With society’s ever-changing moral and political compass, parents are finding themselves facing children who are less connected to family; more self-absorbed; and increasingly accepting of the idea that government is the giver of all goods, directives and quality of life.
Our public schools encourage mediocrity by lowering the bar on expectations for learning and moral behaviors. While on paper at least, stricter guidelines across the board are in place (for example, more classes in math and science are required to graduate), the U.S. national averages on the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests are plummeting.
Revisionist U.S. history is being taught in our public schools, and in many states that history is taught in our high schools only from the late 1800s and forward. How can our children understand or appreciate their unique American heritage if they’re no longer taught how this country began or why?
And if this education is so lacking, what prepares our kids for the world that actually exists out there, the one that is harsh and unforgiving, the one that can knock you down in a heartbeat and kick you while your face is still in the dirt? What are they being taught that encourages them to persevere, to work hard, to dare dream and make reality out of those dreams?
Scripture tells us “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV) That directive wasn’t given to a collective educational system but to individuals with children. Parents are charged with their child’s upbringing and in the end, we are responsible for whatever skills and education imparted to them.
Those of us who are trying to incorporate a simpler, back-to-basics lifestyle may find the investment we make in our kids through homeschooling brings the greatest rewards. While private school is certainly an option, the cost may be prohibitive. Lifestyle changes may enable a mom or dad to stay home and educate the children from home. And one added benefit of homeschooling is that the parent keeps their edge in math, English and science skills as well!
What are some changes a family could make to insure they could financially handle homeschooling?
- Consider getting rid of all but one vehicle. That will mean only one car note, one insurance policy, and one maintenance bill.
- Look at a smaller house. There’s nothing wrong with the kids sharing rooms! A smaller house reduces the house note, energy bills, taxes and insurance.
- Differentiate between needs and wants. Your kids need a computer to be technologically savvy, to have the skills to function in this day and age, but a Wii console or an iPod is a luxury.
- Encourage your kids to have outside jobs, whether it’s mowing yards, babysitting, or doing small odd jobs for a neighbor. By encouraging a valid work ethic while young, it encourages our children to not only contribute to the household, but to think of themselves as a contributing member of the family unit.
- Gardening, hunting and fishing can put food on the table for a fraction of the cost of store-bought items. By including your children in these pursuits, you are teaching them life-skills that will always be there for them whether society is functioning or not.
- Resources are available for low-cost supplies, and it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars to educate your children. One website www.freehomeed.com  lists some freebie resources out there for homeschooling parents. There are many others.
The upside to all this is that as you implement these ideas, you are moving yourself and your family to a more off-the-grid independent lifestyle.
Of the 8 million children who do not attend public schools, 6 million are in private schools and 2 million are homeschooled. That figure continues to climb. In addition, as more parents opt to home-school their children, the more vicious the attacks on homeschoolers become. It is incumbent on us to continue to fight to educate our children as we see fit. We must remember that freedom is never free, and freedom is never easy. As President Ronald Reagan said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
If we refuse to allow government and society the opportunity to seize and shape the minds of our children, then we insure that the next generation has the values, skills, and moral fiber needed to continue the good fight.