Common Objections to Homeschooling, pt. 1: “We Can’t Afford it”
In a recent article I posted on our church website, I detailed some of the significant problems with public education and provided an argument in favor of homeschooling. Toward the end of that post I mentioned that I am already familiar with some of the objections and challenges in pulling one’s children out of public school, and I would like to address those here and in the posts that follow.
In doing so, I will need to state some truth that may be a little hard to read for some people. I realize that in stating these truths that I am going to ruffle some feathers. I may even lose friends. And I am willing to take that risk in order to address the cultural problems facing Christian families and, therefore, our nation and its future at large.
“We can’t Afford to Homeschool”
I have heard more times that I care to count among two-income families, “we can’t afford to homeschool our children.” I know in advance that what I’m about to say will offend some people, but please let me point out that most of the time (perhaps not always), what this objection really means is this: “We can’t maintain our current standard of living if we homeschool.”
In other words:
“We can’t keep both cars if one of us quits our job and stays home.”
“We can’t live in this house if we homeschool.”
“We can’t keep our membership at the Country Club if we homeschool.”
“We can’t eat out as often as we like if we homeschool.”
“We will have to buy our clothes at Wal-Mart instead of at Nordstroms if we homeschool.”
And on and on it goes.
What most people really mean when they talk about not being able to “afford” homeschooling is that they don’t want to give up their current standard of living, which – forgive me – represents materialism and idolatry to the god of money. People are often more concerned about maintaining their comfy standard of living than making sure they provide a heritage of godliness that is passed down to the next generation.
One objection/suggestion I read online recently is that the church should provide some sort of homeschooling network or private schooling to help parents to afford it. Okay, let me get this straight: You want the church to school your kids for you because you don’t want to give up your standard of living or make any additional financial sacrifices for your kids. You want other parents and church administrators to make sacrifices for you so you won’t have to. Yes, that’s the very reason why many Christian families’ kids are indistinguishable from kids who are not raised in Christian homes, because parents want to hit the “easy button” and let someone else do the heavy lifting of educating their kids.
I realize that there are some situations when parents truly can’t afford to homeschool or do not have the ability to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. I will address how single mothers might be able to pull this off in another post. But for this post, let me say that so often the roadblocks to homeschooling are self-perseved and simply issues of convenience and comfort. God forgive us!
If you had to sell your house and live in a beat up trailer and buy clothes and groceries at discount stores to live so that you could do all you can to preserve your children’s relationship with God and your family’s legacy of faith, would it be worth it to you? I fear that most Christians have already answered no.
Now, before you write me nasty-grams and say, “Andy, you and your wife have two cars and live in a pretty nice house, so don’t lecture me about giving up comforts.” But you didn’t see what Donna and I had to go through early in our marriage to be able to homeschool before God blessed us so much.
You see, when Donna and I got married God just put homeschooling on our hearts. Neither of us were homeschooled, but we knew that we were not going to send our kids to public schools, and we both agreed that we would rather live in a shack if that’s what it took to be able to homeschool our children. And we were serious about that.
So when Donna and I got married she made a meager income to supplement my meager income. We were already poor even with two incomes, and then – BAM – Donna got pregnant five weeks into our marriage. We were NOT ready for that financially. We had already agreed that Donna was going be a stay-home mom no matter what it cost us, and the seriousness of that commitment was now being challenged far earlier than we had expected. So ten months into our marriage, our firstborn, Hannah, came along, and true to our commitment, Donna quit her job.
What that meant for us financially is that we had to give up one of our cars and be a one-car family for a long time. It meant we had to live in a small two-bedroom apartment for a few years while we lived off my income alone, which wasn’t much at the time.
But a strange thing happened.
When Hannah was born and Donna quit her job, God provided a nice little raise in my job that helped to take some of the pressure off. It still wasn’t enough to allow us to buy a second car, but it was enough to pay our bills and eat.
You see, there was as Biblical principle working in our favor found in Matthew 6:31-33:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [material provisions] will be given to you as well.
We were seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first in how we were handling our affairs and raising our children, and God was keeping His promise in return to provide for our needs. We trusted Him, put our faith in action, and He came through.
And today we are exceedingly blessed as we have continued to live by that Matthew 6:33 standard.
If you trust God and take Him at His Word and exercise your faith by doing what He says, He will always come through! But most people simply don’t trust Him that much. Actions speak louder than words.
Let me ask you a question before I close this first post in the series. If your child was diagnosed with a terminal disease and you had no insurance for medical care, what would you do? I imagine loving parents would sell off all their possessions to pay for whatever medical attention the child needed to recover. Your child is worth more than your house, right? Your child is worth more than the car you drive or the clothes you wear or the restaurants you like to dine in. You would give up anything and everything to save your child’s life.
Yet while many parents would not hold back in selling off everything to save their child’s physical life, apparently their children’s faith and eternal lives aren’t that important to them. Where your treasure is, Jesus said, there your heart will be also. (See Luke 12:34.) So show me your check register and I’ll show you what’s important to you.
The truth is, parents delude themselves into thinking that sending their kids to public school is going to be okay. And maybe it will. But maybe it won’t. Remember the 90% statistic. Are you willing to gamble against those kinds of odds? If you are, you’re braver than me!
There are Ways to Help you Financially to Homeschool
If you live in Indiana or any other State that provides a voucher program for homeschooling or private schooled children, this really helps to take some of the pressure off. You can simply do an online search for these vouchers. I also took a quick look online at some of the websites offering financial advice for those who don’t think they can homeschool, and there are lots of them. There are ways to do it if you do a little research. And the bottom line is, if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way.
And God will reward you for putting His Kingdom and His righteousness first.