man·i·fes·to noun \ˌma-nə-ˈfes-(ˌ)tō\ : a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer
Homeschoolers, it’s time we had a manifesto. It’s time we stood up and proudly declared our intent. We’re warriors. We’re on the battlefield, fighting for the next generation of children raised for Christ. We have a purpose, we have a plan. It doesn’t bother us that others think we’re strange, that others question whether our children will ever be socialized, or that others stop talking to us mid-sentence (and move to the other side of the soccer field) when they realize we educate our children at home. No. These things do not matter, because we know who we are, we know what we’re doing, and we know who our King is. We are homeschoolers. Hear us roar.
Ok, let’s be frank. Homeschoolers are a pretty independent lot. We enjoy control, we enjoy freedom, and we sure don’t want anyone telling us what to do. We may allow curriculum into our homes (and that may be advisable), but we’re going to change it. We’ll add to it, subtract from it, mix and match it. To try to create a broad manifesto for Christian homeschoolers everywhere borders on ludicrous – and maybe arrogant. I’m going to do it anyway.
I had a homeschool dad ask me why we homeschool a few weeks ago. It took me by surprise, since I’ve been coordinating kickball games with him for months. The first thing that popped into my head was, “Hello… have you met me?” Then, it occurred to me that I may not have explained our reason for homeschooling here on Thinking Kids, either. I’ll give you the breakdown of our Homeschool Manifesto, and then the Manifesto itself.
Train Them Up for the Lord
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ~Ephesians 6:4
We take this biblical admonition seriously. Do we think that homeschooling is the only way to accomplish this? No. However, for our family, it is the path the Lord has called us to. We do recognize that we (as a family) cannot send our children to a government school eight hours a day, and expect to dodge any indoctrination in institutionalized, governmental values and priorities. (We know… we did it once.) Let’s face it. The Lord’s standards are different from those of any government on earth. Homeschooling allows us to teach our children the Bible – in every subject. Our kids are being raised with a distinctly Christian worldview. Will this guarantee their future with the Lord? I think it’s arrogant to think that we can choose life over death (spiritually) for our children. However, we’re sure not going to raise another set of kids without doing everything we can to ensure they know who God is, and what His Word says.
Do It Well
…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
We put everything we have into educating our children well. We don’t educate them well for personal glory or pride. We aren’t striving for brilliant children, or extraordinary adults. We are equipping our children for those things that He may call them to. We are preparing them for a life of service to Him. We are celebrating His goodness and the mercy He has shown in allowing us the privilege of stewarding precious lives. We are to do all we do for the glory of God, so we do the very best job we can. We love with everything we have, we teach with everything we have, we serve with all we have. We have a unique opportunity to play and live together. We have the opportunity to disciple our children. We don’t allow the precious moments to slip by – after all, we’re working for our King.
Do It Joyfully
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. ~ Philippians 2:14-15
We do all things for the glory of God – without complaint. This is probably one of my very favorite verses. It may also be one of the areas I fall short in most often. The first time a woman asked me (very publicly) how I planned to socialize my shut-in children, I was so taken aback, I probably discussed it with 10 different people. The first time I realized I was going to have to work on developing godly character in my children before we ever touched a book, I am sure I complained. Loudly. Only, this time it was on my knees in the bathroom (daily, or perhaps hourly, for the first month). The Lord is so kind to me. He gently pointed me to the fact that before I could begin to attempt to develop godly character in my children, I would need to allow Him to develop godly character in me. (For more on that topic, see my post The Reason I Could Never Homeschool.) My point? Homeschooling is hard. It requires sustained effort, patience, love and kindness (ugh). When we homeschool, the kids are there ALL. THE. TIME. This has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. It has also been difficult at times. Parenting is not an easy job. But we’re not whiners, homeschoolers. We’re warriors.
We educate our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to the glory of the Lord, in the joy of the Lord.
That’s it, friends. That’s the Homeschool Manifesto. Take it or leave it. Or tweak it to your heart’s content. We homeschoolers are a strong bunch. We rest in the strength of the Lord. The job we’re doing is important. Homeschooling has value. We’ll do it well. Because we’re warriors. That’s how He made us.
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.