To society in general, if you were to ask what the purpose of education is, you may come up with answers that express the importance of knowledge and skills to benefit themselves and society. Perhaps the answers will vary slightly throughout our culture, but the answers should differ greatly for Christian parents who are educating their children at home. Homeschoolers need to have a much greater vision!
In Webster’s 1828 dictionary, education is defined as: The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
Isn’t that an amazing definition? The most important reason for Christian parents to educate their children at home is to pass on the faith—to actively and purposefully disciple their children. Those who are around the children most, who have the ability to pour time and into their lives and teach them, will be the ones who disciple the next generation. As Webster aptly conveyed, it is the responsibility of the parents. Leaving it up to a school is not only shifting the parents’ responsibility onto another, but also neglecting to actively be involved in their learning and discipleship.
Pastor Baucham stated:
“I am commanded to bring my children up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), and to do so by teaching them God’s statutes when I sit in my house, when I lie down, when I rise up, and when I walk along the way (Deut. 6:7). I am also admonished not to place myself, or by extension my children, under false teaching (Col. 2:8), or to expose them to teaching that undermines God’s Law (Matt. 5:17-20). Instead, I must teach them to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5), to refuse to be “conformed to the pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:2), and meditate on God’s Law day and night (Ps. 1:2).”
For those of you who have not reached the point of having children to teach and train, consider your motive and purpose for your future children’s education. There should be a larger purpose in homeschooling than to protect your children from ungodly peers. It should be first and foremost to obey the Lord! Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin articulated that:
“The object of education then is twofold: to develop the faculties and to direct them; to bring out the energies of the soul, and to bring them to operate to the glory of the Creator. In other words, it is to render you useful to the extent of your ability.”