I didn't set out to become an advocate for home education. I seriously didn't.
I went to a typical Midwestern K-12 school system, and my bachelor's is from a Big Ten university. I remember thinking that home education was some crazy, antiquated, hidden part of society. I can remember telling people that as "Christians, we are supposed to raise our children to be able to impact the secular world, and sheltering them would never do that." I felt home education was raising children up to collapse under the pressures of the world.
I was wrong.
When it was time for my children to enter the public education system, it was an uphill battle from the beginning. Our story is a story whispered in stifled voices around mom's groups. My oldest daughter was bullied for her faith by teachers, students and administrators. Her safety was in question on more than one occasion.
We found quickly a very clear agenda from a morality far from ours had seeped into the curriculum. We found out this agenda was in direct conflict with the Word of God. It never occurred to my husband and me prior to our journey that these kinds of things really happen. Now, however, I hear these stories so often.
We eventually moved across the country and transitioned to an online school. By this point, we found ourselves around an amazing co-op group of home-schoolers. We quickly went from one extreme to another. My oldest daughter eventually would start college at 14, and my youngest is traditionally home-schooled.
I no longer believe that children should be thrown out into the world. I believe that, like a tiny plant, the child needs time to grow and be strong before they face the wind of our society. According to a study in 2017 on onenewsnow.com, over 70% of Christian children are walking away from the faith once they hit their college years.
In the 20 or so years since I was in education, the system has changed. Our culture has plummeted into a moral decay. It seems to me that the culture in the majority of schools has shifted right along with it. I do not want to persecute or talk down to Christians who choose to home-school or send their children to public school. The point I am making is that no matter where you educate your child, you should be an active part of what is going on in that classroom, no matter what age they are.
If you find yourself on the fence regarding this issue, here are a few points I would like to make:
- The Bible is clear. It says that parents are to train up the child in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they won't depart from it (Prov. 22:6). This isn't meant to be some legalistic banter. However, the typical school system today takes on an attitude that it knows more than the parent. In fact, recently, my oldest daughter told me that while she was in the public school system, she was taught that the school should be more of an influence to her than her parents. Both of my children were given assessments early in their education gauging if they would follow their parents or the school system more. No matter how you educate your children, do not allow the system to undermine the authority God gave you.
- I believe in education. I value it. As a home-school mom, I spend hours every year picking out curriculum, making sure it will help my daughter learn and be interested in the world around her. Many people do not think they can home-educate because they think that falls all on them. My daughter has out-mathed me, so we go to an online curriculum for her math. I probably am not going to set up a bunch of science experiments in my living room, so my daughter goes to a fantastic home-school co-op where a teacher walks them through labs. I love the fact that even though my child is home-schooled, she can still be part of a group of amazing people through our co-op. Home education does not mean it has to be all on you. It means that you decide what that looks like for your child.
- If you home-school, your child will not be socialized. I have heard this statement, and honestly, it makes me laugh. There are thousands of co-ops around the country springing up. There are church groups and organizations and tons of things for home-schoolers. No, my daughter just isn't stuck in a boring classroom eight hours a day being bullied and manipulated by troubled kids. My daughter is learning how to talk to people of all ages. I also assure you that there is "girl drama" whether you send a child to school or not. She has to learn to navigate that too.
- If you home-educate your child, they will not get into college or be successful. This is another crazy myth. Here is a list of a few famous home-schooled people: Abraham Lincoln, Venus and Serena Williams, Tim Tebow, Booker T. Washington, Andrew Carnegie, Woodrow Wilson, C.S. Lewis, Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert Einstein just to name a few. Colleges are a business. They want students. What will matter is their test scores and not where they went to high school. We are home-schooling with the plan that my daughter will eventually go to college, so we make sure she is getting the recommended courses she needs, and we are abiding by our state guidelines. Some colleges actually want home-schoolers because they know these students tend to be more self-starters.
- Time factor. You would be amazed at the amount of time you get back once you take that scary step outside of the normal school system. Our lunchroom is family time. We aren't waiting for bells to tell us when things need to get done. If I have an event to go to, it's no big deal. I feel as though once we started home-schooling, we stopped rushing and stopped being so busy that we had lost our identity to our car and fast food drive-throughs. We have time to be a family. That is what makes my children stronger in the long run. That is what gives them a solid foundation.
- Public school agenda. Lastly, if you question the agenda in public schools, then please read the book Public Education Against America by Marlin Maddoux. Much of what the author is discussing, my oldest daughter remembers happening to her in her years in public education.
In a final note, many raise their ears when I talk about my home-school journey. They want to know how my children are doing now. My oldest just entered the college of her choice with a half-ride scholarship. While she was never "traditionally home-schooled," she certainly wasn't traditionally schooled, either. She is 18 and a college junior. My youngest daughter just started her second year of home-educating, and we've watched her scores skyrocket. She is testing four grades above her grade level.
In short, this does work for my family.
My prayer is that parents wake up to the agenda that has come in like a waterfall through the school system. It doesn't change what is happening if we keep our heads buried in the sand. We have to push back the culture.
The enemy is after our youth. May we as parents rise up and truly be the parent. May we choose to do what's best for our children. May we choose to take an active role in their lives and not just assume that the education system knows what is best.
Anna M. Aquino is a published author, guest minister and prophetic voice. Her books, Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the spirit of Balaam, Confessions of a Ninja Mom, An Ember in Time and A Marriage in Time are available wherever books are sold. She has been on TBN, TCT and a variety of other programs, both TV and radio. Please feel free to check out her website at annamaquino.com.
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