Christian parents hoping to impart a faith legacy to their children face a serious dilemma?virtually every area of today’s culture works to counteract even their best efforts. In working through this conflict, some parents feel called to educate their children at home. How do parents know that God is calling them to homeschool?
Some parents are called to homeschool through a series of life circumstances. Elizabeth Watkins, member of Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen is among those who God led step by step. “The very first seed planted about homeschooling was by my oldest daughter’s third grade teacher. She was a very dear woman. At the end of the school year she told me that if she had it to do all over again, she would homeschool.”
After some alarming events in her daughter’s fourth and fifth grade years, Watkins began to seriously consider homeschooling. She and her husband had recently taken the course Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. They began to seek God in prayer, in studying Scripture, in their circumstances, and through the counsel of others to discern God’s will for them in the education of their children. They became convinced that God was leading them to homeschool, and they began homeschooling their older daughter in the middle of her fifth grade year.
For over two years Watkins has been teaching her daughters at home. She supports others who home school by directing the Kingdom Kids Homeschool Ministry, a home school support group for mothers at Cottonwood Creek. They recently studied Educating the Whole Hearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson.
In their book, the Clarksons offer several biblical tips and insights for parents as they seek to discern God’s will for their family in the area of childhood education. They state, “Public education is all we have known as a generation, so it has become the default standard by which we reflexively evaluate ‘education.’ God . . . doesn’t want us thinking about anything by default.” First, the Clarksons encourage parents to renew their minds, then to build on truth.
Next, they say, sow for Christ. “If you want to reap secure, mature adults, you must sow together the seeds of time, togetherness and training. If you want to reap godly character, you must sow the seeds of a good example. You can no longer sow to please your own desires, but to please Christ.”
The final principles are to value the eternal and to be content in Christ. “A decision to homeschool is a decision to accept limitations on your life,” say the Clarksons.
Like Watkins, Nancy Sirratt of South Park Baptist in Grand Prairie was led into homeschooling through circumstances. She started homeschooling when her nephews came to live with her. The boys were from a small town, and Sirratt felt that pushing them into a huge school was not in their best interest. “People at my church encouraged me to homeschool them.” She told her friends, “I don’t know how to do that!”
With guidance of others she realized she could. “It was a very big blessing for our family,” said Sirratt, who went on to homeschool her now 10-year-old daughter, and will begin teaching her five-year-old son in the fall.
Unlike Watkins and Sirratt, Tom Campbell, pastor of Southside Baptist in Carthage, and father of two homeschooled sons felt his call to homeschool apart from extenuating circumstances. Campbell’s parents and grandparents were all public educators, which made their decision to homeschool particularly interesting.
He said, “We had a real conviction. The years go by fast as they are growing up. We wanted to make sure we spent as much time as we could with them, instilling our values and teaching them to live for Christ the best that we could.” Campbell referenced Deut. 6 as an important Scripture verse which indicates that parents are to teach their children as they go about their daily routines.
John Yeats, former Texas pastor, home educator of three sons and current editor of the Baptist Messenger, the news journal of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention stated, “The ‘call’ to home educate is nothing less than the extension of training your children to be all that God created them to be. God did not ordain educational institutions for child training. He ordained the family, parents and the network of their extended family and church to train children to first of all walk with God, and then to develop market skills. Parents who choose to sacri