Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Home schooling. . .
Still in all the fact that some 2 million children are home schooled is impressive. Their is a certain level of sacrifice involved on the part of parent and child but there are also great benefits to be reaped. That said, the fact is that all children are home schooled and every home is a school of some sort. As Christians we not only admit this fact but count on it. Our understanding of the faith and the primary examples of the faithful come not from the Church but from the home in the form of our parents. It has always been this way and always will. Even those who profess no faith at all are home schoolers. They are surely imparting their values (or lack thereof) and teaching their children by implication and impression if not by outright design.
This is the fact so often lost on the role and power of the family. Every home with children is a home school. Whether by deliberate intention or by accident, every child is first shaped by what they see, hear, experience, and learn from the home environment. Mom and Dad have no choice but to be teachers and examples. Though we do not often phrase this in this way, this is the profound truth and impact of the home upon the life of the child, for good or for ill.
The Church depends upon the home first to provide the faithful center in which our children learn to call God Father not by doctrinal instruction but by prayer from their earliest days. The Church expects not to replace parents but to support their primary role as teachers of the faith to their children and the agencies of the Church are supportive by nature -- Sunday schools and catechism classes. The Church may have the ability to make up for certain things that lack at home but the Church cannot bypass the home to instill the deep and abiding values of the faith. The Church is best when instructing the children in doctrine to support the instruction in piety and life that is already formed in them in the home. The Church needs to be careful not to compete with the home or to busy the lives of parents and children with programs that do not relate to this central role of teaching and nurturing the faith -- a lesson hard for churches to learn.
The tools are there. Bible story book, Bible, catechism, hymnal, etc... These are the resources provided to teach the faith. The opportunities are there. Bed time prayers, meal time prayers, discussions of events from the perspective of our faith and morals, etc... The only question remaining is if the will is there to take up the cause and home school our children in the faith. So if you have never had a formal math or literature or science class with you children, that does not mean you do not teach them. Even if your children get on the bus each morning and head to a public or private or church school, that does not mean you are not a home schooler. The sooner we remember this truth, the better it will be for our children, for the home, for the Church, and for the faith.