by Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor of The Old Schoolhouse
Sitting at music lessons, I met a mom who had just started homeschooling this year. She pulled her little one out of public school because her daughter was struggling in that environment. She was telling me how much better it is going at home for her and how glad she is to be homeschooling now. I said something that resonated with her. “The main reason homeschooling is the best option for her is because of freedom. Your daughter is free from outward pressures, free from performance anxiety, free from fear of bullies, free from expectations that don’t match her developmental stage, free from the disappointment of not pleasing her teacher, free from being sat down and cooped up. And because of the freedom from all those negative things, she is now free to learn, she is free to create, free to explore, free to be herself, free to be comfortable and move freely, free to go as fast or slow as needed in any subject. She is free to be who God created her to be.”
Freedom: it’s why we homeschool! It’s why homeschooled children are well-rounded, academically advanced, and excellent in character. Freedom in spirit, soul, and body is why whatever they study sticks; it’s why they are confident and courteous and courageous. Freedom from government indoctrination is why children who are homeschooled have a higher percentage of retaining the faith of their families and becoming citizens who stand for truth and righteousness.1
Educational Freedom Let’s look at the definition of the words education and freedom. I think you will be surprised how far we have strayed from the historical meaning of these words.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition of education is: The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. 2
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition of the word freedom is: A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. Freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious. 3
We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? It used to be that parents would exercise their liberty and take their responsibility seriously to provide an “indispensable” education for their children. Today, we lack freedom because we have given the power or control of education over to another. The children then become enslaved and confined. Their “personal, civil, political, and religious” freedom comes under scrutiny and in some cases becomes obsolete, depending on the educational environment. Why would we do this to our children when the freedom of parent-led home education begets such blessing in all areas of their lives?
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
Freedom to Teach
As home educators, not only do our children enjoy freedom, but we have many areas of freedom as well. We are free to choose the curriculum or program or philosophy of education that fits our family best. We are free to teach in whatever style we are gifted in teaching. Some of us have the ability to make learning fun for our kids and we are free to employ that in our children’s education. Some of us know how to create a literature-rich environment that is conducive to deep study. Some of us know how to create a learning space that is comfortable and engaging and our children love to learn there. Some of us have strengths in nature study and narration. Some of us are chefs or engineers or entomologists and we are free to share our expertise with our children. Some of us homestead and can teach our children about the earth and animal husbandry and carpentry and energy and self-sufficiency. Some of us are educators by profession and understand a scope and sequence and follow guidelines and textbooks to completion. Some of us understand how to create a delight-directed education for our children, and some prefer to follow a more classical method.
We are free to teach in whatever way we are created to do so, and no matter the method, no matter the environment, no matter the philosophy or teaching style, our children succeed.4 Freedom: it’s why we homeschool!
Spiritual Freedom I am thankful every day for the continued freedom to educate our children in our own home, in any manner we choose, and under our own Biblical values and specific spiritual instruction. I have the freedom to show my children their Creator in every topic we study, in every book we read, in every plant or animal or season. His glory is revealed in all of creation and I am free to give my children a Christian and Biblical worldview in every subject. I am free to share this life-giving Scripture with them without fear of reprimand:
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-31; 36).
Freedom: Past and Future Just as the pilgrims carved out a place of freedom for many, pioneers of homeschooling paved the way for our educational freedom. And just as the cost to the pilgrims was heavy, so was the cost to those homeschooling pioneers. Some lived in fear of the authorities taking their children away, some spent a lifetime fighting the legal fight, some lived ostracized from society, and some quietly taught their children to love learning and love their enemies. Some were silent, but their fruit spoke loudly to onlookers, as their children beamed in excellence of character. Some were loud enough that people heard and listened: “Home education works!” We are so grateful and thankful for the pathway of freedom laid out for us and for our future generations.
Although homeschooling is legal in many countries, there are still many that do not allow such freedom. We need to remember those who are persecuted for their decision to homeschool and pray for their freedom.
Historically, our forefathers set precedence in the giving of thanks to the Almighty God who in His great Providence brought them here and kept them alive and prospering and free. He is the same God who ordained the Biblical principle of parents instructing their own children and proclaiming His deeds from generation to generation. (See Psalm 78.)
Let’s pray that the beautiful freedom of parent-led home education continues long as we keep His children Home Where They Belong.
Freedom Study Activities Here are a few activities to do with the children as you talk about freedom in your homeschool.
- All we have of freedom, all we use or know, this our fathers bought for us long and long ago. —Rudyard Kipling (The Old Issue, 1899)
- For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? —Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 9 [Poems] 1909)
- From every mountain side, let Freedom ring. —Samuel F. Smith (“America,” 1832)
Freedom Coloring Pages
Scriptures on Freedom “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Galatians 5:13,14).
“For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:15-17).
Bible Memory “But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25).
Read and Discuss
- Read Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:16-21.
- Who and what are these verses talking about?
- Who fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah?
- What did Christ come to do?
- What has He done for you?
About Deborah Deborah Wuehler is Senior Editor for TOS, wife to Richard, with eight children ages 28 to 11. She writes for The Homeschool Minute (www.TheHomeschoolMinute.com) and is on YouTube with Schoolhouse Devotions (bit.ly/2MrF8Sn), pointing homeschool families to Christ as they keep their children Home Where They Belong!
Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2019-2020 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.