by Matthew McDill, Aug 2021
Some of my very favorite times as a dad are when I sit with my teens, enjoying some coffee and real-life conversation. We talk about school, work, relationships, faith, the Bible, the world, philosophy, politics, and anything else they have on their mind. There is nothing more rewarding than to see their spiritual and intellectual hunger grow, be satisfied, and continue to grow. Of course, this journey started long before they were teens. We teach our little ones basic truths about God and the Bible. We teach them about creation, the fall, salvation in Christ, and the coming judgment. We explain how these basic truths impact every aspect of life.
Many parents choose to homeschool for this very reason: to teach their faith and values to their children. This goal makes sense from a biblical perspective because parents are explicitly given the responsibility to pass on faith and love for God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:4). This goal makes sense from a constitutional and legal perspective because of the principles of religious freedom and parental authority. Unfortunately, many parents have abdicated this responsibility completely to the church or the school system. And the public school system seems to be happy to take this responsibility away from parents. Home education is an excellent path for accepting and fulfilling the parental responsibility of passing on faith and values to our children. I want to explore three reasons why this is true.
Preparation for life requires more than knowledge.
When I was in public school in Beaverton, OR, my mom had us come home early from school every Thursday. During that time, we had what she called “wisdom class.” She knew that we were gaining some knowledge at school, but she also knew that we were not sufficiently gaining wisdom there.
Knowing stuff is not the most important thing about us. Knowledge is undoubtedly important and necessary, but there is more. When we use knowledge rightly, it is called wisdom. We have historical examples of some very well-educated, brilliant people who were also horribly evil. The question is: What will our children do with their knowledge? The answer to this question comes from their values and character. In home education, we have the freedom to teach content that goes well beyond knowledge. We can spend significant amounts of time focusing on faith, values, and building character.
Education is rooted in worldview.
Where did the world and humanity come from? What is the meaning of life? What is right and wrong? What happens after we die? The answers to these questions are the foundation for how we understand the world. Everything we learn and receive as true has worldview implications. Our system of values and the decisions we make through life are based on our worldview. Therefore, we must recognize that children are not just receiving information at school but an entire perspective and philosophy of life. Many parents choose to homeschool today because it has become evident that the worldview being taught in public school directly undermines their family’s faith and values. Some areas of study that are most heavily impacted by worldview include science, history, social studies, and sex education. Homeschooling provides the opportunity for parents to teach every subject from a perspective that supports their faith and values.
Discipleship is built on time and relationship.
Discipleship is helping others to follow Jesus Christ. The goal is not to brainwash our children but to guide them to make their own personal choice to believe and follow Christ. Discipleship doesn’t come from discipline or primarily from giving information; it comes from living real life with our children. A parent who wants to help their children follow Christ will spend time with them and develop strong relationships with them. Effective discipleship takes place in the context of open, trusting relationships. Home education provides a wonderful context in which to develop those relationships as families eat together, play together, learn together, and explore and discuss life together.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to pass on faith and values to our children through homeschooling. If this is your goal, please take advantage of these resources that will equip you to do so.