A while back, Tim Challies drafted a series of articles, entitled “The Weaker, the Stronger, the Homeschooler.” In these articles he addresses an issue that has split the church in two. The importance of childhood education is not to be downplayed, and it is every parents responsibility to determine what is best for their children, but the seriousness of the decision does not determine a propensity for absolute authority.
“The way we educate our children is important—let’s not downplay this—but it is not a matter that is central to the Christian faith and not a matter in which the Bible indisputably demands one path or the other. If this is true, we must be willing to affirm that our decision may not be the decision of another person and that even in the same context two families can make opposite decisions and both be without sin.” – Tim Challies
This article led me to a study of early education and the implications of the forms used for instruction. This week on WOTG I want to spend some time discussing how we educate the next generation. I’ve already spent some time explaining how we are losing young adults, and I think that if we look back over the past twenty years we can see some of the things we have done wrong.
This week I am going to address three forms of education: Homeschooling, Private Schooling, and Public Schooling. With each of these I’m going to address the negative drawbacks and their positive advantages.
I’ve often said that if I were a parent (which not being one discredits me already) I would have to be willing to look into each one of my children and determine which form of education would be best for them. That means that if I had three kids I’d have to be willing to send one to public school, one to private school, and home school the other.
But before we get into breaking down each form, we need to establish a few principles and shatter a few myths.
Myth: (Form A) is the only way loving Christians should educate their children. Despite what you may have heard or what you’d like to think, the bible does not offer any definitive principles to suggest that one form of education is better than the others. End of discussion. I don’t mean to be rude and blunt, but anything else I have to say about it is just extra wordiness.
Principle: Every family should home school their child. Wait a second, you might be thinking, is this a myth or principle? You just said that no form of education was better than any other. Yes, I did. And I stand by that statement. However, that does not exempt parents from their responsibilities to educate their children. Whichever form the parent chooses for the education of their children, the primary responsibility for the development of their children rest on the parents and primarily the father. C.H. Surgeon says, “I trust you will never give up that excellent puritanical habit of catechising your children at home. Any father or mother who entirely gives up a child to the teaching of another has made a mistake.”
Exemption clause. If a child has unbelieving parents, or is an orphan in the church, it is the churches responsibility to establish surrogate parents to educate the child.
Myth: Biblical values can be established by outward forces. ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ (Pro. 13:24) is a principle, not a promise. It does not suggest that the more you beat the child the more holy they will turn out. Likewise, ‘Train up a child in the way that he should go’ (Pro. 22:6) is a principle, not a promise. You cannot beat spirituality into a child any more than you can work for your own salvation.
Principle: The Word of the LORD will not return void (Is. 55:11). When focusing on the Word, the intended outcome will always be accomplished. Parents are commissioned to teach the Word, not extract results. There are no guarantees in parenting any more than there are in predicting the weather. You have to wait until their is a sizable cloud before you can predict rain, and even then you could be completely wrong.