Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homeschooling a Calling, I'm not so sure

I used to believe homeschooling was a calling.  I think a lot of people use this verse as their basis for their "calling":
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

I like the points from this source:

First, and perhaps most obviously, these verses do not directly command formal homeschool (in the sense that homeschool is practiced today in Christian circles).
Rather, they instruct Israelite parents to consistently teach their children the things of the Lord within the normal activities of life. The passage says nothing about subjects like reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Second, Deuteronomy 6:5–9 is an Old Testament passage. Even if the passage instructed the Old Testament Israelites to practice formal homeschool (which it does not), such would not be a binding command on New Testament believers.

And this one:

“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.”
(Psalm 127:3)
And this one:

Train up a child in the way he should go,
      And when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Prov. 22:6)
 My problem with thinking of homeschooling as a calling and using the above verses is that - aren't Christian parents (all of them) called to teach their children about God and His ways?  

Can we say that we are "called" to teach our children math at the kitchen table?  I don't think so.  Can we say that we are "called" to teach our children about God and his commands?  Yes.  Because the Bible says so.

If you are going to tell me you are called to preach the gospel in Africa - that is something I can get behind.  Why?  Because of Matthew 28:18-20:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

I don't see any clear verses in the New Testament that says we are called to school our children at home.  And in fact the verse in Deuteronomy doesn't say anything about the three R's.  But if you see them let me know.  Don't be upset at this post.  I hope it makes us all think about the words we use and how we throw them around.  Being called by God is a very serious thing. 

Parents everywhere should teach their children about God and about Jesus Christ.  They should model Godly behavior.

Please don't think I am attacking you, I just want to make us think about why we say the things we do.  Are they actually biblical or have they been said so many times that people just think they are biblical because we use biblical language?

I am not saying homeschooling is wrong, just that it is a choice.

Thoughts?  Please use nice words.  I am open to convincing otherwise if you can provide correct Scripture in context.

Homeschooling is not the salvation of our culture. Jesus is. Homeschooling will not make a family successful. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a child from rebellion. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a marriage strong. Jesus does. And the minute, I think that homeschooling will do any of these things, is the day I begin the slide toward defeat. Homeschooling will not build a successful family any more than a hammer will build a successful house.  (Source)

Good reads:
Homeschooling is NOT the Gospel
Homeschool Blindspots
Does the Bible mandate homeschool
The Weaker, The Stronger, The Homeschooler
**What is God Calling Me To?


  1. Gretchen,
    For me, homeschooling my children was my calling from God. I do not believe it is a calling for every Christian parent. But I do believe every Christian parent is called to "bring them up in the training & instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:1).

    I believe that God has a plan for each of our lives & calls us to our walk of live. Some are called to preach, some to teach, etc. (Romans 12:1-8)

    Just like God calls one to be a pastor or a missionary or a businessman or a lawyer, I believe God called me to be a teacher. Little did I know, He meant for me to teach my own children. God did use several verses to show me that homeschooling was my calling.

    Matt 28:19-20 - "Therefore go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

    God called me to make disciples of my kids & to teach them full time. God also used the Deuteronomy 6 passage to call me.

    I do not believe homeschooling will save the world, it will not keep my kids from rebellion, it will not keep a marriage strong. But it is the method that God wants us to use for our family.

    If I was not positive that God had called us to homeschool, I would quit. Homeschooling is hard. With my Hubby traveling, it puts me in charge of the kids ALL the time. It would be easier to send them to school.

  2. For us homeschooling was more of a change of direction rather than a "calling". We had our first child in public school up until 4th grade. It was then obvious to us that we were to homeschool from then on out. It wasn't any scripture that we read it was just crystal clear circumstances (we believe directed by the Lord) leading us to it. Schooling for us has never been about providing a scripture to back it up. We believe the Lord directs every family differently and uniquely. But it's funny because I don't judge people for sending their kids to public school but yet those same people will tell me that I'm sheltering my children and so on.
    Ultimately we as parents have to make decisions that we believe is best for our family.
    Loved your thoughts.
    Have a lovely day.

  3. I agree with Lea that homeschooling is very hard at times, but I really do love it.

    I don't think we are commanded to, though, and that everyone has to decide what is best for their family.

  4. Gretchen, you know one of the many, many things I love about you? You take the stickiest, most passion-inspiring thoughts/beliefs and you beg people to passionately prove what they believe. You live a life of strength and passion and you want to see who else is doing the same. You are one in a million, Gretchen. I am so thankful to read your words and worship your God.

    I would like to "ditto" what Lea says and add this...if I did not homeschool I would be disobeying my God. That is saying nothing about anyone else in the world and what they do. I would disobey if I did not. Just like any temptation to disobey, it is sometimes tempting. ;) But, resist we much!

  5. @Lynn Berns
    First off, I love your comments. You say things in a way that makes it impossible to argue with you. It is a gift really.

  6. Gretchen, I was thinking about this conversation and you this morning in my sweet hour of prayer. This is what I came up with about you: Iron sharpens iron...and shreds baloney to ribbons. That's you, girlfriend! Take no prisoners, only converts! You rock!!!


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