by Rebecca Kocsis
Immediately upon making the decision to homeschool, parents are faced with the task of choosing curriculum for their children. To the novice, simply finding out where to buy curriculum seems a mystery. Very soon, though, the mystery becomes a dilemma. We go from asking, “Where do I buy teaching materials?” to “There’s so much to choose from. How do I decide?”
Homeschooling has become a competitive industry generating over $650 million in sales annually. NHERI estimates families spend an average of $600 for each of the 2.3 million children being privately home educated in the United States (link: https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/). Publishers know there’s money to be made and they spend plenty on packaging and advertising to convince us that their material is the best. Add to that the fact that homeschoolers are notorious book hounds.
Is it any wonder that our focus shifts almost immediately from what we want to accomplish—discipling our children—to what we should buy?
Once we do buy our curriculum, we become consumed with making sure our students learn it. We fret if we don’t get through the entire book. We spent our hard-earned money on it, we must use it—cover to cover. Sadly, though, our emphasis shifts from what we want our children to learn to simply teaching whatever is in the book. It is not uncommon for homeschooling parents to lack confidence to omit material covered in a textbook, fearing they might be omitting something really important. When this happens, we become slaves to our books rather than letting our curriculum serve our purposes.
One of the first things that changed when the Lord called us into home education was my perspective on the different fields of study. I realized the primary purpose of gaining knowledge was to learn about the person and character of God. I began to see that as we learned about His creation, we concurrently learned about the Creator. We no longer pursued knowledge purely for academic purposes. Now I had a passion to teach my children in such a way as to gain a greater understanding of God.
Science is the discovery of the world God where God placed us. Rather than simply reading textbooks, we went on nature walks, whale watches, and tide pool explorations, Miraculously, we discovered that the closer we looked at God’s creation, the more complex we found it to be. Atheists would have us believe that all elements can be broken down into basic simple structures. That is simply not the case. The more powerful the microscope you use, the more complex systems you can see. Scientists call that irreducible complexity. The study of science shows us that we have an infinite God.
History is really the story of God’s dealings with mankind. It is His story, beginning in Genesis and up to today. As the prophet Daniel said, “It is He who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings.” From the flow of history, we learn that God is active in the lives of men. He is ever working to bring us to the day when He brings all mankind into subjection to His Son, our Savior. From history, we see that God’s word is true. “God will not be mocked; for whatever a man sews, this will he also reap.” The study of the Roman Empire bears this out and the world today would do well to heed that advice.
The study of mathematics, among other things, show us the consistency of God. One plus one always equals two. The student of language helps us communicate with God and tell of His marvelous love to those who don’t know Him. I could go on, but I am sure you understand my point.
Homeschooling is not about academics much as some of us may enjoy that. Homeschooling allows us to impart a passion for and knowledge of God. J. Michael Smith, co-founder and President of HSLDA has asked, “Are you preparing your children for Heaven or Harvard?” That’s something to keep in mind—and write across the top of your whiteboard or chalkboard.
Of course, we would all answer, “heaven.” Let us not be willing to settle for anything less. Our purpose is not to raise scholars. We are raising soldiers for the Cross. That’s something to be passionate about.