Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Foundation

My Foundation for Homeschooling...

I could never homeschool! I mean, I'm not organized, patient, educated (fill in the blank) enough to do that. And what about 'me time?'

I had never seen myself as a homeschooler, it wasn't in my game plan. Not for me! Hehehe... Boy, did God have different, and far better, plans for me! And I'm so glad! When my oldest son was 3 1/2 he asked me to homeschool him. So I had to do some searching and I needed a strong scriptural foundation so I wouldn't be swayed. God put a wonderful mentor in my path (and she's still beside me even now) to help me get a vision. He gave me a fantastic Sister-In-Law, who also was mentoring and advising me along the way, and still does to this day, as well. And currently I have many sweet moms in whom I've found great support in their company. But the post below is what I learned one afternoon, sitting at my mentor's dining table. As a new homeschooler or even someone who needs refreshing, I encourage you to get a vision. So grab a cup of tea and get comfy.

Let's begin with this huge question... What is education?
Matt 15:9 says, "Their teachings are but rules taught by men."
Col 2:8 says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Can you see where I'm heading here? Man has no authority to say what knowledge and wisdom are, although men like to think they know. But God has this to say: Col 2:2-3 "... Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

In Jesus Christ are hidden these things. He is the one we need to seek to have wisdom and knowledge, and therein is the secret.
Prov 9:10- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Prov 1:7- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Prov 111:10- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.

It's obvious that fearing God is key to gaining any knowledge, wisdom, or understanding.
Prov 23:23- Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.
Prov 4:7- Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom, though it cost all you have, get understanding.

We may be confused by seeing people who seem to be wise and knowledgeable, having good educations, and great jobs. They may seem to lead very successful lives and be quite influential, and it just may seem that what we see in life and what we hear from God's word seem to contradict each other. But James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." And Matt 5:45 says "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Every good thing we have, physical, spiritual, or mental is from God! Every time you see a beautiful person, skilled craftsman, etc. you are seeing something that God has revealed of his own. Every talent is His. He gives to His creation, however it can result in pride in us... And pride is trust in ourselves, not in God!

Okay, so wisdom and knowledge and understanding come from God, and they come from fearing God. Not rules of man. We've got that established...

Who, then, is responsible for our child's education?
Prov 27:23 says "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds." (Oh, you can already see where I'm heading here, huh?)
Prov 6:20-23 says "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life."
Okay, there are TONS of verses in Proverbs that say things like listen my son to your father's words/teaching, etc... So I won't write all of them for you. There's some homework! Grab your Bible and dig in. :)

What an awesome responsibility and opportunity it is to have children under your roof! To see life in the way that God intended it to be is seeing a good plan.

Who will teach our children?
Titus 2:1- You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

At some point there comes a decision whether we should teach our children, or choose someone else to help us teach them these things. Even if you bring your child to another teacher, his/her education is your responsibility before God. God has set our little ones right on our lap! As long as we have access to them in their growing up years, we are accountable for them. The reason that whom we choose to teach them is so critical is that God has a goal in mind for our children, and that is that they learn to come to Him. They will learn things wherever they are, but will it be feeding their heart with pride, or with awe and worship of God? God wants to lead US to a place where HE is our personal teacher. He promises to lead and protect us on this journey through time. If you decide to ask for help, by placing them in a school of some sort, check to see if you are going to be unequally yoked, ie- a public school where secular humanist values would be imparted.

You may be thinking "But I don't have the gift of teaching or the interest to teach my children. I don't have the patience and couldn't do it even if I wanted to. My kids don't listen to me. I am not that organized!"

Let me tell you that the Lord has a wonderful plan in prescribing mothers to teach their children. Whether we question our family being able to work together or are wanting to have our own time during the day, I believe God is more than aware of our situation. He has hope right in the middle of it for us.
Lam. 2:12 "They cry to their mothers, 'Where is bread and wine?' as they fain like the wounded man in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out ontheir mother's bosom."
The children in this verse are crying to their mothers for bread and wine. Who is this bread and wine? Jesus!
Lam. 2:19 "Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street." Wow! This convicts me strongly to be on my knees all the more!

God so graciously uses the frustrations and impossibilities of our lives in hope that we will give up trying and call on Him to redeem every detail of the situation.
Ps 31:15 "My times are in your hands..." God has a way for us to spend our time on earth that will be rewarding for eternity. We don't have to worry that our time will not be our own. We must lift up our eyes.

1 Cor 15:58- therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (I love that verse!!)

What should a child be taught?
I love Is 54:13- "all your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace."
Ps 32:8- "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle, or they will not come to you."

I believe that we need to teach our children to know GOD, not just to know. If I want them to know God, how do I do that? They learn of Him through His Spirit, His Word and His creation... So my job is first to disciple them to Christ so they can hear from His Spirit.

They must learn to read, write and to reason so they can read and share scriptures. This is critical. Yes, it is important to have the ability to do these things to gain employment and more. But the first and most important reason is to know God through His Word.

Now, to learn His creation- that includes the heavens, the earth, and the seas. That covers every subject you can imagine. The heavens would include weather patterns, clouds, planets, etc, etc. The earth- plenty of science, history, and more. The seas- water creatures, currents, and on goes the list. This all helps them to see God in everything, to see His glory. Recognizing Him and His glory in everything is a wonderful education.

Here's a practical example... Let's just say you are working in the garden together and you discuss the watering of the plants. Then talk about why Jesus is the Living Water. Learn first the physical and then the spiritual. Homeschooling happens all day long in the most amazing ways! How about worship? Music is a great part of any child's life. Don't get me wrong, I think worship includes far more than just music. But God does say He inhabits the praise of His people. When we praise Him, whether we feel like it or not, His presence is in this in a special way.

Of course, there are lots of things to teach, character lessons (learned through the Bible...) and art and math and so on. All these things are taught in order to bring glory to the Lord. One thing I'm seeing missing in so many of today's youth is a fear of God! Isaiah said that they would be "Wise in their own eyes..." and it is very true. If the academics are the most important thing, then we've made it a god and we've missed the point entirely. If we start with God and His Word, and learn all things to His glory, what an education that would be, indeed!!

Matt 6:33- But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

A timely reminder there! These are the most important things- His Kingdom and HIS righteousness. Not mine or what any man might think...

Another verse I recently found is 2 Cor 10:5- "Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." I love this one- man has every argument and high thing exalting themselves against the knowledge of God, either knowingly or unknowingly, obvious or subtle...

What about grades?? What if my child isn't learning what the kid next door is learning? What if the scope and sequence says one thing and we're not doing what it says!!?
2 Cor. 10:12-13, 18 "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you... For it is not the one who commends himself approved, but the one whom the Lord commends."

You may be getting the point that the most important thing is doing what God asks, teaching according to His standards and timing, and not worrying about what man says or thinks. When your child stands before God it is not going to matter what facts he's memorized, but did he learn of God? All learning is supposed to point to God because "knowledge puffs up." I'm not saying curriculum is a bad thing, it is a tool. We aren't supposed to be slaves to the curriculum. God will show you how to teach your children, there are so many styles available! So in chosing curriculum, just pray! Don't let catalogs overwhelm you. God will give you clarion vision as to what you ought to use and how to use it and when/if you are to change. Sometimes I'll use something and it works great and then we hit a wall. And that happens when A) God wants to switch what we're using or B) I have begun to lean on my own understanding and need to lean on Him more!
I could go on and on and post hundreds of verses, but I hope this gives you the start of a vision for your homeschool. Be blessed!

You can visit ourhearts4home at her website, Hearts4Home and read more about her reflections on homeschooling, family and our Heavenly Father.


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Please keep your words godly and befitting that of a son and/or daughter of Christ. God bless you.