Rose, Barbara: HOMESCHOOLING: STAYING THE COURSE

by Barbara Rose
American Christian History Institute

Mr. Rose and I have a burden for home schooling parents in this day and age. It is easy just to drop out of our public schools for negative reasons, but the perseverance and character it takes to home school requires more than negative reasons.

Homeschooling is answering God’s command in
Deut. 6:7: “You shall teach (God’s principles) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (NASV)

In Eph. 6:4 Scripture commands fathers “to bring up (their children) in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”{NASV)

And in Jeremiah 10:2 (KJV) God commanded the Hebrews to “learn not the ways of the heathen…” These commands constitute the heart-beat of Christian homeschooling.

I recommend that every home schooling parent read the history of the 20th century battle to home school entitled Home School Heroes, the Struggle and Triumph of Home Schooling in America by Christopher Klicka of HSLDA, a home schooling father of seven.

“Home School Heroes is a book of stories of God’s faithfulness in answering the prayers of brave fathers and mothers, obeying His call to teach their children, while facing very intense and difficult legal opposition in the 1980’s and 90’s. This book tells the stories of God’s miraculous deliverance of these homeschooling parents in the courts and in the legislatures, while explaining what to do when faced with social workers, police, and truant officers at their door.” (Christopher J. Klicka)

In the early 1980s it was legal to home school in only 5 states. Mr. Klicka gives one example of extreme adversity in “North Dakota where nearly every home educator who was discovered by state officials was taken to criminal court, . . .” “Many families set up escape routes so that their children could run out the back door and hop over a fence if a truant officer came to the door.” (p. 9) “Homeschooling was hard in those early days. It took a person under great conviction from the Lord to take this big step to challenge the authorities and teach their children at home.” “This book is about families who, hearing the call of God, stood firm.” (p. 10)

Homeschooling in America goes back to the founding of our country and through the colonial period. HOLD UP THE “T” SHIRT: I Am Home Schooled and so were”—George Washington Martha Washington, Patrick Henry, James Madison, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Jonathan Edwards, John Paul Jones, Abraham Lincoln—to name a few.

Mr. Klicka states that as “public schools were formed and compulsory attendance laws were passed throughout the country in the early 1900s, homeschooling almost died out. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the home school movement was reborn.” (p. 12)

Do our children belong to society? Senator Hillary Clinton once said: “it takes a village” to produce anything. But God says that our children are His gift and that “the responsibility and the authority to teach and raise the children (is delegated) to the parents first.” “Parents can delegate the authority” to someone else (ie. private or public school) “but they can never delegate the responsibility to teach their children to anyone else. God will always hold parents responsible…” (Klicka, pp. 15-16) To whom much is given, much is required. The Scriptures confirm that we can have “no greater joy than . . . to hear of (our) children walking in the truth.” (III Jh. 1:4)

You have this conviction or else you would not have chosen to home school. But there are parents who only home school as an alternative to public education but not out of submission to God’s command.

The battle to home school had been won by men like Michael Smith, Michael Ferris and Christopher Klicka of HSLDA and others. Today, homeschooling is legal in every state but not without challenges.

So, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour: But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (I Pe. 5:8-9)

Using Noah Webster’s definition of education embraced nearly 200 years ago, let me remind you of the four minimal goals of Christian education: to “enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents . . . who neglect these duties.” (Webster, Noah, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828)

Now consider the following excerpt from Rosalie Slater’s book: The Family and the Nation: Biblical Childhood, FACE, 2002
“As American Christians, our accountability includes the trust God gave us in our liberty—to use it for His glory, to honor Him in its practice. We must instruct our children in the art of self-government. . . In God’s providence, we have a peculiar calling among nations– . . . that includes both the propagation of the Gospel and the keeping of the torch of Christian civil liberty for all.” (Slater, p. 135)

Consider the example of the Hebrew home. In her study of Biblical childhood, Miss Rosalie Slater observed that the Hebrew home was not only deeply religious but that “central in the . . . home was the observance of providential events in the history of Israel in which the children took part.” Fathers would relate “in language which a young child could understand, the ‘whole national history of Israel, from the calling of Abraham down to the deliverance from Egypt and the giving of the law.’” “The more fully this account was given and the better it was explained, the greater impression it made upon the memory of each child present. So from the time of babyhood were the young of each new generation made aware of details of their unique history of liberty.’” . . . “The nurturing Hebrew home has affected history extraordinarily. The Prophet Samuel faced the very conditions of spiritual decline and calamity that we face in America today by giving an answer that is a challenge to every Christian leader of this generation. . . . Because Samuel learned to hear and obey God at a young age, he became an instrument of reform in his nation.” (Slater,
p. 136)

“Samuel’s ministry to the homes of Israel convinced him that the educational level of the nation had plunged during its years of failed leadership from the priesthood. ‘In his long wanderings up and down among the people, during his toil in the course of his vast labor of religious restoration, he had seen how deep was the ignorance of the children of Israel. . . .” (Ibid)

“Samuel’s great work began with revival, repentance, and restoration—and it began in the families of the nation. It was a direct outcome of his own family life and preparation that sprang from the prayers of his mother, Hannah, and the faithfulness of his father, Elkanah. Samuel’s first work, too, with the Schools of the Prophets allowed the nation to build back the ability to become a GOD-REMEMBERING people.” (Slater, p. 137)

Can we do anything less? God, in His Providence, gave Americans a Christian history of liberty and self-government. Remembering our Christian history and repeating it to the next generation could be one of the great instruments of revival and reform in our nation just as it was in Samuel’s time!

In Nehemiah 4:13 we learn how the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. “. . . on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains that the people made their prayers unto God. “The instruction Christ has given us in our spiritual warfare agree with this example, Mt. 26:41 ‘Watch and pray.’ . . . he set them after their families, that mutual relation might engage them to mutual assistance.”

Just so, the walls of our country have to be restored—walls of Biblical truth, family, church, morality, America’s Christian history and self-government—the old paths—paths of blessing, truth, responsibility, and obedience to the Word.

What was God’s plan for rebuilding the wall? People were set as families with their swords, their spears, and their trowels. With the Word of God and our hearts and minds renewed for a capacity for Christian self-government, we can make our families instruments of healing in our communities, state and nation.

“Come, says he, be not afraid—behave yourselves valiantly.” We are in a battle not only for our families, but for our nation. Matthew Henry concludes: “Whom do you fight for? You cannot have a better cause; you fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters. All that is dear to you in their world lies at stake; therefore behave yourselves valiantly.”

I trust that you are not homeschooling just to get your children out of the perversion of the public school but in obedience to God who can restore us as “one nation under God”.

As Mr. Klicka reminds us: “The average of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, and from dependency back into bondage. Homeschoolers need to be careful they are not undermined from within. We need to depend on God rather than government or we will return to bondage.” (Klicka, p. 293)

Stay the course. If God sustained homeschoolers in the past, “He will sustain you with the grace sufficient to handle your trouble” today. “He will work all things ‘together for good to those who love (Him) to those who are called according to His purpose.’ ” (Ro. 8:28) God will not give (you) more than you can bear . . .” (Klicka, p. 304)

You want to continue to have the liberty to home school? Then, in the words of Isa. 58:12: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places (restore America’s Christian history and Christian self-government to your children): Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; And thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

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