Children Don’t Need School (19)

It’s all in the Family

By Andrew McColl, 21/3/2023

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck (Prov.1:8-9).

Despite the fact that He was the Son of God, Jesus came to earth as Mary and Joseph’s first child, and He certainly had lots of siblings to interact with as He grew up. The locals where He grew up later said of Him,

Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? (Matt.13:56).

In every way, there would have been lots of similarities between Joseph and Mary’s family, along with yours and mine. There would have been spilt milk, lumps and bumps, tensions, sickness, differences of opinion, misunderstandings, along with some anger, frustration and sin. Frankly, it’s been that way since Genesis, and I don’t see it changing in a hurry.

Yet despite this, families really do have remarkable capacities, which we do well to understand and appreciate, which are well beyond what can be covered in this article today.[1] And this is all part of His design!

When the Lord made Adam in the Garden, even though as a part of creation he was “very good” (Gen.1:31) and without sin, God said that there was something about him that wasn’t good. He didn’t have Eve!

And when the Lord brought her to Adam, he realised what he’d been given. He said,

This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh… (Gen.2:23).

Thus God’s plan is that togetherness begins in a family.

But there is much more to family that just the togetherness of husband and wife; that’s just where it all kicks off! For almost all families there is procreation, along with the preparation and education of children for maturity and independence. 

That will mean lots of very important things: training in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, discipleship, along with the many aspects of preparation for life and adulthood. And this is a big part of why God gives children to parents; procreation is just the beginning.

The Puritans believed the Bible: they believed that children were a gift from God, and that having them was a holy vocation for parents. Parents were thus to bring them up “…in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). (One of them even gave 10 reasons why mothers should breast-feed.) They also believed in family worship at home, along with the father’s duty to be reading and expositing scripture, and praying with the family. They were powerful and influential people in their time, and we’d do well to emulate them.

I accept that problems with children can be tiresome for us parents, but we’re all in the process of learning and growing. Those problems we are encountering with our children are actually good for us! In the process we should be developing patience and lots of God –honouring virtues and fruits.

“Father’s instructions” and “mother’s teaching” are vital aspects of what the Lord wants us to share with our children. They are important family issues, recognised by Solomon as early as 950 B.C., and the home schooling family has abundant opportunities to provide their children with these. And very often they can be in non-formal, casual circumstances and conversation.

When the Bible says, “Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways” (Prov.23:26), it’s really referring to those opportunities that parents have with their children to capitalise on the legitimate intimacy of family relationship and interaction, to have a powerful and God-ordained influence on a child. Children learn by what they see and hear.

And the object of this is that

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you (Prov.23:24-25).

Of course, no family should ever see itself as absolute, or totally independent. We are all to be in fruitful relationships amongst the Lord’s people, His church. God’s ideal plan is that the  family, church, and State be interdependent, mutually supportive structures, never competing against each other.

Thus pastors, elders and others should be authoritative and influential leaders, and as parents, it’s to our advantage that we are subject to them. Moses was a great leader, but even he needed an outsider’s help through Jethro’s understanding and advice (Ex.19:13-27), to carry out his tasks more effectively. The Psalmist asked the Lord,

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; it is oil upon the head; do not let my head refuse it…(Ps.141:5).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                Let me encourage you today: take your marching orders as a parent from the Bible, for it has much to say about the responsibilities of parents regarding their children, beginning in Genesis. And as we parents take our responsibilities seriously in the discipline and training of our children for the Lord, it will have a marked impact on them for good. And on our day of judgment, we’ll be able to give a good account of how we’ve discharged our responsibilities as parents. And it all begins in the family.

[1] See my book, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

Children Don’t Need School (18)

Caring for Students as Individuals (2)

By Andrew McColl, 14th March, 2023

Last week we began to consider some of the elements of successful individualization, that home-schooling lends itself so well to. The next one of these, is:

2. Using Relevant Student Data: One of the tools of this is the set of ACE Diagnostic Tests that students can complete, when starting their new curriculum. They really assist to place a student at their correct level, based on their past performance, not their age.

And over time, you’ll need to consider how much challenge a student can cope with, when considering what courses to choose for them next. Clearly, a student who seems to cope well with significant challenge levels, can probably be expected to keep doing this, while another student who seems to be all at sea with a modest jump in challenge or difficulty, should be treated carefully in this regard.

The Bible speaks of a situation during the Exodus, similar to this.

Now when Pharoah had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was very near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt (Ex.13:17, 18).

I believe this is a very helpful lesson when dealing with children, and people in general. We should be always careful not to expect too much from an inexperienced person, who really does lack confidence at a new task. They may grow into it, but they don’t like being dropped in the Deep End if they are doubtful of their ability to stay afloat, and may in fact resent it. That is neither wise, good or necessary.

I know its true that there will be a point for children to face up to the “Big bad, wild world.” That will happen, but not before their time. Childhood should be a time of innocence, when they can be nurtured and cared for by godly and loving parents. No one should ever be cruel, thoughtless or uncaring towards them.

David in the Psalms makes this request to God:

Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace (Ps.144:12).

Behind our house in Brisbane, we have a tidal creek, about 400 metres away. Normally its 10 metres wide, with about a metre of water in it. Between us and the creek, there’s a flood plain, down a 6 metre bank, 150 metres from our place. The creek’s 250 metres further away.

Upstream, is a dam perhaps 5 km away, and when we had a metre of rain in February 2022, requiring a big release from the dam, 3-4 metres of water covered that flood-plain for 5-6 days, and it was moving at around 15km/hour.

What happened?

A lot of the little seedlings on the flood plain that couldn’t cope with that volume water got pulled out by the roots and washed away, but the larger ones survived.

Is there a message in this? I think so.

We ought to limit the pressures that children have to face, to an appropriate level. Yes, some things we cannot control, but many things we can, and should.

We want to ensure that children complete their years in our home, believing that they were loved, cared for and prepared for their future. They’ll be more likely to want to be around us, 20 years from now. Isn’t that what you’d like, too?

Children Don’t Need School (17)

Caring for Students as Individuals (1)

By Andrew McColl, 14th March 2023

“Individualization” is described as “the act of making something different to suit the needs of a particular person,” while “personalization” is defined as “the action of designing or producing something to meet someone’s individual requirements.” I am indebted to Kathy Fisher (at SCEE in Brisbane) for her outline of this material.

In my opinion, these terms are very relevant when it comes to educating students, successfully. I’ve never been a believer that “one size fits all,” for just about anything, and if I visit a women’s dress shop (generally with Sue), it’s perfectly plain that one size doesn’t fit all!

What is clear, is that students learn the best way individually, and when they are not being pressured to keep with a group. Being at home, we have greater capacity to take into account their needs. Children appreciate that! It means the educational process is more likely to be fruitful.

Some advantages of individualism are:

1.Students can move at their own pace through the subject matter, while using a teaching and learning strategy that permits the optimum progress.

2.Students are not penalized for being slow or fast. They can move at a rate that suits them.

3.Students are not in competition with their peers.

4.There is a better chance of retention of learning.

5.The parent takes on the role of mentor, so they are able to assist learners at their specific points of challenge.

6.Learners accept personal responsibility for their learning.

7.Students can monitor their progress and make personal judgments on where to focus more, while extending their curiosity beyond the lesson.

If parents are to successfully implement educational individualization, this will mean there are a number of things to consider. These will include,

1) Effective teaching techniques, such as:

a) Having clear intentions of what is required, so that the parent takes the time to read   through the ‘My Goals” page at the start of the pace with the student, so both are familiar with what the student is expected to learn, and they may discuss any prior knowledge the student may have.

b) The student sets their goals. If they can read, they can manage this. This means the student is now accepting responsibility to plan and allocate the necessary time to complete their work, through setting sensible objectives (goals) for each day. It’s never, “My Mum made me do this many pages,” but instead, is “I think this should be about right for me for the day.”

c) Direct instruction. This is based on the idea that “Clear instruction eliminating misunderstandings can greatly improve and accelerate learning.”

d) Providing worked examples, so the student understands the correct process, not merely getting the right answer.

e) Multiple exposures. It’s been said that it takes “Three or four experiences involving interaction with relevant information, for a new knowledge construct to be created in working memory and then transferred to long-term memory.” Multiple exposures give the student multiple opportunities, while some research indicates that deep learning is developed over time via multiple and spaced interactions with new knowledge and concepts.

f) Questioning. Questioning is a powerful tool. Jesus was a great teacher who consistently asked people questions. He didn’t assume anything. It engages students, stimulates interest and curiosity in the learning, and makes links to student’s lives. We quickly find out what students are learning when we can ask them questions on their work!

g) Feedback. Students need and mostly appreciate feedback from authority figures. It gives them assurance they are on the right track, and appropriate feedback has very high effects on learning. Studies with the highest effect sizes involved students receiving constructive feedback about a task, and how to do their work more effectively.

All of these aspects are well within the capacities of a parent, educating at home.

(To be continued).

Children Don’t Need School (16)

Education That Works – Why a Teenager Should Get a Part-Time Job, and How

By Gary North, 21/10/2021

I was impressed by these comments.

My children participate in a home school co-op. About once a year, the owner of the local Chick-fil-A shows up during announcement time and gives a 5 minute pitch to all the 14 year olds and up about what a great place Chick-fil-A is to work.

He gives a coupon for a free sandwich to any one in attendance, and hangs around for a few moments to answer questions. Last year, he started doing interviews on the spot.

He employs a lot of home school students. It helps that they hire 14 year olds. Many of them work 3 hour shifts during the lunch rush. Like most Chick-fil-A stores, it has an amazing drive thru operation that customers marvel at. I bet many people don’t know that it is largely operated by teenagers who are home schooled.


The Chick-fil-A franchises around here are famous for employing homeschoolers, as well. It’s a real win for both the franchisee and the kids. The franchisee gets responsible, trustworthy, and reliable workers with flexible schedules. The kids get real experience working in a culture of exceptional customer service and a decent paycheck to boot.

Just last week my kids and I were on a schedule and needed a fast lunch. Dining rooms were closed at the first two places we tried. Sure enough, Chick-fil-A was open as usual and we met some fellow homeschoolers. It’s really not hard to figure out how their business is functioning while the other fast food places struggle.

If there were one closer, I’d encourage my own kids to work there.

This is good advice. The working environment at Chick-fil-A is very good. The products are good. I am not allowed to eat them, but when I think about cheating, I think about eating at Chick-fil-A. I am a sucker for their Ice Dream.

A couple of years ago, I read five short books by the founder, Truett Cathy. His books all told the same story. Any of them would be good for a teenager to read. Actually, it would be good for you to read them.

He worked very hard at his first restaurant. Then he had a brilliant inspiration. He was at a shopping mall, and there was no place to buy food. He decided that he could start a restaurant for relatively little money and no seating space. That was in Atlanta. The idea worked, and he began buying up space in shopping malls to sell his sandwiches.

The restaurants are very well managed. They screen the franchise applicants rigorously. You don’t just walk in the door and buy a franchise.

The company does not have any debt. That means it is going to survive the next recession.


A young person can learn more with a part-time job than he can by attending classes at a local high school. That was my experience. My high school was above average academically. I was probably in the top 5% nationally, but I had to work reasonably hard to get my A’s and B’s. It was no pushover. Yet I learned more by working 20 hours a week at a record store for about two years than I learned in school. I learned how to show up on time. I learned how to deal with people. I learned how to do grunt work without complaining.

Another advantage of the first job is this: for the first time, you are getting paid for what you do. It is never clear in a family what your work is worth. A family is not a market institution. But, in a business, you are paid to perform certain tasks. You are not sure if you are good enough, but you find out. You find out because you do not get fired. So, you must be good enough.

At that point, the great lesson is this: do more than just get by. Go the extra mile. If you do this, you will learn a lesson that will stick with you all your life.

If your goal for going the extra mile is to serve customers better, that is the right mentality. If your goal is to impress your boss, that is better than no goal at all. But the best goal of all is mastery. In whatever you do, strive for mastery. That is pillar number four in my book, The Five Pillars of Biblical Leadership. If you internalize this habit early enough in life, your work will get you into the top 20% in whatever career you find yourself. If you have above-average talent, it will get you into the top 5%.

I am convinced that parents are unable to persuade their children of the necessity of striving for mastery. I know classroom teachers cannot do it. Bosses do not expect it. But if I had a teenager working for me on a daily basis, I would go out of my way to encourage him to strive for mastery. If the teenager then performed better, I would give a raise. It might not be much, but it would show that I put my money where my mouth is. Money speaks louder than words in commercial enterprises. It is best to have both.

These days, it is fairly easy to get a job in a fast food restaurant. There are “help wanted” signs everywhere. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity. If a teenager is willing to work the lunch shift, that is ideal. A home schooled student is able to do this when most students cannot. So, the competition will be less. If the student works from 11 o’clock to 2 PM, that is only three hours a day. It is not a lot of money, but it is great experience.

The parent should enforce a rule: 10% for the tithe, 10% for savings, and the rest belongs to the child. A wise child will save more than 10%, but the child should get the idea that it is his money. If he wastes it, it is his mistake. That teaches responsibility. I spent too much money on records and high-fidelity equipment as a teenager. But the music helped get me through the rigors of college and graduate school. It was not money well spent, but it was not money wasted, either.

Children Don’t Need School (15)

The Function of Education in Rolling Back the State

By Gary North ( [1942-2022], 2008

Over 40 years ago, I read an essay by Murray Rothbard [who died in 1995] in which he referred favourably to the book by Helmut Shoeck, Envy.

Helmut Schoeck’s Envy makes a powerful case for the view that the modern egalitarian drive for socialism and similar doctrines is a pandering to envy of the different and the unequal, but the socialist attempt to eliminate envy through egalitarianism can never hope to succeed. For there will always be personal differences, such as looks, ability, health, and good or bad fortune, which no egalitarian program, however rigorous, can stamp out, and on which envy will be able to fasten its concerns.

I bought the book, read it very carefully, and found that it provided high-calibre intellectual ammunition. It was one of the most influential books I ever read.

One of the points that he makes in the book is that for almost 2000 years, Christian ministers preached against envy. He believed that this was an important factor in restricting the impact of envy on the west. In the 1969 edition, you can read his assessments of Christianity’s hostility to envy here: pages 61, 107, 137, 130-32, 257, 275, and 353. (I read it very carefully.)


No one has sufficient time, energy, or intelligence to study more than a handful of topics in depth. Most people never do it at all. They never sit down and read a book cover to cover, other than romance novels. They do not read five books on a particular topic, even regarding their own occupations. Most people do not like to read carefully. They do not like to study in depth. It is beyond them, both emotionally and intellectually.

This is why it is difficult for people to understand economics. That was Henry Hazlitt’s point back in 1946, when he wrote his classic little book, Economics in One Lesson. He said that people will not follow long chains of reasoning. Because of this, they make economic mistakes. He gave the example of Bastiat’s essay on the failure of people to acknowledge the thing not seen.

We should not expect voters to understand economic cause-and-effect. To imagine that they will ever understand this is naïve. We should not build our dreams in terms of such a world. We should not expect voters to understand much other than what economists say they understand, namely, their own self-interest. If they think that something is not in their self-interest, they are unlikely to give it much consideration.

They will commit to those ideas, expressed in very simple terms, which promise them benefits. They are not wise enough or trained enough to figure out who is going to pay for the benefits. The politicians can simply say that the rich will pay, and the voters get on board. Bastiat said this in 1850, before mass democracy appeared.

People respond to indoctrination. For millennia, they learned from sermons. The failure of preachers today to preach consistently against envy, which preachers did for centuries, is indicative of the problem. Preachers do not want controversy. They do not want to alienate people in the pews. The overwhelming majority of people in the pews send or have sent their children into government-run schools. So, in order to avoid controversy, the preachers avoid the issue of Christian education, especially online Christian education.

They avoid the issue of home schooling. They go along to get along. They do not want trouble. So, they do not challenge the idea that the state does not have the moral right to extract wealth from one group that believes in a certain way, in order to fund an educational system that teaches the opposite of what these voters believe. The pew-sitters think it is normal for the state to use coercion to force people to fund what they do not believe in.

The public schools today do not teach anything that could be regarded as traditional Christianity, in theology or ethics. But the man in the pew has been sucked in by the mythology of neutrality. Public school officials have used this doctrine for 150 years in the United States, to persuade voters that what is taught in the public schools is consistent with the beliefs of virtually every voter in society. The voters have confirmed this by continuing to vote for public schools, although we forget that it was only during the New Deal [ie, the 1930’s] that widespread acceptance of the public schools triumphed.

The people in the pews have been educated in an educational system that is based on the idea of neutrality, both morally and intellectually. So, pastors do not want to confront this widespread belief, because they would probably get fired. It is not in their self-interest economically to preach against envy, because envy is the basis of much of modern political life. Where envy is not the basis, jealousy is. Modern politics begins with the principle that also undergirds public schools, namely, that it is legitimate to force one group to fund another group.

The pastors therefore do not preach against envy. Whatever the pastors do not preach against, members of the congregation assume is safe. They do not see themselves at war with the culture around them. In the early Roman Empire, they did understand that they were at war with the culture around them. But the secularized culture of the modern world has arrived so slowly, and has been defended so expertly in the tax-funded schools where Christians attend, that the sense of confrontation intellectually has faded. Only in the last three decades has this perception begun to change on the fringes of American Christianity. As each side becomes more consistent, confrontations will not be avoidable.

People do not learn by means of complex arguments. They learn by a kind of osmosis. They get certain ideas from the media. They get certain ideas from the public schools. They do not evaluate these ideas critically. They simply accept them. This is the problem today. The media and the public schools are committed to the welfare state. The public is unable to reason in terms of long chains of reasoning, so the voters emotionally are committed to the existing welfare state. We find it difficult to persuade them otherwise, because they are simply incapable of following what we would regard as even short chains of reasoning.

This has always been true. There is nothing new about this. What is different is mass democracy coupled with tax-funded education. Add to this the mass media. The result is what we have today, namely, a welfare state that is going to bankrupt every national government in the West. There will be a massive default, nation by nation, program by program. This is inevitable.


When the trusting voters finally figure out that they are on the short end of the stick, they will be ready to re-evaluate their commitment to the welfare state. Most of them will initially think that the welfare state should be strengthened, as voters think in Europe. But they will not be willing to pay the taxes to strengthen it. The system cannot be funded much longer, so the day of reckoning will come.

At that point, if we have developed videos and simple training programs to explain what happened and why, we will be able to gain support for a call to shrink the state. The state will be shrinking anyway, because it will have run out of money. All we have to do is provide moral and intellectual justification for a continuation of the process of shrinking the state.

People do not feel the pain yet. The state has ratcheted up over the last century, and it has done so relentlessly. The public does not feel the pain, because it has already surrendered in principle to the system. The voters are in effect anaesthetized — local anaesthetic. They have become used to the ever-increasing amount of regulation, most of which they never see. They shrug their shoulders. They figure nothing can be done about it.

They are right. Nothing can be done about it, politically speaking. So, the state is headed toward bankruptcy. It is a self-destructive system. That is the great advantage that we will have at some point in the future. The visible collapse of the welfare state will increase demand for explanations as to why it happened. We need simple explanations that are based on long chains of reasoning, but which do not invoke them.

Children Don’t Need School (14)              

By Andrew McColl, 14th February, 2023

Research shows that the things people liked to do best between the ages of 7 and 14 were a very good indicator of what they would be most successful at as adults.

History shows us that even within a family, there can be astonishing differences between children. One size definitely doesn’t fit all, and we parents should take the time to consider these differences and cater to them intelligently, encouraging them in their gifting, talents and interests.

These will be important in years to come. The fact that they like to play with certain objects, or read specific books, are good at Science, or really like cooking or other tasks, shouldn’t go unnoticed, and it’s no accident.

Generally, people tend to stick to those things they know, and are competent in. We don’t like trying to do something that requires a lot of time invested to master, unless we are really confident it’ll be worth all the investment in time or money. Why would anyone do that?
                                                                                                                                              Florence Nightingale (born in 1820, and named after the Italian town where she was born), grew up in a well-off family in Victorian England, when there wasn’t an established profession called Nursing. But she showed she had the innate ability to care, when she came across an injured dog, and took the time herself to nurse it back to health.

Her parents were shocked that she expressed interest in learning Nursing, because it wasn’t considered a suitable profession at all for an English young lady; to them, it seemed to be tantamount to prostitution. But at 16, she wrote in her diary,

On this day, God spoke to me and called me to His service.

Her parents agreed to let her go to Europe to volunteer there in hospital work, where she learnt some of the fundamentals of nursing. Google tells us that

Later in 1850, she visited the Lutheran religious community at Kaiserswerth-am-Rhein in Germany, where she observed Pastor Theodor Fliedner and the deaconesses working for the sick and the deprived. She regarded the experience as a turning point in her life.

Nightingale arrived at Scutari [ Greece] early in November 1854 [and the Crimean war with Russia had commenced in October 1853]. Her team found that poor care for wounded soldiers was being delivered by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients.

[In short, the mis-management of the sick and wounded soldiers was utterly predictable, and an absolute disaster.]

After Nightingale sent a plea to The Times for a government solution to the poor condition of the facilities, the British Government commissioned Isambard Kingdom Brunel to design a prefabricated hospital that could be built in England and shipped to the Dardanelles. The resultant hospital was a civilian facility that, under the management of Edmund Alexander Parkes, had a death rate less than one tenth of that of Scutari.

Stephen Paget in the Dictionary of National Biography asserted that Nightingale reduced the death rate from 42% to 2%, either by making improvements in hygiene herself, or by calling for the Sanitary Commission, which implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices in the war hospital in which she worked.

When I was working for Jubilee Christian College (2013-2021), I had a student aged 13-14, who had an amazing gifting in Art, especially in painting. His Mum had married another man a couple of years after he’d been born, and she had no special capacity in Art, nor did her husband. She confided to me that it seemed to have come from his biological father, who she acknowledged was gifted artistically.


The important thing to take from this, is that people really do have innate, individual and amazing capacities, granted to them by God. Sometimes, it takes a while to find out what these are, or how they can be utilised wisely. We parents ought to be looking out for these things, encouraging them wherever possible, even if (like Florence) the interest or gifting seems unusual, even radical.

What we are really witnessing is God’s creativity, being expressed through an individual, and that’s a marvellous thing, both to discover, and to encourage.

Children Don’t Need School (13)              

Working Together in Education

By Andrew McColl, 7th February, 2023

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Eccles.4:9-12).

Ideally, both parents should have a role in their children’s education. Parental academic ability always helps, but it’s only one component. In my mind the most important thing in the educations of children is parental fear of the Lord, because it always leads to wisdom, firstly for the parent, then the child.

Both parents should be responsible for what is the chosen material or curriculum to be used. This helps us to guard against individual excesses or obsessions that a parent can harbor, and we can all be guilty of this. What we want to do is to prepare a child for life, and for each child there could very well be differences in this, though much core curriculum may be the same for all.

Last year I spoke with a Mum who had educated her children at home for years, but when they got older, they figured out how to “gang up” on her. Not overtly of course, but they wouldn’t stop griping and complaining about how hard it all was, and how much they must be missing out on. Dad was always busy at work, and he left it all with Mum (always very unwise), so before long she threw in the towel, and that was the end of that. All too easy. They knew how to push her buttons when Dad wasn’t around, and get their way. But ten years later, it hasn’t gone well for them.

My experience has been that most fathers understand the basics of Maths, and are commonly able to help their children with it. The fact that Dad may be away working during the day is irrelevant. He can spend some time with each child when he gets home, examining their work and seeing how they are progressing, and converse with them at other times on all manner of subjects.

The books might be closed on the weekend, but that doesn’t mean that Dad’s not asking questions! In my book, that’s simply parental responsibility: making sure that things are happening, successfully.

I’m certain that if Dad is sensible, children will appreciate his interest, and time. Boys in particular need to know that education is not just a “Mummy thing.” Seeing Dad deliberately and consistently examining their work and asking questions to see how they are progressing, and holding them to account, does make a big difference for them. They’ll look forward to this time, and they’ll then tend to think,

I’m important to Dad, and my education’s important to him too.

Not only does it lead to children appreciating, loving and respecting their father, but it should then lead them to want to emulate him, too. Now this is heading somewhere important! Consider this little poem:

         Some may own castles on the banks of the Rhine

        And hire an orchestra each evening at nine;

        But richer than I they never will be,

       ‘Cause I had a Dad who spent time with me.

It was Abigail Van Buren who wrote,

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.


What should sensible parents be seeking?

Healthy, long-term consequences from their efforts and their example today.

By God’s grace, this is possible for all parents. Isn’t that what you’re hoping to accomplish?

Children Fascinate More Than Adults

— • —

When you’re sitting at a meeting, and at stake are big results,
The CEO demands to know with whom you did consult;
But your dreaming of the treasure from an ancient Mayan cult—
’Cause those who dream like children fascinate more than adults.

When you find yourself at tea-time with a dozen dolls in dress,
And a gaggle of young girlies who demand a short address,
On the need for courtly manners, you will not be found at fault,
For the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

Grown-ups see their unmown grass as a project not completed;
Children see your jungle lawn as a kingdom undefeated.
It’s a difference in perspective of what’s best to exalt,
’Cause those who dream with children fascinate more than adults.

There’s something truly tragic when adult hearts grow cold,
To the beauty and simplicity of the stories they were told.
Some spend a lifetime hoping that someday they can recover
The dream-like sense of wonder, from the books once read by Mother.

It’s childlike faith, not childishness, which captures our devotion;
The preciousness, the purity and power of their emotion.
They prove an antidote of hopefulness to trials and tumult,
’Cause those with faith like children, fascinate more than adults.

There’s time enough for grown-up things like bank account and bills.
Why miss an opportunity for tea-time with your girls,
Or fighting Nazis with your boys-producing great gestalt?
’Cause the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

There’s a wisdom found in boyhood that comes from chasing rabbits,
Unencumbered by the worries of a thousand grown-up habits.
Like fearing, faking, fawning, frowning, and foiling the day
That could be filled with lovely things that children do at play.

Don’t get me wrong: I recognize the need for grown-up themes,
And putting aside milky treats to chew on meaty dreams.
Adulthood clearly is the goal; our end maturity,
But notice please that this is what our children aim to be.

The boy who cuts up worms today, tomorrow is a doctor.
And the patriot girl sewing flags, tomorrow is a mother
Who’ll teach the generation next to know their history,
And through her joyful play today, sew seeds of liberty.

It’s the childhood dreams of little girls and little boys at play
That make for truly visionary kings and queens some day.
So don’t be too dismayed or take this as insult:
But the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

— • —

By Douglas Winston Phillips

Children Don’t Need School (12)

By Andrew McColl, 31st January, 2023

There is a continuing relationship in the Bible between seed and subduing. Genesis 1:28 commanded mankind to be fruitful and multiply (seed) and to subdue the earth. After the Fall of man, God’s covenantal promise to Eve involved her seed: hers would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen.3:15) and God’s curse on Adam involved the ground and his efforts to subdue it. The importance of genealogies in Hebrew culture was based on this promise to Eve: tracing the covenant line and the lines of those who had become the seed of Satan…

Abraham received two promises, the promise of a land (12:1) which would be given to his seed (12:7). Here would be a land for Abraham’s seed to subdue for the glory of God.[1]

Abraham had two problems when it came to children. Firstly, for he and Sarah, this really seemed impossible. It was, for most of their married life, until God gave them a miracle, and Isaac was born.

Secondly, when Isaac did come along, Abraham had to prepare him for his inheritance, found in the promises of God. This is no simple matter for any godly parent, for God is certainly faithful, but we easily manage to find plenty of ways to get ourselves in tangles, and make a mess of things, through sin. Inheritances can be forfeited by poor and evil choices, and Genesis itself is packed full of stories of that, from Cain to Reuben.

Genesis 24:1-8 shows us that Abraham had reservations about Isaac’s capacities to make a wise choice, when it came to a wife. Abraham wanted his servant to go on a journey for him, and bring her back, for he was confident that

…He [God] will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there (Gen.24:7).

That way, Isaac would just need to welcome her and marry her. That made it very simple! That didn’t mean that all would be plain sailing. Many years later, Isaac nearly did make a mess of it, when he wanted to bless his elder son Esau (Gen.27:1-4).

Implicitly, this would be in breach of God’s word to Rebekah, for He’d said to her, when Jacob and Esau struggled together in the womb, that “…the older [Esau] would serve the younger” (Gen.25:23). Furthermore Esau, without a care, had sold his birthright to Jacob, for a bowl of stew (Gen.25:29-34). Why would a godly father wish to give his blessing to a son displaying such irresponsible and shortsighted character qualities?

It took some fancy footwork on the part of Rebekah and Jacob to get around Isaac’s thoughtless plan (see Gen.27), but they did. I believe they were justified in doing so.

North points out that

Rebekah understood the motivation and character weakness of her husband. She had seen him favor Esau with his love from the beginning. Now he was about to defy God, cheat Jacob, and bless the elder son. Like Esau, Isaac was guilty of the sin of honoring his belly more than God’s promises, almost like the belly-worshipping sinners criticized by Paul (Phil.3:18-19). There was no time to lose. Rebekah made an assessment concerning the likelihood that she and Jacob could convince Isaac to reverse his judgment of a lifetime concerning the respective merits of the two sons, and she decided that deception, rather than an appeal to God’s word, was more likely to succeed. After all, the two sons were 84 years old. Isaac had not yet seen the light.[2]

Later, the scripture described Esau as “… a godless person…who sold his own birthright for a single meal” (Heb.12:16).


Even as adults, godly children may need instruction in what it means to be a faithful son or daughter, and a steward of the Lord’s inheritance. This is a subject that the scripture has a lot to say about, and it certainly begins with the child’s attitude towards God and His Word.

Is this something you’ll want to be training your children in?

[1] Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.172.

[2] North, p.189.

Children Don’t Need School (11)

By Andrew McColl, 24th January, 2023

Biblical economics affirms that children are a blessing, since they are a form of social capital. Men are to become effective stewards of God’s resources. They are to invest in their children by constantly training them in the precepts of biblical law (Deut.6:7). They are to encourage them to take up a productive calling before God. But parents are entitled to a return on their investment. Children are supposed to provide for their parents in the latters’ old age. Parents are therefore to be honored (Ex.20:12). Honoring God involves giving one’s financial substance (Prov.3:9). Parents are also deserving of this financial honor.

Jesus strongly criticized the Pharisees of His day for their denial of this law, in the name of tradition. They refused to support their parents by claiming that they were themselves without assets, having “given to God” all that they had (Mark 7:6-13). This “higher spirituality” in defiance of God’s law was repudiated by Christ.

Children must support aged parents. The parents get the financial security they deserve; their investment in their children is returned to them in direct fashion. This increases the likelihood that parents will honor their obligations while their children are young. The family becomes a trans-generational economic unit-one worth investing in.[1]

The Christian person is obligated to hear the word of God and obey it. Logically, there will be occasions when he finds that his structures of belief and action lack Biblical integrity, and he needs to change.

God doesn’t need to change what He thinks and does. We do, for we are His servants, and as we grow in the faith, we learn. Christian maturity presupposes we’ll need to change to conform to His perfect will, and this will inevitably involve our attitudes to money, assets and giving. It also involves our family, and our children.

“Constantly training them in the precepts of biblical law…” means that children will figure out that the scriptures are extremely practical, relevant documents, designed to be understood and applied, right throughout the community. This commences with the Ten Commandments[2], with all their applications to life, then should continue to our utilization of the case laws (Ex.21-23).[3]

These help us to see how God has structured His Word to be extremely practical. We aren’t to be like blind men, intellectually groping around for some kind of truth, but to seek out  scriptural instruction. That was the intention of us having His word, from the beginning.

The Psalmist wrote,

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart (Ps.119:34).

Biblical law will show us just how much we in the church have walked away from His Word. Every part of the absolute nonsense that most of the world is enduring today over “Corona-19,” which is simply a flu variant, has to do with God’s people refusing to be instructed from Leviticus 13 and 14, which deals with laws relating to contagious diseases.

God spoke to Israel through the prophet Amos,

…For three transgression of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His statutes… (Amos 2:4).

In summary, if there was a pandemic (which we don’t have today anywhere), only those verified as infected were to undergo restrictions. Taking note of these, we could have instructed governments to refrain from the awful folly of “Lockdowns,” of enforced wearing of masks, closing state borders, forcing healthy people to quit their jobs, and the multitude of other shocking intrusions into our liberties, so that the community could go on in its normal, unmolested state. And this would be just the beginning.

And if governments refused?

The church could and should have taken the lead from the pulpit, exposing the dreadful abuse of the community being perpetrated through lockdowns, and leading a vigorous, fearless opposition, in defiance of these political monsters. Today, there remains much to do, for the economic and social costs alone, have been astronomical.

Paul Craig Roberts explained recently how:

Virologist Marc G. Wathelet provides 13 reasons that the Covid virus is not, and has not been, sufficiently dangerous to require extraordinary measures such as lockdowns, masks, and vaccination with an unsafe experimental “vaccine.”

Dr. Wathelet points out that Covid’s lethality is on a par with the seasonal flue. He notes that according to the CDC, 99% of all Covid deaths had at least one comorbidity and 95% had multiple comorbidities. It is also a fact that most of those who did die did so because treatment with effective and safe cures, such as HCQ and Ivermectin, was withheld.

Dr. Wathelet notes that the evidence is conclusive that the limited and short-term protection from the vaccine is offset by the vaccine’s “shedding,” that is, the vaccine promotes rather than limits contamination. Moreover, as scientists independent of Big Pharma and NIH have established, the “vaccine” damages the innate immune system and leaves the vaccinated more vulnerable than the unvaccinated to Covid, other viruses and diseases such as cancer.[4]


Educating our children at home requires that sensible parents seriously consider what they believe and why, and what they want to communicate to their children. It means we have to go and seek out what the Bible says about a host of important subjects (like economics, health, taxation, defence and foreign policy) that may be new areas of study and understanding to us. And that means investigating the many godly authors who have gone and done their work, leaving it to posterity.

This will be good for us, our families, the church, and the community. And social health and harmony will be the consequence, because “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Ps.33:12).

And children don’t need school.

[1]Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.170-71.

[2]Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973.

[3]Gary North, “Tools of Dominion: the Case Laws of Exodus,” 1999.

[4] Paul Craig Roberts, “Many Have Died from Being Hoodwinked by Media Orchestration of a Deadly Covid Pandemic,” (, 11th December, 2021.

Children Don’t Need School (10)

Take Your Children with You

By Andrew McColl, 17th January, 2023

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him (Mat.8:23).

Even though my father died in 1970 when I was fifteen, and I was away at boarding school for about 75% of those last four years, I’ve retained a lot of positive recollections of him. Now that I’m a father and a grandfather, these recollections are important to me.

This shows us that we need to give our children plenty of positive recollections of childhood. This is not hard to do, and these will be important to them, later on. Furthermore, we want to ensure we are not Absentee Parents, preferring to make excuses to avoid being with our children. It would be difficult to think of something more short-sighted, selfish or stupid, for a parent to engage in.

Growing up on a farm, work was never far away. The prospect of working on a farm doesn’t seem to be strange for me, and there was so much to do on the farm, as a child. In my case, farm went with family. We had a house-cow that needed milking daily, dogs and chickens to be fed, and horses that could be ridden, when moving cows or sheep. Sometimes we’d have pet lambs or calves to feed, that had lost their mother. And we had lots on machinery to use, too.

When we were shearing, someone needed to be on task in the shearing shed, to fill the shearers’ pens, so they didn’t run out of sheep to shear. All of these tasks could be dealt with by a child around 12 years old. Some would say, much younger.

We butchered our own sheep on the farm, and I watched my Dad do this, from start to finish. It was pretty earthy, but that’s how many farm people get their meat. Many years later, when I spent 7 years working in a sheep abattoir, it was neither new nor ugly to me.

Dad and Mum went on a trip to England in 1963, to visit Mum’s family. Dad had met her in England, late in 1944, marrying her the following year, immediately after the war. I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in Richmond in NSW, for 6-8 weeks. When they got back, there was discussion about the new planes they’d travelled in, and all they’d done. Jet aeroplanes were now available, and I listened to family discussions of the merits of the Douglas DC-8, verses the Boeing 707. (The Boeing was supposed to be better).

All this was interesting to me, firstly, because Dad had been a World War II pilot. He’d been  shot down and ditched in a Norwegian fjord in February 1945, but survived. Secondly, it was a whole new world of masculine discussion to engage in, though I was only 8. I understood some of it.

We were not big cattle farmers, but our cows were part of what we did for a living on what’s  called a “mixed farm,” where we bred our own cows. When I was about 10, my Dad stopped in at the end of the school day to pick me up in our truck, with what was called a “cattle-float” on the back. This was a strong, steel structure, to enclose cows safely for travel. He took me to buy a new bull from the Freudenstein brothers, who bred Short-Horn cattle,  maybe 30 minutes from home.

We looked at a number of young bulls in their cattle yards, and Dad settled on one, then they negotiated the price. It was to be “three and a half,” which was a kind of code for 350 guineas. (This was before Australia changed to decimal currency in 1966). The new bull (“Freudy”) went on the back of the truck, and we went home.

On the one hand, there was nothing novel or unusual about this, but on the other hand, it was quite special. I observed Dad’s judgment, his negotiations, and got to have a ride with my Dad in the truck with the new bull, home after school. That was unusual!

Every year we would holiday at Manly (a sea-side suburb of Sydney) for 3 weeks in January. This was the highlight of the year, and our family would meet up on the beach with cousins, aunts/uncles, and lots of locals from where we lived. Being in Sydney was a different world from the farm. Lots of people, traffic, swimming in salt water, fish and chips and ice-creams!

While we were at Manly, Dad arranged over the years for each of us to have swimming lessons in a big, deep saltwater pool, with a male coach he knew. He’d be there, too. I remember having a little cylindrical steel tank strapped to my back, to keep me afloat. That was tough, but good for each of us.

My Dad was a keen shooter, and around 1965, he went half shares with a cousin in a new 303-25: quite a classy gun in those times. I witnessed him hit a fox with it one night, at perhaps 250 metres, resting the rifle on the bonnet of the utility, while one of my brothers held the spot-light.

Great shooting! And I still have an interest in aeroplanes and firearms. I wonder why?

Then in the winter of 1969, he heard that a neighbor had arranged for the veterinarian to conduct a Caesarian section operation on a cow, as the calf had died inside her. He took me over to watch this take place, soon after.

That was earthy, and very informative! That cow lived, but if you were downwind, the smell of that rotting calf which had been inside her was… But, this was an essential process. If there’d been no operation, that cow would have died painfully.

Dad was a keen sportsman: cricket, table tennis and tennis. We all learned to play fairly competently, and competitively, and we had a table tennis table and a tennis court at home, which certainly helped, and he participated. He was making a statement.

At about 8-9, he taught me to drive a car, because he needed me to drive for him, feeding oats to sheep from the back of the utility, one dry winter. After a couple of mistakes, it was pretty easy!

When I was around 9-10, I had the task of driving our Ferguson 35 tractor home, alone. Part way down a hill, there was a gate to open, first. I hadn’t quite mastered how to use the parking brake on that tractor, and I wasn’t really strong enough to do so. That led to a drama!

I couldn’t get the handbrake to operate, so got off the tractor to close the gate, then turned around to see the tractor, rolling away! It went into a fence, and it was this that finally stopped it, when fencing wire was finally wound around one of the rear tyres a few times.

This looked worse than what it was, and it really scared me. I ran all the way back to where I’d left me Dad, got back to him all out of breath, and blurted out what had happened to him. He just smiled and was very gracious about it. I was very relieved. I learned about a loving Father who has compassion on His failure prone children.

The Beatles were becoming a huge phenomenon by 1964, when they came to Australia. They (and others) were mesmerizing teenagers, and some parents were plainly unimpressed. But what could they do about it? Born at the end of the First World War in 1918, Dad was living in a radically different era. People flew in biplanes then.

Only fairly recently, I discovered that Dad struggled for some years to relate comfortably with my 3 older brothers, and my older sister. In 1970, aged 17-18, she had a boyfriend and he kissed her, and what were parents supposed to do about that? It seems that Dad and Mum felt way out of their depth, on that one.

There was tension there, and some inter-generational friction, but I was away from home at boarding school, so I knew nothing about this, at the time. Culture was rapidly changing, and this was a bit much for the older generation, knowing quite how to handle it.

A whole new world of challenge for parents to understand, along with the associated rebellion against authority in general, and the whole drug thing was just kicking into gear. The Viet Nam War (which Australia was involved in) was both divisive and controversial, and people were marching in the streets and throwing things, and you could witness things on TV of incidents around the world that were bizarre, deeply disturbing and hard to fathom.

My eldest brother was conscripted, went to Viet Nam, and had only been there briefly when Dad suddenly died.


But what had taken place?

I felt my Dad was interested in me, and my development. He hadn’t neglected me, and at the time, I thought he loved me. For him, loving me meant spending time with me; there would have to be a close association.

I think he was right, because today, I appreciate all he did with and for me, deeply. I also want to replicate him, with our sons and our grandchildren. If you really want to disciple your children, take them with you, just like our Master did. They’ll observe and hear, a lot.

Why would any godly father or grandfather, want to do anything else?