Thursday, May 16, 2013

Against The Flow - Christian Homeschooling

homeschooling in Australia

Part of the reason we chose to homeschool after spending time in a local state school was because we wanted to teach our kids Christian values. We had the opportunity to experience education and socialisation in a secular environment which helped us realise how important it is that not only our home life be centered about the person of Jesus but also our children's education.

I have mentioned numerous times about homeschooling being a socially unpopular choice. It is also a counter-cultural choice. But what many people don't realise is that we often face opposition from other Christians and Christian leaders. Homeschoolers really are going against the flow!

Even in church communities we are taught that it's best to go with the flow - just follow the majority and we should be right. The problem? We end up using imperfect people to guide our decisions rather than look to the word of God. We stop following God and start following church culture and church leaders instead. Sadly, often times church culture is not so different to the culture of the world and we find ourselves going with the flow rather than listening to what God might be saying to us.

"Do not conform to the patterns of the world but instead be transformed in the renewing of your mind. For then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:2

Understanding why Christians feel so convicted about homeschooling really requires a change of thinking - a renewing of the mind. We have all been raised to think a certain way about education. If we grew up in a home that believed state education was the way to go then we probably believe this to be right or true. If we went to an elite private school then we may believe this education to be superior to other options. To understand the value and mission of Christian homeschoolers we have to address WHY we think a certain method of education is best. This then explains why we may (incorrectly) believe that the alternatives to our own beliefs surrounding education must be inferior, or even wrong.

God did not create us to all be the SAME - We are unique, one of a kind!

I know that after attending a rather elitist private school I had to wrestle with my own prejudice against non-University educated people. Yes, really. I was immersed in a school culture that believed high achievement was the key to success and a University education made me superior. It was a slow process as God changed my thinking. God does not value achievement, vocation or a worldly definition of success - he values our heart, our character and our obedience.

We are wise to find our true worth and value in HIM and not in the values of the world.

For this reason, homeschooling can be an isolating experience. My lifestyle and values are just so vastly different to those around me. It's hard when you know that whenever you mention homeschooling that people are making judgements and assumptions about your family. It can even be people you love and trust the most who hold on to their strong opinions and prejudices. 

It's lucky that we are not here on earth to gain everyone's approval! We are only called to be obedient to our heavenly father and he is the ONLY person that we need to give account to. e.g I'm not answerable to the lady down the road who looks at me disapprovingly when I take my kids for a bike ride when they "should be at school". 

The longer I homeschool the more I feel convicted that homeschooling is right for our family. As I seek God and his word, I'm also beginning to learn more about God's design for families and raising children. I'm amazed at how God is continually 'renewing my mind' to see things differently and changing my own attitudes, prejudices and wrong thinking.

Sometimes I get discouraged when I look at our churches and how far removed our lifestyle and cultures are from the word of God. It's just so easy to be worldly and to forget that God has set us apart and called us to be different. We are not called to be the same but we are called to go against the flow and even though sometimes it's hard to step out, God will always honour our obedience with blessing. 

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