Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Home schooling. . .

I must admit that the whole home schooling movement caught me somewhat by surprise.  Over the years of my ministry I have seen it grow and grow.  In my own parish are many families of home schoolers.  While confessing that I am not sure I have the nature or patience to serve as teacher to my children as a home schooler, I do have to admire how many of those create extremely effective environments of learning.  As a whole home schooled children tend to know their stuff better than the average student in another school setting.  That should come as little surprise since those home schooled enjoy a higher and deeper level of commitment to their education than the typical parent stressed by work, work at home, the temptations of self, and such.  It is a balancing act for us all.

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.


Rev. Weinkauf said...

We have a home school enrichment program (Academy) every Monday, now in its second year. Every congregation should invite their home school families to use their facility during the week. Even if its an informal gathering; and as most parents network with other families in the area, a group is likely to show up, even if its to meet for social games and talks. Our Academy children especially like Art, Science, PE, Music, Latin. Parents still teach core subjects at home. It breaks the children's isolation, it give parents a respite and big help in their task. All the money parents pay (substantially less than area co-ops) goes directly to the Instructors. Most but not all instructors are also parents. Like a retired engineer and doctor in the congregation who love to teach. So we open our doors to our families, invite others in the community to come be a part of it. (And as word gets out, they come!) It cost the congregation really nothing. There are no employees, no state license, no obligations on the congregation. And what pastor doesn't want to have a weekday chapel service for children when there wasn't one?! Lutheran day schools have many modern challenges and are not possible in most LCMS locations. This can happen even with 1 home school family in the congregation! As public education grows increasingly hostile toward Christian teachings, what an opportunity for the Church to aid and support families in the education of their children at the home.

Carl Vehse said...

From a September 18, 2019, Life Site news article, "Switzerland’s supreme court rules parents have no right to homeschool their kids":

"On Monday, the Swiss Federal Court ruled against a mother from the city of Basel who in 2017 had applied for permission to school her 8-year-old son at home. School authorities rejected the application and a cantonal court threw out the mother’s appeal.

"When she brought her case to the Federal Court, the mother held that the appeal court’s decision was tantamount to a ban on private instruction at home, thus violating a constitutional right to privacy and family life.

"The high court, however, rejected the mother’s argument, ruling that the constitutional right to a private life does not also apply to homeschooling. The court noted that no international treaty grants a right to homeschooling."

Thus the State (in Switzerland) subsumes parental rights. A leftist-majority in SCOTUS could do the same thing just as easily as they blasphemously and traitorously perverted the institution of marriage.