It is rare that a post leaves me with absolutely nothing to say but, “Wow!” But this entry from Internetmonk.com has. And timely if you have been following any of the conversation we have been having about Christian education (with a follow up here). Anyway, Internetmonk has managed to intercept a letter, of the Screwtape variety, aimed at the heart of what we are attempting to do in our homes. A teaser, from The Vilesidious Letters: On Christian Schools:
The fetish of academic excellence is easy enough to promote in this school, but I find that to be of little use for seriously infernal purposes. What has impressed me is the way in which the overall culture of these institutions can produce, when pursued with the right guidance, a kind of evangelicalism that vaporizes in the presence of the actual secular culture it is meant to conquer much like a vampire in sunlight. All that talk of “excellence” and “leadership” really is quite a lot of fizz, as these institutions produce followers, conformists and prattling repeaters of propaganda at a rate so high that we hardly know what to do with them once we have them on board.
A”kind of evangelicalism” that is all airs and no substance. Neither sheltering nor the most diligent teaching is sufficient to protect our children because it is not in our power. I am always a little concerned when I run into people who seem to think homeschooling is a guarantor of salvation for their children, and judge those whose children have walked away too harshly. After all, think of all the time Adam and Eve had to walk with the Lord without the influence of secular culture. And look how they turned out.
I have never viewed homeschooling as a means of sheltering my children from the world, but as a means of preparing them for it. When I look at the example in scripture, I see several key elements that I think are relevant to all Christian parents, regardless of the educational approach they use or even if they send their children to a public or private school.
1. Spend time alone with God.
Jesus spent much time alone, in prayer.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. Mark 1:35
We, too, should first prepare our own hearts and minds, being sure we are”right” with God. We cannot forget that we are but students as well, learning daily from our teacher.
2. Spend time alone with our children.
We do right to seek respite from the world and its distractions to teach our children, answer their questions and help them to grow spiritually and intellectually. This is a time of preparation, modeling and practice.
And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them… –Matthew 20:17
I find it interesting as I read of Jesus’ attempts to step away from the public, seek out a desert place and disciple His twelve how many times He is interrupted. He did not grumble at this as I do, but “was moved with compassion,” choosing to answer the needs of the multitudes which frequently gathered.
3. Send our children out into the world.
The disciples spent time alone with their teacher, and had the advantage of walking with Him as He taught the people. They witnessed His life, His teaching and His healings. As disciples, it was also their task to emulate every characteristic of their rabbi. They were being prepared for a time when Jesus would no longer be with them in the flesh as He was just then. But in their preparation, Jesus was not always by their side, filtering what they saw or instructing them in what to do.
These twelve Jesus sent forth… –Matthew 10:5
They were given a measure of responsibility and contact with the world where they were able to use and see the effects of what Jesus had taught them. Their education did not isolate them, but rather brought them in close contact with the world and all its sins. Sometimes they wavered. Sometimes they doubted. But always they grew, so that when they were fully trained, they were more like Him.
As we teach our children, we need to remember it is not about us, else we are most prone to this attack:
Of course, do whatever you can to insure that success breeds pride, and then keep that love of pride for useful bouts of doubts and self-loathing. I find the best approach is cyclical, with the final abandonment of the whole thing the result of years of back and forth.
Does that not sound like an easy cycle to fall into?
[tags] homeschool, homeschooling, Christian[/tags]