Beginnings of Home Schooling (20)

By Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 25, 2019

Remnant Review

In a free society, an individual is allowed to withdraw from the establishment, whatever the establishment is.

The freedom to withdraw is the essence of freedom. It is the legal right of the individual to say no personally, as long as he is willing to bear the costs of saying no.

The problem is, reformers rarely come to us in the name of our right to say no and withdraw. They come in the name of capturing political power, and then using the state to force our opinions down the throats of the public.

They tell us that some elite group has gained control of the government. These nefarious people are forcing their views down our throats.

Usually, this assessment is correct. This is exactly what has happened. This is what state power is all about. But then the reformer says that we owe it to ourselves, to the nation, and the world to organize into a political action group in order to capture the top-down hierarchical state system that the other elite group has used to shove its views down our throats.

When people hear the siren song of capturing agencies of government power, they are tempted to believe that this strategy will liberate them. They never think about the obvious, namely, that the problem is not who runs the agencies; the problem is that the agencies exist. When the agencies exist, there will be competition for getting into control of the agencies. Power mirrors power seekers. This was the thesis of F. A. Hayek in his chapter in The Road to Serfdom (1944), “Why the Worst Get on Top.” They understand the use of power. They are systematic in their quest for power. They are ruthless in their quest for power.

REFORMING THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

I think this is most obvious in the case of tax-supported education. For over 60 years, I have heard conservatives demanding an overhaul of the public schools. They come in the name of conservative principles, or so they tell us. They say that the public schools have been captured by one or another elite group. They want us to organize the special interest group to recapture the public schools, state-by-state.

This is a totally utopian goal. The public schools have always been controlled by elites. The whole point of the public schools was to give the elite control over the content of the education.

In English-speaking North America, this goes back to 1642, when the Puritans of Massachusetts mandated the creation of schools in each town. They did it in the name of making certain that the children were indoctrinated in the theology of Puritanism. It was an early case of the church-state alliance. Here is the text of the law, which was published by the colony in 1648. The title of the publication: The Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets Collected Out of the Records of the General Court for the Several Years Wherein They Were Made and Established. It has been reprinted by the Liberty Fund here.

For as much as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Common-wealth; and wher as many parents & masters are too indulgent and negligent of their duty in that kinde. It is therefore ordered that the Selectmen of every town, in the severall precincts and quarters where they dwell, shall have a vigilant eye over their brethren & neighbours, to see, first that none of them shall suffer so much barbarism in any of their families as not to indeavour to teach by themselves or others, their children & apprentices so much learning as may inable them perfectly to read the english tongue, & knowledge of the Capital laws: upon penaltie of twentie shillings for each neglect therin. Also that all masters of families doe once a week (at the least) catechize their children and servants in the grounds & principles of Religion, & if any be unable to doe so much: that then at the least they procure such children or apprentices to learn some short orthodox catechism without book, that they may be able to answer unto the questions that shall be propounded to them out of such catechism by their parents or masters or any of the Selectmen when they shall call them to a tryall of what they have learned in this kinde.

This law established the equivalent of what is known today as Child Protective Services. It had the power to remove the children from their parents and turn them over to foster parents.

And further that all parents and masters do breed & bring up their children & apprentices in some honest lawful calling, labour or imploymet, either in husbandry, or some other trade profitable for themselves, and the Common-wealth if they will not or cannot train them up in learning to fit them for higher imployments. And if any of the Selectmen after admonition by them given such masters of families shal finde them still negligent of their dutie in the particulars aforementioned, wherby children and servants become rude, stubborn & unruly; the said Selectmen with the help of two Magistrates, or the next County court for that Shire, shall take such children or apprentices from them & place them with some masters for years (boyes till they come to twenty-one, and girls eighteen years of age compleat) which will more strictly look unto, and force them to submit unto government according to the rules of this order, if by fair means and former instructions they will not be drawn unto it. [1642]

This law did not persuade parents to conform. So, a replacement law was passed in 1647. It created tax-supported schools. It was done in the name of anti-Catholicism, but without mentioning Catholicism.

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these later times by perswading from the use of Tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the Original might be clowded with false glosses of Saint-seeming-deceivers; and that Learning may not be buried in the graves of our fore-fathers in Church and Commonwealth, the Lord assisting our indeavours: it is therfore ordered by this Court and Authoritie therof;

That everie Township in this Jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty Householders shall then forthwith appoint one within their Town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the Parents or Masters of such children, or by the Inhabitants in general by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the Town shall appoint. Provided that those which send their children be not oppressed by paying much more then they can have them taught for in other Towns.

Two centuries later, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established the first state Department of Education in 1837. In 1833, the state finally had abolished its established church. It was the last state to do this. After this, it no longer paid Congregational ministers to perform their tasks. Yet within four years, a new state church was established. It was run by a Unitarian lawyer, Horace Mann. He became the first great promoter of tax funded education in America. Wikipedia describes Mann.

It was not until he was appointed Secretary in 1837 of the newly created Massachusetts Board of Education that he began the work which was to place him in the foremost rank of American educators. On entering on his duties, he withdrew from all other professional or business engagements and from politics.

He held this position, and worked with a remarkable intensity, holding teachers’ conventions, delivering numerous lectures and addresses, carrying on an extensive correspondence, and introducing numerous reforms. Mann persuaded his fellow modernizers, especially those in the Whig Party, to legislate tax-supported elementary public education in their states and to feminize the teaching force. Most northern states adopted one version or another of the system he established in Massachusetts, especially the program for “normal schools” to train professional teachers.

He was elected to Congress in 1848.

COERCION IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM

The call to reform the public schools is inherently a call to keep the state strong. It is the call to use coercion in the name of liberty. It goes back to Horace Mann.

the public should no longer remain ignorant;
that such education should be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public;
that this education will be best provided in schools that embrace children from a variety of backgrounds;
that this education must be non-sectarian;
that this education must be taught using the tenets of a free society; and
that education should be provided by well-trained, professional teachers.

These are not the tenets of a free society. These are the tenets of the state-controlled society.

The enormous success of Horace Mann’s vision is seen in the fact that conservatives today accept his fundamental principles. They accept the public schools. They accept the idea that the state has the right to extract money through the threat of coercion from families that are committed to a particular worldview to fund schools that will systematically teach their children to reject that worldview. They believe in neutral education, which is a myth. It was a myth first promoted in the Prussian schools, where Horace Mann visited in 1843, and returned home to promote that vision of education.

DE-FUNDNG THE SYSTEM

It is inherent in the nature of tax-funded education that an elite group wants to control the next generation. It does so by control of the educational establishment.

The solution to this is not the capture of the public school bureaucracy. The solution to it is the defunding of all education. All of it. In the classic words of Eliza Doolittle, in response to her father’s request for money, “Not a brass farthing.”

The public school system truly is America’s only established church. The likelihood of being able to persuade the public to cut off all farthings to the public schools is essentially zero.

There has been much greater liberty in the United States for parents to pull out of the system than in most European countries. But the cost of doing so has always been so high that only a tiny fraction of American parents has done this. They’ve usually done it for religious reasons.

Today, with online education, parents can pull their children out for very little money. If they use the Khan Academy, it costs them nothing except time. Nevertheless, fewer than 2 million children are homeschooled. By comparison, total enrollment in tax-funded schools is in the range of 57 million.

Until people are willing to fund their own children’s educations, there will not be a successful movement to defund the public schools. Until people realize that they are victims of the public school system, they will not resist them politically.

The educational solution is not a reform movement to capture the instruments of power. The solution is to withdraw support from those institutions. In the case of education, it has to begin with homeschooling and private education. But private education is expensive. Only the elite can afford it. Not many families can afford $8,000 to $20,000 a year per child to send their children to brick-and-mortar schools. But they can afford homeschooling.

CONCLUSION

The solution to the monopoly of the United States Postal Service is the de-funding of the USPS. But this will take time.

It begins with secession. This has taken place. It began with email, which was followed by texting. Today, there is no economic justification for the USPS. People have grown used to it. It is an ancient institution. But people are no longer dependent on it. If it disappeared tomorrow, hardly anybody would notice. They would get less junk mail, which I like to think of as opportunity mail. But I am in the opportunity mail business. The USPS works for me. But I would be glad to vote for a candidate running for Congress whose only promise was this: “Cut the funding to zero of the USPS.” The trouble is, nobody could be elected if that was the heart of his platform. But it would be a good touchstone of his commitment to limited government.

The Internet is an engine of freedom. It lets us secede from the monopolies established by the state. People do this to benefit themselves economically, never thinking about the fact that they are undermining the economic justification and therefore the political legitimacy of the modern state.

Here is my reform slogan: Secede and De-Fund, Not Capture.

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 (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.

Beginning with Homeschooling (11)

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.”

After Charles Darwin, the church 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” 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 didn’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 (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.

Beginning with Homeschooling (9) Under Whose Shadow?

The Bible says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps.91:1). This is reassuring for the Christian person, to know that as we trust and obey Jesus Christ, He will protect us from evil.

In the last few weeks as I have been reading history, I have been examining how Christians over many hundreds of years, have handled evil governments. And the overwhelming evidence from history, is that we’ve handled them very poorly.

Why? The most common problem we have faced, is our own naivety. We somehow ignore the fact that our enemies are religious people, with anti-God motivations. We console ourselves with optimism.

 He can’t really be that bad, and if he gets into government, he’ll want to get re-elected again, so he won’t push that strange agenda he seems to have.

Many times, Christians have finally understood the truth about their enemies too late, and their tardiness has cost them their lives. Of the Protestants of Germany, Hitler said:

 You can do anything you want with them…they will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.[1]

The Dutch had some concerns about Hitler in the 1930’s, but they consoled themselves too.

The Dutch government tried to ignore the signs, assuring the people they did not need to worry because Holland’s desire for neutrality would be respected. At the end of 1939 the prime minister assured the people in a radio broadcast that there was absolutely no cause for alarm. He quoted an old Dutch poem…

“People often suffer the most by anticipating suffering that never happens.

 They, therefore, have more to bear than God gives them to bear.” [2]

But in May 1940, Germany invaded Holland, and the Dutch surrendered after five days.

What is your attitude towards political leaders? Do you trust them? Remember that the Bible’s warning is, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation”(Ps.146:3).

Have the West’s politicians been any different to Hitler, in terms of their attitudes towards the Church? I don’t think so. People seem to come and go, but naivete amongst believers in relation to political leaders, seems to remain the same. Political leaders want us to think that they can be trusted, so they will get our votes.

Where have we commonly fallen down in this? When we have been offered tax-payers’ money to do something that did not require tax-payers’ money, such as the education of our children. Or when we have believed that the public education of children is “free.”

Christians will employ every intel­lectual artifice imaginable in order to justify public education. And yet, what is government education based on except a wealth-redistri­bution scheme? Likewise, what is Social Security except a gargantuan behemoth of a wealth-redistribution scheme? What is the authoriza­tion of billions to prosecute unnecessary war except a wealth redis­tribution scheme? Christians will fight to the end for these things as morally right, and yet the funding for these things is based on insti­tutionalized theft.[3]

Christians excuse this. We say, ‘Well, everybody else gets taxpayers’ money to educate their children. Why shouldn’t we?”

But in saying this, we reveal that we have tacitly accepted the confiscation of monies for the education of the community, as though it was a legitimate government practice. We like the idea of access to a “free” service. We say, “It’s free, so I’ll take it,” forgetting that everything of value comes at a price. We are really saying, “Yes, we believe in the shadow of the Almighty, but there’s another shadow, we can walk and trust in.”

God has some pretty blunt words for those who deceive themselves into thinking they can trust godless people.

Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord… “who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation (Isa.30:1-3).

Here’s the question: does God in His Word authorise the government confiscation of money from the taxpayer, so the government can then be responsible for the education of the community? (You should answer this question “No.”) The education of children is a parental responsibility.

Abram had a different attitude to receiving “grants.” He said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord God most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal or anything that is yours, for fear you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ ” (Gen.14:22-23). God’s next statement to Abram, is “Do not hear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Gen.15:1).

What happens when Christian institutions receive large amounts of tax-payers’ money? They say to themselves,

Isn’t this great! We know there’s plenty more where that came from. All we have to do is continue this happy relationship, and everything will be fine.

But in doing so, they become indifferent to God, His Word and His standards, and become dependent on the government that only had the money to spend because it confiscated it from tax-payers in the first place. The institution has entered into a relationship that can only have one outcome:

                                    There was a young lady from Niger,

                                    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger,

                                    They returned from the ride, with the lady inside,

                                    And the smile on the face of the tiger.

What is the only responsible choice for the believer? “‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord…” (II Cor.6:17).

Conclusion:

Whose shadow are you walking in today? Make sure it’s the Almighty’s, because every other shadow is a counterfeit-a continuation of the original lie in the Garden: “You shall not die…”


[1] Found in Rauschning, “The Voice of Destruction,” p.54 (quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329).

[2] Moore, P., “Life Lessons From The Hiding Place,” 2004, p.92.

[3] Joel McDurmon, “God Verses Socialism,” 2009, p.34.

Beginning with Home Schooling (4)

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you shall have success (Joshua 1:8).

If Christians want to succeed in any activity, including the education of their children, they should meditate in God’s law. In fact, the law of God is an educational tool, more important than Science and History. It helps to give context to the world we inhabit, and the nation we are part of.

The law of God is His tool of dominion.[1] His law lays out the ethical base for all we do. The Psalmist lays out the centrality of the law of God to the believer, instructing us that

His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps.1:2-3).

Both of these passages teach us that the day and night meditation in the law of God, are the keys to success and prosperity for the believer.

But I’ve discovered this frightening fact: when people discover the golden honey-jar called “tax-payers’ money,” everything else becomes irrelevant. This is the fatal error so many “Christian” educational institutions make. It may destroy them. Why?

Pagan kingdoms implicitly want unconditional surrender from their enemies.[2]                    

The institution that blindly follows the money trail is about to learn a hard lesson (if it wants to learn anything, that is).

There was a young lady from Niger,                                                                        Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.                                                                   They returned from the ride with the lady inside,                                                And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Our Experience:                                                                                                           In 1990, Sue and I decided to commence homeschooling our children. I had become convinced that this was a legitimate option in 1984, after I attended an Abundant Living seminar in the US.

Why did we do this? We believed that homeschooling was a legitimate option, and the best one in our circumstances.

Did we get permission from a bureaucracy to homeschool? No.

Were there some potential problems and risks? Yes.

Did we consider them? Yes.

Did we really think we were being responsible? Yes.

Do we now regret that choice? No.

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences (Susan B. Anthony).

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I would rather mix with and identify with a godly bunch of dissidents as Moses did (Heb.11:23-29), as Gideon did (Judges 6-8), as David did in the cave of Adullam (I Sam.22:1-2), and as Jesus did, than be well-fed, but silenced and intimidated in King Saul’s court.

Why? Because separation is crucial in serving God.

Morecraft has pointed out,                                                                         

God identifies Himself as the God who separates His people from other peoples. Therefore, separation (including Christian intolerance of other religions and gods) is a basic principle of Biblical law, with respect to religion and morality.[3]

This has been God’s way, from the beginning:

God separated His people from the surrounding cultures in the Old Testament era. He separated Noah from the pre-flood world. He separated Abram from both Ur of the Chaldees and Haran. He separated Israel from Canaan during Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. He separated Israel from Egypt’s masses by putting them in Goshen. He separated Israel from Egypt completely at the time of the Exodus.

All of these separations were essentially separations from pagan gods and pagan cultures. But separations from did not imply retreat and impotence. These separations were established by God in Israel’s history in order to give God’s people confidence concerning Israel’s future. The covenantal separation from other nations established the possibility and the requirement of Israel’s dominion over those nations.[4]

Education is a deeply religious issue, for all of life is deeply religious. If Christians think they can make God honouring choices, and somehow easily placate educational bureaucracies, they may have some hard lessons to learn about those bureaucracies.

God requires unconditional surrender from mankind. He does not offer terms of permanent peace on anything other than full, unconditional surrender. God’s dealings with the Egyptians and the Canaanites were about to demonstrate, for all the world to see, just how unconditional His terms of surrender are… The Canaanites understood this when Israel crossed the Red Sea, as Rahab told the spies (Josh.2:9-11).[5]

Conclusion:                                                                                                                          

The law of God provides both freedom and limits for the believer. God promised His people liberty, but the price of liberty is always obedience to Him. For those who refused to leave Egypt at His command, there was only slavery.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor.3:17).

What is it that you want your children to learn, most of all? The true liberty of Jesus Christ, or slavery?


[1] See Gary North’s series, “Tools of Dominion: the Case Laws of Exodus.”

[2] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.185.

                                                                              31

[3] Joseph Morecraft, “A Christian Manual of Law: An Application of Deuteronomy,” p.75.

[4] North, p.135.

[5] North, p.181.

                                                                               32

Beginning with Homeschooling (3b)

The average bureaucrat does not want trouble. This is a law of bureaucracy. He wants a fat salary, good-looking secretaries, and not much to do. He does not want a moral confrontation. Some humanist leaders want a confrontation, but the people they hire to do their dirty work are not the best quality personnel. They are the C+/B- graduates of their colleges, or worse. Bureaucracy corrupts them. It makes them soft (Gary North).

Homeschooling families that choose not to register with the Department of Education, really do need wisdom about how they go about this. Why? Because unguarded comments made to the wrong people, can easily bring them undone.

How could that be?

Let me give you an example. Mrs Homeschooler is home with her children during the week, and there is a knock on the door. The visitor identifies themselves as being from the Department of Education, and would like to know the names and dates of birth of your children. Perhaps they claim they are entitled to know.

What’s to be done? Mum’s surprised by this visit, and is unprepared for the conversation. The easiest thing to do is to immediately give the person the information they are seeking, but that (in my view) would be highly unwise.

Why?

This visitor has a strategy. Visit homes unannounced, and gather information about children, so the Department can get what it wants: important family data which could potentially be used against you in a court of law. Remember: Australia’s compulsory education laws are on the side of the bureaucrat.

Departments of Education don’t want unregistered families to continue like that. They are problem families and they want to stop them, because a movement like this could get out of hand, and bureaucrats could lose control.

You didn’t think that was high on their agenda? Don’t be a dumb bunny. It’s always been high on their agenda, ever since Pharoah said to his people,

“Behold, the people of sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of a war, they will join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.” So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labour… (Ex.1:9-11).

Maintaining control, means that each bureaucrat’s job and future is secure. Losing control means they could ultimately lose everything, especially if this movement ever gains political influence. So, they want to stop it in its tracks, because control is everything.

But that wasn’t enough for Pharaoh. This murderous monster (who God later drowned in the Red Sea) then demanded of the Hebrew mid-wives, Shiprah and Puah,

…When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live (Ex.1:16).

But these brave, God fearing women were not going to be part of his evil scheme. When he confronted them about their refusal to oblige him, they came up with an imaginative deception:

…the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them (v.19).

And the Biblical commentary on their actions?

So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them (v.20-21).

What would I do?

If someone comes to the front door and wants information about the children, I don’t care who they say they are or what identification they produce: I won’t spill any beans and tell them anything. I would say, “I don’t give information about my family to strangers.” They can write me a letter, and I’ll deal with that.

There’s something else I’d do. If the visitor claims to be from the Education Department, I’d  get the smart phone, and film the conversation.

Your visitor won’t like that. Why? This conversation could be of relevance, in a court of law. Their behaviour is being recorded and monitored. This would make them immediately frustrated, but you permit no further conversation, and require them to leave.

It’s like a game of chess, except this is no game, and you’d better know the rules. The stakes are high, because the godly educational choices you are making for your children are being threatened by this bureaucrat’s unexpected visit. So, you have to outsmart them, by always being one step ahead, knowing what their strategy is.

What is it? To intimidate you, so they can get the information they need, manipulate you, and your families’ education. All of these are deeply religious issues.

Conclusion:

Your decision to home school your children is not a light thing, for “Children are a gift of the Lord…” (Ps.127:3). It’s potentially a threat for some people’s livelihood, but that’s their  problem, not yours.

You don’t want your opposition to out-smart you in this little chess game, and call, “Check-Mate!” Don’t fall for their strategy. Like those brave Hebrew midwives, stay one step ahead.