal letter, Phil Lancaster of Patriarch magazine concurs: "Family is not just a launching pad for independent individuals, it is the context in which every person is meant to live out their earthly existence. We must get over this mindset that children grow up and 'leave the nest' (prior to marriage)."
I don't wish to be mundane, but our fourth motive for adopting an external degree program is financial. Economically, an off-campus education is simply better stewardship of our limited resources. Whereas a four-year degree will average about $80,000 at a private university and $40,000 at a state school, it will run less than $20,000 at homeeven as little as $12,000 for some programs (including correspondence courses, tutoring charges and even room & board payment to parents). Furthermore, the student can usually earn more at home through a more flexible work/study schedule. In our case, our children earn profit sharing through our family bakery business as well as conduct their own music studio (which also provides field experience for their course work). Admittedly, the above comparison does not take into account the fact that scholarship aid is much more readily available to on-campus students. However, since most of such aid comes from tax dollars or inflated tuition fees (all taken without the giver's consent), we prefer to pay our own way (or seek truly philanthropic aid) rather than fleece our neighbor or encourage socialism.
Applying Our Home-School Convictions to Post-High School Training
The fifth, final and foremost cause for our deciding on college at home is spiritual. The first four reasonseducational flexibility, healthy moral development, closer family relationships and better financial stewardshipcould be asserted as well by a non-Christian. Make no mistake, they are significant reasons; but at best they make college at home a wise decision, a preferred choice. It is the fifth cause, the spiritual reason, that, for our family, moves this decision from preference to convictionthat is, something required of us by God. This seventh and final question was the very heartbeat of our research, namely, How do our home-school convictions apply to post-high school training? Other sincere Christians may not asses this issue quite as we do, and we do not make this a test of fellowship with them. But see if this makes sense to you.
Our family had already come to the conviction that God's purpose for our children's higher education was to bring glory to Himself by training them in their four God-ordained life functions (relationship to God, family, church and world) until they are fully prepared for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household. We were also convicted that a God-pleasing education for our daughters must be very gender-specific (focused upon becoming a wife, mother and homeworker) and must occur entirely under the loving oversight of their father. If we had sons, we concluded, their education also would be very gender-specific (husband, father and family-centered vocation) and would occur under their father's oversight or in a morally safe environment.
Now, the critical issue is this: Does a traditional, residential college education bring glory to God? To answer that question, let's test the on-campus approach by the three components of a God-honoring education: the content, the teacher and the instructional setting. First, the content of a God-honoring education must be truth (Ps. 25:10; 119:163), more specifically, truth which prepares our children to accomplish their gender-specific, God-ordained functions in the world. Since a secular education leaves God out, it cannot adhere to a Christian world view and will consequently misunderstand, misinterpret and misapply knowledge (Jn. 17:17, Col. 2:3). Even the best Christian colleges today, though teaching basic Christian content, have adopted secular goals for their students, encouraging both young men and young women to be career-centered rather than family-centered, preparing women to be like men, and through women professors, displaying wrong role models for our daughters. Is that the target toward which you are aiming your young arrows? Does a traditional, residential college education (even a Christian college) pass the test of content?
Second, the teachers of a God-honoring education must be, for the most part, the parents (Deut. 6:1-9; Ps. 78:1-8; Prov. 6:20). This is so because all teaching conveys values; the student will not merely think like his teacher, he will become like his teacher (Luke 6:40; Jer. 10:2). Consequently, God instructs the father (with his wife as helper) to be the primary teacher of his children. This is simply a proper emulation of our Heavenly Father's relationship to His own Son: "... the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing" (Jn. 5:19-20). A Scriptural view of education (Father-Son, parent-child, shepherd-saint, etc.) is predicated upon an essential, irreplaceable heart-bond of love, "turning the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers" (Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:17). Biblical teaching is not the sterile transfer of ideas from one brain to another, but rather a discipleship relationship. Do we love our children enough to remain their primary teachers (disciplers) until they are fully prepared for adulthood, marriage and establishing a new household?
At the college level, parents may be greatly aided in this responsibility by correspondence courses, preferably from Christian colleges (just as textbooks are utilized in the earlier years). Yet, when a parent is genuinely unable to teach a particular subject or skill, he may delegate that particular task to a tutor who will instill the father's biblical values and submit to the father's will. Parents teaching their own children until marriage was the norm for Scripturally obedient parents in Bible times; any biblical examples to the contrary were the exceptions, not the rule. Even the exceptions were trusted friends, not unknown faculty (even Christian) who will not faithfully uphold your values. Does a traditional, residential college education pass the test of the teacher?
Third, the instructional setting of a God-honoring education must normally be the Christian home and family. We parents are often pridefully self-deceived in thinking our children (and ourselves) to be spiritually invulnerable to tempting circumstances. That is why the Apostle Paul begins his warning in 1 Cor. 15:33 with the words, "Do not be deceived..." (because we are likely to be self-deceived). His warning then follows, "Bad company corrupts good character" (see also Prov. 13:20; Jer. 10:2; 1 Cor. 14:20). Young men and women should not be molded by the sinful and destructive values, attitudes, philosophies, vocabularies, behaviors and lifestyles of their peers. Nor by the "politically correct" teaching of secular (and sometimes Christian) professors. Yet that is precisely what occurs in the typical college classroom and on the typical college campus (yes, even Christian campuses I was there!). The age-segregated, co-ed classroom by its very structure promotes wrong male/female relationships and women learning to compete with men (rather than becoming helpers). By way of contrast, the Christian home remains a warm, nurturing, protective environment where studious young men and women can grow "wise in what is good [yet remain] innocent in what is evil" (Rom. 16:19b). Does a traditional, residential college education pass the test of the instructional setting?
Pass or fail? How does the traditional (including Christian) college measure up in God's grade book? Does it bring Him glory in its content, teachers and classrooms? Our family has concluded that, if we were to choose an on-campus education for our children (even if we had sons), we could not adequately oversee the subject matter, the tutors or the social/moral environment. In our view, we would be abdicating our responsibility as parents. To ask us to choose the traditional college program for our children would be the moral equivalent of asking a Jew to eat pork. It would compromise our convictions. We could not do it and be true to our God. Yes, that sounds rather narrow in today's culture. The world urges us to give our children a "broad" education, but God says "broad is the way that leads to destruction" (Matt. 7:13). Instead, Proverbs 22:6 says to narrow (the literal meaning of "train up") a child in the way he should gokeep him within the biblical parameters which God has set up for his moral and physical protection.
In discussing this topic with several esteemed Christian brothers, a few additional concerns were raised by them. For example, What young man or woman newly off to college has not experienced the deep pangs of loneliness? Is this not a trap for falling into immorality which marriage obviously avoids: "For this causemarriagea man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife..." (Gen. 2:24)? Is not the modern college environment a clear violation of God's principle to "make no provision for the flesh in regard to its desires" (Rom. 13:14)? College has become the principle context for choosing a life occupation and a life partner. Shouldn't godly parents be directing both of these critical decisions? And what about the problem of an "unequal yoke" in the spiritual training of our children (2 Cor. 6:14ff)? Is this not a forbidden alliance with known enemies of truth and godliness? It seems that nearly every element of the college experience is a violation of some biblical principle!
Your Own Application
That is our conviction, developed from personal study of the Bible because God wants us to walk by conviction, not by convenience, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33), not being lukewarm about this matter or any other (Rev. 3:16). What is your conviction from the Bible on this crucial matter? What is God's life goal for your children? Is it for them to glorify God (1) by being properly related to Him through salvation and spiritual growth, (2) by becoming accomplished and devoted in their role responsibilities as a husband/father or wife/mother, (3) by being a dedicated, active member of a local body of believers and (4) by bringing dominion over the creation (with their mate) by developing their God-given abilities? Are humanistic courses, liberal professors and immoral classmates God's means to God's goal for your children? (As described above, even Christian colleges have similar problems.) The question is NOT should we ever study secular materials (then even reading the newspaper would be immoral). The question is WHERE, WHEN and HOW shall we maintain truth and purity without compromise in an ongoing program of self-education. The answer is, in my judgment, seldom in the college classroom.
Your reply may be, "But my son is spiritually mature, readily able to discern truth from error, and strong enough to resist temptation from peers." Jonathan Lindvall in his lecture on "Homeschooling College" observes that liberal professors (as well as homosexuals, abortionists, feminists, environmentalists, evolutionists, humanists, cults, Satan worshipers, etc.) ply their trade on college campuses expressly because they know just how impressionable the students are. Because God designed our children to still be moldable at this age, many Christian students have lost their faith (and morality) on the college campus. Is it possible that you might be over estimating your child's maturity?
However, if your appraisal is truly accurate, and not just parental pride (ask your church elders); and if there is no safer, wiser option for developing his God-given abilities (there generally are several talents to choose from for a life occupation, not just one); and if in your conscience you are not compromising any biblical principle; then perhaps a college classroom would be a legitimate alternativemaybe. Still, there are several options to prayerfully consider which I list below from poorest choice to poor choice:
(1) Attending secular college, living on campus. (Clearly the worst possible choice.) (2) Attending Christian college, living on campus. (Sadly, not much better.) (3) Attending secular college, living at home (or possibly with a trusted Christian adult). (4) Attending Christian college, living at home (or possibly with a trusted Christian adult).
I hesitate even to list the above choices, believing they are nearly always poor choices, just some worse than others. They are all fraught with moral risk that may lead to disaster. If "college at home" will not achieve your occupational goal, why not just choose a different occupation? After all, a Christian's occupation is not an end in itself but simply a means and medium for achieving his biblical priorities.
Do these principles and concerns apply to releasing our children to situations other than college, such as apprenticeships, jobs or ministries away from home. Of course, they doperhaps even more so! First, test each training opportunity by the above tests: (1) Does it teach truthful content which prepares our children for their gender-specific, God-ordained functions in the world? (2) Do its teachers supplant what the parents should be doing, or fail to uphold parental values? (3) Is its social/moral environment "bad company" or promoting wrong relationships? Even then, don't be too quick to give approval. In order to make a wise decision, you must have an adequate understanding of both your child as well as the new circumstances. Has your child developed deeply-rooted spiritual habits? Does he seek the company of those who are wise, not foolish peers? Do you know personally and sufficiently the environment and the persons responsible for your child? Have you received positive recommendations from other trusted Christians familiar with the circumstances? How long and how far away is your child being released? Have you investigated all of God's principles related to this release? Have you sought counsel from your elders?
One regretful parent writes: "What we thought was a fine college ruined our daughter. A course in religion destroyed her faith in the Bible, a course in philosophy destroyed her faith in God, a course in psychology destroyed her faith in her parents, a course in biology destroyed her faith in the divine creation, and a course in political science destroyed her faith in the American way of life." It may be natural for some birds (and students) to migrate, but not so for all of them. Those who find it "natural" are pursuing what stimulates their nature. Christians, however, have a new, redeemed nature which is not properly stimulated by the compromised values of the college campus (even the Christian college campus). Thus, these birds of a feather should flock together in the nurturing family that God gave themat least until one of the brood builds a new nest with her mate.
Often Christian parents recognize the college option to be a compromise, but they see no other choice for training their sons and daughters. They understand what to "put off" but not what to "put on" in its place. Consequently, I am developing a step-by-step booklet to supplement this article. In it I will take you through the process of evaluating your children's life goals, choosing a vocation that best enables them to accomplish their God-ordered priorities, deciding what sort of training is necessary for their chosen vocation (home business, apprenticeship, trade/technical courses, college by correspondence, etc.), and how to find that training without compromising your convictions. [NOTE: Patriarch Toolbox will carry this booklet when it becomes available.] In essence, I have simply documented our own family's journey along the same path. And the training we found available has been wonderfully encouraging. That encouragement is contagiousplease let us share it with you!
In closing, let me admit that this article is incomplete (I haven't yet dealt with the "hard cases") and imperfect (no man is without error). Trailblazing cuts a rather rough road initially just to get a pathway through new terrain. Consequently, the path that we are traveling will need more smoothing by others. So we welcome your kindly input just as Priscilla and Aquila "explained to Apollos the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26).
John Thompson is the director of Family Shepherd Ministries and a Bible teacher at Walpole Christian Assembly in Walpole, New Hampshire. John welcomes your comments and contacts. His address is 651-B Valley Road, Walpole, NH 03608. Email: JohnThompson@consultant.com. Phone: 603-445-5474.
by David Sant
ALL EDUCATION IS RELIGIOUS AT HEART
I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. -Deuteronomy 5:6-7
Most Americans think of education as a value-neutral arena in which children are taught the knowledge and skills they need to function as adults in society. As Christians, we must realize that education is inherently religious. What is education, if not teaching children about the way the world works?
Children are taught the rules of language and reason, the laws of mathematics, the laws of nature, and the laws of society. Education is the process of teaching children the laws of the God who created the universe, logic, language, and men. All education is indoctrination into a religious worldview, whether it be the true religion of Christianity, or any of the myriad false religions invented by men. All education is undergirded by presuppositions about the origin of the universe, the origin of man, the purpose of man, ethics governing relationships between men, and the continuing existence of the universe in an orderly and predictable manner. It is an inescapable fact that all of these basic assumptions are fundamentally religious. Therefore we must view the schoolroom as the place where children are indoctrinated into the religion of their society. The school is, in effect, a temple. The question which Christians in twentieth century America are late in asking is this: "Into what religion do the government schools educate our children?"
When God reaffirmed the covenant with Israel just before their entry into the Promised Land, He gave the Ten Commandments for the second time and then gave them the greatest commandment of all. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
Here we find that God commands parents to educate their children in His Covenant This is to be done in every place (home and away) and at all times (from rising to retiring). Christian children must never be in a situation where God's commandments are not being taught.
Proverbs tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge" (1:7) The whole of education from physics to spelling falls under this command to use all of life to teach children to know the Lord. The corollary to this is that we should use the knowledge of the Lord to teach children about all of life.
PUBLIC EDUCATION IS RELIGIOUS
Christians tend to be naïve in the ways of the world. What we are only beginning to realize at the end of the twentieth century, the Unitarians and humanists who designed and run the nation's public school system realized 150 years ago. Public education is fundamentally religious; and their intent was to use public education to remove children from the influence of Christian ideas. The public schools were designed to educate children out of Christianity into the secular religion of humanism. This may seem like a brash statement, until we look at actual writings of the supporters of the public school system.
C. F. Potter, a signer of the "Humanist Manifesto" (1933), self consciously saw public education as the means of educating Christian children into a new religion:
Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching? -Humanism, A New Religion (1930)
Lest you think this is an isolated example, there are ample proofs that the humanist establishment is still deliberately using the schools to destroy Christianity in the present era. John Dunphy writes in The Humanist (Jan/Feb 1983):
I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their roles as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever they teach, regardless of the educational level - preschool, day care, or large state university.
The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new - the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of Humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of love thy neighbor will finally be achieved.
Paul Blanchard notes what most Christians fail to see as one of the primary causes of adolescents turning away from the Christian faith in The Humanist (Mar/Apr 1976):
I think the most important factor moving us toward a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is 16 tends to lead toward the elimination of religious superstition. The average high school child acquires a high school education, and this militates against Adam and Eve and all other myths of alleged history.
When I was one of the editors of The Nation in the twenties, I wrote an editorial explaining that golf and intelligence were the two primary reasons that men did not attend church. Perhaps today I would say golf and a high school diploma.
There is no doubt that the humanists recognize that the public school system is designed to destroy the Christian faith in children and replace it with another, faith in man. Why do Christians continue to blindly send their children to be taught in these temples of false religion?
STATE EDUCATION IS A VIOLATION OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
The religious nature of public education is readily apparent when we ask five simple questions and see how the schools would answer them:
1. How did the universe originate?
PUBLIC SCHOOL: The Universe originated in the Big Bang and is self-existing. Each religion of the world has a spiritual explanation for this, and all of them are subjectively true for those who believe them.
THE BIBLE: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) "You shall have no other gods before me." (Deuteronomy 5:6,7)
2. How did we get here?
PUBLIC SCHOOL: Over 4 billion years life arose through random chance from the raw materials of the universe. Man is the highest evolved life form and came up from the animals. Man is no more than an animal. The cosmos is divine and biological life is the highest expression of divinity.
THE BIBLE: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image; according to Our likeness;'" (Genesis 1:26)
3. What is the purpose of man?
PUBLIC SCHOOL: To find individual happiness and self-fulfillment.
THE BIBLE: "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28)
4. How shall we relate to other people? What is right and wrong?
PUBLIC SCHOOL: There is no absolute right and wrong. Each society determines within itself what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Anything is acceptable as long as it does not violate someone else's right to happiness and self fulfillment. The only sin is intolerance of others who differ from yourself. Children need to be taught to accept themselves. Children should explore their sexual identities in their teen years. Homosexuality is a viable "alternative" lifestyle and must be tolerated, even praised.
THE BIBLE: God gave the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5) and the rest of Scripture to govern relationships between men and God, and men and other men. The God of the Bible holds all men accountable for their actions and is highly "intolerant" of those who disobey Him. He will sentence them to everlasting damnation.
5. What is the future of mankind and the universe?
PUBLIC SCHOOL: Man will continue to evolve into a higher and godlike being through survival of the fittest and social engineering. Man shall be saved from his problems through technology, centralized government planning, and education. The universe will continue for a few billion more years until the sun and stars burn out and everything is cold and dead. There is no ultimate meaning to life other than what the individual makes of it. After death men are either reincarnated or cease to exist.
THE BIBLE: "I was watching in the night visions And behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came up to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13,14)
These questions bring out the clear distinction between the religion of the public schools and the religion of Christianity. Public schools are temples of a different god than the Christian God. Its teachers are the priests of this false religion called "humanism" which is merely a reincarnation of ancient paganism. Therefore, Christians who offer their children to the public schools to be educated are violating the first commandment "You shall have no other gods before me," by turning their children over to the priests of a false religion.
THE COVANENTAL NATURE OF HUMANISM
Christianity is the true Covenant between God and His people. All other religions are counterfeits. Because the counterfeits must be imitators of the real thing, false religions are covenantal as well.
In the Christian religion the sign of the covenant is baptism, and the periodic renewal of the covenant is the Lord's Supper. When we take Communion we are renewing our covenant vows to God. The terms of the Covenant are revealed in the Bible, the Word of God. The Covenantal meal of the Lord's Supper symbolizes God sustaining us and sanctifying us from sin. He is our God and we are His people.
The religion of Humanism is also covenantal, but it replaces God with the Welfare State. It promises to provide for its citizens from cradle to grave. It also claims "I will be your god and you shall be my people." When people place their children on the yellow school bus to send them off to be educated by the State they are renewing their covenantal vows to the god of Humanism. In return the State provides their children with a covenantal meal, the school lunch, and a "free" education. The god of the State requires obedience and taxes in return for a free education when we are young, college loans, unemployment checks, and social security when we are old. An example of the conscious nature of this covenant is found in a policy paper called "Public Schools and Citizenship" by The Center on Education Policy:
Historically, schools have prepared students to be good citizens in four ways: (1) teaching students about the role of government in the United States; (2) upholding civic values by teaching students to be good citizens and good neighbors; (3) equipping students with the civic skills they need to be effective participants in a representative democracy; and (4) promoting tolerance and respect for diverse peoples and different points of view.
In point number (4), tolerance is defined as acknowledging other religions and creeds as equally true. This is similar to the Roman government's licensing of all religions, provided that they acknowledge "Caesar is Lord" and tolerate the practice of other religions. This is polytheism in practice, also called "pluralism". Christian students who insist on openly holding to their faith of salvation through Jesus Christ alone as the standard for all people are attacked and degraded in the classroom for bigotry and intolerance. They must keep the claims of their faith private and merely personal in order to be tolerated.
THE CHURCH MUST TAKE A STAND
The public school in America is a tool designed to perpetuate the religion of the Welfare State. Christians who send their children to public school are covenant breakers. Every day the kids get on the yellow school bus they reaffirm their covenant with humanism. Families and churches who do this bring upon themselves the curses of disobedience.
How many Christian families have you heard of who sent their children to the public schools and their children either left the faith, became entangled with drugs, or conceived children out of wedlock? (A lot!) How many home-schooled families do you know who got those results? (Very few!) The fruit of disobedience is all around us, but the church as a whole refuses to recognize that the root of the problem is our schizophrenia in sending Christian children to public schools.
The time has come for Christians to recognize that sending their children to these humanist institutions is sinful and idolatrous. Churches should discipline members who insist on continuing in this sin. Public schooling is spiritual adultery and is every bit as serious as breaking the marriage vow. May God have mercy upon our nation and grant us repentance from this grievous sin!
COMMON OBJECTIONS ANSWERED
1. "We send our children to public school to evangelize the other children."
Answer: Change the words and see if it still sounds OK. "We send our children to be taught in the Buddhist temple so they can evangelize the other children." Or, "We send our daughters to work in a brothel so they can evangelize adulterous men and other prostitutes." Does that sound outrageous? By sending your children to public school there is a better than 50% probability they'll end up having sex with another student before they graduate. (If you send them to a public university the number who have sex before age 20 is 87%.) Evangelism does not require, or even allow, us to put our children under the covenant authority of pagan teachers. Not to mention, it doesn't work. A small minority of Christian kids who go to secular schools continue in the faith of their parents. The question is, Who is evangelizing whom? If you want to evangelize other children, then invite them to your house and present the gospel to them in the context of a Christian family.
2. "We spend time with our kids to help them filter what they are being taught in school."
Answer: By doing this you teach your children to be schizophrenic. If the public school teaches them falsehood, then why send them there to be taught at all? It is not possible to counter forty hours per week of indoctrination and peer pressure with a few hours of parental instruction. Remember what C.F. Potter wrote (above): "What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?"
3. "We want our kids to receive a quality education."
Answer: In his book, Strengths of Their Own, Dr. Brian Ray provides statistical research which shows that average standardized test scores for homeschooled children are in the 80th percentile, whereas the average of public school children's scores is the 50th percentile. Public schooling in the vast majority of cases offers an inferior education to homeschooling or private Christian schooling. Even if public school did offer a superior academic education, would academic proficiency be worth the price of a child's soul?
4. "I feel it would be wrong for me to send my children to public school, but it's OK for other people. Each family must do as the Lord leads them."
Answer: God has one standard of right and wrong: His revelation, the Bible. It is forbidden to teach your children to believe in other gods. The public schools do exactly that. This is not a subjective issue.
5. "The public school my kids go to has a lot of Christian teachers."
Answer: Really? Does it make a difference whether the teachers are Christian when the curriculum, the administration, and the other students are pagan? Your child's teachers may be closet Christians, but if they dared to say in the classroom "The God of the Bible is the only true God and Christianity is the only true religion," they would be fired. A Christian teacher who "keeps his light under a bushel" is worse than a teacher who is not Christian at all. He is an example of compromised Christianity.
Home Education: Its Gods Idea
There are many excellent reasons for choosing to teach your own children at home. First, there is now incontestable evidence that on average children who are home schooled fare better academically than children of either public or private schools. This is not surprising since tutoring has always been recognized to be the best method of education.
Second, home educated children are spared the corrupting environment of the peer-oriented classroom and thus are benefited socially. A common myth of our society is that children need to be with other children for extended periods of time to be properly socialized, but this is the exact opposite of the truth. Much time in a peer culture is damaging to children. Socialization is one of the best reasons to home school.
Third, any home schooling family will tell you that one of the greatest benefits of the process is the way that family bonds are strengthened. Parents and children grow closer through the shared hours of each day. Siblings develop a new love and respect for one another as they live and learn and work together day by day. These families can overcome the family-fragmenting forces of modern life. They just plain have more time together; and love is spelled t-i-m-e.
Fourth, home educating families prosper spiritually. Parents are able to guide their charges in godly paths as they protect them from the immorality and falsehood so prevalent in public schools and teach them the Bible and its application to life. The very process of discipling ones own child results in character growth in both the child and the parent.
As good as all these reasons are, however, the very best reason to choose home education has not been listed yet. But to appreciate the force of this last reason you must first agree to a vitally important premise. So let me run that by you first.
The premise is simply this: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3;16,17). Or, put another way: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Pet. 1:3). Or, finally: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Ps. 119:105). In other words, in our Lord Jesus and his Word, the Bible, we have all we need for spiritual and moral direction in life. The Scripture is our wholly sufficient guide for what to believe and how to live in ways that please God.
Do you believe that? Do you agree that what is written in the Bible is written to tell us how to live; that when the Word of God addresses any particular aspect of life, it is giving us wisdom to be followed carefully; and that God has good reason for all that he reveals in his Word? If you do, then you are ready to hear the final point.
The best reason for choosing home education is that it is Gods revealed plan for raising our children. The Bible knows no other system of education. God did not prescribe schools for his people; these were invented by others. The pages of Scripture espouse, by precept and example, a process that closely resembles what we call home education.
To grasp Gods plan for the raising of children we need to consider what the Scripture says about four important elements of the educational process: the teachers, the method, the content, and the goal.
Throughout the Word it is the parents who are assigned the role of teaching their own children. The primary responsibility rests on the father. God said of Abraham, "I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him" (Gen. 18:19). Paul gave this guidance under the Holy Spirits inspiration: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
Of course, as the mans helper (Gen. 2:20-23), his wife is also a teacher of the children. "Listen, my son, to your fathers instruction and do not forsake your mothers teaching" (Prov. 1:8; cf. 6:20). Even the grandparents are to share in the teaching task: speaking of Gods commandments, Moses said to Gods people, "Teach them to your children and to their children after them" (Deut. 4:9).
Home education by the parents is highlighted at the very apex of Old Testament revelation. Israel has just heard Moses pronounce the sacred Name: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Deut. 6:4). This is followed immediately by the commandment which Jesus called the "greatest commandment" (Matt. 22:38): "Love the LORD your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deut. 6:5). Then comes the climactic charge to the people: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (6:6,7). Parents have a solemn obligation to learn Gods Word and teach it to their children.
The mandate for parents to teach their offspring is a perpetual one. "He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children" (Ps. 78:5,6). Each generation should be raised with the expectation of teaching the next.
Beyond the parents, the priests and Levites had a teaching role in the holy community; but even they did not teach children directly apart from the parents. They taught "the men, women and others who could understand" when gathered as a group (Neh. 8:3,7,8).
The Bible, through command and example, presents the parents (and grandparents) as the only teachers of children. While it might seem at least possible, as an exercise of parental prerogative, to delegate the teaching responsibility to others, there is no instance of this in Scripture. (Gal. 4:2 speaks of a child being subject to "guardians and trustees until the time set by his father." This may have been the practice in the affluent strata of the pagan society which was the cultural backdrop of the Galatian converts. It is not presented as a positive practice in this context, a context which is not addressing how parents should raise children.) Although the bare teaching function might be delegated, the parent-child relationship cannot be delegated. No one can successfully replace the parents as the child's teacher because no one else is the parent, and it is this special relationship that is central to the success of the educational processwhich leads us to the second element of that process.
Scripture does not even use the word "education" to describe the process of training children for adulthood. That word, as we use it, is freighted with connotations of schooling, academics, and training of the minda very narrow Greek/Western concept of training (rationalism views mans mind as his primary faculty).
Those who are properly informed by a biblical/Hebrew perspective would say that true "education" is discipleship. It is a process of training the whole person, not just the mind. The goal is not a mind stuffed with facts; the goal is a changed person.
The heart is the most important part of a person "for it is the wellspring of life" (Prov. 4:23). The purpose of life is to love God with the whole heart (Deut. 6:5); and this purpose is realized in children as parents have Gods Word in their own hearts and then impress it on their children (6:6,7). Fathers are to say to their sons, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live" (Prov. 4:4).
Gods method of education is revealed in Deuteronomy 6:7-9. Speaking of Gods commandments it says, "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." True education occurs any place ("home and road") and any time ("lie down and get up"). The parents are to be the constant companions of their children, teaching them Gods view of life at every opportunity. Every child of a godly family will live unceasingly in an environment that is saturated by Gods Word, and his parents will be creating that environment.
Since the purpose of education is to love God with the whole heart and to have his commandments lodged in the heart, the method must be one which reaches the heart. Discipleshipalong-the-road living with the two people to whom the child is closest (his parents)is Gods method for reaching the heart of children.
The method is seen also in Jesus relationship with the Twelve. He did not enroll them in a classroom course and address only their minds. He chose them "that they might be with him" (Mk. 3:14); and they talked, worked, walked, ate, and slept together for over three years. They were his apprentices. They learned by watching, listening, doing, as Jesus taught them about and modeled for them the life they were to live.
Jesus said, "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher" (Lk. 6:40). That is the discipleship method: on-the-job, real-life training until the student is like the teacher. And that is the only method of education that results in the changed lives that God is seeking.
Biblical education/discipleship cannot be accomplished within the confines of a classroom. A small part of it could occur there, but its main features require involvement in the real world with real people doing real things. It requires doing work and ministry. It demands character training and learning life skills. It requires spontaneity as well as structure. Teaching can occur in a school, but discipleship can only occur in the context of real life.
Our educational method must reflect a biblical understanding of truth and life. The Greek/Western worldview sees truth as ideas that can be reduced to printed pages and considered in abstraction in a classroom. In the biblical/Hebrew worldview truth is personal (Jesus said, "I am...the truth." Jn. 14:6); and while it can be expressed in the statements of Scripture, it is always connected to life and conduct ("speaking the truth in love," Eph. 4:15). Truth is not only something we can know, it is also something we can and must "do" (1 Jn. 1:6). Gods truth is only communicated truly in the context of relationship. God did not just give us the written Word of truth, he gave us his Son and fills us with himself ("If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God."1 Jn. 4:15).
God wants truth to fill our childrens minds, but he wants much more. He wants the One whose name is Truth to fill their hearts and shape their lives. That is what discipleship is all about.
In a thoroughly biblical approach to education, the method is as important as the content.
Most discussions about education dwell upon the content of the curriculum; and whereas the importance of method is often minimized, we should not, in our attempt to balance the discussion, minimize content. It is absolutely critical. Truth has content, and part of education is passing on that content to our children.
What exactly is the content of education for Christian children? Psalm 78 puts it this way: "We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children..." (vv. 4,5). The Word of God and the works of God are the content of a godly education.
All education should focus upon the Lord God: who he is, what he has said, and what he has done. Fathers are instructed concerning children to "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). Not the instruction of the world or of mere men, but "of the Lord."
Study of the Word of God itself is the foundation for all learning since the Word is the source of all wisdom. That is why parents are given the task of impressing Gods commandments on their children at every opportunity (Deut. 6:7-9). In the psalm quoted above, fathers are commanded to teach Gods "statutes" to their children, referring again to the written Word.
Obviously, the very words and passages of Scripture and the history and doctrine they contain must be taught diligently and systematically. The Book of books itself must be studied as a worthy object of attention in its own right.
But that is not the only use of the Scriptures. Psalm 119:105 presents one of the broader purposes of the Bible: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Gods Word is intended to illuminate the world we live in so that we can walk pleasing to God. The purpose of a light is to shine on an object so that it can be discerned more clearly. Similarly, the Bible is meant to "shine" on anything we encounter in the world so that we can understand it from Gods perspective. This means that beyond studying the Bible itself, we should use the Bible as our lens through which to view any other subject in life.
The second component of study in a godly education is what Psalm 78 calls "the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done" (v. 4). To study these works of God we must, of course, begin with the Bible itself which reveals his mighty works of creation and redemption. But this study will lead us beyond the pages of Scripture to the whole wide world that God made and sustains by his power. History, science, geography, law, art, music, mathematics, languageany subject area is a study of the works of God since it is he who created this world and guides the history of men in their scientific, cultural, and civil endeavors.
Each of these subject areas must be approached in the "light" of the Word, if it is to be properly understood. The Bible should not only be a subject in the curriculum, its truths should permeate every other area of study, providing Gods perspective on every subject.
Also, each field of study must be viewed in relationship to the others since creation and history are a seamless fabric of overlapping influencesall under Gods sovereign control. Life in Gods world does not unfold in neat categories. The traditional approach to education which presents a student with a collection of unrelated disciplines is a caricature of the real world. All realms of study find their unity in our Creator and Savior. The best education will present any particular subject in its relationship to other subjects and to the God of truth who gives them all meaning.
That is why many home educators abandon the traditional school-subject approach to teaching in favor of a "unit study" approach which takes into account the inter-relationship of the disciplines. Children thus engage in academic study in the same manner in which they experience the rest of the worldencountering the connectedness of the various elements of life. Such an approach not only respects the nature of the content of education, it also is most compatible with the discipleship method of teaching: learning from real life as it is encountered "along the road" every day.
Each of the other elements of the educational processthe teachers, the method, and the contentcombine to achieve one essential end. Gods goal for us is to raise children who know, love, and obey Jesus Christ.
The aim of education is a part of the great aim of this age: to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). For anyone who is a parent, the discipleship mandate begins in the home. He must make disciples of his own children.
Education ought not to be seen as an end in itself. Nor should it be viewed in terms of mere academic or social preparation for life. Knowledge, by itself, is nothing and leads only to pride ("Knowledge puffs up"; 1 Cor. 8:1). We could give our children the very best academic preparation in the world, and only end up making them more effective instruments in the devils hands. No, God has something higher in mind.
God did not say: "train a child in what he should know, and when he is old he will not forget it." He said, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Prov. 22:6). Education is not just about what a child knows; it is primarily about how he lives.
Understood in its broadest terms, education is character training. God is in the business of transforming people; and he is creating a people who have a living relationship with himself. The beginning of the process is simply to take God seriously in everythingor, as Scripture has it: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). The end of the process is mature people who know God; and who, knowing him, love him; and who, loving him, obey him in all things.
Christian parents should desire for their children what Paul, imitating the Lords own yearnings, wanted for his children in the faith: "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you..." (Gal. 4:19). The great object of education must be Christ-like men and women.
All the elements of the Bibles plan for child-training combine to achieve this goal; and each ingredient of the plan is crucial to the outcome.
Replace the parents with strangers or even godly fellow-believers as teachers, and you disrupt the parent-child bond which is Gods chosen channel of grace and influence.
If you choose a sterile classroom full of age peers instead of the rich home-based community environment with its natural variety of ages and conditions; if you choose mass teaching focused on the mind instead of face-to-face discipleship along the path of real life experiencesthen you bypass Gods chosen means of reaching the heart of a child.
If you choose teaching which presents academic subject areas in isolation and without a biblical reference point instead of the unity of all truth based on the God of truth and his Word, then you eliminate the means of providing a coherent Christian worldview from which the child can engage the false ideas of the day.
Tamper with any of the facets of Gods revealed plan, and you decrease the prospects that your children will turn out to be godly men and women. Scripture gives us a promise in Proverbs 22:6: our children will not depart from Gods way if we faithfully raise them according to it. Modern Christians have come to doubt the truth of this verse because they are seeing their children fall off the path in such great numbers. But the problem is not Gods plan or his faithfulness. The problem is that we have abandoned his plan in so many ways.
We are back to our foundational premise: the Scripture is our wholly sufficient guide for how to live. Since, by precept and example, it presents a pattern for the process of raising our children, wisdom dictates that we follow that pattern.
The path of safety and blessing is always that which adheres most closely to the revealed will of God. Home education as we practice it today falls short of the perfect pattern set forth in the Scriptures, but it is certainly a big step in the right direction because home education is Gods idea.
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