Ah . . . the first day of school has arrived! I excitedly woke up and went downstairs to pour myself a cup of caramel coffee. In that brief moment a bit of nostalgia came over me as I remembered the excitement I had as a child of the approaching school bus. So like an eager child at Christmastime, I watched out my window for any sign of life.
How did I, for that brief moment, forget what I had learned concerning the truth about the public schools’ humanistic teachings? This particular teaching has brought a wedge between the family and God. What about the two books that have helped me in my resolve to keep homeschooling: the Bible and Home Schooling: The Right Choice by Chris Klicka? No wonder Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance everything that the Lord teaches us; He knows how we are prone to wander.
God understood that as one who was brought up in the public school, I would have moments of relapse. This is why the Bible and books concerning homeschooling are so vitally important to read on a daily basis, for they keep our vision fresh. They remind us of the “why” in homeschooling.
So, did I see the school bus? No, instead I saw a car pull up to my neighbor’s house to pick up their kids. I was disappointed yet relieved due to mixed feelings regarding the bus. The school bus was not exactly the safest place to be when I was in school. Today that hasn’t changed any; in fact, the situation has worsened since those earlier days. My own school-day memories are filled with some good moments, but mostly they are filled with anxiety. Public school was like a social club: you were either accepted or mistreated; there was no in between. It especially was not a place for a Christian, for you were to leave Jesus at the door.
Has it gotten any better? No, it has not. Yet with all the issues going on with the public schools and the more than 2 million children who are homeschooled, the school bus still remains an American icon to many people!
To get back to my moment, I finally made my way back over to the couch to spend some time with the Lord before the rustling of papers and the opening of new books began. Ah . . . there is such a newness on the first day of school, a newness that is similar to the first day of the new year. I started rummaging through the pages of my Bible, and as I did a subheading jumped off the page. I felt a peace and excitement as I read the words “Christ is better than philosophy,” much like how I had felt as I had watched out the window for the school bus. God replaced my misplaced excitement with the true excitement . . . HIM! I read on and came across this verse, in which I saw a picture of the public school. In Colossians 2:8, the apostle Paul warns us, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
A peaceful delight came over me as I came to the conclusion of the whole matter: it is better to have Christ as the foundation of your child’s education than to have man’s ideals as the foundation of your child’s education. Yes, the public schools may offer much as far as clubs, sports, etc.; however, in Matthew 16:26, the disciple Matthew warns us: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” As homeschooling parents there is much work to do as we look for gym, music, and art opportunities for our children, to name a few, as well as seeking out sound curriculum in which our children can excel. As I pondered this I was reminded of the words of a song I learned as a child: “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Parents who are striving to follow Christ stand securely on the Word of God.
Another example of how our child’s education must first start with God can be found in Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” So where do we start when it comes to our child’s education? God! We need to seek Him for what is best for our child, for it is not about us; it is about them!
As I look over America, a question comes to my mind: “Where have the children gone?” What I mean by that is that the teens today that I knew as children are barely recognizable. When they were children they were so vibrant, carefree, and full of life and color, just like a crayon. But now it’s as though the colors on the canvas have faded to a dismal gray. It’s as if they grew up too fast, learned about things that they were too young to learn about or shouldn’t have learned about. Somewhere down the line they have lost their innocence. The twinkle in their eye has disappeared, and in its place is a tired look. A child in need of rest . . . God’s rest. A longing for home, you might say.
In Ecclesiastes 12:12, Solomon warns us, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (emphasis added). In Psalm 127:4–5 we read: “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
What is a “loss of innocence,” and is there hope? Webster defines innocence as “knowing no evil, without guile, free from sin, evil, harmless, not guilty.” Webster defines lost as “ruined, destroyed, missing, no longer held, seen, or heard.” When you think of the Columbine shooting incident, does this not sound like a loss of innocence? Even for those children who escape the clutches of death, do they come out unscathed? I believe not. I see many with limps due to exposure to wolves. Some who once walked with Christ have walked away.
The children of America who attend public schools are missing in action as their minds, hearts, and souls are being taken captive by an education system that does not have in mind the Master’s plan, which can be found only in the Word of God. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and will all thy mind.” How can our children do this when the teaching of Christ is nowhere to be found in the eight hours of instruction they receive? We need to change course and direct our children back home, where education truly begins.
Malachi 4:5–6 states: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” As Gena Suarez, Publisher of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine says, “Home where they belong.”
Elizabeth R. Odach has been blessed with a wonderful husband of fourteen years and a miracle child whom she has had the privilege of homeschooling for seven years now. She is presently working on a novel, which should be out next year. She enjoys writing, drawing, and making bead buddies. Copyright, 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, June 2012. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.