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
"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?
therefore why we should feel free to pull away from that kind of a
system? I'm going to give you two reasons:
# 1 - What the public school system considers to be valuable in an education is
far from God's values. Let's look at JER.2:11–14: (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
b) - "they have hewed out cisterns (or curriculums)
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 1:5–7
"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:
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
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
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. 1:9–11 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 27:4–5 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 2:6–7 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 2:8–10)
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
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"
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
"For they are transplanted into the Lord's own garden and are under His
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
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
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
who gives to all men
generously and without reproaching,
and it will
be given him."