A Christian Mom Looks at Home School

This entry is part 40 of 56 in the series Homeschool

What do spiritual gifts have to do with choosing home school or traditional school?

Note: This post was originally published June 11, 2015 before we started our homeschool journey. I updated a couple of words and the formatting, but it is still what I believe in regards to education of our children.

When we had our first child, I think it was only months (maybe days) before we were asked,

“Are you going to home school?”

I found the question jarring for a number of reasons:

1. Um…she was less than a year old

2. The question implied the answer, not the options available.

3. The question assumed that because I am a Bible teacher, I will be teaching my children in our home.

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I kind of wrote off thinking deeply about the issue of how we would “school” our child/children, telling people I don’t know and sharing some brief thoughts on homeschooling vs. traditional schooling.  But as she has gotten older and we have worked through One Year Old Preschool and Tot School for Twos with her, and she has basically started to teach herself to read (I KNOW!); I have really started to ponder the question.  And I have found I have a LOT of opinions about it. Well, they are less opinions and more things I am considering as we work through the decision-making process.

I think this will likely turn into a series of posts regarding how we are making the decision between homeschooling and traditional schooling for our oldest.  And, please be patient with me as I have NO experience with any of the actual options, in practice – this is all theory at this point.  But here are my initial thoughts:

Homeschooling is not a matter of spiritual gifts.  

Homeschooling, from the outside looking in, looks like it requires a number of specific talents and attributes from the teacher’s side of the equation.  The teacher needs to demonstrate patience toward the student(s), as well as a heaping portion of the other attributes of the fruit of the spirit.  She also needs to demonstrate a certain administrative ability – planning, preparing, grading papers, making sure all requirements are met. And she also needs to have some ability to teach – which requires another number of attributes.

So what if I don’t have the spiritual gift of administration AND the spiritual gift of teaching?  What if I have trouble producing the fruit of the Spirit in my home life and especially toward my kids – lost it lately with your kid, mom?

{hand hesitantly raises}

What if you have the spiritual gift of mercy?  Is that not required in the teaching of your child at home? What if you have the spiritual gift of giving?

You see, what I am saying?

As I have been working through my thoughts on the homeschooling issue, I have been guided by a number of Scriptural principles.  And I have found that God’s Word has much to show me in regards to how I “teach” my child.

1. The question of whether or not to home school your child has to be removed from the idea of your spiritual giftedness.

I could make the argument, and probably should, that your spiritual gift (given to you at the moment you believed and were indwelt by the Holy Spirit) is to be used for the building up of the body of Christ – the church.  And though we would love for our homes to be “part” of the body of Christ, often we as parents are not blessed with children who believe at a very young age (meaning we are not mini-churches).  Though our gifts may be used to edify and encourage those outside the body of Christ, that is NOT their primary purpose.

Our proper use of the spiritual gift we are given by God is within the church.  And the gifts are specifically designed that way – to edify the body of Christ.  That said, we have the gift always and forever, so the use of it will “bleed into” our life outside of the church; but it is not necessary that we employ our gift everywhere and at all times.

This means that I can have the gift of teaching and use that gift to teach the Word of God within the confines of the church and not use that gift to teach reading, writing and arithmetic.  They are separate things.  That is not to say one should compartmentalize her life into categories like church and secular, but rather she should recognize whether she has the spiritual gift of teaching or the ability to teach.

2. The question of whether or not to home school your child has little to do with how patient you are.

It also has little to do with the other attributes of the fruit of the Spirit, rather it has to do with your connection to the Vine.  To the degree that you are connected to the Vine (abiding) and walking in the Spirit, you will be a better parent, a better person, a better wife, etc.   But this does not mean that when you are not demonstrating self-control (or love…or patience…or peace) to the fullest capacity of the fruit of the Spirit, you are disqualified from any of these stations.  You are still connected to the Vine, you are still producing fruit – but it may be small (and a little bruised).

The hope of the indwelling Holy Spirit is this: “If you walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”  He does the work, as we are obedient to Him!  And I can choose to walk by the Spirit whether I send my kids off to school at the beginning of the day or if I teach them right here at home.  He will provide the grace and the fruit – the results; I will provide the obedience.

3.  The question of whether or not to homeschool your child comes down to love.

Everybody loves to quote the “love chapter” in I Corinthians, but often they leave out the first portion of that chapter and its context of the entire book: the proper doctrine and use of spiritual gifts.  Please allow me to rework it, with our context in mind:

“If I send my kid off to the best Christian school with highly qualified teachers and make sure our family memorizes a Scripture each day, but have not love; I am a noisy gong or a crashing cymbal.

If I wait patiently each day in the pick-up line at the local public elementary for my kid and volunteer for the PTA and spend three years as the “room mom,” but have not love; I am nothing.

If I give of myself every day in the home, planning and preparing to teach my children all the reading, writing, and arithmetic to meet the standards of the local and state authorities, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

And with this as a backdrop, I pose the question of what is love for our kids?

Is it not doing the best thing for each of them, as individuals?

This begs the question: does that mean the best for my youngest child is the same as the best for my oldest child?  Based on each one’s own personality make-up, learning styles, and emotional maturity or needs; it may not be the same thing.  What makes our kids unique may determine how we choose to “school” them; but what unifies them is that the decision will be made in love.  Love will be the guiding principle for our decisions on homeschooling vs. traditional schooling.

What do you think?  Are you in the midst of deciding how to “school” your children?  What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your comments!

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Evonne Cordell

    Very thoughtful. Things I think everyone should consider. It is an incredibly important decision.

    Your girls are very lucky. Whatever you decide will be right for your family.

    You are an incredible teacher.

  2. Jen

    My personal issue when considering homeschooling, is trying to factor out the emotional aspect of missing my children for the day while they are in school if we choose to not homeschool. I feel like that should not be a factor, but it is so hard.

  3. Trena

    Love the Corinthians “re-write” for homeschooling! I’ve homeschooled for 11 years now and while its not for “everyone”, I believe ANYONE CAN homeschool and every believer SHOULD homeschool (but I realize they all won’t). Look through your Bible and see if you find anything that resembles “sending your child away” for school. NO… Deuteronomy “write it on your doorposts…” Parents were to educate their children. Somewhere, we’ve lost that command….

    1. ussleah

      Thanks for your input. Yes, I do think that the responsibility to teach our children is ours no matter what/how we choose to teach them. Deut. is clear about it being a lifestyle teaching, touching each part of the life of parent/child. Interesting on the “sending your child away” point. I am reminded of Samuel being sent to live/learn from Eli at such a young age – a special circumstance, yes – but food for thought on the whole education front.
      I loved reading your comment! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Laura

    Homeschooling is something I’ve considered for years for my son. I’m a certified teacher and a single mom. It’s not something I could feasibly do and be able to support my family. Sometimes I feel that the public school system isn’t able to meet the needs of every child, my son included, but I also know that there are a lot of good teachers working their tails off for the kids they have in their classrooms. It has been my experience so far (8 years) that the teachers are willing to talk with you and work with you for the good of the child in most cases. With all that said, I still wonder if I’ve made the right choice.

    1. Leah Hudson

      Thanks for sharing, Laura! I think I reconsider my choices often, too! It is so hard to always know what the will of God for our kids and our families is. But, I truly believe He would not allow us to stray too far from the path without major corrections. I know there are amazing teachers in every education choice. And I feel very strongly that no matter the choice we make, we are ALWAYS our kids’ first (and primary) teachers!

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