Friday, April 25, 2014

Finishing Well

I wonder what Christians, even just 50-100 years ago, or perhaps the English who originally settled and fought and died for religious freedom (particularly Christian freedom) in this country, would have to say if they saw what the public school system in the United States has become. Is the system to blame? I don't believe so. I really believe that it is the fault of millions of individual Christian families who are not willing to be different from the people stuck in that system. We as homeschoolers put so much pressure on each other to measure up to the public school system -- to score as high or higher on their tests, to do better in their sports, to be the best in everything *they* do -- when we shouldn't even be using the same measuring stick they are.

Are our children good at volunteering their time to help others who are in need in some area? Are they good at showing love to others? What have they done for others lately, not because their parents told them to, but because they truly wanted to help others, out of a heart of compassion? I ask myself these questions daily. I want my children to notice things that need to be done, not so that I can have an immaculate house, but because when they go out into the world, I want them to see needs and run to meet them with whatever skills they have. These are skills we are developing through homeschooling them.

How can their time being homeschooled influence them to be more like Christ? Mike and I want that to be the focus of our homeschool. Academic skills are important, but for the purpose of using those skills for the glory of God alone, not so that they can take tests well.

As Christians, we need to have different priorities for our kids than the teachers in the public schools do. Yes, we want our children to be brilliant, but why? Most homeschooled students do turn out to be particularly capable and intelligent individuals. But is this because of our rigorous academics, or is this because we are showing them God's standards, and measuring them against those standards rather than the world's?

I think what people forget sometimes is that the idea of public school is not an old idea, and homeschooling a new one, but the exact opposite is true. Homeschooling today looks quite a bit different than it did in the past, in part because of technology and innovation, but also because the world's mentality has also seeped into our Christian homeschools. What is our motivation for schooling our own? Is multiplication and spelling more important than a heart that seeks after God?

Let's all try to remember to keep our priorities in line as we finish up our school year, or continue into the next year for those of us who school year-round. How have your children become more like Jesus this year?

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