Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


There was a bit of a discussion in one of my recent posts about homeschooling. I was quite interested in the different approaches taken. This led me to think "Is there a lot of conflict over the idea of homeschooling because people have different ideas about the goals it should achieve".

I want you as the reader to lay aside your fundamental issues with homeschooling for the purposes of answering this question. "What is (or should be) the goal of homeschooling?"

I'm not looking for a particular answer. I'm just interested to see what your ideas are. I have my own on this matter, and sympathise with some of what has been said recently on this blog with respect to the problems of homeschooling.

I'd rather there not be a huge comments argument on this. (We can save that for a post in the future.) What I would prefer, is for you to help me develop my thinking on this subject by offering some ideas as to what homeschooling should achieve.



  • I'm assuming for this you mean Christian home schooling. Read with that in mind.

    1) Teach Biblical Christianity. Not the watered down stuff some churches present as gospel truth, but real stuff like the purpose of the reformation, or the differences between salvation by works and salvation by faith. The stuff that christians today frankly don't grasp properly. Insert evangelism teaching here (but also see #4 before letting them apply it without supervision).

    2) Promote Biblical history as opposed to secular humanistic time frames and opinionology.

    3) Teach kids the difference between christian living ans secular living. Stuff like garbage in = garbage out, and how small sins usually lead to bigger ones. Teaching responsibility of actions to God rather than the secular system of get away with as much as you can without being told off. Responsibility vs rights.

    4) Once #1-3 has been established (because without them #4 is already compromised), teach christian kids how to interact with unsaved people without letting themselves be tainted by the lifestyle and belief of the ungodly. In other words, teach them how to resist contamination before actually subjecting them to it. Being salt without loosing their saltiness.

    That's my 5 minute version. Clearly if I were preparing to teach my own kids I'd put more effort into a bigger outline. Currently I'm missing the wife part of that equation :-)

    By Anonymous Allan, at 5:18 PM, July 24, 2007  

  • What should be the purpose of homeschooling? Is it the same question as what is the purpose of school?

    To educate your kids? Maths english etc.

    For me the main education I want my kids to have is one that provides them with an ability to activately share their faith and witness to the lost with compassion. And to have an active and vibrant faith in God and a deep knowledge of Him. Maths and english, the purpose of the reformation, complex thelogical concepts (yes shock horror) and getting a great job comes second.

    Does homeschooling achieve this? Maybe the second education but possibly not the first.

    By Anonymous Anita, at 10:04 PM, July 24, 2007  

  • Hey Anita.

    Can I just clarify your point?

    Which aspect of education do you think homeschooling can achieve? (And which can it not?)


    By Anonymous Scotty, at 7:01 AM, July 25, 2007  

  • I think you would get a good academic education but I don't see how you would get much on-the-job training in the big bad world.

    In saying that though, in reflection, I think a strong faith should be inherited from your parents. Homeschooling would enable a child to have a good bond with the parent and for the child to observe how the parent deals with life.

    I just think life experiences are so important. You learn so much when your faith is tested. Christianity is a practical faith, like James and his graffti busting friends have displayed. Homeschooling might not provide those tests? ? Just a thought

    By Anonymous Anita, at 7:10 PM, July 26, 2007  

  • Might pay to define what ages we are assuming. Being homeschooled age 5-13 is different from ages 13-18. Different experiances at different times.

    A 8 yr old is more likely to be corrupted than an 18 yr old. Different age groups bring different corruptions too.

    By Anonymous Allan, at 9:57 PM, July 26, 2007  

  • Anita I agree with your reservations. Many examples of homeschooling I have seen are about "we are better than others" rather than "we want to love others."

    Can we reframe homeschooling in a way that can provide those necessary tests that you mention?

    This is exactly what Sarah and I are wondering.

    By Anonymous Scotty, at 6:56 AM, July 27, 2007  

  • Scott- can homeschooling be reformed? Yes of course :) The optimist in me says that a bit of thinking outside the square by christian parents can certainly bring this about. But the question is why? Is homeschooling the very best way? Why so committed to something that has such obviously downfalls?

    How to reform- life experience? Not getting caught in the bubble of christainess? Not being stuck at home all the time, exposing your kids to other ideas and people regulary, daily? Speaking with them daily about their thoughts and responses to a situation?

    Again I think it comes back to the attitude of the parents. Will you choose to bring your kids up in a climate of fear. 'Big bad norty non-christains stay away from them they will corrupt you' Or rather 'Come and hang with us we offer hope and life and most importantly love'. This I think is where the 'we are better' attitude comes from partly.

    With the power of the Holy Spirit on our side we have nothing to fear. 'fear not for I am with you says the Lord'

    Allan- I would like to response to your comments about ages because I disagree :) Scott has asked to this to not be a comments war so I will respect that.

    By Anonymous Anita, at 3:03 PM, July 29, 2007  

  • Scott's got a separate post in mind for the fun is why :-p

    I was just thinking that as a child ages they posess increasing ability to resist outside contamination because of the advantage of more Biblical teaching and experiance (because of more time and study) than the younger ones.
    Resulting in teens likely being more headsmart on the issues than say a 6 yr old.

    By Anonymous Allan, at 11:31 PM, July 29, 2007  

  • Hi Anita. Just wanted to say that I totally agree with the 2nd paragraph in your last comment.

    The thing is, I myself wasn't too sure about the whole homeschooling/christian schooling thing either before I had debated it for ages with Scott and Jono. After that, I basically came to this conclusion:

    a) parents are ultimately responsible for their children's education and

    b) it is better that children from christian homes get an education from a christian perspective rather than a secular/humanistic one. Looking briefly at the NZ curriculum has greatly confirmed this!

    So despite my preconceived ideas and biases (I went to public schools), I had to agree that surely a christian education is better than a secular one, and that homeschooling is possibly even better (? - still not sure there), but at least the best option where a christian school is not available or affordable.

    The only real reservation that I still have about this form of education is the issue you have been talking about. I definitely want my kids to be able to relate to non-christians, but I think in this area it fully depends on the parents' attitudes. I don't think it is the job of schools to socialise our kids. Parents should encourage their kids to do this in ways such as sports clubs, neighbours, extended family etc. This is exactly what Scott and I are hoping to figure out.

    Hope you can see where I'm coming from!

    By Anonymous Sarah, at 11:21 AM, July 30, 2007  

  • Anita - Thinking outside the square sounds good to me.

    By the looks like this is turning into a comments debate, so feel free to respond to Allan's comments regarding ages.

    By Anonymous Scotty, at 12:51 PM, July 30, 2007  

  • Sarah- yip awesome. I understand what are you saying and agree. You are totally right about the attitude of the parents and that it is the parents responsibility to provide education.

    I have to ask the dumb question although this is Scotts blog and I might be comment hi-jacking. Why is a christain eduction better than a secular one? I mean you turned out alright :) So did my husband. I think I was worst off for my Christian eduction (sorry if that offends anyone) I know it might seem really obvious but to me it is a bit fuzzy. I am honestly not trying to be rude just it isn't that clear to me.

    Allan- head knowledge doesn't equal ability to resist the devil.

    By Anonymous Anita, at 12:55 PM, July 30, 2007  

  • Thanks Scott- just as well cause I just replied to Allan :)

    Allan- I totally wasn't headsmart as a teenager. I find the idea quite amusing although no offence to the teenagers that were smarter than me (a lot)

    Right now Hamish and I are Aria's whole world. We are the coolest and strangers are people that make your cry if mum and dad aren't around. Kids think adults know everything. Aria's cousin Tiv says 'Uncle Hamish knows everything' If you say Jesus loves you and died for you they believe it whole heartedly.

    Not true with teenager who are starting to think for themselves and make decisions about life and faith. The trick I think is that they have seen Christ in you and you have shown them God is real. In that way when they become a teenager or even as a child they will adopt the faith for their own and resist the devil.

    What is this corruption thing anyway? What exactly we are talking about?

    By Anonymous Anita, at 1:06 PM, July 30, 2007  

  • By contamination I refer to secular humanist beliefs that our children end up holding as their own in direct opposition to what scripture says. Nitwit preachers who compromise the Bible and add such things to it help to promote the compromise even more (thinking of James Dobson's pre-admite soulless race while I write that).

    I've worked out in the last few minutes that Ken Ham one source of my arguments on this topic :) As part of one of his seminars on creation/evolution he took a sidestep and spoke on the parent's responsibility for bringing up their children and in training them Biblically. I'll see if I can find a link to the file sometime.

    One of his points was that in 1 generation, the fathers neglected to teach the children the ways of the Lord, and in that 1 generation the whole nation went pagan. He was speaking about how he, as a Bible believing non-compromising Christian was a direct result of the way his father brought him up. His siblings said basically the same thing about themselves. That 'he taught us the Authority of the word of God'.

    Ham then compared, as Sarah has seen, the modern state education system to parental schooling. And came to the unavoidable conclusion that nothing about God is taught in the state system, and everything against him that they can think of is taught.

    The evolutionary compromise (can also read here secular humanism in general) within the church is a direct result of people not being taught the differences between it and the Bible. A direct result of teachers ignoring the Bible and putting man's fallible opinion of truth in the children's paths, and not the Bible.

    And that the best way to teach children the truth is from one who believes the truth, understands it, and refuses to compromise in the face of secular opinions/beliefs/science (one in the same thing).

    That is why I am pro home schooling. Simply because I am anti the humanism schooling.

    Insert plug here praising the real Christian Schools :)

    As for secular interaction, that's also up to you as a parent. You decide who your kids play with, who they go out with, who they spend all their time with. The choice then is do you send them to a directly antichristian teacher for 8 hours a day in an antichristian environment where you are not present to correct anything, and tell them to trust and obey these people because they can teach knowledge and skills. Most parents promote that idea as good even.

    It's not about sending them into a small confrontation with unbelievers for a few minutes, then you telling your children what parts of what they experienced were wrong and ungodly. It's about them spending their educational lives with ungodly teachers and peers, and then you spending 5 minutes a day asking how their day was and what they learnt and occasionally correcting something.

    Is that responsible godly parenting? (and I'm aware most parents simply do not understand that that is exactly what happens)

    I shoulda just blogged/posted lol... but this is an important issue as it deals with our children and what they are taught to believe is true.

    By Anonymous Allan, at 3:34 PM, July 30, 2007  

  • Uploaded a copy of the file to a mp3 player. Enjoy :)

    By Anonymous Allan, at 4:21 PM, July 30, 2007  

  • Anita – Ok, here’s basically how my thinking goes:

    Shouldn’t we as Christians want our kids to receive the majority of their education from a Christian perspective? That is, just as you wouldn’t send them to a muslim school to be indoctrinated, neither would you want them to develop a secular/humanistic/evolutionistic way of thinking.

    Now, you will probably argue (as I did!) that perhaps this can be achieved with a combination of public schooling and home/church Christian teaching. I guess the problem here is that the kids will be spending the majority of their time learning to think about and see the world through the eyes of their teacher, who will most probably be non-Christian, immoral, and themselves indoctrinated with humanistic philosophies by the teachers’ college. Even though parents may still have the most influence in their kids’ lives, there will constantly be this conflicting way of thinking presented to them.

    The other concern I have is the lack of control parents have over what their kids are taught in public schools. I think a lot has changed since we were at school. Some of the things in the syllabus (particularly in the areas of health, history and science) are directly opposed to a Christian worldview and could be quite damaging to a developing child’s mind.

    In the end it’s all about weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of each method, and I’m just not sure that the benefit of exposure to non-christian kids is worth risking the minds of our kids. Plus, at least (according to the stats) they’d probably do better academically at home!

    It’s definitely not a black and white issue though. I think it really depends on the situation - e.g. not all Christian schools/homeschooling would be better than all public schools. What I mean is that I don't personally think it's 'wrong' to send your kids to a public school, if the school has good teaching, discipline, morals etc and if they welcome parent involvement. What's most important in my view is that the parents fully know what their kids are being taught, and are discussing issues with them from a Christian point of view. And no matter what we do, there is still always the possibility that our kids will ‘go off the rails’ – we can’t control them forever!

    By Anonymous Sarah, at 8:58 AM, July 31, 2007  

  • Sarah- thanks for your reply. I read and understood. Although I don't think it is a bad thing that a child sees the world thru the eyes of their teacher. I mean isn't it helpful to see things thru the eyes of someone else- doesn't it help it help you understand things better. Isn't it helpful to get an education in the way the world thinks?

    I still think children will take the word of their parents over that of their teachers.

    I just still can't get past that fact that you, Hamish and others have turned out great despite being educated in the public system.

    Eventually children are going to have to go out into the big bad world either highschool, uni or the workplace. If they have spend limited time in the real world then spend all day in it all of a sudden, well I think it is unhelpful for the child and we are doing our children a diservice.

    They may be sent out with head knowledge but no real understanding of who they are meeting and how those people think.

    By Anonymous anita, at 8:57 PM, August 03, 2007  

  • Hey, I have no right butting into this debate but I know Scott and Sarah and Nathan and I have had long conversations about this over dinner and dessert and often through coffee as well.

    Having worked in the education system and having seen the state of a high majority of South Auckland schools (with the exception of a few that we are currently not zoned for) and knowing what the government is planning for the future and the curriculum I feel that home schooling is an option that we will STRONGLY be considering with our children for the sheer fact of we actually want them to have an education of the basics that you need in life that are being taught less and less in schools due to a cramped and somewhat confused curriculum core.

    I would choose to home school not to protect our little darlings (often just as much sinners as every other child in this world, just sneaker!) from non-christians or to give them great sound biblical teaching (though I would try to base a few lessons around the bible (where else do you get war, love and some great reading from in one book?)) but just to teach them maths and language such as grammer(which Im not great at thanks to my education) and general basics like how to construct a sentence without all the other issues that come up due to teachers being over worked, over crowded and someone in wellington going you need to fit ALL of this into a year and assess it.

    They are looking at cutting the curriculums down but the plan is to rather than have the 7 essential areas combine them into one and let the school choose the focus... This could either go really really well or like most things we have introduced into our schooling system be a hinderance.

    Anyway, that's just my view, by homeschooling we get to set our own curriculum and choose the focus...bring back the grammer, and sentence structure and spelling and timestables etc.

    I don't intend on doing this for their whole school life but at least up until intermediate if I am not in a schooling zone where I feel confident that my children will get the education they need.

    As for the social aspect... our kids are doomed to mingle with non-chirstians... (thats what our church is about!)

    By Anonymous sarah leslie, at 6:25 PM, August 28, 2007  

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