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The Next Step:
A Few More Words on Figuring Out If and When to Put the Kids Back in School

Posted by Barbara Smith (BWSmith)
This message was originally posted on
Christian Homeschool Fellowship on the Web

Based on the comments you have e-mailed me, this remains a bit of a delicate topic: A willful child who rejects a teacher's authority can stop any kind of schooling dead. Several of you have asked if I have anything more to say on the subject.

Assuming you have surveyed the facts of your homeschooling enterprise and have defined what you think an education is; figured out who is supposed to do what, and why; (1 Cor. 8:1) checked out the chain of command; (Deut. 6:6-9, Ephesians 4:29-32) reviewed your goals; (1 Cor. 13:8) and assessed yourself. (Jer. 17:9-10, Daniel 1:17-20, Prov. 1:1-7, 2 Tim 1:7) Then you have come to the heart of getting and providing an education: discipline and hard work!

I recently read about a homeschool expert who excused academic rebels because their material might be dull or dated or too difficult. He urged parents to revise their curriculum to be more interesting. We assuredly need to make education a delight, as far as we are able. Nevertheless, life is hard; so are the subjects we need to master to be productive. Remember the Fall? Adam was cursed: "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Gen. 3:19)

Who are the people who drive us nuts in the world today? The incompetent, the careless and the lazy. The habits we cultivate by hard work today produce a rich harvest in many disciplines. Physicians, lawyers and airline pilots have to master mounds of tedious information; nurses, physicists and chemists have to acquire stupendous amounts of information. Artists and musicians have to practice and experiment endlessly. Even elected representatives who are diligent public servants must commit to memory countless details and link them to serve their constituents. Most important, our Lord and Savior learned obedience through suffering! (Heb 5:8)

When we have given over the direction of our academics to the Lord, the Creator and Sustainer or the Universe, whining about HIS agenda is unwise. Remind your children about what happened to those who grumbled in the desert. Complaining about difficulty or boredom is a serious offense!

"How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. "Say to them, 'As I live,' says the LORD, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. (Num. 14:27-29)

May I repeat an upsetting observation that troubles and saddens me? (And which you have told me grieves your hearts.) Children who resist their parents' authority are resisting God's rule of their lives and will struggle with learning from anyone.

Waiting for God to move and direct may be deeply troubling you tonight. (Psalm 25:8,12) May I comfort you as you wait for HIS direction? While you wait for your marching orders, what do you do? DON'T Fret! If you haven't camped out recently in the Psalms go to PSALM 37 and pitch your tent!

Do not fret because of your children, be not envious toward moms who seem to have time and money and their sanity. For where God leads them is HIS business! Your assignment is to *Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. *

Can we repeat that?

*Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.*

"Is this smart," you ask? "This is my kid's future we are talking about, here!"

God knows how much you know, and what you can master and HE knows what your kids will need to know to live the lives HE plans for them. HE gives wisdom and intelligence. Their genes do not determine it: their DNA is only the sheathing in which God gives the gifts of intelligence and other abilities.

Our hopes and dreams for our children's education are often limited to what is of practical importance. However, God asks us to teach what is of eternal significance. Years ago, a mother told me she put her children under the blood of Jesus Christ, each time they left the house. Her son, grown and well-educated left the home one day for work at a well-paying, interesting job, but did not return. The practical information with which he had filled his head was of no value when a distracted truck driver sped through the red light one grim night. His academic credentials were no shield. It was the knowledge of the fear of God and the Blood of Jesus Christ that made the difference in that man's life here and in eternity.

As you plot their academic courses, don't be afraid to use the best teaching the world offers. However as you teach your children how to live for the Lord, show them how to be ready to die. The issue of effectively educating a rebel is not who teaches them, or where we teach them. The issue is the heart, not the brain. Those who do not fear God despise wisdom and are fools, no matter how many degrees from prestigious institutions they win. "Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (Prov. 12:1 ) Praying for a child's heart to soften to Christ is the single wisest strategy a parent can apply to training their child. How much time do we spend doing this? Get down on your knees put your face down in the dust, before you give up or give in. Your children NEED your prayers!

If pain, pressure or personal ambitions are coloring your question about putting the kids back in school, back up. I am confident that if you ask what to do because you want God's will more than your own preferences, HE will show you!

"And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears you. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." (I Jn 5:14-15)

© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
Please contact Barbara Smith at workbook@toad.net before reprinting any of Barbara's messages. These messages are taken straight from the chfweb.com Message Board and Barbara may want to check them over for publication. Please include, in the body of your message, which message you are interested in reprinting.

Please send a copy of the publication to:
Third Floor Publishing
PO Box 827
Arnold, MD 21012

We hope our thoughts encourage you in the Lord Jesus Christ who has enabled us to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined -- please let us know what YOU think. E-mail us at workbook@toad.net. (Please don't forget to include your e-mail address with in the body of the message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient e-mail addresses.)

You can read the article, "Should You Put the Kids Back in School?", that prompted e-mails to Barbara. Barbara was a "guest" author for Tamara Eaton's Article of the Week.


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