Why We Home Educate
Purpose of Education
Education is more than a gathering of knowledge – a good education should equip a child to
regurgitate knowledge, but more importantly a well-educated child should be able to:
Think and reason
Gather, investigate and organize information
Speak and write with clarity, precision and eloquence
Government and Private Schools generally fall short of this goal, but H.E. (Home Education) offers the opportunity to teach it all. The basic problem with an institutionalized classroom setting is that the class must go at the pace of the slowest person in the class, thereby shortchanging everyone else. H.E. has the flexibility to go at each child’s individual pace, and to focus on their own interests and gifts. Education happens all the time. When a parent gives their child over to the government system, they tend to opt themselves out of their own necessary involvement, and aren’t aware of where their child needs help. With H.E., a parent knows exactly what their child has been taught and where to focus extra effort for their shortcomings. For example, a child may be able to do his general math well, but the parent may not realize he has difficulty counting change or telling time. A report card will not show those shortcomings, so the parent may be completely unaware of it.
Content of Education
As Christians, we believe that since God created the universe, it is essential to keep
God at the center of education. To neglect this is as pointless as studying the artwork
of Rembrandt without ever mentioning Rembrandt himself. As a child studies the
world around him, he learns more about the God who made it all, and therefore
grows closer to God, and this is the ultimate goal a Christian parent should have for
their children, as the apostle John says in 3 John vs. 4: “I have no greater joy than to
hear that my children are walking in the truth.” John 17:17 declares that “…Your Word
is Truth,” so God and his Word must be central to a Christian’s education.
Accuracy of Education
Even such concepts as Mathematics point to the idea of Immutable Laws and
therefore an Immutable Lawgiver, a concept that is being challenged today by the
faulty postmodern idea that Truth is relative. It is important that our kids are taught accurate information about all aspects and subjects. Historical revisionism is altering historical facts for the purpose of changing what people believe today. The question over whether our Founders were Christians or Deists greatly impacts what we believe our country should be like today, so it is vital that our children get an accurate account of History.
Science also is a tricky subject. The Creation/Evolution debate hinges on a proper understanding of the definition and limitations of science.
Character in Education
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of education is to train the character. It’s more important to
have good character than good education. History is full of thoroughly educated people who have
committed great atrocities. Education does not prevent one from being evil – it only allows a person to be
evil with greater impact. An honest but ignorant man is far more honorable and respectable than an
educated but dishonest one.
A classroom teacher may be able to inform a class about character principles (although this happens
very rarely), but this is a very low priority in government and private schools. Also individualized training
and observation is not possible in the classroom setting. A home-based educational system can offer
continual training and guidance to children in this area, and there is no fear that the character values of
the parent are in conflict with the character values of the educator or of the educational system.
Family Centeredness in Education
All of society is rooted in the family, so it is important to us to keep our family strong and together. H.E.
insures that the family is together, and being so, must learn to work through differences. If one cannot
learn to do this in the family, how can one be expected to learn it in the workplace or the marketplace?
Parent-guided training through childhood arguments better equips kids how to properly handle adult arguments later in life, and even how to properly handle adult arguments where the other adult has not been so trained.
Peer Influence in Education
We’ve all heard of the dangers of peer pressure, but in a family, peer influence tends to be a positive thing. Older siblings can help the younger ones with their school work and other practical matters. This encourages the older siblings to:
Be better students themselves, (for the best way to learn something is to try and teach it to someone else)
Learn leadership skills, trustworthiness and responsibility
Have a stronger relationship with their siblings
Develop an ability to communicate clearly and effectively
Learn patience and creativity as they try to explain things to a younger mind
Socialization in Education
Perhaps the biggest myth about H.E. is the idea that H.E. kids are not properly socialized. True, if done
improperly, H.E. can fail in this aspect (as it can in any other), but overall, H.E. kids are better socialized
than their government educated peers. There are several reasons:
H.E. kids are normally around kids and adults of various ages. Government educated kids spend
most of their day around only kids of their own age.
H.E. kids have direct parental contact whenever a disagreement occurs. Government educated
kids normally have their disagreements away from adults and proper training through those encounters.
H.E. kids spend time among other H.E. kids, (who are therefore better educated and trained), so their conversations generally occur at a level closer to that of adults.
H.E. kids are often trained how to interact in various situations: on the telephone, at the store, when being introduced to someone, when speaking before an audience, etc.
The general character of us sinful humans (and especially children who are less able to cope with temptation and peer pressure) is to act like those around us, and it’s usually the evil ones who have the greater impact. So when a group of people get together, the general moral (and sometimes intellectual) level hovers near the lower end of the average level of the individuals.
Ability of Parents to Educate
Studies show almost no difference in the test scores of H.E. kids whose parents have no college degree vs. those whose parents do have a college degree. (and the ‘almost no difference’ is actually in favor of those without the degree). There are vast numbers of teaching resources available to parents in every subject, so a parent need not be afraid of their own lack of knowledge in any particular subject, for the resources lead one through the teaching process as well. And even if a parent is still not convinced of this, there are many other options around this: exchanging with other H.E. parents the teaching of certain subjects, bringing in a private tutor (perhaps an older H.E. student who is in need of developing leadership or communication skills), or online studies.
Most H.E. families finish their formal educational day by lunchtime. There is sometimes homework afterward, but the educational day is generally much shorter than a public school. However, the parent still must take the additional time to prepare lesson plans and obtain materials, and this is on top of the general maintenance of a house and home. This is still less time than holding a full-time job (assuming that the parent must still maintain the home).
The average amount spent by homeschoolers on a child’s annual education is $500. There are many ways to keep costs low. Resources can be purchased used from Ebay, Craigslist, Paperback Swap, H.E. conventions, and from other local H.E. parents. A little creativity goes a long way in this area. Rather than buying paper, one can get free ‘end rolls’ from printers and newspapers to use for writing and drawing. Textbooks used on an older child can be reused on a younger. Online resources are often downloadable. The public library is free, and most are part of a library system which can request materials from other libraries within the system, also for free. Some argue that a single-income is generally not possible for home education, but most of us have gotten content with our extremely high standard of living, and aren’t aware of the many frivolous expenses we have. A close scrutiny at the family budget can quickly separate the financial needs from the financial desires.
For the purposes of not being offensive to those of you who may struggle with this issue, we tried to focus on the positive aspects of H.E. rather than emphasizing the negative aspects of government schooling. There are certainly many books and other resources that cover this, but we would refer you to www.hslda.org and www.consideringhomeschooling.org.
In every aspect of education and preparation for adulthood, H.E. offers the best solutions for Christian families, and we hope you seriously consider all aspects of how to raise your children in a Biblical manner.