Considering The Biblical Admonitions
Your first consideration should be “What does the Bible say about child training and education?” To summarize, the Bible says children do not belong to the state, but to God, who has entrusted them to you as parents. You are responsible for educating your children in wisdom and training, for God has set the home, not the school, as the center of learning. The church and school are extensions of the home and the parents. True knowledge and wisdom come not from the world but from God through His Word, which is the measure of all things and the foundation of true education. The purpose of education is to train the child to be a faithful servant of God, to seek holiness, and to be equipped.
Consider The Law
While the Bible is our authority concerning the responsibility of our children, we must be aware of the law, and in subjection to the authority of the law to the best of our ability and where it does not conflict with God’s laws. Education for Christian children is a First Amendment, freedom of religion issue. However, the U.S. Constitution left education within the realm of the states for specific statutes. Therefore, not only do we need to know what our federal Constitution says, we also need to be aware of the requirements in the Education Code and other state laws. If these laws coincide with Scripture, we are free without further thought to follow our desired course of action. However, if the laws are in conflict with what we sincerely believe God has commanded us to do, we follow God’s laws. Unfortunately, God’s laws and man’s laws are usually not so clearly on opposite ends of the spectrum, causing us to pray, seek wisdom, search the scriptures, examine the law and our conscience, and only then making a right decision.
Consider Your Children
If your children are preschool age, you are no doubt concerned about where and how they will develop to their greatest potential. You need to decide whether that development has the greater chance of happening in your home or in a school. You will hear logical-sounding arguments from advocates of both positions. In the end, however, you will have to act with godly discernment.
If your children are already in school, you may be dissatisfied in some way and are looking for an alternative. Your question now is, “What can I do to change this unsatisfactory situation?”
Carefully think through all your choices, pro and con, until one choice stands out as the best answer. If the best answer appears to be to bring your children home and educate them yourself, then you need to go on to the next consideration.
Consider Your Family/Lifestyle
How you view the goals, purposes, and role of the family and your lifestyle are crucial to the ultimate success of your home education experience. Is the purpose of the family to love, nurture, and protect its members? To foster respect for all, even the children? Is your home a place of serenity and beauty? Beauty that doesn’t comes from a high standard of living, but from a love for God’s world and a desire to make others feel special. Does each family member feel free to be himself?
Is the goal of the family to give every material advantage or every spiritual advantage? Are you willing to learn better organization, discipline, and consistency?
Does your lifestyle exhibit a vision for the role of motherhood and fatherhood? Are your children important enough to you to spend quantity and quality time with them?
Consider Your Self
Bringing your children home or keeping them home from the beginning, will at the very least, set you firmly apart from the average, mainstream family. In addition, it may mean a drastic change in your lifestyle. It may also set you up as the object of criticism and ridicule. It may even cause you for the first time in your life to have to defend your actions. Consequently, you must be absolutely sure that educating your children at home is the strongest of convictions.
Excerpted from An Introduction to Home Education by Karen Woodfin Middleton and Susan Beatty. Published by Christian Home Educators Press.