I am a bit discouraged today. Last week I was sharing with a friend that some of the members of our former church had been very vocal in their disagreements about our choices for our children. She was very hesitant to believe what I was saying, wanting to give the benefit of the doubt. I spoke with her again yesterday and she apologized for doubting me. She had been to a function at our previous church for the outgoing pastor and our family was mentioned in a conversation she had. The other person, whom she did not name, had heard that we were going to "a homeschool church" and mentioned that our children are "so sheltered". So, I'm working this out in my own head. Do we attend a "homeschool church"? Well, we do attend Grace Family Baptist Church, were we believe that the education of our children is our responsibility, not the responsibility of the state. (See anything by Dr. Voddie Baucham for more of that-'The Children of Caesar' is a good place to start!) Most of the families there do homeschool, but not all of the children are homeschooled, not all of the families have school aged children, and not all of the members are even married yet. So, let's just say we attend a "homeschool friendly" church. Next, about those "sheltered" homeschool kids. What exactly is meant when people use that phrase? Do they mean we barricade our children behind our locked front doors and keep them from encountering any other human beings? If you take a look at my schedule this week that is hardly the case. Or, more likely, do they mean that we keep them close, mentoring them ourselves rather than throw them into a group of peers and expect them to learn anything? Can our 12 year old son really learn how to act like a man by "hanging out" with other 12 year olds? It's amazing how we are perceived as preventing our children the "experience" of public school and the "opportunity" to be a light in the dark world. We have been ridiculed, both behind our backs and to our faces, for not letting our children attend church camps, not letting them spend the night at church with other children, not letting them read the latest trendy teen novel, not letting them watch rated PG moves, not encouraging them to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and *gasp* not steering our daughter toward college. I have been told by my friends that I am way too strict; the world has changed and I can't really expect my children to act/do/say/be a certain way. Well, maybe the world has changed, but God certainly hasn't! I AM will always be! Praise Him! "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ". Galatians 1:10. Are we perfect parents? Ha! Hardly! We are in the continual process of sanctification. We are learning, growing, and making mistakes everyday. We are trying our best to do what God has called us to do. Here are some verses to emphasize our position:
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." I can't necessarily do all of that if my children are away from me for several hours a day. How could I be sure that another teacher will be "diligently" speaking the things of God into my children?
Ephesians 5:24 "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands" I don't feel like I would be able to do that if I placed myself under the authority of anyone other than my husband.
Stay at home wives/homeschooling families are not popular positions. They seem to incite controversy even in Christian churches and groups. It's frustrating to have to defend your choices, but I am learning to be glad about it. It provides me the opportunity to defend my faith-something that I struggle with because I never know the right thing to say and end up getting flustered and loud! Not conducive to winning one over!
So, in spite of the criticism, we will continue to shelter, homeschool, train, guide, protect, love, and be "one of those freaky homeschool families" for as long as that falls in line with God's Word!