Christian Home School - What Are the Facts?
Although many people consider home schooling to be a relatively new development, Christian home schools have been present in the United States since the commencement of our country. The Bible was often used to teach children how to read and write. Children learned skills from the wisdom of their elders, and through hands-on experiences within their families and communities.
It wasn't until 1852, in the state of Massachusetts, that compulsory school attendance was first established. By 1918, every state had adopted a similar law. Until the 1960's and 70's, there was little opposition to these state-mandated schooling laws. Around the late 60's, parents started questioning the public education system and looking for alternative ways to educate their children. Today, home schooling is legal in all 50 states, although the laws and regulations vary from state to state. In the past 25 years, the number of children being home schooled has seen a massive surge. Estimates now show between 1.5 and 2 million children are being home schooled in the United States, making it the fastest-growing method of education.
Christian Home School - What Does it Look Like?
A Christian home school looks different for every family. Some families literally design their own school at home, complete with desks, textbooks, lesson plans, the flag salute, and even recess. Other families make schooling their children a lifestyle, opting not to use schedules or require texts and workbooks. Whatever the setup, the goal remains the same: to give the children valuable information while also teaching them to become independent, critical thinkers that are cognizant of their choices and the world around them.
For the family who chooses to make home school a lifestyle, the parents and children learn together through purposeful life experiences. The studying and learning becomes part of a daily routine rather than regimented into a traditional classroom environment. Home schooling families can fall anywhere within this continuum, individually adjusting their home school to fit their lifestyle and philosophies. There is no right or wrong way to build a Christian home school environment.
However, because of the varying state-to-state requirements and the preference of the parents, some home schools will have more text work than hands-on experiences. Others will take advantage of the almost unlimited resources available to them, using nature, literature, and home economics as their primary sources of education. Home schooling gives parents the freedom to accommodate each child's individual learning style.
Christian Home School - What Does the Bible Say?
Christian home schools are growing rapidly, partly because parents are beginning to recognize their responsibility to their own children. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord, created for His pleasure and divine purpose (Psalm 127:3-5, 139:13-16). He has entrusted our children to us for a very short time, during which we must prayerfully make decisions that will benefit them and glorify God's purposes for them.
The Bible clearly states that God gives parents the authority and responsibility to train, discipline, and instruct their children - not the school, the media, or their peers. It is imperative for parents to teach their children the Bible from a young age, which can be more easily and effectively done when the majority of their time is spent at home.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 guides parents to commit themselves wholeheartedly to God's commands and teach them diligently to their children, "...when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (v 7). In other words, we must teach our children about God throughout our daily routines, not just during Sunday School and bedtime prayers.
Does this mean that all Christian parents have the obligation to home school their children? Not necessarily. God has special plans for every believer, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Home schooling is best for some Christian families, while private or public schooling is best for others. Home schooling may not even be an option for those families in special situations, such as single-parent or dual-income households. Whatever the situation is, God will provide for the individual needs of every family who lives in obedience to Him (Matthew 6:33).