The Biggest Obstacle and Solution
to Discipling Children at Home
How can a parent follow the teachings of Scripture when they hardly see their children? In our modern society full of child activities and events including homework, Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H, video games, Little League, and so on, I am convinced that the biggest obstacle to parents discipling their children is the lack of time available.
My children were enrolled in a Christian school. They would come home, take a play break, eat supper, and then start on homework until bed time. On the weekend they had collateral reading and other homework assignments. Frustrated, my wife and I lamented over the fact that we are commanded to nurture and disciple our children but that we had so little time to spend with them. As we prayed and explored our options, God led us to homeschool our children.
Homeschooling is not the answer for everyone, for various reasons I will state later; however, for those who can, it provides the ample time and opportunity for parents who are committed to discipling their children.
In the last twenty five years, homeschooling has skyrocketed in popularity in the United States. According to a USA Today article, in 2007 there were 1.5 million children being homeschooled nationwide;1 as a result, many companies have begun producing quality Christian as well as secular curriculum. Though the restrictions and requirements vary from state to state, the practice of homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and in many countries. One of the great advantages of homeschooling is that it enables parents to protect their children from many immoral influences. As stated earlier, the Bible warns us about the impact ungodly influences have on our children. Based on the principles in these passages, it is clear that it is dangerous for parents to allow their children to grow up spending massive amounts of time with nonbelievers or even carnal Christians, especially away from the supervision and knowledge of their caring parents. With teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, and high-school dropout rates on the rise, homeschooling not only allows parents to exercise guidance toward the selection of spiritually positive friendships but also allows parents to take control of their child’s education.
The greatest advantage of homeschooling is it allows parents the time necessary to disciple their children. My wife was able to spend all day with our kids, and they were able to complete all school assignments before I got home so that I also had much more time with them in the evenings and also on weekends. They did well academically, but the real advantage was in the area of discipleship. They are all grown up now, and, as I look back, I strongly believe that without teaching our children at home we could have never done an adequate job of discipling them. Because of this discipleship, all of our children are believers and serving the Lord. Our two boys are planting and growing a church together, our oldest daughter and her husband are beginning to plant their second church, and my youngest daughter and her husband are raising support and currently serving the Lord in youth and young adult ministries at the young church my two sons are serving in.
Even though I am an advocate of homeschooling, I do not believe home schooling is for everyone. First of all, because of debt or financial commitment it is not possible for some families to have one spouse stay home to educate their children. Secondly, it is necessary that you have good control of your children. Parents with unruly and disobedient children will have a very difficult time trying to supervise their education each day, and would find homeschooling to be exasperating. Third, both the husband and wife must be committed to home education. Homeschooling one’s children is not easy and takes a major commitment of time and energy. Homeschooling requires perseverance, and a person who attempts to tackle such a great task without the support and blessing—if not the help—of his or her spouse will find it very difficult and discouraging.
1. Lloyd, Janice, “Home Schooling Grows,” USA Today, January, 5, 2009, http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-01-04-homeschooling_N.htm (accessed 9/10/13)
(This excerpt comes from chapter 13 of Changing the Landscape of Eternity)
View the video series “Discipling Our Children at Home“