"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."

Earl & Diane Rodd
16 May 1988 93 Great Ryrie St.
Heathmont, Victoria 3135
Phone (03) 879-4082

For June, Phil Cogger has organized a Home School Open Day on Saturday June 4th. See the enclosed sheet for detailed information. Please note Phil's request that you ring him if you plan to display anything so that he can arrange table space. We hope to see many of you there for a delightful day of learning, sharing and fellowship!

Because this is the first Saturday of June, we will not be having a regular monthly FHC meeting the first Sunday of June. The next regular monthly meeting will be Sunday, July 2.

For those of you who use the excellent Rod & Staff material, we have learned from Light Educational Ministries in South Australia that they are ordering new stock of the grade 1 and 2 reading series and the new ones will be the revised edition (which separate phonics and readers - helpful for those who use Spalding phonics). They also indicated that they normally stock English Test Sheets for all grades, Test Sheets for Creation to Canaan , and grades 1 and 2 science books and worksheets. Many books such as the grade 1 or 2 science books are good general reading and cost less than a small book from the bookstore and a superior alternative to children's books from K-Mart.

God's Plan or Traditions of Men

This letter addresses several important issues surrounding a common theme. We had several other possible titles for this letter:

  1. God's Definition of a "well rounded" person.
  2. Home Schooling or School in the Home
  3. Parent's Can Do It!
Where do we start? In other letters we have searched for Biblical methods of training our children with the objective of seeing the fulfillment of the prophetic word that God's Laws would be written on their hearts. We can have perfect confidence in God's Word as living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. The Bible does tell us one thing which can invalidate the Word of God. What could have such power? Mark 7 :6-8 says:

7. And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away form Me.
8. `But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
9. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.

And Mark 7 :13 says:

14. thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.

Is all tradition bad? No as we clearly see in II Thessolanians 2 :15,

16. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

and other similar verses. What tradition is so evil that it can invalidate the word of God? Another verse which sheds light on the matter is Colossians 2 :8:

9. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

The evil force which can invalidate the word of God is the tradition of men! We would offer the following as examples of traditions of men in our time.

1. The necessity of an expert.
In our technological age, many parents are deceived into the humanistic notion that there is such a thing as a "social" scientist just like there is a physical scientist. This strong tradition leads parents to feel insecure in being totally responsible for their children's education. Yet today's social humanistic social scientists have given us nothing but declining morals and declining achievement. Surely modern social science (psychology, sociology) qualifies for the warning of Colossians 2 :8 where we are warned to see that no one takes us captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men.

Will there be a time to draw on practical expertise of others in the Body of Christ? Yes there will be and this is clearly shown in I Corinthians 12 :14ff. But the tradition of men in our day which threatens to invalidate the word of God for parents is the tradition that a social expert (teacher) is required to teach even our young children the basic skills and precepts of life.

If one of our children is especially interested in an area, then we as parents may initially have the joy of learning something with our children. With younger children and starting skills, our adult maturity means we can always learn quickly and lead our children. With older children and more advanced skills, we can find a gifted member (expert) of the Body of Christ. This is an excellent, careful way to start the necessary "letting go" of our children which we must do as they grow into adults.

We must also realise that with home training, our children will pick up a lot from us. We will tend to have children interested in our interests and strong in our strong areas. This means no generation gap. God chose us as parents for our children and we need to have faith in His choices! Susan Wright (mother of Wilbur and Orville) was very strong in math and science and trained two of the greatest inventors in history. She also trained children who trusted in God as their source.

2. The School is the Primary Method of Training
As we have read Its History & Philosophy (thanks to Rosanne Trevaskis for lending us this excellent book by Kenneth Gangel & Warren Benson), it is apparent that there have been debates throughout history as to the relative importance of divine revelation, Biblical instruction and secular (Greek/Roman) teaching and teaching methods. Most of us, however, must face the fact that we have grown up in a school tradition. This tradition can keep a very strong grip on us and try to make us worry about whether we are disadvantaging our children. But when we recognize that we are battling a tradition of men, and that this tradition is out to invalidate the word of God for us and our children, then we can continue in confidence with God's Word, written and living, as our guide.

Because of the schooled traditions of most of our generation, we must work to develop a mentality of "home schooling" versus "school in the home." The "home schooling" mentality means that we become comfortable with using every opportunity for training our children as Deuteronomy 6 :7 suggests. Earl realised this important difference in mentality when we visited an educational supply store and saw a game designed to teach children how to go grocery shopping. He started to think, "that looks like a good idea" and then He caught himself! How absurd, He realised to have a "schoolwork" exercise when we are teaching our children how to shop by going shopping! Another example of the mentality difference is the realisation that many curriculum materials use a format designed to keep children busy all the hours of the school day. With our "home schooling" mentality, we can separate the meat from the busy-work without fear of our children missing out on anything. Of course, the home schooled child himself is an example of the difference in mentality because he does not make an artificial distinction between "schoolwork" and "play". He may spend his "free" time coloring worksheets or reading an extra book or creating a new recipe or creating an elaborate project.

We would refer to Susan Wright again who, even though her children attended school, gave them their "in-depth" training on picnics or in building toys.

Our "school" tradition also is a tradition of excessive busyness with no time for waiting on God and developing a listening ear for His voice day to day. Can we lead our children in a life where priority is given to time devoted to God's Word, prayer and waiting on Him?

3. The Well Rounded Person
A strong tradition of men in our day is the necessity for every child to be trained in everything at ever younger ages. This creates very busy families with transport problems for every kind of activity and the pressure of keeping up with so many activities. Yet the Bible says that whatever we find to do to "do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9 :10) which is in stark contrast to the modern tradition of exposing children to every activity possible. The Bible tells us clearly in II Corinthians 12 :14ff following that the Body of Christ is made of many members just like the human body. Each one has his place. As parents, will we submit our own desires to the Lord and let Him lead us and our children into the plan of God for His activities for their lives? In Ecclesiastes, after stating that there is a time for different things, Solomon concludes in Ecc. 3 :14.

15. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God as so worked that men should fear Him.

We propose a different view of a well rounded person than the one common as a tradition of men in our day. Galations 5 :22-23 says,

23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
24. gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

A common myth which goes with our modern tradition is that every teacher is talented in art, music, science, penmanship and every other activity. Of course, each teacher is just like us in that he or she has strong areas and weak areas. The classroom teacher is further disadvantaged by having 30 children to teach. School trachers rely on the teacher's manual in every subject and often have to study diligently in those areas where they are weakest. Parents can easily do the same should not feel inferior or ill-prepared if they need to do so.

As we learn how to take advantage of our "home schooling" attitude discussed earlier, we lead our children in a very well rounded life which includes interaction with grandparents, other older people, people in need and people from different walks of life rather than just children their own age.

One important aspect of "well rounded" we want to see in our children is a well rounded Biblical world view. This means we want our children to know how to approach many areas of life from God's point of view. Many such issues are "hard" issues (e.g. economics, politics, family life, sex, homosexuality, IVF, government) which require careful one to one explanation and instruction when the issues arise. A story, science lesson or conversation may at any time bring questions on any of these issues and the home schooling family can provide the intense one to one instruction necessary to develop a Biblical worldview.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd