02 February 2011

Thoughts On Homeschooling

For the first time in a long time if ever, I put 'pen to paper' and struggle to begin this particular article. I struggle with whether to write a neutral article, one which is neither here no there (that kind which leaves a reader feeling like he/she has basically wasted their time, people want to hear which side you're on and why). I struggle with whether to pick a side and support it when I am most likely not informed enough to make an objective, comprehensive and sensible argument.

Usually, with not much forethought, I just sit down and type away 'free verse'. It seems the whole issue of homeschooling is a a big deal in the Western church. The whole controversy, I'm not quite sure if I can call it that, is one that the Eastern body of Christ has been... spared?

First time I heard of homeschooling, my response was, "cool". Now my response is really, "wow, what a hot topic." I am really intrigued by it and amazed to some extent by the debate.

This is probably because homeschooling and the controversy surrounding it is a luxury we don't have in Africa. I call it a luxury because I'd rather be wrestle with homeschooling than with hunger, unemployment, sickness, lack of education, inadequate health care, abject poverty, AIDS etc. Over here, we are too busy fighting for our lives to begin talking about homeschooling.

I suppose the whole issue of homeschooling has arisen, in the West, due to: need. The moral fibre of western society has been gnawed at for so long and to alarming proportions that one can understand why homeschooling was conceptualized.

Well, I will do the safest thing here and rather than pick a side (and perhaps lose the few readers I am already battling to keep), perhaps mention a couple of thoughts on the whole issue. Although I might give myself away...

1) It is unfortunate that homeschooling must even arise. It is a sad development that a society's morals can decay to such an extent that men and women become so afraid for their children, that they have to pull them out as it were. It is unfortunate and yet expected. We can expect no better from this world. In fact, we would be in order to expect worse. This is because of sin. The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. The question is what is the Christian's response to a rotting culture and society? Perhaps a study to answer that question would unveil principles that can help determine whether homeschooling is the way to go or not.

2) It would be sin to make homeschooling the main thing. The gospel is the main thing. Jesus Christ is the main thing. As important as the whole issue of homeschooling is, it must not become an idol. As important as it is that families process and pray and seek the Lord's will over how to educate their children, if we find ourselves peddling anything that is a part over the whole, we sin. No theme must be most sang, most discussed and most cherished than the gospel. It is in the gospel that we must invest our resources (time, energy, etc). And that is a trap that Western brothers and sisters must be aware off. I don't think brothers and sisters should part company and fail to dwell in harmony because they cannot agree on the issue of homeschooling. I don't think God would buy it.

3) Homeschooling and the controversy surrounding it, has not taken God by surprise. In his infinite wisdom, he ordained that the issue arise. I wonder why. Could it be to test/sanctify the Western church? To see whether, even in such 'hot topics', the church does not get carried away with debate and controversy but perhaps agree to disagree and move on? It's so easy to get caught up and forget what is important, the gospel and mutual edification, fellowship and the means of grace, salvation and sanctification. For me, a development of factions among believers wrestling with this hot topic would be to fail the test.

4) One other issue about picking a side, is that, unfortunately, there is no neutral ground. I suppose that it's one of those issues where you are either here or there, or would a Christian school be neutral ground? I don't know... But in the process of choosing whether to home school a child or not, I think it would be prudent to work backwards. To study principles in the bible pertaining to the issue and build on those principles until finally a final decision is arrived at but based on a foundation of biblical principles. Is there an article or book that does that, where there is a neutrality about the flow of thought through biblical principles? Almost all that I've read seems to have a 'made up mind'. I think it is important to work like that over any issue and thus the need to be well grounded in the word. This process must be done prayerfully (with earnest and continuous prayer).

Well there you have it, a few thoughts from someone looking from the outside in on the whole issue of homeschooling.


Anonymous said...

tres interessant, merci