Home School

Why do we home school?  

Christina and I have been homeschooling from the start. We've home schooled differently in various seasons of our life. We've home schooled largely independently. We helped start a large home school group and that was an integral part of our family's journey for a while. We home schooled and integrated our kids into a children's home schoolhouse with mostly English speaking Haitian kids for a season while living in Haiti. 

We've home schooled in various ways and do so for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the reasons why home schooling is right for us, some of the common misconceptions that don't apply to us, and some of the principles that lead us to encourage others who feel led by God to do consider home schooling as option for their family... 

1. We don't home school because we are "anti public school." That's not it at all. Some of my best friends are public school teachers. We aim to assert something positively in the direction of why we do what we do. We pray for our teacher friends and even gain insights and resources from them.

We believe that each family should seek the Lord in the context of their circumstances in order to discern what is best for their family. We want Christian families to know that home schooling is a viable, biblical, and accomplish-able option for their children.

We home school primarily because we believe that parents are the primary stewards of the development of their children. We are not suggesting or even trying to imply that this is done without the help of others, but we affirm from biblical principles that the primary influence of children ought to be their parents, their churches, and then broader associations with appropriate influences as determined by the parents as they are led along by the Holy Spirit and Sacred Scripture.

Parents who choose to send their children to an increasingly secular public school system, in our view, are gambling upon the quality and content and moral character of the teachers and staff that will be around their children. There are some great school systems and wonderful public school teachers but the fact remains that serious minded Christian parents are going to have to work harder to shape their children in a decidedly Christian worldview when the worldview that they are largely presented with in school comes from a secularist, materialist, and in many cases even a preemptively atheistic perspective. We want to be the primary cultivators of the character of our children and the lead guide with regard to the content of their education.

We recognize that not everyone is going to be in a position to do this, but we also want to advocate for people who feel led to home school that with the rise of Internet options, the flexibility of the home school schedule, and even many public schools that are providing resources to help families home school as a way of solving the crisis in many cities of school overcrowding, homeschooling is a much more viable option than it may seem on the surface. We also want to encourage people not to give up on the possibility of homeschooling just because it is a challenge.

We believe the challenge is worth the many rewards!

2. We don't home school because we want to keep our kids "sheltered" from the world. That is an unfair stereotype on many levels. This is a dangerous world. That are, in fact, some things that our children need to be sheltered from. When a delicate plant is a seedling a wise gardener will give it extra care or keep it in the greenhouse until its strong enough to weather some storms. The wisdom in that is obvious. Why is it less obvious when it comes to our kids? 

We don't keep our children in a bubble. While living on the mission field in Haiti, we exposed our children some of the bigger realities of the world that most American kids only know conceptually. For our family, like many other missionary families, abject poverty isn't a concept. It has a name and he is their playmate in Haiti. What does sheltered mean in the context of American public life? It can mean exposure to sex, drugs, and alcohol in early childhood. If home schooling helps reduce the likelihood of those things while creating opportunities for things like mission trips, public service, and other real world things, perhaps keeping our seedlings covered by some parental shelter until they are strong enough to weather the storms of life isn't such a bad thing. 

3. We don't home school because it is easy. Home schooling is hard! Some Christian families choose not to home school because they believe that it is a mountain they simply cannot climb. We hear all the time from people, "I could never do that!" That simply isn't true. Especially in a day when so much curriculum and instruction and help is available online and through various homeschool networks, co-ops, and communities. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of parents and children but it is very accomplishable for those who feel led to do it. We believe the Lord will equip you in specific ways necessary to homeschool your uniquely created child in the context of your uniquely designed family. Homeschooling isn't easy but we believe it is the best way, especially for Christian families, to pursue the unique God given calling on they are lives.

4. We homeschool because it gives us the best opportunity to do life together as a family. This idea of doing life together as a family has many subtle meanings for us. I am a Christian pastor and we are a missionary family to Haiti. Our schedule is out of seeing with the schedules of the majority of families. My big work day is Sunday, a day when most families could choose to vacation or spend time together outside of work or other obligations and commitments. Even Christian families will occasionally miss the Sunday worship gathering or go to church at an alternative time and a in order to be free for family events. My big seasons of the year are at times when other people have Christmas and Spring Break. Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to plan family time at alternative times of the year. This also affords us the availability to have our children very actively involved in the mission work we do in Haiti. Our children travel with us and with mission teams as Haitian Creole translators and have a deep investment on a very personal level into our overall Christian commitment and Christian lives. This would be difficult to do as often as we do it and at as deep a level if our children were not homeschooled.

We want to spend time with our children and we feel compelled that God has enabled us to be, equipped us to be, and called us to be the primary guides of our children in this world. We also just love our kids! we want to protect them and challenge them. We want to enjoy life with them and seek to bring God's best out of them. We're doing life together!

5. We feel led by the Lord to homeschool. At the end of the day, these are only some of the reasons we homeschool. And these and every other reason stand upon the foundation of the Lord's leading. We are convinced that homeschooling is a biblical concept, a right that should be afforded to everyone in a free society should they feel led to pursue it, and that it is right for us.

We are indeed homeschool advocates. Our encouraging of others in the direction of homeschooling is based essentially on the notion that those who feel led by God to do it ought to be encouraged and provided every resource necessary to do so. God's blessing on you and your family!

Here are some links to articles that speak very well to a distinctly Christian perspective on home schooling. Contact me with any questions on these or related matters. Dr. Chris Surber





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