Of College, Career . . . And Christ
The face of home schooling has changed much since its infancy. While we may not be considered mainstream yet, the overall culture has definitely taken notice, which is evident from the recruiting of home-educated students at the collegiate level to the marketing of curriculum and other educational tools to the growing populace. It has provided numerous opportunities that seemed but a far off dream to its forefathers.
Deuteronomy 8 was given as a strong warning to the Hebrews who stood at a similar place of prosperity in their history:
“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’—Deut. 8:11-17 (ESV)
Home schoolers have reason to be excited about the future. Our children are well above the public school norm in academic scoring, character and, I believe, in social skill sets. This success has ushered in a new era of college opportunities and career choices for our progeny. Many new programs and ministries have risen up to help us be even more effective in these endeavors. Praise God for His mercy, grace and timing.
We would be wise, however, to remember God’s admonition to our spiritual forefathers lest we too become intoxicated with our own success and believe that our own hands have wrought such wonders. Yes, we can talk about college, qualifying statements understood. Careers? A definite topic, especially for our young men who have a biblical mandate to provide for their own households (1 Timothy 5:8). However, our success as a movement hasn’t come from college or from careers; instead, Christ alone has birthed it.
Proverbs is repetitive in its emphasis that fear of the Lord is the initiator of both knowledge (1:7) and wisdom (9:10). Learning, therefore, is not the result of a particular process called home schooling but is through a person, Jesus Christ! It’s a deep concern that many look to home education as a Silver Bullet rather than a biblical mechanism that flows from an on-going and deepening relationship with the Creator. I thank God for all the curriculum choices we have. My wife and I gratefully use them. But if I spend more time searching catalogues for that ideal unit study than I do the mind and heart of Christ, I may inadvertently slip off into idolatry. This is true on an individual level. It can also be true on a corporate level.
One of my favorite quotes is from Cotton Mather as it speaks to mankind’s propensity for making idols even of good things: “Religion begat prosperity and the daughter devoured the mother.” The goal of home schooling is not getting our children into that perfect college; neither is it landing the ideal career. It’s not that these things are bad; they are, however, only a means to the end and not an end in themselves. So what is the chief end of home schooling? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. May the fear of the Lord be our guiding principle and as we walk deeper into the good land may we humbly remember that it’s the goodness of the Lord that has brought us here and not we ourselves. Anything else is idolatry.
Executive Director, ICHE