Refreshing

and Re-Focusing

the Heart of

the Homeschooler

   

   
by Barb Shelton

   
It is vital to know what education is before we try to do it with and for our kids! But most folks, when first starting out, don't realize this. Why?  Our minds are still "unrenewed" in the area of education. Because we live in the culture we do, by "default" we have a certain preconceived idea of what "education" is, even if we have never studied it. In fact, I'd say especially since we have never studied it! But Romans 12:12 tells us to...

   
"Be transformed by the renewing of your minds."

   
IF indeed our hearts are to be refreshed, we must first renew and re-focus our minds. We desperately need to hear the Voice of the Lord over the voices of the world! and they are many and they are LOUD!... Isaiah 8:11-13 says...
   
"For the Lord spoke thus to me...and warned me not to walk in the way (or listen to the voices) of this people (and the public school system is one of the "Top 10 Ways of this People!"), saying: "Do not...fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of Hosts, Him you shall regard as holy; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. (And I would insert: let His be the Voice you heed!) And [if you do this] He will become a sanctuary." 
   
THIS should produce more fear in a Christian than school officials, or scope-and-sequences! ... 
   

WHY DO WE NOT NEED TO FEEL INTIMIDATED BY THE SCHOOLS?

   

And therefore why we should feel free to pull away from that kind of a system?  I'm going to give you two reasons: 
   
REASON # 1 - What the public school system considers to be valuable in an education is far from God's values. Let's look at JER.2:1114: (And I'm going to give you the "amplified version" as the Lord spoke to me between the lines...)
   
"But my people have changed their (educational) glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: 
   
a) -
"they have forsaken Me (and MY purpose of education, which I'm going to get into in just a moment) the Fountain of living waters, and...
   
b) -
"they have hewed out cisterns (or curriculums) for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no living water." 
   
In fact, as I'm sure you're aware, it is now law in our country that the public school curriculum-cistern, may not hold any living water.
  
John J. Dumphy presented the humanist position so well that his essay was awarded a prize. The following appeared in The Humanist in 1983: 
   
"A viable alternative (to Christianity) must be sought. I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into what they teach, regardless of the education level pre-school, day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new between the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of "love thy neighbor" will finally be achieved."
   
While this is not in the heart of every public school teacher, it is very much at the core of the philosophy behind public schooling. (There are many books written on this if you are yet unconvinced of this.)
  
REASON # 2 - It isn't fulfilling God's purposes for education. For one thing, It's "out of context."  It has taken God's purposes for learning totally out of the context, and made knowledge itself the goal; and end in and of itself. "Knowledge (alone) puffs up."  Let's look at II Peter 1:57 

   
"But also for this very reason, with all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness..." 

   

Let's look at this verse closer... Notice that the foundation of education is faith. It starts there and nowhere else!  So another reason the public school system isn't fulfilling God's purposes for education is that it is not founded on the Right Thing:  GOD!  

   

Then to faith we are to add virtue.  I looked up virtue, it is "morality, goodness, chastity, purity, virginity, and modesty." Is even ONE of these encouraged either by word, or example, or exposure in our schools?...
  
It is upon this foundation and only this foundation that knowledge is to be added!!! And then our knowledge is to be contained by self-control, girded with perseverance, hemmed with godliness, and proven and expressed with brotherly kindness.

   
At the very heart of every homeschooling parent there must be a correct perception of what "true education" is, as well as a desire to put that before anything else the world tells them about education. "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you..."
   
Webster's 1828 Dictionary definition of EDUCATION is: "the bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and 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 and guardians who neglect these duties."
   
I'd like to share with you what I call "Wisdom's 7 Pillars of Education."  This is just what I have come up with over my past seventeen years of observing and studying what "education" is.  I'll include a few scriptures where appropriate.
   
1 - Revelation of the Knowledge of God and His Will - "We... ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..." 
(Col. 1:911 NKJV)
  
2 - Closer Relationship With God -
"The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in His temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory. There I'll be when troubles come..." (Psalms 27:45 TLB) "And now, just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust Him, too, for each day's (homeschooling and child rearing) problems; live in vital union with Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him." (Colossians 2:67 TLB)

3 - Preparation for Roles in Life - (This one is obvious.)

4 - Preparation for (Specific) Life Calling/Purpose -
"If anyone purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work." I looked up "ignoble" and it means "dishonorable, evil, common; which equals average, standard, traditional, conventional, familiar, customary." (II Timothy 2:21) 
   
5 - Character Development -
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11 NKJV) 
  
6 - Basic Foundation of Knowledge to Function in Society - (I couldn't find this anywhere in the Word, yet it seems to be universally accepted wisdom and "truth" and, quite frankly, "a very high place" in our society. However I did find the following references that give specific guidance for gaining knowledge:)
"Do not let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men's thoughts and ideas (empty deceit), instead of on what Christ has said... He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power." (Col 2:810) 
   
7 - Equip with Tools to Learn for Life - (Again there isn't really a verse for this, but it is a biblical principal. See Wisdom's Way of Learning for specific and in-depth teaching in this area.) 
  
If there is one verse that sums up my philosophy of education, it is EPH.2:10:
   
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
   
As parents, we get to cooperate with God the God of the universe who created each and every person for a specific purpose, not just generic purpose in helping Him prepare each one for those specific good works that
"God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  THIS IS AT THE VERY HEART OF TRUE EDUCATION. AND A GENERIC, COOKIE-CUTTER, ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL EDUCATION WILL NOT PRODUCE THE FRUIT WE WANT, OR PREPARE SPECIFIC PEOPLE FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE.
   
But we cannot do this of our own strength. If we don't have a passionate love for God, we don't have any fuel for our vision. Nor we have anything of true, lasting value to pass on to our children. 
   
I firmly believe that an intimate relationship with God is what constitutes the ONLY SOIL HEALTHY ENOUGH for all our head knowledge to be planted in and grow from. Planted in any soil or on any FOUNDATION other than a solid, living relationship with the Living God, knowledge will only turn rancid and/or be barren and fruitless.
  
"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ..." (I COR. 3: 11)
   
Without a deep, passionate love for God, the One from whom all knowledge came to begin with, education is like clanging cymbals noisy and pointless. 
   
God wants to free up His people to follow His leading for how to homeschool; not just ask Him which Christian curriculum to get.
   
I believe with all my heart that God has a unique plan for each student a "river of living water" that He wants to release and unfold to each parent and student as they seek His will for these vital years.
   
But we are not free to receive this plan until we are willing to lay down our "old" ideas of what education is and let them "vanish away". He may very well give us back portions of what we had in mind, and we can certainly glean from those in the professional teaching business, but I do not believe they are the final authority when it comes to defining education. God is! 
  
And we need to hear HIS Voice above all the others! 
  
And we really can hear His voice!... In fact, it's actually a very basic aspect of being a Christian, not something just for the "spiritually advanced"!
   
Jesus said,
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (Jn.10:27) 
   
And this isn't just for "religious" stuff! If hearing God doesn't have to do with REAL LIFE, then it's pretty useless. But God is totally practical, and He wants to be an integral part of our daily lives, not just in our "churchy" activities.
   
Without God, "good things" can still be done for mankind, but I want a vision for my family that will have eternal value. I want them to be discipled to Jesus, inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and used and directed by the Father as part of the whole process.
   
Simply because of the culture we live in, we can expect that there is more "old" in our thinking our styles of teaching, and our attitudes than we are probably aware of, things that God wants to transform, and maybe some that He just plain wants to get rid of. 
   
But "the old" seldom dies a quick, easy death! It takes time. You may need to allow God to take you through what I call a season of re-education and renewing of the mind a season drawing close to Him for the purpose of letting Him do the needed work (surgery) in your heart. I recommend a number of resources for such a season, or you may already be in such a season, totally led by the Lord knowingly or unknowingly.
   
Some of us may need a "heart transplant" into God's way of thinking. Psalms 92 says:
  
"For they are transplanted into the Lord's own garden and are under His personal care."
  
No matter how uncomfortable the idea of "change" might seem to you, I assure you that you will reap wonderful, deep, lasting fruit from doing so... 
   
"For the moment all discipline (correction, change...) seems painful rather than pleasant; but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained (RE-trained or re-FOCUSED) by it." (HEB.12:11)
   
ALLOW God to do His work it in you! We can't do it ourselves; we don't have the keys or the power or the wisdom, but He does!
  
Fear and burnout have the same root; to be released from either, we need to begin with a heart transformation, which begins by focusing on Jesus:
  
"We know this, that when we see Him, we shall be (think, see, act) like Him, for we shall see Him as He really is."...

This is one of the most mind-baffling but exciting verses to me!  It was actually a breakthrough for me! The more we focus on God, His ways, His ideas, His vision, His goodness, and His character, the more we become like Him. Just by looking at Him! "Like Father, like son. Like Father, like daughter!"
   
Jesus said:
"Let not your hearts be troubled (about education, or tests, or your kids' future...), neither let them be afraid." (JOHN 14:1)...
   
Why did He say this? Because there was nothing to be afraid of? No, there's plenty to fear in this world! He said it, and continues to say it to us daily. And there are two good reasons we can believe this...
  
1) because He is Lord in the midst of our fears! not once they've passed away! He takes care of us!  And reason #2 is that 
   
2) He is bigger than ANY of our fears! 
"Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world," which includes in-laws, scope-and-sequence designers, and school officials! (1 Jn.4:4)
   
Once we have allowed God to deal with our fears and take us to this place of freedom and refreshment, we will be free to hear His voice, and therefore free to pursue His way of educating our children, and therefore immune to burn-out because we are carrying HIS burden, which is light; and wearing HIS yoke, which is easy. 
  
It is very simply NOT God's heart for His children to live in fear or reverence of anything, except HIM! Not: instructional objectives or scope-and-sequences, not fear of college, state law, or SAT's, not fear of  man including (again) in-laws, school officials.
   
God's peace and direction for the education of your children are yours just for the asking!  If you know God, you have access to all wisdom and knowledge not just "generic" knowledge, but very specific knowledge of what to do with and for your children...

        

   
"IF ANY OF YOU LACKS WISDOM

(yes, even about how to homeschool), let him ask God,

who gives to all men generously and without reproaching,

and it will be given him." (James 1:5)
   

       

   

   

   

I got the teapot, the teapot and cup background,

and the lacey checked heart at:

   

        

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