IS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
there should be a healthy triangular relationship between three role-players
- the parents, the church and the school. While the parents are the pivotal
role-players (Deut. 6:7-9), this triangular relationship sets up an accountability
structure as follows:
Church preaches Biblical doctrine and truth, which forms the theological
foundation of the school and the family. They encourage and guide
parents, from Scripture, to take up their Biblical responsibility
to educate and raise their children in the fear of the LORD. At its
heart Christianity is a teaching religion - Jesus Christ is referred
to as "Teacher" (John 3:2), the Holy Spirit's ministry includes
teaching (John 14:26) and the Great Commission includes "teaching
them to observe all things I have commanded you" (Math. 28:20).
Christianity and the Church have always supported education.
parents are the primary role-players in the child's education, discipline
and rearing in the fear of the LORD. They support their child going
to Church, heeding the Word of the LORD as well as in receiving an
school expounds on the Biblical Worldview, looking at all areas of
life, including from mathematics, to the sciences, to the languages
and the arts from a Biblical Christian perspective. This is to equip
the Christian child to take dominion for Christ and His Kingdom. It
really is an extension of the parent's mandate to "train up a
child in the way he should go (according to his character, calling
and God-given talents), and when he is old he will not depart from
it" (Prov. 22:6) and the Church's mandate to "make disciples
of all nations" (Math. 28:19).
All three key role-players re-enforce one another and eradicate the
mixed-messages between the values of the Church and home been put
against the secular humanist values of the public school. They mutually
support godly discipline and therefore reduce delinquency and increase
Christ-like character. Godly discipline allows for greater learning,
hence greater academic achievements. It is important that parents
be the main governors of schools to keep accountability to a maximum.
All three are subject to Word of God.
before a class with a humanistic curriculum is not a Christian education,
neither is having a Christian staff with a secular humanistic curriculum
a Christian education.
Many people have questions about the merits of homeschooling, but what
can not be denied is that academically homeschoolers consistently out-perform
children in state schools. The gap has so widened in the USA that universities
are now offering scholarships specifically for homeschoolers because they
want to attract the better students.
what about socialisation?
Although it depends on the family, most homeschooled children are better
socialised than public school children are. They are taught to relate
across age-barriers, relating with older and younger siblings, and adults
within the community. The public school child is forced into an unnatural
set-up of having 35 children in one class, all of the same age (this is
very unnatural - what working environment has 35 employees, all the same
age in one small room?). This allows for negative peer pressure and a
"pack" mentality to develop - the children against the teacher,
against the authority figure, against authority in general.
homeschooling isolating your child from the world?
Hardly, your child will be exposed to the ways of the world and worldly
ideas by simply turning on the television, opening a newspaper or simply
going to the mall. However, by leaning a Biblical worldview, your child
will learn to identify the worldview and underlying philosophy of the
material presented and re-interpret from a Biblical perspective. Your
child will be in the world (to make an impact for Christ and His Kingdom)
but not of it (being fashioned after its superficial customs and philosophies).
about exposing your child to the ways of the world?
Biblical Christian education is not putting your head in the sand and
ignoring all other worldviews. The Biblical Worldview is able to stand-up
to any worldview under the sun. True Biblical Christian education exposes
your child to all other worldviews so that they may be understood fully
and fairly. This results in a "double education" - your child
will understand what he believes (the Biblical perspective) and why and
what he does NOT believe (the humanistic perspective) and why.
homeschooling and Christian education retreating from the world?
This is a possible danger, but Biblical Christian education is never retreatist.
What is unfair is sending an eight year old Christian child into the battlefield
of ideas, as a missionary, to face an adult with 12 years of humanistic
schooling and a four year degree from a humanistic university. This borders
on cruelty and any expectations for the child not to become confused about
what mommy and daddy taught him at home, or to make a difference for Christ
is completely unrealistic. A better strategy, as demonstrated now historically
in the USA, is that homeschoolers having a 12 year education in the Biblical
Christian Worldview, before being sent into every area of life with vision,
Godly character, and a firm understanding and grasp of the Biblical Worldview.
This generation is beginning to impact on American culture. Optimistic
commentators are suggesting a reformation in the USA. South Africa and
Africa desperately need this.
about sport, music, art and other important learning areas?
Most homeschooling providers encourage parents to enroll their children
in a gymnastics, ballet, ice skating, or sports club of some sort. Some
private and public schools (with a sympathetic principal) allow homeschoolers
to join their sports programme even going as far as joining a "school
house" for sports day. As for music and art - not all schools offer
this subject anyway - private tuition for piano and other instruments
about the time, finances and effort?
Yes, time, finances and effort are a reality. For the parent, homeschooling
is full-time, because of this, it often keeps one parent out of a money-earning
job. Homeschooling does require effort, but sacrifice makes for a powerful
faith. Families can work around this by "cottage schooling"
- homeschooling families get together to share the load and structure
their time accordingly. Parents strong in one area can take both sets
of families on a convenient day of the work, reducing time restraints
and allowing the parent to work part-time or flexi-time. Grandparents
are another alternative.
about the more difficult academic subjects?
This is probably the greatest concern to parents considering homeschooling
and it comes down to CONFIDENCE. No teacher knows your child better than
you do. They average over 35 children in a class (and at high school they
have about 7-8 different classes through the cycle/week) - this leaves
about one minute - per child per lesson - of individual time. Parents
have a greater interest in their child's education than a teacher or the
Education Department and care a whole lot more. Most homeschooling curriculums
are designed to encourage self-learning and are sufficiently structured
to build your child's knowledge base so that by the time they reach the
senior grades they have sufficient skills to work out and think through
concepts for themselves. Most homeschooling bodies also provide support
services to homeschoolers to help over any difficult patches, and with
"cottage schooling" parents strong in certain subjects can always
help out. You need not be alone.
my child's homeschool certificate be recognised at tertiary level?
While the focus of education should never be to go to university (it should
be raise a child in the way he should go, i.e. as God has ordained, according
to the calling upon his life), the proposed changes to the education laws
will seek to clamp-down on this. Homeschooling is still legal in South
Africa and growing daily. Most homeschoolers are writing two exams - the
national one and an international one such as Cambridge O-levels. This
is an added advantage in the context of globalisation.
why homeschool (or send your child to a Biblical Christian School)?
There are many reasons that include:
your children in the knowledge and fear of God is a Biblical mandate.
holds the family together. With globalisation impacting on the family
- homeschooling could be the way to go. Homeschooling helps bridge
the generation gap.
allows parents to shape their children rather than the negative peer
pressure associated with public schools. This will help to fulfill
a multi-generation vision. "A wise man leaves an inheritance
to his children's children" (Prov. 13:22). This inheritance is
material, spiritual, includes character and vision and destiny.
will help protect your child's innocence. Don't be deceived, once
organisations like loveLife have gotten hold of your children's greatest
sex organ - their brain, it is difficult to go back. Once innocence
is lost - it is lost!
will have greater peace of mind knowing your child is being raised
in a godly way, with godly foundations that can carry them through
the storms that life brings.
child will have a superior education, have greater individual attention,
and stand a greater chance in life. They will learn practical lifeskills
like keeping budget, cooking and managing a home.
child will be able to relate to people of all ages. This impacts in
the classroom - younger siblings can be inspired by what older siblings
are learning. Older ones can teach younger ones.
will have more flexibility; for example you can take your family holidays
out of season, which will save money. This flexibility is extended
to the curriculum allowing you the freedom to design exciting and
relevant topics and projects.
you are teaching your child, you will learn at the same time. This
is particularly exciting if you are following a Biblical Christian
curriculum as most of us went to public schools and got a humanistic
about the parents who can't afford to homeschool or send their child to
a Christian school?
Do not despair, many parents are in this situation. The most important
thing is to care and that means being vigilant. Go through each evening
what your child learnt at school that day (perhaps over supper) and discuss
the lessons, help them think through the concepts and re-interpret from
a Biblical perspective. Examine your child's textbooks, get an idea of
the content. What is also highly recommended is to subsidize your child's
education using Christian materials, for example - politics, Gary de Mar's
series, "God and Government" is excellent, and there are also
fantastic Christian books on history from a Christian perspective. The
Safety Net Plan by Dr. Paul D. Lindstrom is an excellent help for parents
with children in a public school. The options are endless.
word of caution
Check out the homeschooling provider before using their curriculum. There
is a movement in Christian Homeschooling today of excessive flexibility,
so that one can allow the "Holy Spirit to lead". Although this
added flexibility is an advantage of homeschooling, it can often be an
excuse for laziness and sloppiness. The Biblical model is "precept
upon precept, line upon line" (Is 28:10). This results in a more
structured curriculum, with knowledge structures being layered with increasingly
more advanced concepts that build upon one another. In educational terms
this is known as "vertical knowledge structures" - these acknowledge
the body of knowledge that has been up built up over history and the relevant
authoritative sources (with it's foundation being the Bible). It is important
that you seek an education provider that thinks in these terms.
more information: Christian Liberty Academy - www.homeschools.org;
Theocentric Christian Action (TCE) - www.grobler.co.za/tce;
visit Christian Liberty Books website for homeschooling materials - www.christianlibertybooks.co.za
(you can order online).
more information and resources contact:
Christian Action Network
PO Box 23632, Claremont 7735
Tel: (+27 21) 689-4480 Fax: (+27 21) 685-5884