Why I Plan to Train My Children At Home
by John Notgrass
Some day in the not-so-distant future I may be gazing into the wrinkled face of a little baby. Not just any baby, mind you -- my baby! Of course, it will be God's baby, but one that he entrusts to me and the wife he gives me. The possibility excites me. The possibility humbles me.
If God grants that desire of my heart, then I will begin the glorious task of raising that child (and I hope many more than one) in his way. Parenting is not a spectator sport. Foolish children do not automatically mature into wise, responsible adults. Some people say parents are not important, but some people don't know what they're talking about.
Thanks to God and his work on our family, I am committed to training my children in a family context, primarily "at home". In my mind, Christ-centered home education is not an alternative. It is a requirement for believing families. Corrupt schools are not the standard. They are an aberration. Whatever we call family-based learning, it rests on two basic premises for those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord. First, by the ordinance of God, who created the family, parents are responsible for training their children in his way. Second, by the power of God, who gives the Holy Spirit, parents are able to train their children in his way. God does not require the impossible, because with him all things are possible.
For five primary reasons I plan to train my children at home: it allows liberty, it gives control over unlimited social interaction, it encourages redeeming the time, it promotes an integrated lifestyle, and it enables the provision of true teaching.
All children are unique individuals who have unique gifts from God. They do not belong to the government or to any other institution, and we should not force them into a prefabricated mold. When I train my children at home, I can chart our own course within the will of God. My children do not have to follow the common track that most children follow. I can give them the tools and encouragement they need to do uncommon things in the name of Christ. I don't want my children to keep up with their peers. I want them to excel far beyond their peers for God's glory. Home-based training allows liberty.
Better Social Interaction
Freed from the confines of school, my children and I can interact with a wide variety of people. We can enjoy visits with neighbors and relatives and other families. We can serve others in our church and community. We can work and travel and shop and conduct business. We can do whatever we want! And we can do it all as a family, learning to show kindness and humility, to bear with each other, to forgive, and to love. Parents of school-bound children should be concerned about socialization. I want to introduce my children to godly examples, protect them from ungodly examples, and give them the social skills they need for many situations. Home-based training gives parents control over unlimited social interaction.
Instead of postponing real life by attending an artificial school environment, I want my children to experience real life at home everyday! I feel sorry for children who spend eight hours at school, three hours at daycare, and ten minutes with daddy. I intend for my family to work together, play together, study together, serve together, and pursue God's will together. Home-based training allows families to better redeem the time God gives us.
Life does not consist of distinct, blocked-off period of time. I don't want my children to get in the habit of compartmentalizing their lives. I want them to see family, service, work, and education as interrelated under the lordship of Christ. Home-based training encourages and is a part of an integrated lifestyle.
Any education that does not rest on the foundation of God and the Bible is an incomplete education. In all fields we should recognize God's authority and instruction. From infancy I want my children to learn the holy Scriptures which are able to make them wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. The government schools obviously will not teach my children of Christ, and I cannot depend on anyone else to do it for me. Home-based training enables parents to invest much time in teaching their children God's truth.
These goals will contribute to the pursuit of the one central focus for my future family: I'm aiming for faithfulness. I pray that my wife and I, our children and their spouses, our grandchildren and all of our descendants will be faithful to God forever. It won't just happen, and I can't achieve it on my own. But by the grace and power of God, I'll do what I can.
I look forward to raising up a faithful quiver-full of children who will exercise their gifts for God's glory, build strong relationships, fulfill their callings in God's kingdom, live God-honoring lives, treasure the Scriptures in their hearts, acknowledge God's providence, and follow Jesus Christ all of their days. That's why I plan to train my children at home.
This article originally appeared in Home School Digest, the Christian Family Discipleship Quarterly for serious homeschoolers. Each issue nearly 100 pages! Subscriptions: $18/yr. Contact: Wisdom's Gate, P.O. Box 374, Covert, MI 49043. Phone: 800-343-1943. www.homeschooldigest.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © John Notgrass.
All rights reserved.
In Memory of Avery John Notgrass