Biblical Sheltering of Homeschool Children
Our family began homeschooling for purely academic reasons. Our local school district is consistently the worst in the county, and I knew that I wanted more for my children than that so we chose to homeschool. As embarrassed as I am to admit it, the religious aspects of homeschooling never entered into the decision. Like all choices, though, there were unexpected benefits besides personalized, academic rigor. Obviously being able to add in our Christian beliefs was a huge one, but being able to shelter our children has proven to be a blessing I never imagined.
In our culture the context of sheltering someone is almost always viewed negatively. Saying that someone is sheltered brings to mind a person with no common sense, no idea of how the real world works, and they are stunted in their growth into adulthood because of it. However the Biblical view of sheltering is totally different. As homeschoolers we have the unique opportunity to prevent the cultural view of sheltering and provide the Biblical view.
Providing Biblical Sheltering
In the Bible, sheltering is almost always used in the context of protection or safety, and it is something to be sought and desired.
“For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock”. (Psalm 27:5, ESV)
“There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:6, ESV)
When you are a homeschooler you are in the blessed position of being able to shelter your children from worldly forces. To give them a place of safety and protection from the evil that is around them. You are able to provide a place for them to learn without hearing teaching that is contrary to your faith. You are able to associate with other children whose family values are aligned with yours. You are able to build up their defenses where they are weak and encourage their strengths without outside influences that might be contrary to those goals.
When a young man or young woman decides to join the Army, they are immediately “sheltered” by them. They are given clothing, food, housing, and training. All of this is done for one end goal: to prepare them for battle. They are removed from the general population and given focused, intense training so that if they are ever faced with combat they know how to react instinctively. When you homeschool, you are pulling your child out of the general population to train them spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and academically for life. You are sheltering them and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you…
Prevent Cultural Sheltering
If you homeschool, you’ve probably been asked if your children will turn into one them. What are they? Socially awkward children, or what some in society calls “Weird kids” You know, a child that may be a little different than all the other kids. On one hand I fervently hope that my children will be weird and different than other kids their age, especially when it comes to their morality and Christian walk. On the other hand, I want them to be prepared for life on their own and a faith of their own. I don’t want them to be crippled because I homeschooled them. An interesting phenomenon about these supposed “weird kids” though, is that they can be found anywhere, even in the public or private school systems. Homeschoolers do not have the monopoly on different!
I am determined to make sure that my children are prepared for life. I want them trained in how to defend their faith (1 Peter 3:15). I want them to learn how to be a godly husband or wife, how to take care of the home and their children, how to be a leader in the home, how to submit, how to respect. I want them to have the practical skills of being able to fill out a job application and go on job interviews. I want them to know how to budget, how to grocery shop for healthy, filling foods, how to figure interest, how to do basic home and automotive repairs, how to garden, etc. I want them to have the skills to find information that they need, to read a map, to carry on conversations eloquently and knowledge-ably, and to deal with bullies and mean girls (these groups exist into adulthood as well!). Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Notice that idolizing entertainers, watching ungodly television shows and movies, listening to demeaning and demoralizing music, or reading inappropriate and trashy novels doesn’t even make the list. I don’t consider the fact that my daughter knows nothing about Miley Cyrus’ recent dance move debacle to be a “sheltering” problem, but a benefit.
Unfortunately the ability to do all of these things is not necessarily learned based on where your child is educated. I have met far too many teenagers and young adults that cannot do most of the things on this list and most of them were not homeschooled. These things are expected to be taught by parents not schools.
The Marriage of Providing and Preventing
When you homeschool you are able to marry the concepts of Biblical sheltering and cultural sheltering in a beautiful relationship. You provide a safe, protected environment to learn how to manage life, faith, and family. We’ve already had to deal with bullies and mean girls, but we were able to hold off on dealing with it until third grade when my oldest was able to understand what was happening and what her response should be. We’ve dealt with science and history books whose viewpoints we don’t agree with, but I was able to present those things to my children when I chose to do so because I knew that they were ready to handle it without compromising their growing faith in God. There are still some topics that I’ve not presented to my children because I know they are not ready for them.
The beauty of the homeschooling lifestyle is that for the most part my husband and I get to make those choices. We get to make those decisions. We get to decide when to open the shelter of our family and deal with ugly, sinful things. The blessing of homeschooling is that my children are protected from having to deal with bullies until they have the tools to do so. They are protected from having to hear false academic teachings until they are grounded in the truth. They are safe from sinful social issues until we decide to explain those things to them.
However, that is not to say that parents whose children are in the public or private school setting cannot raise children who are able to do all of the things I have outlined above, but it will be more difficult. You have very little control over what your children will hear from classmates or what will happen in a school setting. Your children are enlisted in the army and immediately sent into battle. Your children are involved in on-the-job training! I pray that all Christian parents work diligently with their children when it comes to raising them in the Lord. Parenting is such a hard job.
I feel blessed that for our family homeschooling gives us the opportunity to shelter them in the Lord until they are ready to be unleashed on the world and ready for battle. So the next time someone tells you that your children will be sheltered because you homeschool them, smile really broadly, and give them a genuine, “We hope so!”
Today’s post is written by Chelli Guthrie from The Planted Trees.
Chelli is wife to her “preacher man” they live and work in Texas. She has a degree in secondary history education but has chosen to homeschool their 3 children. She writes regularly on her blog The Planted Trees, and shares about their life, family recipes and their homeschooling journey, You can follow Chelli on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.