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
October 9, 1993

Dear friends,

This FHC letter comes after a long delay and a busy summer filled with a family wedding, the CHEO convention, seminars, mini-vacations, and IBM classes. The Lord willing, we will be traveling to Australia on November 8 and returning on December 13. On that trip, we will have opportunity to visit friends and work with many home educating families and we desire your prayers for us during that time. With this schedule, this will probably be the last FHC letter until some time after the trip.

Temptations for Home Educators

Home education is becoming more established as a Christian way of living. We believe that God has surely blessed and continues to bless home education in Christian families because His Father heart is pleased. However, there are threats to Christian home education. There are external threats, such as wicked, restrictive laws, and there are internal threats. We need to walk in the fear of God knowing that great revivals in history have left too few traces within the time span of 2 generations. Can Christian home education be different? We believe that the answer is a resounding YES! Why our optimism? Because we believe that the family is truly part of God's divine order for restoration. In other moves of God, the family has been bypassed in favor of Bible schools and Christian schools in order to try to control, perpetuate, or accelerate a move of God. Revival in our generation has finally touched the tap root of the family.

Stated succinctly, when a family functions properly, it cannot be other than Godly. There is no such thing as a properly functioning family outside of Christ. This is the lie of 1950's television shows that laid a foundation for the rebellion of the 1960s. We now live with the fruit of that rebellion.

In this article, we list a number of temptations facing Christian home educators. This list is not complete, and there is overlap between the various items. The explanations of some temptations are brief because we have discussed them at length in other FHC letters or pamphlets.

As you read these temptations, we encourage you to consider the internal attitudes involved more than the outward behavior . This will help you apply the principles to your own family and to those to whom you serve as an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. The temptations are primarily temptations in attitude, and attitudes determine behavior!

Consider the description of the "excellent wife",

Proverbs 31:27
28. She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Even though this verse describes the "excellent" wife and mother, fathers do well to look to the ways of their household. :head. Separate Fathers

Many of the temptations listed in this article have a common thread - the attempt by the enemy to separate fathers from their families. The number one social problem of our nation is the "renegade" male. One danger is church activities which range from Sunday School teaching to board meetings. Such activities can give an appearance of "involved" fathers, but in reality, the activities often separate fathers from their families. Does fellowship among men include praying with each other about their families? Yes, but first, men must know enough about their families to pray accurately.

Proverbs 27:23
24. Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds;

In home education, beware of programs which give only appearances of involved fathers. Some programs are highly structured (which may be correct for a family for a season) but can deceive fathers because they and their wives think the father is involved simply because he subscribes to the structure, attends a seminar, or simply pays for it. Such activity is not a substitute for true leadership and participation by fathers in the every day needs of his household.

Fathers must ask themselves if they know and direct the overall program of their household. Do they know enough about curriculum to direct the path of their children's education? Do they do enough one to one teaching (which may be a formal "school" subject, vocational work related to the father's expertise, or character development) to know their children's capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles? This first hand experience with the children is essential for a father to properly lead his family. We believe that the starting point for a father is prayer - first prayer with his wife, then prayer with his children, then prayer with other men. All these things work together. When men pray, they will be aware that they need to know their families as God desires so their prayers will be effective. When they are truly leading their families, then they will be aware of the desperate need for God's intervention and wisdom for their family.

I Timothy 2:8
9. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

Activities, church and secular, conspire to keep men from their families and prayer. A man begins prayer by explicitly setting a time to pray at home and within his own family and then with one or more other men. When the prayer time is a reality, then other less important activities will fall by the wayside. :head. Hide from Parental Educational Deficiencies

Often, parents have significant educational deficiencies due to the way they were trained. Just as parents must often overcome spiritual deficiencies by the power of Jesus Christ, they must also rely on Him for wisdom and courage to overcome educational deficiencies. The alternative is to hide the deficiencies which provides a satanic stronghold in the family. In our experience, mothers are more willing than fathers to confess the problems and work to overcome them. As an example, a father who does not read well will resist reading the Bible with his family. The correct solution is for the father to learn phonics with his children! It is difficult for adults to deal with such weak areas. We encourage all readers to pray for their families and other Christian home educating families that each parent will be free from the spiritual bonds of fear and inferiority which keep them bound in unsuccessful experiences. God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud.

I Peter 5:5
6. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for \God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble\.

:head. Separate Family Members

Our culture is built on a dizzying set of activities. When we attempt to keep up with cultural expectations for activities, we fall prey to the temptation to separate family members. Traditional church activities separate all family members into peer groups. With church meetings and activities, a family can find that they are seldom all in one place at one time.

The tradition of our culture is based upon the Greek model of "school", not on the godly model of family! Remember the words of Jesus,

Mark 7:13
14. {thus} invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that. "

Besides activities, another way in which family members are separated is by contention over family plans and directions. For example, parents may carefully consider whether a child should take music lessons. When they inform the child of the decision, it may be a point of contention. Another example is the father who accepts a time consuming position at work or in the church. This decision may cause stress between husband and wife with the children very aware of the stress. A way to approach important decisions is to make them family decisions. This is done by the father gathering the family, explaining the situation, and leading the family before God in prayer. All family members are encouraged to participate in seeking the Lord's face and in bringing to the family what God says to them. When this Biblical method is used, projects are seen by husband, wife, and children as "this is what our family is doing" rather than "this is what Mom and Dad have decided to do". When a family member is involved in seeking God, he or she knows that it is God's plan, not one imposed by parents. This defeats a major lie of the devil among family members, the lie which says that "they are making me do this even though I don't want to." Each one is left to argue with God, not each other. This becomes a method of submitting to one another as well as learning to relate and submit to God.

Ephesians 5:21
22. and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

This method of submitting to one another can be applied to:

:head. Vouchers

School vouchers are in the news. Proposed voucher systems will provide for state funding for children to attend state schools, private schools, and perhaps even home schools. A voucher system sounds very attractive because it can be an effective way to remove funding from the monstrous public education system. However, vouchers have a deadly flaw. The effect of vouchers is to make all families dependent upon the government. Today, many families are tempted to say, "The government is my shepherd and source", and vouchers will add to the problem. We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into this idolatry. To what extent will families become dependent upon government? Currently, the government spends over $5000.00 per year of our tax money on each child in the public schools. If vouchers provided anywhere near that amount, many families receiving this support will discover that it is a major source of family income! Instead, we should work for less taxation so that the $5000 is never removed from the homes of families.

Furthermore, with vouchers will come government control in the form of rules and regulations. We can tell ourselves that we can have good laws which "protect" home educators, but this is self deception. All we must do is look at other government programs. Any college which accepts government money for student loans (not even direct support of the college) is subject to a myriad of government controls and restrictions! In the early 1960s, when federal aid to education was being considered (yes, in 1962, there was NO federal department of education and NO federal funding of education), the same debate took place over federal control. Those in favor of federal aid to education argued that local control would not be lost, but that the federal government would merely provide "help" to overcome difficulties, especially in the "poorer" states. Anyone tempted to support vouchers should research the debate of those years. We also recommend reading the book, Intellectual Schizophrenia by Dr. R. J. Rushdooney. This book was written in the early 1960s and is prophetic in its analysis.

Australia provides government money for private schools. The form of the support is grants to the schools, not vouchers for the students; nonetheless, we can learn from what we see there. In Australia, private schools are no more affordable than in the U.S.A. In fact, they may be less affordable. With government money, the main effect is that private schools have become more like state schools in their methods. Powerful teachers unions supported by the government demand that teacher's salaries in private schools be equal to those in state schools. Also, we see private schools subject to a myriad of regulations because of their dependence on government money. Such regulations include matters from curriculum to the time of day when detentions are served.

Rather than put our efforts into supporting voucher systems, we strongly recommend that Christian home educators use every opportunity to suggest the abolition of public education. This can be achieved in gradual steps starting with the abolition of the federal department of education. Some say that this is impractical. Radical change often sounds unrealistic and impossible, but many Christians would have said in the 1960s that the radical changes proposed by humanists (sex training in schools etc.) were only the babblings of radical degenerates who would never be elected to political positions of power. Jesus said in Luke 16 :8, "for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light."

:head. Be Like Others

Extra-Curricular Activities

Home educators are under pressure from themselves, their own traditions, friends, family, and the culture to "be like other people" and participate in so called "extra-curricular" activities. Remember that public educators consider "extra-curricular" activities a way to compromise Christian home educators and gain control over them by making them dependent upon public schools or recreation departments.

We encourage parents to carefully consider each activity as "required curriculum", not "extra-curricular", and diligently seek God with regard to whether this is something which He considers important for the whole family. Remember that for many of us, the temptation to "be like others" is really a temptation to "be like I grew up" or "to give my child what I always wanted". We need to submit our traditions to the Lord's pruning process.

Be Like School

Another manifestation of the temptation to "be like others" is to attempt to recreate school trappings such as graduations or prom like outings. We believe that Christian home educators are wise to avoid graduation exercises because:

  1. We have written other articles about certification in our society. Resisting graduation formalities helps us to focus on skills and accomplishments and not on certification.
  2. Graduation lends credence to the un-godly concept of having "arrived". Christian life consists of a day by day walk with the Lord. We should develop an attitude of life-long maturing in the Lord.

If a prospective employer or college wants a form or piece of paper called a diploma, we suggest this approach:

  1. First, try to explain how home education works and offer to document the studies completed by the child/young adult and provide evidence of competence (SAT scores, other test scores, work experience, written essays, letters of recommendation etc.).
  2. If a piece of paper is required, then make up a "diploma" or purchase a nice form from a supplier (HSLDA sells a very attractive one) using the name of your home school with the child's name and the signature of the principal (father) and teachers (both parents).
  3. Finally, if required, obtain a GED. Requirements and age limits for the GED vary from state to state.
:head. State Sanction/Approval/Registration

A grave temptation for Christian home educators is to seek and/or enjoy state sanction, approval, and registration. Yes, it is a blessing to be free of onerous legal restrictions. However, there is a temptation for us to seek state recognition of what we do. When we do this, we forget our Biblical foundations - we are to walk in the fear of the Lord, not the love of the state. :head. Field Trips Without Parents

Field trips can be a useful form of education, especially excursions into the world of production (factories, water plants, farms, other states or nations). Seeing how steel is made is something which can be explained in a textbook, but seeing a steel plant in operation is an experience beyond what can be read in a book. However, field trips, whether they be to production facilities or wonders of God's creation, have limited usefulness when parents do not accompany children. The exhortation in Deut. 6 :7,

Deuteronomy 6:7
8. and you shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up.

clearly instructs parents to teach in all parts of life. When many children attend field trips without their own parents, they do not have the person who is their primary teacher available for questions and discussions. Yes, a guide at the location may know the technical aspects better than a parent, but it is the parent who knows how to integrate this information into what else the child knows and answer questions about the morals and character issues involved. Furthermore, field trips without parents can become a form of baby-sitting that can lead to bad behavior ("the companion of fools comes to harm" - Pro. 13 :20, and "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" - Pro. 22 :15).

We strongly encourage fathers to organize and lead field trips with their own families. When only mothers participate in field trips, the mother and children gain significant educational and life experiences apart from the father. :head. Classical Education

Christian home educators often seek to use the wisdom of men and women in history. This is a valuable and correct use of the past. However, this can lead to the temptation to turn to a "classical" education, rather than a Biblical education. Classical education means:

We believe that we need to have a Biblical approach to the classics. The issue is not whether something is old or new. Instead, the same standards must apply to things old as are applied to things new. Just as we are cautious about the place of entertainment in our lives (see the FHC pamphlet "Entertainment and the Christian Life"), we are cautious about the study of ancient entertainment. Moses, given the choice of pleasures in Egypt, "... chose rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Yet very few sections of museums of history emphasize the life of Moses. The spirit of the world perpetuates itself in museum exhibits displaying ancient civilizations whose immoral and decadent lifestyles brought about their own destruction. Museums usually ignore the connection between decadence (immoral, ungodly lifestyles) and destruction.

Furthermore, even though we may consider such diverse items as music and graphic art to be entertainment, the Bible treats them differently. Thus, the Bible clearly shows the place of music as a way to express praise to God, deep prayers to God, cries of the heart, and even prophecy (consider the Psalms). Other uses of music may be a corruption of what God intends, but this never invalidates the purpose for which God gives us music. We can use the same criteria towards "classical" music and towards modern music. We only err when we turn to music, whether old or new, without considering its moral expression by those who composed it. :head. Technology/Machine to Replace Tutorial Teaching

Because technology, especially computer technology, has developed so dramatically in our age, we are easily tempted to believe that technology or machines are a good substitute for tutorial teaching. This temptation often comes from pronouncements of public educators justifying great expenses by claiming that technology is important for excellent teaching ("revolutionize education"). The Biblical Method of Education is tutorial and requires people. Yes, machines can be a helpful tool (like the one I am typing on), but they do not replace personal, tutorial, instruction.

Earl sees examples of how advanced technology is being used in education. This subject requires more discussion and, the Lord willing, will be further discussed in future articles. :head. Define Excellence as the World Does

God expects us to strive for excellence, moral excellence,

II Peter 1:5
6. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in {your} moral excellence, knowledge;

Our temptation is to redefine excellence in purely natural terms. When we write newsletters and pamphlets, we strive to write clearly and without spelling errors, and we strive to produce them in an easy to read form. However, there was a time when a newsletter went out on the back of used paper because that was all we had.

We can be tempted to redefine excellence as the world does with regard to physical appearance, expensive clothes, the decor of our home, or newsletters. The way we avoid the temptation is to focus on moral excellence, not just excellence. Consider God's instruction.

Joshua 1:8
9. "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

:head. Romanticism with History and the Future

Christians face a the temptation to view both history and the future romantically rather than realistically. For example, we need to read American history to understand the great men of faith and strong character who founded and led our nation, but we need to see them realistically. A symptom of romanticism is to read history with rose colored glasses and then fail to apply any of the strong principles to modern life (e.g. be romantic about political freedom, freedom from government control, and democracy and yet support vouchers). We can also fall into romanticism about the future. Romanticism (all will be wonderful because home schooling is so good) is a poor substitute for faith (God will perform what He promises in His Word). :head. Complicate

Some subjects and topics we teach are complex. However, we can be easily tempted to complicate what is really simple. A source of temptation is the education industry which attempts to make everything sound complicated in order to hide their moral depravity and incompetence from parents. We rejoice in the many testimonies in our lives and the lives of other Christian home educators who find simple methods of education which are very effective. Phonics instruction is an example of a subject which can be simple, but for which temptations to complicate abound. :head. Failure to Believe Our Own Press

Christians, especially home educators, often talk and write about the effects of movies, video, video games, TV, sex education and other corrupting influences in the world around us. However, we are under a constant temptation to believe a lie which says, "You talk about this, but no need to be so radical about it - loosen up a little." Furthermore, we are under constant pressure to ignore our own "press" with regard to socialization. We encourage fathers to lead their families in exposing this lie and removing any and every temptation from our own homes. :head. Temptation to be Conservatives and Not Radicals.

Conservatives want to get "back to the past", not transform the world. Jesus came to change the world. In Acts, it is said of the apostles that,

Acts 17:6
7. ..."These men who have upset the world have come here also;

In contemporary politics, Christian goals often coincide with so-called "conservative" goals. However, Christianity is essentially radical, wanting to radically change people by leading them to become new creatures in Christ, and not just political conservatives. If the past were so perfect, whether in the early church, or the 1600's or the 1800's or the 1950's, then how did it lead to today? We don't want to get back to the "good" public schools of another era. We want to get the state out of education altogether and move towards God's goal for His family.

An example in current events of the difficulties with being conservative is the temptation for Christians to oppose the NAFTA treaty. This opposition is usually on the un-godly principle of resisting change. There may be technical details of NAFTA which make it a bad agreement, but the principle of freer trade is Christian because it moves towards personal freedom and away from state control of day to day life.

The worst example of the dangers of conservatism was the Christian support of the nomination of David Souter to the U.S. Supreme Court. History has shown him to be a strong pro-abortion justice. He is conservative and will resist change such as stopping abortion or overturning precedents which protect criminals more than victims. :head. Narrow Focus / Escapism

Because of the intense commitment required for home education, and our responsibility as parents to protect our children from evil in the world, we can fall into a temptation to have too narrow a focus (our families) and develop an attitude that we can escape the evil around us.

The most important reminder we have to avoid this temptation is Jesus' command called the great commission,

Matthew 28:19
20. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Another way to resist this temptation is to look at two reasons for being active in the political arena.

  1. In order to avoid disastrous home schooling laws, we must know what our state and federal legislators are doing. This is an important reason for political awareness and action. However, if this is our only motivation, we risk having our focus too narrow and falling into escapism.
  2. We must realize that regardless of how well our children are trained, they must live in the world we leave them. A world of lawlessness and wickedness will effect them. Yes, children raised to trust in the Lord will overcome the circumstances, but they will still be affected by evil laws which protect evil doers.
:head. Ship Them Off / Don't Train

In some portions of society, it has been common to train a somewhat unruly child by shipping him off to military school (academies with a military orientation) for strict discipline. This mentality pervades our society and the church today. Home educators have taken the enormous step of training their children at home. Still, there are temptations to fall for the temptation to "ship them off". One form of the temptation is to send children off to extra-curricular activities simply to get them out of the house and get a rest. God's solution is to desperately seek Him to learn how to train children correctly (The FHC series on Anger deals with Biblical methods of training children after examining what the Bible says about the connection between parental anger and failure to train correctly.) Another form of the temptation is to remove children from church meetings because they are "disruptive". This was not Jesus' attitude!

Mark 10:13
14. And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them.
15. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.


These are some of the temptations we have observed and felt which may prevent homeschooling families from obeying God's perfect will for them. We would appreciate receiving comments or descriptions of other temptations that your family may have identified and which we have not included in this article.

Diane is looking for hearty, easy meals which are economical, require little preparation time, little oversight, and include easy availability of ingredients that coincide with the seasons. It is not economical to have garden salads during some seasons. If you are interested in sharing your ideas, send your simple recipe with the applicable season marked. Diane hopes to share these with our readers in an effort Jesus' words,

Matthew 6:31
32. "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd