On the homeschooling front there’s some hot-off-the-presses good news from the Department of Education. I’m guessing it was news that went down hard for bureaucrats in residence at the DOE. Since 1999, homeschooling in the U.S. has grown by a significant 74% with total numbers of children estimated to be in the 2.5 million range. The key incentives that convinced parents to pass up government education were desire for religious and moral instruction, poor school environments, negative peer pressure, safety, drugs and dissatisfaction with academics. On standardized academic tests, U.S. and Canadian research show homeschoolers scoring at the 65th to 80th percentile achievement level as compared to a public school average of 50.
January 2009 also brought us a Phyllis Schlafly article quoting a survey of 2,500 American adults ages 25 and up who took a general knowledge test on U.S. economics, politics, and civics. The overall score was 49% which earned them a “pitiful F” as Phyllis put it. Those with a Bachelor’s degrees averaged 57%. Worse, 164 adults who had held elective office averaged only 44%. She commented: “No wonder young voters aren’t shocked when they hear talk about ‘interdependence,’ globalism, and becoming ‘citizens of the world.’”
Recall, too, the public schools’ aggressive “no moral absolutes” indoctrinating and the heavy toll it has taken in the form of national anti-moral behavior. As we observe the speed by which culture continues to coarsen and plummet, it’s no surprise when surveys say, just as one example, that nearly 60% of Christian men and even 37% of pastors admit to struggling with pornography. No longer just a problem for men, 35% of women also admit to the addiction. Twenty-first century stories like this flood the American daily diary we write as a nation with no obvious “happily ever after” ending in immediate sight.
But happy endings are always available and they are best achieved via happy beginnings. That’s where the new “black regiments” come into the picture as you’ll see on this article’s last link. For now, however, and knowing I’d be away from my computer for several days this week I asked a homeschool mom to contribute a “happy beginning” testimony for you. I knew that it would be both interesting and validating; especially for those potential homeschooling parents who are still on the fence. See for yourself:
As a homeschool mother of five, I am frequently asked, “Why do you home school?” My answer of “I want my children to have an education with a biblical worldview” has always been my quick and automatic response. Recently, however, and somewhat surprisingly, I’ve found myself thinking over the question more deeply than I used to. No, my answer hasn’t changed, but I am noticing that with each year that my passion grows for the conviction and truth that the best education I can provide my children is one based upon God’s wisdom, rather than man’s. So, while my answer is the same, I’m not ashamed to admit when I started to homeschool officially in August of 2003 that I still hadn’t fully grasped the importance and necessity of the words making up my answer. Five years later it has all become much clearer to me and I am most thankful.
Neither my husband nor I was raised in a homeschooling family. In fact, both of us received the majority of our education from the public schools. I even received a degree in mathematics with the intention of teaching one day in a public school. My husband is an officer in the United States Army, and so we had always considered homeschooling as our more obvious choice rather than sending our children to school. That was for reasons other than simple convenience since we knew we faced a military move approximately every two years. In fact and in all truth, educating our children just wasn’t at the top of our discussion list.
Our first daughter was an only-child for almost four years. She received quite a lot of attention having me by her side 24/7. She loved to learn, and I enjoyed teaching her. By age three she was reading—anything and everything. When she was five it seemed everywhere we went that people were asking her if she went to school, or if she was excited about starting school. I knew it was time to decide how we were going to educate her. We quickly eliminated public schools because we realized that it was impossible to receive a true education anywhere unless it was centered on God’s view of the world. So our choice was between homeschooling and a Christian day school.
Honestly, I was very intimidated by the thought of homeschooling. There were so many choices of curriculum and instruction styles. I didn’t know of anyone who homeschooled and I wasn’t sure I had what it took. In short, I was afraid. But thankfully, our daughter was so far ahead of her peers that it just seemed wasteful to pay for her education at a Christian day school. As a young, single-income family, we’d be putting a lot of money into an education with which she would have probably become quickly bored. At the time it forced me to make a decision that I was afraid to make.
In retrospect, I am thankful for God’s pushing me down the path of homeschooling. Even though I know that God commands for parents to teach their children, I also know that in some instances (e.g. a single parent) a Christian day school may be the only viable alternative. I’ve also heard that churches are beginning to reach out to help in cases like this. But I do believe that the education of our children is the most important thing we do as parents. As it turns out, I needed to experience the full responsibility of educating our children to have my eyes opened to just how important it is to teach them how to apply what they learn to everyday situations, as they truly live according to a biblical worldview.
Homeschooling has given me the courage to take hold of what God commands me with my children and strengthened our family. In a world that struggles to define family, it has taught our children what a family is. And, of course, homeschooling helps our children to have a definition of right and wrong, as defined by God’s Word.
Thanks, Mrs. Homeschooling Mom for sharing your commitment and, most importantly, your compelling journey on the way to becoming a homeschool “pro.” You may not think you’re there yet but you’re a lot closer than when you first began. It wasn’t easy but you made it just as do 90% of those parents who take the plunge. 99% would succeed if only they had support from pastors. Praying that pastors will finally buy into the homeschooling message while time still allows is one of this nation’s most critical prayer needs. Little kid homeschoolers today, soon to be adults tomorrow, can and must become the new “black regiments” of the next decade. In that same light, take time to view an excellent four minute video clip entitled “Call to Dunkirk.” It propels homeschooling into the riveting, emergency-level challenge you all need to see…and to share.