When families decide they wish to home school their children, they frequently find some opposition to the idea. Here’s a common one: “Your children won’t be well socialised.”
I respond to this superficial observation with this scripture: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov.13:20).
This text plainly teaches that people really are influenced by those around them, for good or for evil, and the bluntness of the text is a warning: “…the companion of fools will suffer harm.” This prediction is non-negotiable, so we’d better not argue with it, but accept and be warned by it.
The Psalmist wrote that “by them [the judgements of the Lord] Your servant is warned…” (Ps.19:9-11).
Thus the Christian parent is challenged to surround his children with wise people, with wise ideas. He should not let them have fools for their companions, or the results will be painful. Nor should he expose them to foolish educational material. It will harm them.
The Public School is essentially a place of foolish people; therefore it is not to be the place where the godly should be, for the bad company will harm them. This is not rocket science, but the plain teaching of scripture which the godly must obey, or be held accountable by God.
Separation is necessary, and there is nothing new about that. In order to teach and disciple someone, you have to have their full and undivided attention. This is what God does. At the beginning,
God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness (Gen.1:4).
God separated Noah and his family from the ungodly with a flood, He separated Abraham from his family, then Israel from Egypt at the Exodus. Israel was responsible to have a separated life, unto the Lord.
When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations (Deut.18:9).
The scripture makes it plain that Lot was a godly man (II Pet.2:7-8), but when he went down to Sodom and stayed there, he failed to ensure his family retained a godly separation, with disastrous consequences for his family (Gen.19).
This proved to be a common problem for Israel. Later, the Psalmist commented that
They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them (Ps.106:34-36).
Many believers in Australia have taken the step of enrolling their children in a Christian school. This is clearly a step forward from the State School, but how much?
Once again, it depends on the morality of the children’s peers, the quality of the teachers, and the curriculum. And in all three cases, nothing should be taken for granted. I have a student whose parents I’m assisting, who was bullied by a teacher in a “Christian” school in 2018, before he was removed. That was not good.
An acquaintance of mine attended a “Christian” school for 12 years, but claims he never heard there, that God made the world in 6 days, some 6,000 years ago.
Twelve years of education, at 30 hours a week for 40 weeks a year, equates to 14,400 hours. This is a long time to influence a child, for good or for bad.
Most parents have some reservations about their ability to educate their children at home. Certainly, excessive self-confidence can get people into a lot of trouble. Parents need to think carefully and prayerfully about how they are going to do this, because this is a significant, long-term task to fulfil competently by both of them. Just like building a house, they have to have a plan.
But like any God given task, parents should embrace this responsibility willingly and confidently, knowing that “…He that began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil.1:6).
Later in this same passage, Paul encourages the Philippians, in a passage that has direct relevance to the education of children:
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Phil.1:9-11).
For most of us, accepting the responsibility to educate our children was a new thing for our generation. But it’s not a new thing, Biblically. It’s what God’s people have been doing since Adam and Eve had children. Will they do a perfect job? No, but it’s a task that believing parents should accept, as a task given them by God. Will you accept it?