YOU ASK ME WHY?
Virginia Birt Baker (1979)
[Home-schooling mother of four, 1972-1987]
You ask me why I teach my children at home with Christian textbooks and Christian values?
Well, now, that’s a good question. I know what you’re thinking. The public schools have better facilities and trained teachers, and there may be some private school nearby. So why all this fuss and bother of setting up a separate school in my home? Why not teach the children religion at home and in church?
But, you see, you’ve asked me something that gets right to the core of the meaning of life. If a home-located alternative learning arrangement meant simply tacking on a prayer each day, or an extra course in Bible study, it wouldn’t be worth all the time and expense.
I teach my children at home because I believe that all of life is religious. God is at the center of everything. He made all things. He guides and controls them, and He demands that we, His creatures, honor Him as Lord and Savior in everything we do.
Of course, that includes our studying, as well as our everyday work. It includes every part of life, without exception. It means that I can’t be satisfied with submitting my children to Christian training at home and church only. As a parent, I’m responsible for those thirty or more important hours that they spend each week in school. Some of the most significant training of my children takes place in the school atmosphere. How can I leave God out of the picture here?
But, you say, what’s the difference if my child studies arithmetic, history, literature, or English in a public school or in a home school? Much. I want my child to learn, from his parents, that all of life belongs to God and was made for Him.
— In science, I want him to know that he is studying God’s laws for the universe and God’s concept of origins. Honest scientific research does not teach theory for fact but supports God’s word and a young earth.
— In history, I want him to see the unfolding of God’s plan for the ages and the redemption of His people in a world which is totally meaningful, and in which every event moves in terms of God’s purpose. “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set,” the Proverb states.
— In arithmetic and mathematics, I want him to learn that there are absolute truths, and that mathematics is a cumulative development beginning with a strong foundation of arithmetic that is a part of the whole of knowledge. By developing his capacity to do critical thinking and logical reasoning through concrete mathematical problems, he will acquire confidence in his own powers of understanding this physical world.
— In literature, I want him to test other writers by Christian standards so that he will appreciate what is good and true and beautiful, and discern what is false or dishonoring to God.
— In reading, I want him to learn the phonetic principles of our language in a systematic, sequential manner. Our English language is made up of letters that represent sounds, and it is absolutely imperative that beginning reading starts with phonics.
— In English, I want him to know the history behind our mother tongue, the precise grammatical structuring of our language, and its effective and graceful expression.
— In civics, I want him to know that true government is ordained of God and that great political movements have powerful religious inceptions.
— In economics, I want him to learn Christian moral standards in the marketplace, placing emphasis upon the individual. I want him to learn the principles of honesty, integrity, politeness, respect, co-operation and fair play, because these are rules that God has set up for the ordering of our lives together.
All this is a big order. It can’t be accomplished in fifteen or thirty minutes a day. It takes everything we’ve got to instill in the hearts of our children that true fear of the Lord which is “the beginning of all wisdom.”
Moses said it thousands of years ago. He told the people of Israel then how to bring up their children: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be a frontlet between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Jeremiah said: “Learn not the way of the heathen.”
And Paul told the Ephesians: “Grow up into Him in all things . . Walk not as other gentiles walk . . being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them . . Neither give place (opportunity) to the devil . . and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness . . Understand what the will of the Lord is.”
This means Christian education — in all of life. This means training for eternity.
Expensive? Yes, of course, in both time and money. We pay our full share of taxes for the public schools, and we support our own school in addition to this. But we count it a privilege to have this wonderful opportunity, in a land of freedom, to dedicate ourselves and our children entirely to God.