“Christian education is not a type of education merely; it is the education of Christians—individual Christians. It is ‘leading out the called-out’ from wherever they are to wherever God wants them to be”.
Besides being a great resource for parents of special needs children, Special Education: A Biblical Approach, edited by Joe P. Sutton, Ph.D. contains the best and most reasoned argument for Christian education that I have ever read.
I used this philosophy when I home schooled my children. Each one of my children was a special individual that needed a unique education to become the person God wanted them to be.
I remember when my husband sat me down in the living room to tell me that he wanted me to home school our children. I started crying- not with relief because he had finally come to the same decision I had, as with some of you. I was crying because I knew it would be a lot of work and if I were going to do it, I would have to do a good job. The pressure would be on me. The educational success of my children would be my responsibility.
I was scared!
Who am I? What is my background? I was raised in a home where we went to church every week and our goal was to quietly live out what the Bible taught and incorporate that into our lives. My dad grew up on a farm and he liked being outside and gardening so we did a lot of growing our own vegetables, weeding, canning and freezing. There was a time period when we lived on a farm and added animals to the mix: horses, milk goats, quail, rabbits, chickens, ducks, a couple of barn cats, coon hounds plus the “house” dog and cat. It was fun but it was also a lot of physical labor.
When we moved closer to the Christian school my brother and I attended, we changed from farm chores to sports: soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball, and even cross country running. Eventually, I was taught how to keep the books for basketball in order to get me off the court. I was extremely enthusiastic, but not particularly athletic!
I attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC for college where I majored in Art Education. I thought the Lord might be moving me to a mission field so I also took Spanish and some elementary education classes in case I had to teach my children (I was imagining myself in a place so remote that there would be no other options.) I did not foresee that the small upstate New York town where my husband and I lived was the mission field that God had for us.
So, you might be saying that seeing my background in education, I was qualified to be a home school mom. You are right. However, that is not the total picture. I was uniquely suited to teach and train my children, as the Bible admonishes parents to do, because I was seeking to follow God’s commands.
When God commands something, He provides the power, the enablement to help you do it.
“Again, Deuteronomy 6 makes it very clear that parents are given the primary responsibility to educate their children. Special education in the Christian school must find its impetus in God’s mandates and Biblical principles, rather than in an attempt to Christianize the secular special education philosophy. Interestingly, when properly understood, the Biblical philosophy of special education will provide valuable help in understanding the Christian philosophy of education generally. This is so because as Christians we seek to help each individual to come to a saving knowledge of Christ and to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. This goal presupposed the belief that God has a will or purpose for every individual. Thus, in this respect, every individual student is “special” to God and must not be seen only in a comparison with other children. II Corinthians 10:12 warns us against the danger of ‘the great comparison’.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (p. 21)
When teaching and training your children, be wise. Do not compare them with others, but work with your children to help them discover God’s purpose for their life. Does this mean that you have to be an expert in everything? No, I don’t believe so. I believe that the Lord will provide for your children the people to help you: people from your church and community. For example, we live in a very rural area but there were still people here that taught music, made chocolate candies, practiced martial arts, gave voice lessons and a wonderful older lady from my church who taught my daughter to crochet. God provided what we needed. And He can and will do the same for you.
Just ask Him.