Tag: skeptics and critics

Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

A who lives without honor will not gain by education

Skeptics and Critics, Part 2

When we can ignore the skeptics

The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.

Exodus 14:14 (NASB)

I learned the hard way that it’s useless to try to justify our reasons for homeschooling. The best response is to listen quietly to criticism and swallow that big lump of hurt pride that sticks in our throats. Remember Jesus’ words:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Luke 23:34 (NASB)

The devil would like nothing better than to use a good thing to force a wedge into relationships and tear them apart. We just have to let go of the urge to defend ourselves and let our actions speak for themselves.

Criticism is a great purifier. It’s one way God gives us a gut check on our motives and goals. After all, why are we doing this? Are our convictions solid enough to live out in the public eye of scrutiny? One of my favorites is last week’s quote from Matthew:

Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

Matthew 11:19b (NASB)

The best recommendation we can receive is when others see the Lord Jesus doing a good thing in our lives. A godly life, lived quietly before God, can banish criticism better than any argument we can muster. When people see us walk out our faith, they will know our God is real. Then we can rejoice before the Lord when He takes our meager efforts and blesses them.

When we need to listen

Sometimes criticism is rooted in truth. Sometimes it’s the reaction of others to an unhealthy attitude they see in us. If we act smug or self-righteous, or if we carry around an air of martyrdom because we stay at home and care for our own kids, others may feel resentful and probably for good reason.

Perhaps in the past we have been prone to flit from one “ministry” to another without real direction or commitment. In this case, we are going to have to prove we are serious by stepping up to the new challenge in steadfastness and discipline. I’m sure God taught me more through homeschooling than I ever taught my own children.

It’s also important to validate the efforts and love of the many educators that serve in public and private schools. They have a really hard job. We are, after all, co-laborers toward a common goal.

Then there’s Noah

Our work with our children, even if carried out quietly, will spark resentment in people around us at some point. Those who aren’t in sympathy with the homeschool movement may feel intimidated by the homeschooler’s role as teacher. Others may feel convicted by a parent’s commitment to his children. Others are just opinionated and need to share that opinion with us.

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Hebrews 11:7

What we’re doing with our children flows from the same heart response that moved Noah to lead his children to salvation. The ark he built represented his faith and obedience to God’s word to him. He set his sights on completing the job given to him and ignored the criticism and mockery he undoubtedly experienced. He committed himself to the long haul and kept his eyes on the goal.

In the end, his obedience and toil were rewarded. May God take our small strength and empower us to walk in that same obedience.

Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

A man who lives without honor will not gain from education.

Skeptics. Critics. Everybody’s watching.

Dance with the one who brung ya.

As you embark upon this journey in educating your young ones, you may find dealing with critics and skeptics one of your first and most emotionally exhausting battles (especially if you are a people-pleaser like me and hate confrontation).

Thankfully, the homeschooling movement is now largely accepted in much of this country and enjoys a large following. But when I first considered homeschooling in 1982, I was met with unanimous disapproval by my family and friends. Not one person thought I was doing the right thing. Some of them took pains to pull me aside and try to talk sense into me. Even my husband said the idea was crazy. He was understanding enough, thankfully, to let me try it. Eventually, my family became my most solid support base and source of help.

The real surprise was the amount of resistance I received from my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Prevailing attitudes about homeschoolers have mellowed, and many churches support home education today. But in the early years, my most bitter criticism initially came from God’s family. I was chastised for not committing to church programs and not being at some church functions. I was even told that my life was unbalanced because I spent my time at home with my children and husband instead of being at all the church activities. Although the criticism was well-meaning, it made a hard decision even harder. And it greatly contributed to the stress I was already feeling as a young mom, fairly new in my faith, with four little children to raise. How desperately I needed an older, wiser hand to lead me forward and encourage me!

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

-Matthew 11:16 -17 (NASB)

Jesus calls the tune to which we dance.

During these early years, God taught me valuable lessons in resisting peer pressure and striving to please Him rather than people. I also learned, mostly through my own mistakes, not to react personally to criticism, and to never see a critical person as my enemy.

Listen, learn, and respond.

So this journey to educate my own children was the path upon which I have been thoroughly “schooled” in the ways of God. In the beginning, I needed to quickly learn three important lessons: Listen to the concerns of others, figure out what God was trying to teach me, and respond in a Christlike manner – even if the criticism was unfounded. Our efforts with our children will eventually rise or fall on their own merits.

Home education, after all, is just a tool in the hands of God to educate an entire family in His ways.

Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

Matthew 11:19b (NASB)

Next Week: Part 2 of Skeptics and Critics

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