Let’s Talk About Homeschooling and Money
I was recently asked by a friend how I would respond to a Christian who explained that she does not privately homeschool for financial reasons. This friend explained that she had decided to “homeschool” using the charter system because their family is not able to overcome the financial aspects of private home education.
Before I provide my response, I would like to first state that this seems to be a common perceived obstacle to private homeschooling. There are very few people I know that have been impervious to financial difficulties at some point in their lives. I have been there myself. At the time that my husband and I decided to homeschool our son, God had turned my husband’s career in a new direction. My husband and I did not have a child until 6 years into our marriage so we intently focused on our careers. Once we had Jake, we were still able to coordinate our schedules so that both of us could work from home in addition to limited office requirements. But, we were in for a huge change. After several years of career building, our income would be cut by 75%. My husband was no longer going to be able to work from home and now I needed to be home full time to take care of Jake. Not only did we lack my income; my husband’s income basically started over in an entry level position. My son at that time was going to a private Christian school and we knew that we could no longer afford it. So, we had a decision to make. What were we going to do about school? It is only by the grace of God, His holy Word and the faith provided by Christ that we came to the belief that private home education was our only choice.
So, as I provide my response, I am empathetic with the concern of financial hardship. But, we must remember that it is God’s word that directs our lives. We must not give in to anxieties caused by the circumstances of this world.
First, I would like to define terms. Why? Because historically, Christians have defined terms and then they either abandon the biblical definition or hand the rights of those terms over to secular entities, which then eventually causes redefinition having nothing to do with the original, sometimes God given meaning – such as “marriage” or “church”. Therefore, when I say homeschool, I am using the word as it was originally intended; defined as educating your children at home according to biblical instruction knowing that the Lord is the foundation of all knowledge and wisdom. Charter schooling has a different definition: it is educating your children at home according the standards set forth by both federal and state governments. The charter school definition calls for an exclusion of the use of sectarian or religious materials in education – meaning that the foundation of the subjects cannot be religious in any sense. We cannot let the government hijack the word “homeschooling” and try to use it interchangeably. We are talking about two totally different concepts.
If we have brought our children home, we usually have recognized that there is a problem in the brick and mortar public school system. We have seen the immoral behavior of teachers and children or the violence on campus. The educational instruction is sub-par and continues on a downward spiral in spite of all the taxpayer money thrown at it. There are a myriad of concerns that come into play when our child – who is not fully instructed yet – is sent into a secularized system away from our influence for 7 to 8 hours per day. I think that both homeschool and charter school parents share this same understanding. However, the homeschool parent also knows that the curriculum is anti-Christian. So how this problem is solved has two very different implementations
The charter school parent looks at the system of brick and mortar and knowing it is broken, brings the child home. The child still has a public school teacher assigned and uses the same curriculum, but it is under the parent’s supervision and teaching. And while they are learning the same things, they are in an environment away from many negative influences. This solution does solve part of the problem.
However, the homeschool parent looks not only at the environment, but also what is being taught. They bring their child home and select unique curriculum that sets God as the foundation of all things – math, science, history, English, etc.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16 ESV)
This is a radical departure comparatively because now the homeschool parent is outside the structure of not only government institutions, but “qualified” teachers, schooling standards, trained teaching methods, and government funding – a scary place to be, especially if the parent has grown up within that system and has been taught that it is essential for successful learning.
We, as Christians, then have to ask ourselves, what is the real problem? Is just the environment or is it both the environment and the curriculum? Scripture has the answer. Our children cannot obtain any kind of true wisdom apart from God.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)
This is restated several times within Scripture. We are to teach the precepts of God to our children for their primary education – it is not a secondary effort.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 ESV)
They must see God in all things as Colossians 1 explains. The only way to do this is to keep God in all of their teaching. The government is refusing us this option under the charter/public school system, but we still have the freedom to pursue it ourselves. At least for now in the U.S., we have the ability to stand outside of the system and teach them according to the Bible. But, we can’t have it both ways because Scripture also tells us:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7 ESV)
So, as Christians, for the sake our children and the directive of Scripture, we know that homeschooling and not charter schooling is the option that aligns biblically because the way we view the world is different than the “natural” person.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)
But, with that decision comes incredible difficulty. There is a sense of insecurity of our own abilities and a monetary requirement that we know will be difficult if not impossible to meet. People will mock us and tell us that we are not qualified. But, so many decisions that were made in Scripture for the glory of God have the same concerns. Just a few are mentioned in Hebrews 11: Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, the people who crossed the Red Sea, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel and the prophets. None of these people stepped out in total preparation to do the will of God. He had to grant them the faith and enable their every step. For some, it was step by step, doubting their ability and doubting God’s provision many times. We are no different. But, we know that if God is calling us to do this, we can have faith that He will provide all that we need.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)
We know that faith is essential. And, we also know that God uses many methods to “supply” our needs. He may give us something directly, but He also utilizes His church (believers, the ekklesia: the called out ones) – so that Christians would support each other and that we would “build each other up in the faith”. He does not mean for us to be alone.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16 ESV)
And, we are not just to pray, we are to take action when we see someone in need. But, first those in need must make their need known. This is an exercise in humility.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV)
We must always remember that we are not alone. We, as Christians, have each other and are called to serve one another for mutual edification and the glory of God. It is a tool of Satan to make us think that we are alone and must solve our own problems. But, we have Christ in us and have the ability to resist this temptation. God, through Christ, has given us the ability to serve Him. Let us help each other in that pursuit.
“The Lord, to show His continued care over us, raises up new helpers. They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded. Some who helped for a while may fall asleep in Jesus; others grow cold in the service of the Lord; others be as desirous as ever to help, but no longer able; or having means, feel it to be His will to lay them out in another way. But it leaning upon God, the Living God alone, we are beyond disappointment and beyond being forsaken because of death, or want of means, or want of love or because of the claims of other work. How precious to have learned, in any measure, to be content to stand with God alone in the world, and to know that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us, whilst we walk uprightly!” (George Müller, Sept. 21, 1840)
Some Low Cost or Free Homeschool Resources
DCHEA Used Curriculum: https://dchea.com/members-only/used-curriculum-for-sale/
Homeschool Curriculum Resale Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/390272504340770/
This Old Schoolhouse Summer Swap Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theoldschoolhouse/posts/10151810269101204
National Repository of Online Courses (Free): http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/nrocdemos.html
All in One Homeschool Free Curriculum: http://allinonehomeschool.com/
There are several free videos on YouTube and other websites that were set up to offer the curriculum for free. Just do an online search and you can see them. Also, The Homeschool Foundation is a charitable arm of the HSLDA and offers monetary help for those who need it. Their web address is: http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/.
If you find someone who needs specific help and you are not able to answer all their questions, you can engage all the DCHEA members by posting on the DCHEA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/239272989454350/. We are all here the help each other.
Just a reminder that only 12 days remain in “Membership Month”! Please remember to renew your membership with DCHEA either online or via print and mail. Go to: https://dchea.com/become-a-member/.In His Service, Stefani Kerr