Teach them to your children, why we homeschool

Written by Schalk_and_Elsa on. Posted in Set apart living, Training in righteousness

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homeschoolingWe read in Scripture that we are to teach our children. What does this mean? Does this imply that all responsibility to teach our children remains with us as parents? Should we be teaching them math, history and everything else, or does it only refer to YHVH’s Word?

In a previous post, They say there are giants in the land… we asked if anybody would be interested in a study about homeschooling and why we homeschool. We have had some response to this. So, in this post, we will share with you why we homeschool our children. Our decision to homeschool was made after we found out we were pregnant, after 14 years of waiting. Our son, and our daughter that followed 16 months later, were miraculous blessings from YHVH. We had a very strong conviction to homeschool  and after studying the Scripture, we were sure. We will now share what we have learned from Scripture.

We are commanded to teach our children

The first commandment to teach our children is found in Genesis. The three “men” were at Abraham’s tent and YHVH said:

Genesis 18:17–18
17 YHVH said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?

And then continued:

Genesis 18:19
19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of YHVH by doing righteousness and justice, so that YHVH may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”

The context here is the planned destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. YHVH contemplated telling Abraham what He was about to do to them as a result of their wickedness. YHVH told Abraham, so he could understand what is about to take place and teach his children to keep the ways of YHVH.

In Exodus, YHVH tells Israel how they are to tell their children about what He has done.

Exodus 10:2
2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am YHVH.”

Exodus 13:8
8You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what YHVH did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

The next quote is from Deuteronomy.

Moses recounts the past and urges the people to teach their children what they have learned through experience.

Deuteronomy 4:9–10
9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. 10Remember the day you stood before YHVH your Elohim at Horeb, when YHVH said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’

Then later, Moses repeated again that all the words of the law are to be observed and that we are to command our sons to do the same.

Deuteronomy 32:46–47
46 he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. 47 “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

In Psalm 78, we are once again admonished to teach the commandments to our children. This also conveys the purpose of teaching our children.

Psalm 78:5–7
5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in Elohim And not forget the works of Elohim, But keep His commandments,

If our children don’t know YHVH personally, how would they put their trust in Him and why would they want to obey Him? If WE don’t teach our children about YHVH, somebody else may teach them falsehood. Children are eager to learn; they are innocent and don’t question what they learn, even if it is false. YHVH gave us as parents the authority and responsibility to teach our children about Him. Why? Because then they will put their confidence in YHVH and not forget His works.

When you consider these quotes, you may still say it is only about teaching our children about YHVH. However, we will show you that it involves more than that.

Discipleship

The next quote from Deuteronomy, tells us how and when we are to teach our children.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7
6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up.

This instruction is repeated in Deuteronomy 11:19

Deuteronomy 11:19
19You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Do you know what we learned from this verse? We are to teach our children every opportunity we get. When we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up.

What Moses described here is discipleship. Teaching our children is a form of discipleship. Just think about Y’shua, how did He disciple his Apostles? He had them with Him all the time and taught them whenever an opportunity arised. This is what we endeaver to do, our goal being, firstly, to raise our children for YHVH’s Kingdom. We are using every opportunity we get to teach our children about YHVH.

Life offers many teaching opportunities; we try to embrace each one to teach our children about YHVH. For example, if we study a butterfly, we teach them about creation and about our wonderful Creator. We show them YHVH’s hand in history, in everything, whenever we see an opportunity. Also, when things don’t go our way, we pray together and ask YHVH for help and wisdom. That, to us, is discipleship, using every opportunity, positive and negative, to teach our children about YHVH.

It is so precious to see your child’s faith growing. We had a problem with a machine that didn’t work and our son, who is eleven, asked his dad if he had prayed about it. He then proceeded to say that YHVH probably has a plan with this and that it will work out well. The other day, I forgot to switch the heating light on and a little chick died from hypothermia. Our daughter said we should pray and ask YHVH to bring it back to life. We did, and it started breathing again, it was incredible to see life returning to that little body and even more incredible to experience my daughter’s faith. That is what we want to achieve, we want our children to have a rock solid faith in YHVH so that when they experience the less pleasant things in live they will have YHVH to hold on to. He is real and alive and we want our children to know and experience that.

Discipleship is about sharing experiences, good and bad, with our children and teaching them about YHVH’s role in it. Even when we miss the mark, we can use it to teach our children. We don’t have to be perfect; YHVH will even use our imperfections to help us teach our children.

We are commanded to love YHVH with all our heart, soul and might.

Deuteronomy 6:5
5 “You shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

To love YHVH is to choose Him, to obey Him and to know Him in all we do. We are to do this with all our heart, all our soul and with all our might. YHVH is not a compartment of our lives which we access when needed, once a day or once a week. So is teaching our children about YHVH not something we set aside for a few minutes every day or one day a week. It is part of our lives all the time.

Have you also noticed that YHVH said ALL your heart and ALL your soul and ALL your strength? Notice the use of the word “all” signifying entirety.

ALL

A. Nouns.

kol (כֹּל, 3605), “all; the whole.” The noun kol, derived from kalal, has cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, and Moabite.

The word can be used alone, meaning “the entirety,” “whole,” or “all,” as in: “And thou shalt put all [kol] in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons …” (Exod. 29:24). 2

Once again, compartmentalizing is not an option. All or nothing, YHVH  is a part of our very existence. He is our foundation, the truth, the way and the life.

It is confirmed in the book of Proverbs.

Train up a child in the way he should go

This verse in Proverbs shows us the weight of this…

Proverbs 22:6
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

We, as parents, are to train our children in YHVH’s ways. This is a very direct command.

The Hebrew word used here is “hanak” which means dedicate, consecrate, train and disciple.

2852 חָנַךְ (ḥā·nǎḵ): v.; ≡ Str 2596; TWOT 693—1. LN 53.44–53.52 (qal) dedicate, consecrate, i.e., a ritual and commitment to devote a structure to deity or special purpose (Dt 20:5; 1Ki 8:63; 2Ch 7:5+); 2. LN 36.10–36.11 (qal) train, disciple, i.e., broadly instruct in accordance with proper rules of conduct and behavior which would include both principles and teaching holy ritual (Pr 22:6+)

2853 חֲנֻכָּה (ḥǎnǔk·kā(h)): n.fem.; ≡ Str 2598; TWOT 693b—LN 53.44–53.52 dedication, consecration, i.e., an act. of setting apart something for a sacred use, in honor of God (Nu 7:10, 11, 84, 88; 2Ch 7:9; Ne 12:27; Ps 30:1[EB title]+)3

So training up our children, is an act of dedicating them to YHVH. It is an act of setting them apart for a sacred use, in honor of YHVH. This is not to be taken lightly!

It is interesting to also look at the word “way” or ” derek” in Hebrew

2006 דֶּרֶךְ (dě·rěḵ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 1870; TWOT 453a—1. LN 1.99–1.105 way, path, route, road, highway, i.e., a thoroughfare to physically get from one place to another (Ge 16:7), note: context will provide the size of the pathway, ranging from a narrow path to a major thoroughfare; 2. LN 15.18–15.26 journey, i.e., the act. of moving from one place to another, with a destination, and usually planned route (Ge 24:27); 3. LN 41.1–41.24 conduct, way of life, what is done, i.e., behave in a particular way, in the manner one conducts one’s life, including habits, as a figurative extension of a thoroughfare (Pr 6:6; 25:4); 4. LN 76 strength, vigor, might, i.e., power or force relatively greater than other entities (Pr 31:3; Hos 10:13), see also LN 74; 5. LN 77 unit: פָּנָה דֶּרֶךְ (pā·nā(h) dě·rěḵ) make ready, formally, turn the way, i.e., cause circumstances to be prepared for some event (Isa 40:3), note: for Isa 45:2 cj, see 2065; note: for NIV text in Ps 119:37, see 18213

So, we are to dedicate or set our children apart for their journey or path. The “way,” also suggests something about conduct. Our way is our conduct. So we train them to conduct themselves in such a way that they glorify YHVH with their lives. This is what we believe YHVH wants us to do, this is our purpose as parents.

YHVH gave us instructions for living, and we are to teach it to our children. There is only one truth, and that is YHVH’s truth. There are not multiple truths we can choose from as people like to believe.

One example of this is the opinion that children should be taught about all the different religions and left to choose for themselves. This idea originated in the 1800 and is still practiced today. Here is a quote by a theologian of the time:

A most injurious and destructive maxim has lately been advanced by a few individuals, which it is to be hoped is disowned by the class of Christians to which they belong, though the authors affect to be thought Christians, and rational ones, too; the sum of the maxim is this: Children ought not to be taught religion for fear of having their minds biased to some particular creed, but they should be left to themselves till they are capable of making a choice, and choose to make one.

This quote is from the Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible. He labeled it as “a most injurious and destructive maxim“, and it is indeed so, yet many people believe it to be true. He continued to explain what ought to be done instead, which is in line with what we are saying. He said it very well, so here it is:

This maxim is in flat opposition to the command of God, and those who teach it show how little they are affected by the religion they profess. If they felt it to be good for any thing, they would certainly wish their children to possess it; but they do not teach religion to their children, because they feel it to be of no use to themselves.

Now the Christian religion properly applied saves the soul, and fills the heart with love to God and man; for the love of God is shed abroad in the heart of a genuine believer, by the Holy Ghost given to him. These persons have no such love, because they have not the religion that inspires it; and the spurious religion which admits of the maxim above mentioned, is not the religion of God, and consequently better untaught than taught. But what can be said to those parents who, possessing a better faith, equally neglect the instruction of their children in the things of God! They are highly criminal; and if their children perish through neglect, which is very probable, what a dreadful account must they give in the great day!

Parents! hear what the Lord saith unto you: Ye shall diligently teach your children that there is one Lord, Jehovah, Elohim; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: and that they must love him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might. And as children are heedless, apt to forget, liable to be carried away by sensible things, repeat and re-repeat the instruction, and add line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, carefully studying time, place, and circumstances, that your labor be not in vain: show it in its amiableness, excite attention by exciting interest; show how good, how useful, how blessed, how ennobling, how glorious it is. Whet these things on their hearts till the keenest edge is raised on the strongest desire, till they can say, ―Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee!‖

this is to be our end purpose, that our children say “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee!” It is our purpose in life to raise our children for YHVH’s Kingdom. There is no purpose in live more noble and more important!

I found this quote in a book I am reading “Biblical Home Education” by Anne Elliott. You can download it for free at http://foundationspress.com/homeschool-support-2/homeschool-how-to-series/biblical-home-education/ It is a very useful and well-written resource. Anne goes into much more detail than we can here, and explains how we are to homeschool our children from a Biblical perspective. A must read for any parent who is either already homeschooling or considering it.

How can we as parents say we have been obedient to YHVH’s instruction to teach our children His ways if we adhere to this philosophy or allow our children to be subjected to it? This is so totally contrary to what is taught in Scripture. In Scripture, we are commanded to, firstly, teach our children the fear of YHVH.

Proverbs 9:10
10 The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

and, secondly, not to study the ways of the nations to ensure we are not ensnared to follow them.

Deuteronomy 12:30
30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’

Jeremiah 10:2
2 Thus says YHVH, “Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them;

Thus, according to Scripture, it is our duty as parents to bias the minds of our children with the fear of YHVH and His commandments. It should be on the top of our list of what we want to teach our children. If we truly are affected by our faith in YHVH, we would do anything possible to make sure our children learn about this Elohim we believe in. We would also have to give an account of how we have raised the children who were entrusted to us. The question is, were we obedient to YHVH’s instruction to teach our children about Him?

Some might say that teacing our children is only an “Old Testament” concept…

Quotes from the Apostolic writings

This is not true…

Ephesians 6:4
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of YHVH.

2 Timothy 3:15
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in messiah Y’shua.

You may still maintain that all these Scriptures just prove that we are to teach our children about YHVH. However, we have to consider one very important thing: education is not neutral.

Education is not neutral

Education is not neutral; it is always influenced in some way and forms and integral part of the upbringing of our children. It forms their world view. This world view is either for or against YHVH.

Let us look at some practical examples. Consider Biology. Were we created by a Creator or did we evolve from apes? We can either have a creationist world view or an evolutionist world view. The one glorifies YHVH, the other denies Him. Education is not neutral! What about history? When did history begin? Was it at creation as written in the book of Genesis or millions and millions of years ago when nothing exploded and became something? Either what is written in the book of Genesis is the truth or nonsense. Think about this, education is not neutral. Geography is another example. How was the Grand Canyon formed? Was it formed by the flood, thus acknowledging YHVH and confirming what is written in the Bible or was it created by water that trickled through the mountains for millions of years? Education is not neutral.

Evolution denies the existence of a Creator. We do not want our children to learn that. A child will not question this, they will believe everything they are taught. When we then tell them about YHVH and the creation of the world, would they believe us? Children would believe whoever has authority over them, and when we send them off to school, we give our authority to teach our children to someone else. I know this to be true because I was taught evolution in school, and I never questioned it. When I became a believer, YHVH started showing all these falsehoods to me. It takes a long time to unlearn what you have learned as a child as it forms your foundation. A child does not have the wisdom or discernment an adult has when it comes to evaluating the truth. We must teach them wisdom and discernment by teaching them YHVH’s Word. That is their wisdom and understanding. When we teach our children YHVH’s Word, they have solid truth they can use to evaluate everything else againt. That is discernment.

A very useful resource about this topic is “Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview” by Israel Wayne. One review of the book read: “Israel takes the mystery out of the term “Biblical worldview” and gives parents practical reasons why and how children need to be taught every subject through the lens of Scripture.”

Educational material is not neutral and neither are people. A child will be influenced by a teacher; children are great at picking up impressions and nuances. So, the attitude and world view of the teacher will influence them as well. We are not saying teachers are bad people, but they do not necessarily share our worldview and that will confuse our children.

Scripture teaches that our children will become like their teacher.

Luke 6:40
40 “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Can we do this?

We, as parents, teach our children from birth and will continue until they leave home. YHVH chose each one of us for this task when He gave us children. Every parent is equipped for this task with YHVH’s help and guidance. We have been conditioned to think that teaching our children can only be done by a professional. There may be special cases where it would be impossible for parents, but these are exceptions, not the rule. Our hobbies and social schedules should not be a reason for not considering homeschooling. homeschool 2

If you really want to, you will be able to homeschool your children with YHVH’s help and the support from others who are doing this or have done it. We live in the information age and have wonderful resources at our fingertips.

Homeschooling is not always easy; we have often come against difficulties, but YHVH has always guided us through it successfully. He unfailingly will. To educate our children is a growth and learning experience for all, for us as the parents, and our children.

Are we perfect? No, but YHVH will even use our imperfections to teach our children. When we, as parents, fail in some area, we can teach our children how we are to handle that as well. This way, they will learn about repentance and forgiveness.

Your next questions will certainly be “How? Where do we start?

How?

When I looked at the Hebrew word “sanan” translated as “teach” in Deuteronomy 6, it occurred to me that it is a very specific word that was used. That is why it was translated as “teach diligently.” It can also be translated as “sharpen” or as “inculcate.

inculcate

ˈɪnkʌlkeɪt/verb

· instil (an idea, attitude, or habit) by persistent instruction.
I tried to inculcate in my pupils an attitude of enquiry

synonyms: instil, implant, fix, ingrain, infuse, impress, imprint, introduce; More

· teach (someone) an attitude, idea, or habit by persistent instruction.
they will try to inculcate you with a respect for culture4

We are commanded to sharpen our children; to give them persistent instruction, starting with the fear of YHVH.

Proverbs 1:1–7
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

You have probably heard it said or may have said it yourself “if only children came with a manual” Well, they actually did; YHVH gave us a manual for raising children -the book of Proverbs – and a manual for teaching our children -the book of Deuteronomy.

Anne Elliott says in her book “Biblical Home Education“, and I agree, “one of the primary reasons God gave us this book of Deuteronomy was to give us a guide for how to teach our children.” Anne wrote an excellent study guide on the book of Deuteronomy which you can download here: http://anneelliott.com/downloads/themes_of_deuteronomy.pdf

This is truly well done and very helpful for anybody who is homeschooling or wants to homeschool their children.

The next question is a very popular one among the critics.

What about socialization?

What about socialization?” is the question always asked after “Is it legal?” People seem to believe that children could only learn socialization from children their own age. This is not based on truth, but on a myth. Rick Boyer wrote a book “The Socialization trap,” in this book he explains this myth well:

The biggest myth of our day is that the way children are socialized in our modern time is good and the best way in which social skills and values can be learned. To rephrase it, the great myth says that children need to spend large amounts of time with children their own age to learn to relate properly to other people. 5

This myth is based on many wrong assumptions. Mr. Boyer lists each of these assumptions. We will not; however, if you would like to read more, get yourself the book “The socialization trap” by Rick Boyer. It is a great read and based on Scripture, experience and research. Each of these assumptions about socialization is based on popular belief among people.

Mr. Boyer quotes a Latin phrase ” Vox populi, vox humbug” uttered by General William Sherman, which means “the voice of the people, is the voice of deception.” A good example of this is found in the book of Genesis. What was the voice of the people at the time when Noah and his sons were building the ark? The people probably said that Noah, and his family were crazy people. Indeed, it is true that the voice of the people was here the voice of deception. We find another example in the book of Joshua, just after the spies returned. Two of these men believed YHVH would help them while ten were fearful of the people they saw. The majority opinion is not always right; in Noah’s case, only eight people were right. In the example of the spies, two were right. Do not be deceived! Popular opinion is not necessarily the truth!

Peer group socialization has been done for decades. We have been conditioned to think it is the right way; even the only way. I wonder how many of those who ask about socialization have done any research on the topic.

Just think about it logically, is age segregation really a healthy and natural way to teach children to function in society?

Society does not function in age-segregated compartments. Consider, for example, the workplace. Do you find age segregation in the workplace or is everybody, from the youngest employee to the most senior, required to interact with each other? In order to function well in society or at the workplace, a person is required to be able to relate to people of any age.

Children who only related with their peer group are at a disadvantage, as they have not been taught, neither had they practiced, to relate to people of different age groups.

We are not saying that we are to isolate our children, on the contrary, we have to give our children the opportunity to interact with people of all ages. This is a great advantage of homeschooling, because children learn to interact with children and adults of all ages, in a safe environment. They learn their social skills from their parents, who teaches and guides them along the way. Studies have been done to show that homeschooling does benefit children in learning social skills. Here is a link of a study that was published by the Washington times. This study was done to see how young people adapt in society after being homeschooled. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/13/home-schooling-socialization-not-problem/

Do not be misled by the voice of the people! The voice of the people is the voice of deception! Study the Bible, YHVH’s instruction book, and learn for yourself what you are to do. Our children are precious, and we will be held accountable by YHVH for what we have done. Our children are the future, and we can influence that future by making sure they have a strong foundation in YHVH and His Word. We are not to take this responsibility lightly.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the story is:

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14
13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear Elohim and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For Elohim will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

References

  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
  2. Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
  3. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  4. https://www.google.nl/search?q=inculcate&rlz=1C1MDNE_nlNL506NL506&oq=inculcate&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3138j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8
  5. Boyer Rick. The Socialization trap p 3. The Learning parent. ISBN 0-9708770-0-5
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