Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeschooling, The Right Choice, by Christopher J. Klicka

My cousin told me about 'Homeschooling, The Right Choice', by the late Christopher J. Klicka. Wow, what a great read! I'd love to read some of his other books as well.  It sounds like he was an amazing, Godly man, who fought tirelessly for the rights of parents to raise their children in a Godly manner. 

I already knew I did not want to send my children to the public school. But, after reading this, I'm even more sure!

It was a very eye opening book. There was not a lot about methodology, but he did give some awesome biblical reasons and verses to back up his premise that children need to be taught at home by their parents.

The first section is a dismal history of public education in America.  I knew it was largely based on John Dewey and Horace Mann's humanism.  But I did not realize how deeply it penetrated it, nor did I realize the long-term affects of it on our educational system today.  This quote from Mann sums it up: 'What the church has been for medieval man the public school must become for democratic and rational man.  God will be replace by the concept of the public good....  The common schools... school create a more far-seeing intelligence and a more pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men.'

But the problem is, of course, that man is sinful and incapable of good in and of himself.  And if left to his own devices, becomes more corrupt, sinful and selfish.  And that describes the majority of the children in American schools today.  The utopian idealism is a great thought, but it doesn't work out in sinful man.

Part II was excellent. Esp the first chapter (which is chapter 4).  The section was titled: 'The Rising Hope of Home Schooling'.  And chapter 4 specifically is titled: 'The Biblical Principles: A Support for Home Schooling and an Indictment of Public Schooling'.

"I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth."  Martin Luther

I'm going to give a summary of what he calls 'The biblical principles of education which support Christian home schooling.' And, of course, I will quote half of the chapter because it was so profound. 

1.  The Raising of Children is Delegated to Parents by God.  
Psalm 127:3-5 Behold children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.  How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Children are blessings AND arrows.  I love this quote: "What kind of arrows are we making as we educate and train our children?  Are our 'arrows' straight or slightly bent?  Are our 'arrows' completely finished and ready, able to endure their tasks ahead?  Or are they half made, weak, and not properly balanced?  Have we diligently crafted our 'arrows' so they can be trusted to hit their target as we launch them into the world?  Or have we simply worked on our 'arrows' here an there when we can fit time into our busy schedules?  Have we personally guaranteed our 'arrows' are the most carefully crafted and have the sharpest point, or did we hire some stranger ignorant of the way the Creator demands that arrows be made?  Are we training our children to be the best-prepared warriors for God?   These are the questions we must ask ourselves as we raise our children-the never-dying souls whom God has entrusted to us'.  Ouch! Wow, how succinctly put is that?!? 
He also makes the point that nowhere in Scripture has God delegated the raising of children to the government. It's always to the parents.  The times in Israel's history when they were educated by the state was when they were occupied by heathen nations (Moses, Joseph, Daniel).  God used those times, no doubt.  But he makes it clear that the responsibility lies first with the parents. 
"Parents can delegate their authority to raise and teach their children to someone else, but they can never delegate their responsibility to teach their children to anyone else.'  God holds parents responsible. 

2.  Children Still Belong to God.
Ezekiel 16:20-21-Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had born to Me.  And sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter?  You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols causing them to pass through fire.

God has given them to use to raise.  But he has expectations of us.  They ultimately belong to him, and he expects that we will take care of them like they are his.

3.  God's Conditions for Educating Children
Ephesians 6:4-Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

He defines nurture as 'loving, providing for, and carefully instructing them.  And admonition as discipline (spanking, admonitions, training, etc.)  'Let us train our children diligently in order to sear the truth of God into their very souls.'

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates

One of my favorites.  :)  Parents are to teach their children diligently in the instruction of the Lord. 'How can this be achieved if a child spends six to seven hour a day receiving a public education that teaches him to think as a non-Christian?'  Good point! It must be done daily, not just on Sundays or for a few hours in the evening.  

Psalm 78:5-7  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 

So we (parents) are to teach our children two things daily: 1. To put their trust in God and 2. To remember his deeds and keep his commands.

Galatians 3:24  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Our daily teaching of our children, of God's laws, will prayerfully lead them to Christ and salvation.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

But what happens if we train up our children in the way they should not go 6 hours a day, and only train them in the way they should go for 2 hours?

Some other verses us uses: Exodus 13:3, Joshua 4:20-22, 24, Isaiah 54:13.

4.  Commands to Train our Children's Minds

Jeremiah 10:2  Learn not the way of the heathen.  

Psalm 1:2-  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

II Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Colossians 3:2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

 'This responsibility is immense. Parents must train their children to think God's thoughts after Him. A godly education, therefore, is learning not only to believe as a Christian, but to think as a Christian.  Since Christian parents in the past have neglected their duty to follow this comprehensive approach in their lives and workplaces, while simultaneously believing as Christians.  In essence, many parents are raising humanistic Christians, many of whom are 'lukewarm' and not thinking God's thoughts after Him.'

'Parents are casting a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23) before their children by having them trained to think man's thoughts, instead of God's thoughts, over thirty hours a week.'  

Needless to say, the public school, with it's humanistic agenda, would be considered 'heathen' and 'arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God'  and not something that God would want our children to mediate on day and night.  Our children's minds are too important to waste!

5.  Negative Socialization in School

I Corinthians 15:33  Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

Proverbs 13:20  He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

It does seem that the majority of friends at the public school (and many Christian schools) would be considered 'bad company' and fools.  I love this answer for those who ask 'what about socialization?'  I need to remember it next time I'm asked. :)

 6.  Content of True Education

II Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 Proverbs 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 119:97-101   Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,  for they are ever with me.   I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.   I have more understanding than the elders,  for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path  so that I might obey your word.

'The goal of education according to Psalm 119:97-101  is to train children in God's laws so they can govern themselves, be wiser than their enemies, have more insight than their teachers, and understand more then the aged.  If we train our children this way God will no doubt find us faithful stewards of the children He has placed in our care.  Scripture speaks to every area of life.  It is clear that education is inescapably religious. Every subject, as a result, needs to be studied through the lens of God's Word.  If parents do this, their children will be equipped for every good work and able to apply God's principles to every area of life.  Their beliefs will not be separate from their thoughts and actions, as is so often the case with 'Christians' today.  

That is fabulous methodology.  Add some classics to the mix and I think you have a fantastic, complete curriculum!  :)

7.  Does Sending Our Children to Public School as Missionaries Make it Right?  

I Samuel 15: 22   "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

"Many Christian parents rationalize that they are sending their children to public school in order for them to be 'missionaries' to the unsaved children.  However, there are no biblical examples of children being used as missionaries, but rather adults are always the missionaries.  This means it is important for adult Christians to become public teachers and administrators, school board members, truant officers, and social workers."   I love that!  We do need people in the public school as beacons of light.  But God knows that we need to be equipped for good works. And that takes time and study.  Even Paul studied for 3 years before God used him as a missionary. 
"Are we trying to make a 'sacrifice' to God by sending our children to public school to 'save souls' while disobeying God's commands to us concerning raising our children?  We must remember to obey is better then sacrifice."

8.  These Biblical Principles Apply to Children in High School

9.  Home Schooling is a Biblical Form of Education

A natural conclusion to the following 8 points.  

'The goal of home schooling is to raise the children so that each of them will 'be diligent to present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth'.  II Timothy 2:15'

'As parents, we cannot escape the responsibility for how our children are trained and educated.  God will hold us responsible for the choices we make in regard to our children and to whom we delegate the authority to teach our children. ' 

That was my favorite chapter in the book and the one I learned the most from!

He extols the benefits of homeschooling: better spiritual lives, family lives and well-rounded socialization, one-on-one instruction, academic advantage.

He gives a lot of graphs, charts and stats throughout the book.  As well as studying the education of early leaders in America, and the world over. Most of whom were taught at home.

Chapter 8 gives 'Seven Practical Steps to Successful Home Schooling'. 
1.  Seek first the kingdom of God

2. Attend a home school conference.

3.  Choose a Curriculum

4.  Join a local home school sport group

5.  Establish discipline in the home

6. Develop and apply a Biblical worldview

The rest of the book talks about the legal issues surrounding homeschoolers.  

Yikes, it's scary!  The HSLDA has worked hard to bring back parents rights to train their children over the last 30 years.  And I'm so grateful for that!  But, like he says, we need to work hard to keep those rights, and overturn some of the legislation that is still in effect.  He highly recommends joining the HSLDA.  For $100 a year, you will have access to their legal services in case a social worker does come to your door, demanding that you put your kids in school.  I am not yet, but need to for sure.  They are a great organization as a whole, but also good to have in case of personal issues.  They will fight free of charge if it's in regards to homeschooling your children.  Neat, eh? 

All in all, an awesome book to read if you are homeschooling, or considering it.  I would like to read some of his other books also.  I love reading books by people who are passionate about something worthwhile! 

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