Have you ever owned a pair of tinted glasses? When you wear them, everything looks yellow or pink or blue. Similarly, everyone interprets and responds to life’s circumstances through the lens of a particular belief system. Some people wear multiple glasses, borrowing ideas from different worldviews until reality becomes quite blurry; others actually prefer a faulty prescription so that they do not have to commit to any one perspective.
Parenting in general certainly offers opportunities to share our beliefs and ideas with our children from a young age. However, our educational system often clashes with ours in some way, and gives children a different set of beliefs which they must learn to adopt. One of the beautiful aspects of homeschooling is that parents are able to explain and impart what they believe while teaching different subjects. This extends well beyond textbooks.
Adhering to a Christian worldview, I always presented facts and ideas to my children from a biblical perspective. In early elementary grades, Bible stories provided the basis for much of my core curriculum, including language arts, creative writing, oral presentation, art, history. At the same time, my husband and I tried our best to model Christianity for our children, intentionally finding opportunities for them to serve others, contribute to our community, and learn about God.
As the children grew older, they became able to recognize ideas that aligned with what they were taught as well as beliefs that contradicted it. In Junior High, this translated to analyzing simple literature and historical facts and figures. Once in High School, they were encouraged to ask questions about more complicated texts, and even about what they had been taught all along. Does a Christian worldview make sense? What does it mean to be a Christian? What kind of man or woman do I want to become? These questions scare most parents because we want our children to blindly follow in our footsteps to avoid heartaches and disappointments. However, in the respectful questioning of family values hides a beautiful treasure: the opportunity to listen to your child wrestle with deep questions and let the seeds you planted bloom.
Hard times will bring even more opportunities to test your children’s faith and to share their hopes and fears with you. Your children will indeed learn how to think for themselves, to ask questions, to discuss, and to argue their position respectfully. They might even learn more than you do! In the end, however, they (and YOU) will come out not only with an unshakable faith about what and why you believe, but they will also be equipped to influence their culture with those beliefs. They will have the tools to discern fallacies and inconsistencies, while extending compassion to others. This is perhaps the most important gift of homeschooling, and the most rewarding.
It will also challenge YOU to know what you believe, and to be ready to model it to your children. This becomes a unique journey which cements families together, and brings growth to everyone involved. In the end, homeschooling is a deeply spiritual endeavor that transforms lives beyond just education. It brings meaning to life’s deepest questions and encourages us to live in honesty, courage, compassion, and grace.
Let’s get started.