Resources

Ocean.jpg
Subscribe to RSS feed Get updates via e-mail

The Home School Dilemma

November 22, 2014
Home_School.jpg

Should a parent home school their children? Should a parent send their children to a Christian school? The answer is yes! This article explores a personalized and customized approach to Christian education.

The Home School Dilemma

One Goal, One Purpose, One Vision

Pastors and Christian school administrators in fundamental circles across our great country need to discuss, analyze, debate, and pray about a growing dilemma in the local church body as it relates to Christian education. There has been an explosion among church members who have elected to home school their children which has created a host of new and challenging issues for Christian school educators. Many local churches, their Christian schools, and the corresponding school boards do not know how to respond or react to this widespread choice of teaching children in the home. Some local church bodies are trying to address the issues, while others are ignoring the home school phenomena. A small group of churches are taking a staunch anti-home-schooling position. Whatever your position currently is, I hope that this essay will heighten your awareness of the thoughts and feelings of this home school family and will bring churches and Christian schools alike to the understanding that they must formulate and communicate a coherent policy on this issue.

Why home school? Philosophically, this is a question that elicits a host of responses depending upon the Christian parents that you are talking to. Some parents we would define as home school zealots, believing that this is the only right way to teach your children and protect them from the pressures and sins of this world system. Other parents simply feel that the Lord has given them the God given ability, patience, and call to be able to teach their children in the home and want to follow the Lord’s leading in this matter. Some parents are deathly afraid of the effects that a public school (we will call this “government school” hereafter) would have on their children. Others still can’t afford to send their children anywhere else and want to avoid the government schools. Theologically however, there is one common theme that all Christian parents would give as the primary reason to teach their children in the home. They all want to see their children taught Biblical principles and raised in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).” Home school parents desire their children to become more Christ like. As members of Bible believing churches, a home school parent’s desires are no different than families that elect to send their children to Christian schools which exist as a ministry of those same Bible believing churches.

Let us take a look at a fictional church which could be representative of the constitution and by-laws of many churches and Christian schools across America.

The Christian school states:

  1. The Christian Academy exists as a ministry of the Baptist Church in order that the Christian parents may be assisted in their God-given responsibility to bring their children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).” Recognizing that all truth is God, the Bible is upheld as the unifying basis of all the academic disciplines, and the guide to all interpretation of reality.

  2. Desiring to see each student strive for Christ likeness, the Baptist Christian Academy seeks to train Christian youth of every ability in the highest principles of Christian leadership, self-discipline, individual responsibility, personal integrity, and good citizenship.

  3. The board of deacons of the Baptist Church serves as the school board of the Baptist Christian Academy. To expedite school business matters, a school committee including pastors, principle, three deacons, and various parents of academy students meet regularly.

I praise the Lord for this one fictitious church’s clear vision of what the purpose and responsibility of the Christian Academy really is. As it states, it exists as a ministry……that the Christian parents may be assisted………. It would appear that home school parents and Christian school parents would be in total agreement and alignment as it relates to their children, or are they?

So what are those new and challenging issues facing our fundamental pastors and Christian school administrators across our country as it relates to Christian education? There is a growing number of home school families that want to access part of the Christian school ministry, whether it be academically, athletically, or both. This particular group of home school parents feel that they can broaden the scope of their children’s education by having the Christian school assist in specific areas of academic or athletic training and discipline. They feel that as part of the local body of believers who support the church (of which the Christian school is a ministry) with their time, tithes, prayers, and dedication that they respectfully should be allowed to have their children integrated in specific areas of need. These parents feel that the Lord has given them one opportunity to teach their children and prefer not send them to a government school or alternative Christian academy to seek that additional academic and/or athletic training. They desire to get that additional training within the context of that local body of believers. They understand that legally they are entitled to access those aspects of the government school they feel would enhance the development of their children. However, they do not desire to unite with any part of the government school system.

There are many fundamental churches today who have decided not to allow integration of their home school family members into the Christian schools. In the past the position has been all or nothing. This simply means that you either enroll your children into the Christian school or you elect to go the home school or the government school route. There has been little to no room for the home school parents to maneuver and access part(s) of the Christian school ministry. Parents want choices. Parents would like to design and craft educational experiences that are unique and specific for the individual child based on their particular aptitudes and interests. This situation has created a unique dilemma and is very perplexing at its core.

In many instances across our beautiful country the local church body willingly and strategically gives financial support to their Christian school ministries. These Christian schools are working with very tight budgets and need the financial support from their local church. This has created situations from the pulpit where family members are asked to financially support (by faith) the Christian school ministries but are denied access to various parts of that same ministry! Praise the Lord that we have a great God that can work out all of the minor details of Christian education! The Bible believing churches today who have decided not to integrate the home school families have an additional challenge ahead of them of keeping the unity and harmony among the brethren. We must not let this become a divisive issue in the church body. The ability to keep this unity will be one of the biggest challenges that a Pastor will face in the future. While disagreement about non-integration of home school families may not manifest itself in outright rebellion or resentment, there will be an “understanding” that participation and access have been denied. There will always be a question and notes of concern from the home school contingent as to the bottom line explanation of why? Does the local church really care about the Godly development of my children? While I know in my heart that they do and the answer is yes, the decision to stay the course of non-integration leaves lingering questions and points to a less compassionate point of view. This is an especially difficult decision because in the flesh you are talking about denying a parent’s child an opportunity for growth, while it is certainly within the local church’s decision making authority and purview to grant that access. This can be a highly charged emotional issue when you are talking about a child’s Godly development. Especially in lieu of the fact that the government schools across America would welcome them with open arms relating to limited participation. It is this author’s opinion that total unity and harmony will not be realized and take place among the brethren until the local church leaders have communicated a clear position on this issue and have correspondingly formulated a cohesive policy. We need to get on our knees before our God and ask for his wisdom and direction in this matter.

I truly believe that a day is coming when pastors will stand up behind the pulpit, take their notes out of their Bible and glance up at their congregation as they get ready to preach and realize a very curious thing. That realization is that a very large part of their local church body has decided to home school their children. That pastor suddenly realizes what his vision for the future is relating to Christian education……………………

I envision a local body of believers rejoicing that the Christian school ministry is a ministry of the entire church body. It is a ministry open to all church members in good standing, to be able to teach their children God honoring principles. I envision a local body of believers where total integration has taken place. All church members have a genuine love for one another’s children, while participating in their development and guidance. I envision a local body of believers where church members have access to all or parts of the ministries of the local church body. A local body where all of the members are excited about supporting the Christian school ministry with their time, money, and prayers. They are excited about supporting the Christian school, because the school is totally integrated. It is considered a ministry because all members have access. I envision a Christian school where the focus is on loving, developing, and teaching one another’s children, not worrying about who gets the praise or recognition. A body of believers where there is total harmony and agreement about the function of Christian education, not one where there is any degree of separation and exclusivity. One where Godly principles of Christian discipline are enforced for both Christian school and home school children alike. Where the standards are firm, fair, and God honoring.

A local body where there is One Goal, One Purpose, and One Vision! 

Praise the Lord!    

Psalm 133:1 – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Ephesians 4:3 – “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 6: 4 – “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”


Comments

Leave a Comment