Beginning with Homeschooling (19)

Education in the Modern Era

The twentieth century was the century of government in the West, more than at any other time in the last two millennia. In the twentieth century, government steadily entrenched itself as the foremost institution of society, so that society has become steadily centralised. The individual, the family and the Church have been progressively pressed into society’s background, because government has demanded the dominant role in society.

It was the recognition that the Bible was at the foundation of western civilisation that led to restraints in the size and expansion of government. Christians historically have led this cause. This provides us with an explanation for work of Alfred the Great, as he utilised the law of God to structure much of English law, the Magna Carta (written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton), the opposition of the English Puritans to Charles I (culminating in their trial and execution of him), and in modern times to much of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It was Reagan who said in 1986 that

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’

Nowhere has the growth in the role of government been more evident than in education. Four generations ago, the family was recognised as the responsible institution to educate children, in agreement with scripture. But ambitious, arrogant governments and their bureaucrats could never be content with parents determining how their children were educated.

That would never do! What would parents know?

Jesus Christ made an observation concerning the Pharisees, which can legitimately be applied to governments of our era. He said

Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted (Mat.15:13).

What did He mean?

All people and institutions need to observe Biblical boundaries, given to us by the God of heaven. If they do not, they are implicitly claiming that “There is no God: we do what we like,” and in doing so, they risk His judgment.

Ultimately the Pharisees destroyed themselves, through their hostility to God and His Son. Forty years after Jesus made His comments about them, the Romans came to Jerusalem, and they weren’t happy. Just as Jesus had predicted (in Mat.22:1-7), and as He warned His disciples (Mat.24:15-34; Mk.13:14-30; Luke 21:20-32), the Romans burnt the temple, destroyed the city, and every person within was either killed or enslaved. Now, as He also predicted, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone…” (Mat.21:42). Yes, they could get rid of Him, but His would be the last Word.

Like Jesus Himself, the Christian person can never afford to ignore the facts of life around him, even if people about us are violently in conflict with scripture. What we must do is get our marching orders from the Word of the God of Creation, and proceed accordingly.

And in terms of education, He requires that parents take responsibility for the education and training of their children. To pass this vital parental task over to a tax-funded bureaucratic government department, that employs atheistic teachers utilising an ungodly curriculum that promotes the religion of humanism, in the presence of an evil peer-group, cannot be construed to be faithful to God; it is in violation of His clear commandments to parents, found in Deuteronomy, and a multitude of other places in the scriptures.

Many years ago whilst working for Australian Christian Academy, a woman made an appointment to see me, to talk over the idea of home schooling her seven year old boy. As we spoke together, she admitted she’d been convicted when her son (who attended a State school), had said to her, “Mum, why do you send me to a school that doesn’t believe in God?”

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                      

Every era passes, and Jesus’ warnings to the Pharisees (and to us) haven’t gone away.

In our era, there are plants that our Heavenly Father has promised one day to uproot. In that day, will we be subjects of His judgement, or will we glory in His salvation?

Beginning with Homeschooling (18)

Education in the Hands of the Godless

I think that when it comes to the training of human beings, you have to be a great deal more careful than you do in other spheres about preservation of the right of individual liberty and the principle of individual responsibility; and I think we ought to be plain about this — that unless we preserve the principles of liberty in this department [of Education] there is no use in trying to preserve them anywhere else. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else as well (J. Gresham Machen, 1926).

The scriptures never authorise God’s people to commit their children’s education to the care of evil people. In fact, the Bible commands us to do the opposite. We are to be particular and discerning about education, because “…children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:3).

We are entrusted with children, and we’ll give an account to Him for this sacred trust. That requires that we be particular about their company, because “… the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov.13:20).

You don’t want your children to spend time around fools, because fools will harm them, the Bible says. So, what must we do? Keep them out of the company of fools, and the best way to do this is to at home educate them.

But there’s more. The biggest issue in relation to education is values. Whose values do you want reproduced in your children? Yours or a stranger’s?

The Bible says,

When a wicked man comes, contempt also comes, and with dishonour comes scorn (Prov.18:3).

This was where Lot got into trouble. He “settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Gen.13:12-13). Lot convinced himself this move down amongst the godless would be OK, but he was deluded. Later, when he was visited by two angels, who had come to rescue him before God destroyed the city, the men of the city surrounded his house, and called out to him,

Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them (Gen.19:5).

We don’t know how long Lot had resided there; months or years. After Abraham interceded for Lot (Gen 18:23-33), God got them out of Sodom all right, but they’d been corrupted; well educated in Sodom’s perversity. His two daughters received a form of education there. They later considered it legitimate to have children by getting their father drunk, then deviously having intercourse with him (Gen.19:30-38).

Who is in charge of your children’s education?  If you’re relying on some distant government department to competently care, you are relying on a weak reed.

Why do I make that claim? If there is one thing that government departments have proven now, competency is a stranger to their radar. The two things that really matter to bureaucrats are maintaining their jobs, and maintaining the annual budget. Self-interest rules, not competency.

If there has been any universal religion in the second half of the twentieth century, it has been the religion of the bureaucratic welfare State.[1]

You take the task of education away from parents, and you can be sure that the quality of that education will fall away. One of the main reasons is that parents have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of their children’s education, and will go to great lengths to ensure it takes place.

But teachers?

If it all goes pear shaped, will it make any difference? With some yes, but with many, they don’t care. They still have their job next year, because in the public system, the bureaucracy will not permit bad feedback to affect the teacher’s future, unless it is blatantly criminal.

Professional competency is not critical in a public system, be it education, health or welfare, or any other. Who knows, and who cares? What becomes critical for the bureaucrat is being able to get his pay-check each fortnight, and ensure his long term future in the job.

You are being foolish indeed, to expect competency and quality from such a system.

Anyone who expects the bureaucratic order to reform itself is living in a fantasy world. Bureaucracies do not change; they just get worse. They get more grasping. Until their budgets are cut, nothing changes bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is expanding like a cancer, and it has been for 100 years.[2]

Conclusion:

You didn’t need a bureaucracy to conceive, give birth to, feed, clothe and otherwise raise your child, teach him your language, develop his social skills, use table manners or do his shoes up. Whoever said you now need a bureaucracy to educate him?

You don’t find that in the Bible, but you do find parental responsibility for education. You find “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4), the very thing Lot failed to do.

Your family doesn’t need to suffer some variation of Lot’s disaster, but that will require your obedience to God.

Fellow Christian parent, when you give an account to God for your children’s education, will you be joyful, or fearful? The time for obedience is now.

 

[1] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.280.

[2] Gary North, 2013.

Beginning with Homeschooling (15)

The Mother in the House

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord (Ps.128:3-4).

He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord! (Ps.113:9).

One of the mistakes we’ve been making in the church for over a century now, is neglecting the Bible’s teaching on the role of women, and specifically mothers. We’ve commonly liked the idea of babies, but what then? This has caused us no end of pain, as the world has taken a lead from our inaction, and gone on to make all sorts of foolish and evil assumptions about what it thinks mothers ought to be doing, with some dire consequences.

The teaching responsibility of godly parents begins with the father. We see this in Genesis, when God speaks of Abraham, declaring that

I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (Gen.18:19).

Alongside this, the woman’s original role given before she was created, was to help her husband. According to the Bible, every mother has a powerful and influential role as a teacher as well.

Proverbs 1:8 says:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 6:20:

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.

Proverbs 31:1:

The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him.

Proverbs 31:26:

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching [or law] of kindness is on her tongue.

Song of Solomon 8:2 says

I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me.

Today, when a woman says, “I’m just a mother,” it tells me that she’s been brainwashed by someone. Someone’s convinced her there is something diminutive, second-rate or of little consequence about what she does. Like Eve in the garden, she’s believed a lie.

Mary Pride, in her book “The Way Home,” is helpful here:

Careerism is based on an inferiority complex, as follows.

  • Only men’s work has worth. Women’s traditional work is useless.
  • Therefore, I must get a job to prove I am somebody. If all the action is out in the men’s “economic-opportunity sphere,” well then, we’ll all have to crowd into that end of the bus.

But ‘tis not so, not so at all. As I sat there that day in the doctor’s office wondering what word would better express my career than “housewife,” a word flashed into my head. Homeworking. That word is the centre of the passage in Titus [ch.2:5] which tells young wives how to live a Christian life.[1]

It’s no accident that humanists have been attacking for centuries the thought of mothers being at home with their children. They hate the notion, because they understand that the godly home is the cradle of the Christian faith for any society. They understand the powerful teaching role mothers can have with their children, and they will crawl over broken glass in their attempts to subvert this.

With the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Soviets knew what they had to do. They soon declared that

[The Soviet family] is an organic part of Soviet society. Parents are not without authority … but this authority is only a reflection of social authority…. In our country he alone is a man of worth whose needs and desires are the needs and desires of a collectivist…. Our family offers rich soil for the cultivation of such collectivism.[2]

If you thought these ideas would have been limited to Communist nations, you’d be in for a rude shock. The West has been increasingly drinking from the same ideological well as the Communists, since their revolution. Forty years ago an American woman declared that

If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there’s no equality…. In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.[3]

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                 It’s powerful when that Christian mother is requiring that Johnny memorise a verse of scripture, use an adjective in a sentence, or is teaching Suzie to recite her times tables.  Why?

Because they have entered into a process with their children that almost inevitably will lead to much, much more than just the knowledge of sentence structure or multiplication. They may not have recognised the implications, but they have begun a process in their family that God has ordained since Genesis.

In that home and family, the beginnings of social reformation are taking place. Given time and the faithful obedience of generations, the fruit of this promises to be nothing short of remarkable: the reconstruction of families, churches, communities and whole nations.

And for what goal? The re-establishment of a Christian culture, and a God-honouring Christian civilisation in the world.

Christian mothers should get out of bed tomorrow, with a plan. Will you?

 

[1] Mary Pride, “The Way Home,” 1984, p.132.

[2] Soviet family theorist Anton S. Makarenko, “The Collective Family, A Handbook for Russian Parents,” pages xi-xii, 42.

[3] Dr. Mary Jo Bane, Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services, 1993-1996; currently Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Police and Management, Harvard Kennedy School; quoted in “The Family: It’s Surviving and Healthy” by Dolores Barclay, Tulsa World, August 21, 1977.

 

Beginning with Homeschooling (14)

What is Christian Education?

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will be a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim (Ex.34:12-13).

The scripture makes this clear: no man on the face of the earth is religiously neutral. He is either with Jesus Christ, or against Him. And government departments are no different.

In 2015, I had the opportunity as a part of my employment, to travel with a leading Australian Christian scientist, who has become over many years now, a well-known spokesman and leader in the Six Day Creation movement in Australia, the US, and other parts of the world.

He is asked to speak on occasions at schools, and in various other Christian forums, and has done this now for over 30 years. Over a meal, he discussed with my wife and I what he’d observed over the years.

He confirmed to me some things that I already knew: Christian education in Australia is  changing. Why? It’s the lure of the dollars from the Department of Education. It’s been a pressure from the beginning.

A modest Christian school has a budget now of 2 million dollars, and perhaps a quarter of this will come directly from parents. The other three quarters comes from the Department, but it order to secure that funding, every school needs to be approved.

The Christian school that wants approval and subsequent funding, had best be careful what it says and how it says it, because it dares not alienate or offend the Department, which has the power to turn off the money tap.

This means one thing. Christian schools want to maintain the illusion that they are Christian. That may mean a cross outside the school, or on the buildings, or having weekly devotions with the Bible, or other symbols that denote the Christian faith.

But, let’s go explore the curriculum. Let’s see evidences of Christian understanding. Let’s examine the texts chosen, that are used by hundreds of impressionable young minds.

What do we see? Pressure to compromise, to lower the profile, to become “acceptable” to the Department. Does the school teach that the God of the Bible made the world in six days, and that evolution is a myth perpetrated by a nineteenth century fool, named Charles Darwin? Rarely.

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a “Christian school” in Brisbane for 12 years, which now has an enrolment of 1,300 children. He never heard from his teachers, that God created the world in 6 days, as taught in Genesis. Why would that be?

What about staffing? You see, it’s easy to maintain the pretence of a “Christian” school, but along with the curriculum, the type of staff employed says a lot about the real values of a school. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

My learned scientist friend said to me, “Where is the evidence of the Christian teachers?” Some “Christian” schools don’t insist any more on this as a prerequisite. Something is failing, terribly.

The Bible says,

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work (I Cor.3:12-13).

The fact is, fire inevitably comes. Why is that?

God sends it. It is one of the predictabilities of the Christian faith. Every Christian school is going to be tested on its faithfulness to God. And this is the test they’ll face, and probably are now:

               Compromise, or lose your funding.

The school with 1,300 students enrolled, has an annual budget (I guess), in excess of $10 million. Would you like to be the Principal that said to families, “We’ll have to close the school folks, because the Department wants us to compromise our Christian convictions, and we won’t.” He’s out of a job. That wasn’t quite his career plan!

Being a Christian school Principal could rapidly become a poisoned chalice. Who’d want that job? It’s like the German soldier in 1943, being sent to the Eastern Front. And now, the Federal government offers schools extra money to endorse the homosexual lifestyle. Oops!

So, you really want your child to have a truly Christian education? Good.

But here’s the question. Will you be able to get one, outside your home?

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and turmoil with it (Prov.15:16).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                          When Christian education began to be pursued in Australia around 1980, it seemed to most to be a laudable step in the right direction. But almost from the first, it had an Achilles heel. The Christian school movement wanted State funding, which had to be preceded by a certification process from State education departments.

And these Departments had no love for Christian education. So, it was a case of,

         You take the king’s shilling-you’ll do the king’s bidding.

And the thumb screws of the Department have progressively been applied. That should lead Christian schools to re-evaluate their overall position, with this thought in mind: do we stay dependent on the State, like Israel was in Egypt, or do we get out, once and for all?

 

Beginning with Homeschooling (13)

The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him (John Milton). 

Ask people why education is important, and you’ll get lots of reasons. Some of them I would agree with, but many I won’t. Why?

Because educational lies have been with us since the first one in the Garden: “…you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5). We know where lies originate.

Now I’m a firm believer that education is of great assistance to individuals, families, churches and society. But it has to be education in the truth, as defined by scripture. The Psalmist said,

I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps.26:4).

Any society has to be careful what it accepts as true. We Christians especially, had better be very fussy about what we choose to believe and why, because deceit and pretension are works of the wicked.

But there’s more. People without a thorough commitment to the truth are very susceptible to being manipulated. Money, sex and power are not evil of themselves, but history shows a great number of people have been very easily manipulated by them.

Some other issues that have been used to manipulate people are fear and guilt, and no doubt there are others. When Jesus spoke about the truth, and Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38), implying it was of little significance to him, he was very soon afterwards politically manipulated by the Jews. They warned him, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn.19:12).

Pilate really did want to free Jesus, but he also wanted to preserve his reputation and career. Which was it to be? Four verses later, “…He handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

Since Charles Darwin, the church has got very wobbly about the issue of 6 Day Creation, because it was deeply challenged over Biblical inerrancy. A significant proportion of Church leaders then and now have preferred to hide under the blankets, wishing the issue would go away. It won’t. If Christian leaders have gone AWOL on inerrancy and a 6 Day Creation, is it any wonder that the church’s moral authority has been shredded in the modern era?

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a large, local “Christian” school for 12 years. In those 14,400 hours of education, was he ever told (either verbally or in print) that the Lord our God made the world in 6 days? He can’t ever remember it. Yes, lots of other things like devotions, worship, prayer with and for the children, but a clear statement of Creationism?

Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing. As Jesus said in another context, “…these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others” (Mat.23:23).

When we give up on such fundamental issues, no one can tell what will be the next piece of territory lost. Maurice Newman in “The Australian” recently explained,

When then prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to establish a taskforce to investigate the bureau’s [of Meteorology’s] temperature dataset and other related records, the cabinet, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and his department all came to the bureau’s aid by watering down the proposal and setting up a panel approved by the BoM to “strengthen governance oversight”.

Hunt said: “In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount.”[1]

Greg Hunt doesn’t want unpleasant questions being asked about the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s data. Why would that be, Greg?

Well, it might bring into public focus further questions about “Climate Change,” and what government departments do with taxpayers’ money. So, the Mega-dollar Bureau is asked to monitor itself. Won’t that be a joy? The truth is sacrificed for a bag of bureaucratic sweet talk.

To change the future for the nation, we really have to begin with the children of the nation, beginning with the children of the church. This is why the consistent education of Christian children remains a controversial subject in the Christian community.

You thought that you’d be popular and everyone would like, understand and appreciate you when you decided to home school your children? Not at the moment because of the state of the church, and this may take a long time to change.

The Lord spoke much about education through Moses in books like Deuteronomy, and Moses gives us a wonderful example about how he handled the temptations to compromise. The New Testament says,

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ better than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Heb.11:24-27).

Conclusion:

Your radical decision to home school your children using a Christian curriculum will not be appreciated by all, in the same way that Moses’ decisions weren’t appreciated by all. But in exposing them daily to God’s Word, without the corrupting influences of humanist curriculum, teachers and peer-group, you are preparing them for something: a faithful, uncompromising life, and eternity in the presence of the God of truth.

 

 

 

[1] Maurice Newman, “Bureau of Meteorology needs to Open Records to Audit,” ‘The Australian,’ 1/2/2016.

Why Education must be Christian 1.

The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him (John Milton).

 Ask people why education is important, and you’ll get lots of reasons. Some of them I would agree with, but many I won’t. Why?

Because educational lies have been with us since the first one in the Garden: “…you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5). We know where lies originate.

Now I’m a firm believer that education is of great assistance to individuals, families, churches and society. But it has to be education in the truth, as defined by scripture. The Psalmist said,

I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps.26:4).

Any society has to be careful what it accepts as true. We Christians especially, had better be very fussy about what we choose to believe and why, because deceit and pretension are works of the wicked.

But there’s more. People without a thorough commitment to the truth are very susceptible to being manipulated. Money, sex and power are not evil of themselves, but history shows a great number of people have been very easily manipulated by them.

Some other issues that have been used to manipulate people are fear and guilt, and no doubt there are others. When Jesus spoke about the truth, and Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38), implying it was of little significance to him, he was very soon afterwards politically manipulated by the Jews. They warned him, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn.19:12).

Pilate really did want to free Jesus, but he also wanted to preserve his reputation and career. Which was it to be? Four verses later, “…He handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

Since Charles Darwin, the church has got very wobbly about the issue of 6 Day Creation, because it was deeply challenged over Biblical inerrancy. A significant proportion of Church leaders then and now have preferred to hide under the blankets, wishing the issue would go away. It won’t. If Christian leaders have gone AWOL on inerrancy and a 6 Day Creation, is it any wonder that the church’s moral authority has been shredded in the modern era?

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a large, local “Christian” school for 12 years. In those 14,400 hours of education, was he ever told (either verbally or in print) that the Lord our God made the world in 6 days? He can’t ever remember it. Yes, lots of other things like devotions, worship, prayer with and for the children, but a clear statement of Creationism?

Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing. As Jesus said in another context, “…these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others” (Mat.23:23).

When we give up on such fundamental issues, no one can tell what will be the next piece of territory lost. Maurice Newman in “The Australian” recently explained,

When then prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to establish a taskforce to investigate the bureau’s [of Meteorology’s] temperature dataset and other related records, the cabinet, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and his department all came to the bureau’s aid by watering down the proposal and setting up a panel approved by the BoM to “strengthen governance oversight”.

Hunt said: “In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount.”[1]

Greg Hunt doesn’t want unpleasant questions being asked about the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s data. Why would that be, Greg?

Well, it might bring into public focus further questions about “Climate Change,” and what government departments do with taxpayers’ money. So, the Mega-dollar Bureau is asked to monitor itself. Won’t that be a joy? The truth is sacrificed for a bag of bureaucratic sweet talk.

To change the future for the nation, we really have to begin with the children of the nation, beginning with the children of the church. This is why the consistent education of Christian children remains a controversial subject in the Christian community.

You thought that you’d be popular and everyone would like, understand and appreciate you when you decided to home school your children? Not at the moment because of the state of the church, and this may take a long time to change.

The Lord spoke much about education through Moses in books like Deuteronomy, and Moses gives us a wonderful example about how he handled the temptations to compromise. The New Testament says,

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ better than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Heb.11:24-27).

Conclusion:

Your radical decision to home school your children using a Christian curriculum will not be appreciated by all, in the same way that Moses’ decisions weren’t appreciated by all. But in exposing them daily to God’s Word, without the corrupting influences of humanist curriculum, teachers and peer-group, you are preparing them for something: a faithful, uncompromising life, and eternity in the presence of the God of truth.

 

 

[1] Maurice Newman, “Bureau of Meteorology needs to Open Records to Audit,” ‘The Australian,’ 1/2/2016.

Beginning with Homeschooling (12)

Watch yourselves that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will be a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God- otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons to play the harlot with their gods (Ex.34:12-16).

All educators accept that values are at the center of education. The question is, whose values? If we are serious about a Christian education for our children, we have to take Biblical values very seriously.

This will be confronting for some parents and many children, especially those who have spent time in public education. It requires changes of attitude in many ways. Education begins with how we think.

Truly effective education means helping to form the values of children. This will include influencing the kind of person they will marry, because religion really does affect values. This all begins with taking this Biblical command very seriously: “…no covenant with the inhabitants of the land in which you are going.”

A lady with three primary school aged children, once wrote to me, saying

We have a local (small) country school that is willing to allow homeschooling students to participate once a week (for either PE or Music, and be invited to Sports Days etc the school holds). They already have one homeschooled boy who comes once a week on Wednesdays, as his interest is in PE/Sports, and it works out quite well. Is this an option we could utilise?

 As a Christian educator, I’m not unbiased in this. I have a vested interest in this family continuing to utilise Christian education, because I get paid through it, so I plan to acknowledge this with this lady. But setting this aside, as a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, I have a concern for her children’s education and future too.

What’s happening with this lady? I believe she’s in the early stages of a religious and educational seduction. If this doesn’t change soon, this could be disastrous for her family.

Why should I use such strong language? North makes this point:

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education… This agenda is deeply religious.[1]

This lady probably doesn’t understand what she’s getting into, but in my opinion she’s jeopardising the future of her children, just so they can enjoy some free sports days. But what will be the outcome?

One of them could be this:

Mum, can we go to that school all the time? Those kids there are really nice…

Then there’s this one:

  Mum, all my friends think that a 6 Day Creation is really funny…

And:

Mum, what’s really so wrong with two people living together? Hardly any of my friend’s parents at school are married…

I was able to visit this family, and I discovered more. Mum’s under pressure from children who won’t always do as they’re told, so she’s been having real doubts about herself and her ability to educate them at home, leading to struggles with depression. I encouraged her husband (who was there for the interview) to take a lot more responsibility for what’s taking place, to check himself on how the goals for each day were completed, and to take an interest in how they are progressing as individuals. That way, children become much more accountable to him. That should change things!

Unequal yokes with unbelievers (see II Cor.6:14-18) means just that. Twelve years of education (which equates to 14,400 hours) will either prepare a child for a godly Christian life of work, dominion and godly confidence, or it will hamper him. What will it be with your children?

Conclusion:

Give your children the best and only true education: one that is steeped in scripture, so they are equipped to handle the challenges of life, and can face life with legitimate confidence.

Mark Twain wasn’t a believer, but he understood one thing well. He said

Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.

 

[1] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.28.

Beginning with Homeschooling (10) Why Home Schools Are Better Than Private Schools

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), April 29, 2019

I have been part of the Christian school movement ever since 1962, when I read R. J. Rushdoony’s 1961 book, Intellectual Schizophrenia. His 1963 book, The Messianic Character of American Education, only reaffirmed what I already believed.

I came into contact with Robert and Rosemary Thoburn, the creators of the profit-seeking Fairfax Christian School, sometime around 1969. Mrs. Thoburn taught a generation of Christian school entrepreneurs how to teach children how to read through phonics. The founders of the A Beka program were taught by her.

Over the years, I have watched the parallel development of Christian home schooling and Christian day schooling. I have come to the conclusion that home schools are superior on average.

There are reasons for this. Here are a few of them.

MOTIVATION

Parents are more interested in their children’s performance than salaried teachers are. Teachers must concern themselves with a room full of other people’s children. A mother concerns herself with a room full of her children. It is a smaller room.

Let me cut short a mistake. Beyond the second or third grade, parents should cease worrying about individual instruction, unless the child has a learning disability. The concern over student/teacher ratios is a concern of the teacher unions. It should not be a concern of parents. The older the child is, the more true the statement is.

I feel sorry for the high school students of parents — meaning almost all parents — who wail, “I want my child to have a low student/teacher ratio.” That child is being set up for a crisis on the day he or she walks into a college class of 1,000 students. The mega-class is a cash cow for colleges. Faculties assign their lower-level non-tenured assistant professors to teach them. These classes are graded by graduate students.

Some 17-year-old who has learned how to learn in a tiny class is now thrown to the lions. “Good luck!”

This is even more true of home-schooled college freshmen. Momma is back home. Momma can’t help. Momma set up her child for an expensive lesson in the only education that matters in the long run: self-education.

There is only one curriculum that is geared entirely to self-education: Dr. Arthur Robinson’s. He wants parents to get out of the way of their children’s education as early as possible.

Because his K-12 CD-ROM-based curriculum sells for $200, once per family, it is the best bargain in the history of education. But it is not for parents of Momma’s boys and girls.

The best thing about the Robinson Curriculum is that it ends forever the seeming legitimacy of the complaint, “We just can’t afford private education.” A family can buy this curriculum for $200 — the cost of a pair of running shoes — plus the cost of a set of the Saxon math books. After that, it only costs paper and toner.

Because Christian parents are generally more concerned with protecting their children socially than with training up intellectual warriors, Robinson’s approach to education is not widely accepted in Christian circles. The fact that a student who gets through this curriculum can quiz out of his first year of college, and possibly two years, does not impress such parents. This is because so few of them ever mastered the skills of self-education.

Despite Christian parents’ desire to provide social environment rather than intellectual tools of combat, I still think conventional home schooling beats private day schooling. Parental concern is very great. Parents have not only pulled a child out of the humanists’ established church — the public school system — the mother has also decided to skip entry into the wage-earning work force for the sake of her children’s education. This degree of commitment, even when accompanied by the well-meant but ill-conceived pedagogy of showing children how to solve problems with mother’s help rather than by themselves, overcomes the low common denominator problem of the K-12 classroom.

INNOVATION

Recently, I sent a successful day school’s headmaster an inquiry regarding the possibility of adopting a curriculum like Robinson’s, but with greater emphasis on success in business rather than training for a career in science. I am now working on it. Such a curriculum might be suitable for both home schools and day schools. Or so I thought. Here is what he wrote to me.

It looks very good to me. It would sell to me on content alone — because I know your work and admire it. Many do not, and that’s why packaging would be so critical for initial market success. One substantial item that would be needed would be user-friendly teachers’ guides. This would be necessary even if the teacher were just a facilitator, but especially if the teacher actually did some teaching. I’m finding substantial parental resistance to the idea of their students learning in non-traditional (teacher/lecture) ways. But I think it can be overcome if the students buy into it. But most significant in today’s undisciplined, child-driven culture is getting the students to buy into it. Parents will do whatever their kid wants today. If the kid likes the material, it will help sell it — not necessarily initial purchase, but long-term.

I wrote back to him the following response.

No teacher guides. So, this means gigantic extra work at my end to sell to day schools. I don’t think that would pay off. I think I’m fighting too much tradition. The home schoolers are much less traditional. They also tell their kids what to do. I think day school parents are less confrontational. If I sell to a final buyer — a parent — it’s a simple sale: immediate benefits for your child, with a one-year money-back guarantee. If I sell to a day school director, the benefits are indirect: force your change-resistant teachers to change, force your students to change, and maybe the parents will accept it . . . but probably not. You may get fired.

Which market would you rather sell to? But you have clarified my thinking. Thanks.

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Yet it took me 20 years of watching the home school movement develop to come to this conclusion.

This late conclusion may be an example that runs counter to my theory of child pedagogy. I wish that someone had pointed it out to me earlier. It might have saved me two decades. But I might not have believed it. Self-education is the best education as a general rule.

I can understand a headmaster’s problem. He is dealing with child-directed parents. He is dealing with teachers in an under-funded niche profession that pays 60% of what a public school teacher is paid. These teachers are learning on the job. They were taught in public schools. They are (or should be) re-learning everything in their field of interest. They don’t know where to begin. They need a teacher’s guide in their own field. This is horrifying, yet it is apparently the case.

The standard Christian school textbooks are baptized public school textbooks. If you think I’m wrong, see what they say about the anti-Federalists of 1787, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, World War I, World War II, and the other great crusades of the modern messianic American State.

They are by necessity low-common-denominator products. They are very expensive to produce. To get back the investment, they must be sold by the tens of thousands each year. They are printed on paper — the Achilles’ heel of education in an era of the Web and CD-ROM and DVDs. Think of the printed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It could not compete against Microsoft’s Encarta (under $100), let alone the Wiki encyclopedia (on-line and free). It is gone. But students are still assigned printed textbooks.

Show me a printed textbook, and I’ll show you a book written to get through a committee with a final market of average students.

I am not interested in average students. Their needs can be taken care of by others. I want the best and the brightest. More important, I want self-starters and self-learners who can quiz out of college mega-classes in high school, and walk straight into upper division — saving themselves two years and their parents $25,000 to $75,000.

CONFRONTATION

We need a hard core of graduates who are prepared to challenge the statist presuppositions of this era and the one to come. We need college students who can think for themselves, research for themselves, and develop comprehensive alternatives. Such students should not be asked to feast on the dumbed-down pabulum of the committee-screened high school textbook.

A pastor I met years ago once complained about the situation he found at a new church. “I wanted to enter an armory. I found a nursery.” This is why there is a market for textbooks.

Most parents do not want confrontation. So, most parents allow their children to be educated in the public schools.

Christian day school parents are more confrontational. They have broken with the public schools. But they still want their children to have the social experience of bureaucratic education. They cannot resist the lure of league sports and proms and pom-poms.

There are a few day schools that are self-consciously designed to train up students who are ready for lower-division collegiate intellectual battle at age 17. There are not many schools like this. They are saddled with Christian school textbooks. They must go to special effort in the classroom to get around and beyond these textbooks. These schools are the products of their headmasters’ vision. Three years after they retire, the schools may drift back to a baptized version of the local public schools. Dogs do tend to return to their vomit (Proverbs 26:11).

Such schools are rowing against the tide. The students coming into Christian high schools today are almost as committed to the welfare State ideology as public school children are. There is a small organization, the Nehemiah Institute, which provides a test for entering Christian day school freshmen regarding their attitude toward statism. A handful of Christian schools use it. It is called the PEERS Test. The test results are universally grim: in the 30% range. After four years of Christian education, the scores usually go up in those schools that run the tests, but nowhere near 100%. Maybe 70%. A good test of how good a day school’s program is, is the PEERS Test. Ask to see the results. If the school does not use it, look for another school.

With home schooling, students miss out on league football games, pom-poms, and high school reunions. Whether they get prepared for intellectual confrontation is dependent on what their parents choose to assign them to read, and then on how well they master the assigned material.

Parents are directly responsible, meaning that mothers are directly responsible. Fathers usually delegate home schooling to mothers.

In other forms of education, both parents delegate this responsibility to hired tutors. The question is: Hired by whom? The State or the parents or a local church?

If Christian parents were willing to be 100% responsible, there would be few non-profit Christian day schools. They would be run as family or corporate enterprises. The fact that most Christian day schools are non-profit organizations reveals the reality, namely, that parents are looking for subsidies from others: tax deduction-receiving donors, church members in churches the parents do not belong to, or the State (vouchers).

Home school parents avoid this dilution of responsibility. This is why home schooling is the wave of the future for leadership development. Each generation of home school mothers is likely to be tougher than the previous one. Better trained, too.

CONCLUSION

Home schooling has come a long way over the last two decades. Technology is on the side of home schooling: the Web, CD-ROMs, computers, and DVDs. This technology is both decentralizing and individualizing. There are local home school associations. There is the division of labor.

The future of tax-funded education can be seen in the schools of Washington, D.C., where legislators do not send their children.

We are winning this one.