Families Honoring Christ

"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."
Earl & Diane Rodd 2180 Northland Ave. Lakewood,OH 44107 USA Phone (216) 521-8856
May 5, 1993


We live in a culture where "certification" is required to engage in many professions from plumbers to physicians. If a person doesn't have the appropriate certificate or licence, employment can be denied even if his skills are adequate (or superior) for the job. Those who control the certification process often use it to keep competition to a minimum by limiting the number of new entrants into a profession. Society once depended upon personal recommendations, personal honor and integrity, and the strict civil laws which corresponded to God's law to ensure selection of professionals who were both competent and moral. Now we are being forced to accept the certification of professionals whom we wouldn't trust to feed our pet fish.

As far as we can tell, the Bible never uses the modern concept of licensing and certification. Rather, the Bible makes clear demands with regard to basic ethics, honesty, and working as unto the Lord.

Home educators are most acutely aware of the difficulties of certification when the concept is applied to teaching. Some states have attempted to impose teacher certification requirements for parents to home educate their children. Yet, there is no evidence that teacher certification brings any greater success to students of those teachers! Of course, the Bible "certifies" that a child should be taught by his parents.

Bureaucratic certification has an inherent flaw - it is amoral. Doctors are licensed just because they have completed certain courses of study without regard for their views of life, death, and eternal life. Some correctly understand that all life is a gift of God and refuse to perform abortions or engage in euthanasia while others will use their technical skills to run horrid experiments on aborted children or engage in the immoral practice of encouraging children to put their aging parents to death. Lawyers can join the bar without regard to their beliefs about the basis of law. Some correctly understand that law is based upon God's law while others believe that law is whatever the "king" says it is or, in our legal system, whatever pagan judges have declared it to be. Plumbers are licensed without regard to their personal ethics with regard to making honest estimates, performing the work as promised, and giving accurate assessments of required repairs. Yet in God's eyes, morality, character, and the integrity of a man's word are crucial traits.

The utter folly of the "certification" mentality is being exposed with the attempt to enforce "how a student thinks" as part of Outcome Based Education and performance objectives. Attempts to certify "correct" attitudes and thinking has been attempted many times in history from the Spanish inquisition to Communist Russia. The result is always the same - wicked repression.

Everything about certification, rather than skill assessment, is contrary to home education.

Because of our beliefs about certification, we are uneasy about placing a strong emphasis on high school graduation ceremonies, rings etc. for home educated students. We believe that Christian home educators should resist the world's intense devotion to certification.

Sometimes, a student (e.g. one of our children) desires to enter a field which requires certification. The student and parents may decide that this field is God's choice and while they may know that certification is a nuisance and a flawed process, it is the only way for this student to enter the field. Hopefully, that student will be able to influence the profession so that his children can enter the field without certification requirements. Sometimes, home educators must make their flexible, highly individual programs look like "school" with regard to transcripts, standardized test scores, and graduation requirements. When this is necessary, we encourage home educating families to create such documentation efficiently and with the clear understanding that it is being done as an expedient means, not because they accept the authority of certification requirements.

We resist the trappings of certification such as graduation just for sake of doing things like everyone else does. Perhaps instead of ceremonies designed to look like graduations, some home educators will develop ways of acknowledging the good work the Lord has done in their families which are a strong testimony to the greatness of God's perfect plan for families. A thanksgiving celebration to give glory to God may be an effective witness and testimony to family and friends. We would encourage home educators to be creative in addressing this issue.

In our home education, we have the opportunity to focus on developing character, attitudes, and skills rather than spending excessive amounts of time in worthless activities designed only to gain "certification". Because most of us parents were trained in schools, vocational training, and colleges where certification was the goal, we tend to think in those terms rather than in terms of skills. Examples of how this thinking affects us are:

  1. We can become very concerned with whether our children are doing the "right" subjects for their age - what we really mean is "are our children doing the same subjects as their public school peers". The correct approach to this question is "so what?" The traditional curriculum is not sacred or even good (see the following article on "The Basics"). Many children have important God given interests which deserve more attention than perhaps we are willing to give them because we are so tied to covering subjects which we know are required for public school diplomas.
  2. Children mature at radically different rates. Furthermore, some are far more mature in one subject area than another. This means that a child may be able to do work which is nominally "grade 5" in one subject, but only "grade 2" in another. And within families, one may be able to do only "grade 3" work at 9 years old while a sibling can do "grade 6" work in the same subject at age 9. Also, parents put pressure on themselves to cover a one year textbook in one "school year". Why? Because we grew up knowing that we had to cover 12 years of textbooks to get a diploma! Our experience is that some textbooks in a series overlap a great deal - they assume that children really did not learn it last year so try again the next year. In our home education, we do better to take our time and allow children to succeed. "Finishing the book" is school thinking and "certification" thinking, not Godly "train up the child" and develop skills thinking. Our experience is that most children will have a "slow" time to cover a subject at some point in their lives. With some it is early reading, with others intermediate arithmetic, with others it is grammar. It is very painful for children to try to work ahead of their capability. Yes, they need to stretch and learn how to conquer challenges - but we need to be discerning when work is beyond their level of maturity. Do we understand how frustrated both parent and child are when parents try to make a 10 month old walk who is not yet physically capable? When this happens, parents need to be willing to do three things:
    1. Consider whether they should wait 6 months and try this level of the subject again. Pray and seek God's direction for you and your child. Perhaps, God's plans are to wait for the child to be 6 months older (or 12 or 18 months) to tackle this subject. Perhaps God has other priorities for this time of his life.
    2. Allow a "one year" textbook to require 18 months or 24 months or more to complete. For example, with grammar, by grade 5 or 6 level, most grammar is covered in good texts. If the child masters this level, then he knows grammar! If this takes 2 years, he is far ahead of children who have dutifully been forced through 2 or 3 "years" of repetitive texts but never learned the subject.
    3. Be willing to "over teach". By this we mean be willing to teach each individual item without making assumptions about what the child knows. This may be slow but will be far more rewarding for both parent and child than plowing through work the child cannot do. For example, with early reading, children often need help to ensure that they know every word. This is wonderful opportunity to teach much more than reading and vocabulary. But in our rush to "do a lesson a day", we tell ourselves we do not have time to be so thorough.
  3. Many parents are concerned about how many hours a day their children spend in "school" work. One root of this concern is our built in thinking that says that a child is only qualified for a diploma (whatever that is) if he has spent enough hours and years in school. This concern is amplified in states like ours where, when we notify the state, we commit to 900 hours of instruction per year. This is all nonsense! Have we not read of men of old who essentially finished college in a year or two? Likewise a motivated student can become an especially skilled draftsman in far less time than the the local vocational school requires.

    We do need to be careful of our children's time and watch for foolishness. We also need to guard them from demonic robbers of time (and their very lives) such as video games and mindless entertainment. For different children, different robbers of time lurk. At times, only the wisdom of the Holy Spirit will allow us to discern the difference between time wasting and a God given intense interest which takes a lot of a child's time.

    With regard to hours, we need to relax concerning the 900 hours per year. I was reminded of this yesterday when a work mate mentioned that his daughter's class was spending the day at Sea World. This counts towards that school's 900 hours! Independent reading counts. Helping to cook dinner counts (home economics). Sitting down with Mom or Dad for an evening to see how taxes are filed counts. Playing outside counts (physical education). Remember students in schools do a lot of worthless things like stand in lines, change classes, get dressed for PE, and attend assemblies which count in their 900 hours.

    Most important , we need to see that it is not the hours that count, it is what is learned, what skill is developed, that counts in God's eyes.

In conclusion, we turn to the Proverbs for a clear statement of God's perspective:

Proverbs 22:29
30. Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.


The Basics

A lot of discussion of the "basics" which usually refers to instruction in basic "school" skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic occurs among home educators. These skills are important, but are they "basic" to God? From the article in the previous section on "The Biblical Method of Education", we can see that reading and writing are basic in God's sight. But are there other subjects which come first, and what subjects come next?

We would suggest that "law" is one of the basics, that is, God's law. When we think of law, we think of law school or perhaps a high school course in practical law. Yet, kings of Israel were commanded to write a copy of the Law themselves. Psalm 119 declares the glories of God's law:

Psalms 119:105
106. Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

Psalms 119:14
15. I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, As much as in all riches.

The value of this law is clearly stated:

Psalms 119:9
10. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping {it} according to Thy word.

Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. But how can this be done if they are not known? The words and teachings of Jesus should be studied as intensely as science and math.

Perhaps the saddest commentary of our times is that in our Christian universities, college age students take courses in basic New Testament and Old Testament as though they have never studied them. Our Bible colleges make the all too correct assumption that 18 years in a Christian family and in the church only prepares the student for beginning Bible courses. This should not be true of children educated at home.

We believe that another "basic" is Bible history, in other words, the stories of the Bible.

I Corinthians 10:6
7. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.

We need to teach basic Biblical history as the story of God's sovereign work among men. Children who are taught these stories have the works of God built into their very being and will use this foundation to govern their expectations, prayers, and responses. The powerful stories of the Old Testament, the amazing works of the Lord Jesus, and the strong example of the apostles empowered by the Holy Spirit are meant by God to build a strong foundation which will not be shaken. Who is more real to our children when they are sick, Jesus or the doctor? Who do they look to for their supply, God or the government?

Beyond these, there are subjects with immediate applicability. These include geography in order to understand the meaning of the call to make disciples of the nations; public speaking/logical reasoning/apologetics (why the Bible is true) in order to influence people and the culture; and missionary and church history in order to learn from the wisdom of those saints who have gone before us and to avoid the errors of those who preceeded us. Not one movement in church history has been infallable and we do not have to repeat their mistakes.

Finally, there are many practical skills required to help the Christian exercise dominion over the earth in order to demonstrate the kingdom of God by way of God's blessings of provision of food, clothing and shelter. These include practical home skills to maintain one's own household, plus other practical subjects which will enable one to be productive in the work place in order to provide for one's self and a family. It is here that math, science, secular history, computer skills etc. fall. Also note that skills in some of these areas are also required in order to discern truth and error in current issues. For example, it is impossible to evaluate the "global warming" scare of "pop" ecology without a good knowledge of basic scientific principles founded in the Biblical revelation of creation and the flood.

Our greatest challenge is in reshaping the definition of basics to include the importance of character, attitudes, and training in skills needed to fulfill the great commission of making disciples of the nations. For example, training in public speaking, logical reasoning, apologetics (why the Bible is true), mission history, church history, Biblical answers to current issues, and theology might be useful additions to the home educator's curriculum.

Our greatest challenge is clearly in training children who truly know God and can walk in the power of His ressurection. We believe that much of our training consists of building strong foundations so that as our children personally confront the reality of the Holy Spirit throughout their lives, they can develop strong, unshakeable faith because they know both the spirit and the royal law.

We encourage each family to dedicate themselves to seeking God on this issue. Most of us are first generation home educators. We believe that the next stronghold to be broken by home educators (us) is the tradition of what subjects are taught. Remember that the curriculum of the 40's or 50's was not perfect - it sowed the seeds of later years. We pray that the Lord will lead us and the next generation to walk in the full power of the gospel which was bought by Jesus in His death and resurrection.

If the home educated children today do not catch the vision of home educating their own children, the culture will go unchallenged and unchanged. Thus any progress that our generation made as pioneers will be lost if our grandchildren go back into institutional schools. Thus we see the need to train our children in basic subject areas that look more like a Bible College curriculum than a public school curriculum. For example, we encourage reading theological works (contemporary and classic), diaries of significant men and women of history, and current Christian thinkers/theologians/philosophers. We also encourage a broad range of Christian experience including prayer, mission (local or far away) work, charity, service to established ministries, and day to day/week to week Christian living in the family.

Because we may not be able to accomplish a complete transformation in one generation, we trust that the next generation will be able to build upon our foundation and advance the Kingdom of God into our culture by putting forth equipped, empowered, and educated Christians into areas of influence that promote righteousness rather than rebellion.


Letter to Send

In our day of anti-Christian media, mis-information, and demonic activity which wants to blind as many as possible to truth and especially the truth of the Gospel, we believe that we can do more than complain while we and our neighbors continue to be fed by the anti-Christian media. Many of us receive a great deal of information from various Christian ministries. While such ministries provide useful information, which needs to be available to our friends and neighbors as an alternative source of news, much of this information is not suitable for wide distribution, such as dropping it at all houses on our streets, because it contains fund raising appeals and other information about the ministry. We have produced on the following page a letter we are sending to many ministries from who we receive newsletters and other information asking them to provide a format designed for further distribution. You may wish to fill in your name and address and send copies of this letter to those from whom you receive mail. Call us if you would like further information. Enclosed is a letter we have written that you may find interesting. We pray it will help you move beyond praying for your friends, neighbors, relatives, employers, employees, government leaders, etc. into a street ministry of a different kind. We pray it is a movement at the grassroots level that will reap eternal benefit for those you love with God's love.

Our family has been guilty of complaining about the numerous pieces of paper that flow through our home daily. We earnestly felt that those we hear from are very sincere in their commitment to the Lord's kingdom in the nations of the world and to the Lord's destiny concerning the United States of America. We feel our family has found a constructive way to work with the whole Body of Christ. We pray that this letter will inspire your family to trust the Lord for greater ideas that will establish God's kingdom in the hearts of people and thus in the heart of a nation.

The enclosed letter is self-explanatory. We are confident that your household receives duplications of the same letters from various ministries that we do, but we are also sure that you receive many that we don't. This is the beauty and wonder of the Body of Christ. The diversity has always been evident; it is the unity that seems so hard to bring into being!!

(Copy of letter on Page 5 -- these instructions continued on Page 6).
Dear Friends,

We have received pounds of printed material from your ministry, and now we would like you to consider our idea to thwart the anti-Christian agenda of the government and the media.

You send out letters, appeals, glossy pictures, newsprint, etc to our home very frequently. We know other Christians who receive the same and more.

We would like to see at least one monthly mailing from your ministry that encapsulates what you feel the neighbors on our street or our relatives or our employers or employees should know. If you would print that on one 8 1/2 by 11" sheet of paper, using both sides if necessary, each family that you send that to could have it photocopied at their own expense and distribute it to their neighbors, relatives, employers, employees, bulletin boards (churches, grocery stores, libraries, neighborhood centers), government officials, ads in newspapers etc.

We would caution you that it should not be self-seeking or promoting your own ministry, but should be the "truth" of situations that you personally know about that you feel the American citizen is not being told by media and government officials. You could have your name and address at the bottom so that those who are not familiar with you may contact you to receive more information.

This kind of grass roots level is not costly to one particular ministry, but if all participated, it could spread like wildfire to change the results of the next election, and more importantly, the course of the nation.

The US is not in the same position as that of the former Soviet Union or China. Even though the evil that is trying to quench the destiny of this Christian nation is the same, the US Christian has the 21st century printing press available in his own home! Many American Christians have their own PC's, printers and even their own copiers. Most discount office stores make copies for five cents or less.

However, the American Christian needs your help. You have the staff for research and the research has been done; you are able to produce quality copy in words and pictures. It is now coming out in an non-reusable form. It has to be chopped, pasted, or retyped into the computer to be useful for street information. Some of us have done our own pamphlets with your information, but the war has escalated. We can't keep up with all the various issues! Within two blocks of our home, we can distribute information to 110 homes! It takes less than one hour to do so in close city living. It may take longer in the sprawling suburbs. The federal government forbids us from using household mailboxes for this type of work, but we are free to attach any printed material to a doorknob, the grill work of a screen door, etc. Can you imagine the potential if every Christian family agreed to distribute your pamphlet to 100 homes each month?

Many homeschooling families have the availability of providing you with the leg work to carry out such a task during the day. We all want to minister to our neighbors, relatives, etc., but we need a mobile pamphlet that is truthful , current, relevant, readable, efficient, economic and transportable. Families who don't homeschool school can distribute the pamphlets on the weekends or in the evenings.

If your ministry will implement this idea, we believe truth will prevail, and the darkness that now wants to engulf us will have to flee. We know what the true surveys say, we know what the middle class family in America really wants, but most only watch TV. They do not read anymore. Once we get them reading the truth, we believe the desire for truth will not only make them vote more effectively, but it will also lead them to Jesus Christ who is the truth.

Will you consider this? We look forward to our next mailing from you and a pamphlet that we can copy and distribute. We look forward to a networking system that has the potential to involve every Christian family in this country in sharing the truth.

May the Lord receive all the glory. In Christ, our only hope,

PS. We have sent this to all those who send mail to our home and have shared it with friends and family.
This approach was used during the revolutionary war to mobilize the citizens and gain support for freedom from tyranny.
The abolitionist movement used this approach when they were a "small" voice defending the lives of fellow human beings.
Gospel tracts have been written, published and shared in this way to present the truth who is our Lord Jesus Christ.
We ask you to consider the following, pick one that fits your family and commit to action.

  1. Please read the enclosed letter.
  2. Fill in current date, your name, address. White out anything that doesn't suit your family and write in your own information.
  3. Totally rewrite your own letter.
Then do the following:
  1. Make copies of whatever letter you choose to use.
  2. Place those copies in the return envelopes that most ministries so graciously provide for those who are on their mailing lists.
  3. Place a 29 cent stamp on those envelopes which need them. Some ministries even pay the return postage for you! Some don't provide a return envelope so you will have to address your own.
  4. Pray that this strategy will produce good fruit for our Lord's kingdom.
  5. Pray that you will receive truth in a letter form that you can copy and distribute easily and efficiently.
  6. Be willing to share the truth with those you love without any man giving you recognition for your effort or personal cost to your family.
  7. Be willing to be rewarded by your heavenly Father when His Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

James 5:19
20. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back,
21. let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd