Marlene and I went to our first homeschool meeting when she was pregnant with our first child. That was some 26 years ago. We didn't go out of curiosity, wondering if maybe we would or should educate our child at home. We went out of conviction, knowing full well that we never wanted our children to be exposed to or influenced by the anti-Christian, paganistic culture of government schooling.
Prior to the birth of that first child, Marlene worked full time as a secretary in a doctor's office. I worked for a local home remodeling contractor. I worked mighty hard, but Marlene actually made more money than me, though neither of us made a lot.
In addition to homeschooling our soon-to-come baby, we had a similar conviction that Marlene should leave her job for good, and be a full-time mother when the baby was born.
It was not a difficult decision for Marlene to leave work and focus on being a full-time mother, but it was a difficult reality. Our yearly income was cut to less than half. In addition to that, Marlene struggled with the significant "culture shift" that comes with leaving a busy full-time job to be a full-time mother. If you are a woman who has done this, you can probably relate.
But Marlene has never gone back to working a regular job, and, by the grace of God, we made it, though I can tell you it was not easy. Finances were always tight.
There were times over those lean years when Marlene suggested that she could get a part-time job to make some money. But that never happened. I discouraged every thought of it. It was more important to me (and to Marlene) that our children (two more would be born) have a full-time mother.
Living in a state of perpetual financial difficulty and lack was not hard to bear, knowing that our sacrifice was part of fulfilling what we saw as a higher calling. A truer poverty in my mind would have been to see my wife working a regular job and our children without their mother at home for them. A truer poverty would have been to take the easier path and let my children be cared for each day by the Babylonian educational system.
In the final analysis, conviction is a powerful force. People will endure tremendous hardships (far more than we had to deal with) to do something they are strongly convicted of—especially when it comes to their children.
In retrospect, Marlene and I have some regrets about some of the ways we homeschooled our children, but we haven't a single regret that we chose to homeschooled them. The biggest regret I have is that we sent our oldest son to two years of a "Christian school" and then to two years of public vocational school. But we learned from that— the two younger boys never experienced a single day of "Christian" or government schooling, thank God.
The lion's share of educating our boys fell on Marlene. She is the heroine in our homeschooling story. There is no doubt about that. Maybe someday my sons will truly understand the sacrifice and commitment their mother made in educating them at home. Maybe not. But she has my eternal gratitude for such selfless dedication to our children's education.
Mothers who take on the task of homeschooling their children, out of conviction, are remarkable people. It is a selfless act to commit to educating your children at home. It is contra-industrial. It is not easy. I have tremendous respect for homeschooling mothers.
As for me, I was 100% supportive but I was not the teacher Marlene was. I was more consumed with trying to make enough money to keep the bills paid. Had I to do it again, I would do things a little differently.
All of this is a roundabout way of introducing you to a documentary movie I recently bought, and watched, and really liked. It is called IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.
The movie sets out to answer the question.... Should Christians send their children to the government schools?
The movie makes it abundantly clear that no right-thinking Christian should ever submit their children to pagan indoctrination through the government school system. The film makes it's point in an entertaining way, but this is a very serious documentary.
Though my children are now beyond school age, I have younger Christian friends who are just starting to homeschool their children, or they are thinking about maybe homeschooling them. I bought the movie to lend to them.
And, beyond that, I now have a grandson. He is a year old.
Here's the trailer to "IndoctriNation"...
IndoctriNation Trailer from indoctrination on Vimeo.
People who are not Christians and read this may not fully understand the conviction that so many Christian parents have for homeschooling their children. That is understandable. And, no doubt, there are professing Christian parents who will disagree with my beliefs about homeschooling, asserting that lots of Christian children go to government schools and come out just fine.
That is, I'm sure, true, just as it is true that many people survive airplane crashes.
My purpose with this essay is not to condemn or to be dogmatic. It isn't to start an argument. It is to give my testimony and my opinion. It is to encourage any Christian parents out there who are considering the home education of their children.
If you are a Christian who thinks government schools are a good place to send your children, I dare you to get the IndoctriNation video and watch it.