Train up a child in the way he should go…

There is a big debate among some Christians as to whether a Christian should homeschool or not. There are people who use scripture to say yes and others who say no.

I have already addressed the fact that both studies and scripture show that who and what we surround ourselves with affects us.

I decided to address this in light of a recent study:  Study Finds Homeschoolers Less Likely to Leave Faith Than Public, Private Schooled Students.

From the article: 

“Having a strong relationship with the child’s mother and father, attending church as a child, and years homeschooled were all clearly positively associated with Millennials’ basic Christian orthodoxy, broader biblical beliefs, Christian behaviors (e.g., attending church, keeping sex in marriage, prayer, not using pornography), satisfaction in life, civic and community involvement, and having beliefs similar to one’s parents,” Ray stated.

87% of study participants who were homeschooled said they have strong Christian beliefs. Conversely, Millennials who were enrolled in public schools or private Christian schools were more likely to walk away from the faith later in life.

“Number of years in Christian school and number of years in public school were negatively associated with most of the adult beliefs and behaviors just mentioned,” Ray explained.

Statistically, homeschooled young adults were six times as likely to be believers and seven times as likely to be stronger in their Christian beliefs as Millennials attending private schools. Homeschooled Millennials were also two times as likely to be stronger in Christian beliefs as those who attended Christian schools or public schools.

The study basically shows that people who are homeschooled (because of reasons of faith) are significantly more likely to be believers in Christ than those in either public OR private schools. This seems to run counter to the common wisdom that sending children to Christian private schools some how teaches children in a way so as to not reject Christ and help them stay in church. It also runs counter to the idea that we should send our children into schools  and allow them to be lights for Christ in environments which teach humanism.

Obviously, God has addressed the idea of teaching our children in scripture. Let’s take a look.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV 

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Ephesians 6:4 ESV

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Titus 2:4-5 ESV

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All of these scriptures speak of morals, of righteousness, of equipping people for every good work. Some take that to mean the scriptures only speak of religious education. Others take that to mean all education.

Personally, I do not see a distinction between the spiritual and the physical.  I think both are intertwined. We can not separate the two. Whether we teach about God, work or life, we teach about living in a way so as to please the Lord. There is no separation.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
More than that, we must teach about philosophy, human tradition, and the basic principles of this world – this is secular education in today’s world. I few don’t teach about the truth in all areas of life, our children CAN be taken captive.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

We must be sure to teach about NOT becoming friends with the world, and how can we do this if we put our children in schools, public or private, which do exactly that.

James 4:4

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

So parents are responsible for teaching our children about God. But more than that, we are responsible for teaching them how they should live – and this includes being sure they are taught appropriately about human traditions, philosophies, and basic principles. This is not merely teaching morals, or about God, but teaching how to not be ensnared in such things. We can not do that if we turn our children over to a school which purposefully ensnares them. We MUST educate spiritually as well as in other areas of life. to do this, homeschooling is the best option.

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