by Joshua Tey
2013 winner of the CHEA Support Network $1,000 Scholarship
In an age where education often headlines the news with billions spent and a multitude of programs, why homeschool? As homeschoolers, we often discuss the benefits of staying at home, from protection against worldly influences to better grades. While valid reasons, none of these may be the foundational reasons for homeschooling. Fundamentally homeschooling stems from three interrelated commands in Scripture: reflect God’s image in relationship, disciple children, and impact world for Christ.
Reflect His Image
The first reason to homeschool is that God calls us to reflect His relational image. In the first chapter of Genesis, God proclaims, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gn. 1:26 ESV, emphasis added). The “our” is significant as it is emphasized twice and refers to the Trinitarian and relational nature of God. In creating man, God stressed the importance of the relational aspect of His image. As humans created in the image of God, we are called to reflect Him in relationships with others. In this context, the first chapter of Genesis gives two foundational human relationships—marriage and parenting.
In addition to marriage, God also lays out the priority of the parent-child relationship when He says, “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Gn. 1:28 NIV). Thus the first foundational principle of homeschooling is that God’s relational nature stresses the priority of the relationship between a parent and a child. Homeschooling at its very core encourages a child’s most profound and deepest relationship to begin first with the parent before other adults or peers.
Impress Them on Your Children
The second reason for homeschooling is found in Deuteronomy 6. Here God delineates one of the primary purposes of the parent-child relationship by commanding, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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” (Dt. 6:6-7 NIV).
God calls parents to constantly disciple their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. The discipleship He is referring to does not mean spending a few moments after work each day with one’s children. Rather, the command requires active, constant presence, and discipleship in order to continually impress God’s truths on their hearts. The specific context mentioned is all encompassing throughout the day. Homeschooling, by definition, is the only form of education that fulfills this requirement.
Impact the World
The third foundational principle for homeschooling is the calling of Christians to impact the world, particularly by bringing up children who will accomplish this purpose. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul describes our role in society as participants in a “battle…against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness” (NIV).
We as Christians are supposed to combat the work that evil has wrought in the world, whether it is social injustice, poverty, or abortion. It may not be incidental that Ephesians 6:12 follows 6:4’s injunction for parents to “not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (ESV). Thus, not only are Christians called to combat evil, but also to equip the next generation to do so. Psalms 127 says, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (ESV). The analogy conveys the offensive nature of the next generation to be culture movers and world changers. And, as noted in the first two foundational principles of homeschooling, the primary training ground for teaching and equipping children is the home.
Thus Scripture provides foundational reasons for homeschooling. While good grades or a “safer” environment may be desirable, they are not the primary goal but merely the by-product of homeschooling. Homeschooling may be the most effective form of discipleship for training up a generation of people who reflect the image of God and change the world for Him.
Copyright 2013. Used by permission of the author. Originally published in The California Parent Educator, July/August 2013.
Joshua Tey, 17, of Crestline, CA, has been named winner of the Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) Support Network 2013 $1000 scholarship. Joshua is the son of long-time CHEA Members Moses and Cathy Tey, and was homeschooled from K-12. Joshua will be enrolling in Biola University Torrey Honors Institute this fall. He is interested in law, politics, pastoral studies, and missions. Whatever field he enters, Joshua desires to surrender his life to the Lord and make an impact for the Kingdom. More scholarship details are available at www.cheaofca.org or through a CHEA Support Network Group. The submission deadline is typically February 28 each year.