My wife and I are Medical Doctors, and we have three children. Grace is 13, Mark is 10 and Nancy is 6 at the time of writing this article. We are from Mumbai, the commercial capital of India.
This short article, while mainly about Homeschooling, is essentially about how we have entered this amazing way of life which is abundant in all aspects, full of peace, joy and fellowship with near and dear ones, about how we got free from this constant pressure to perform, this maddening rat race which most people seem to take for granted, how we became free of the need to prove ourselves, and start a new journey to be the people we were created to be, free because we ‘know the truth, which has set us free’.
We have been products of English ‘Convent’ Education. It equipped us to be competitive and gave us a basic understanding of subjects taught. Ofcourse Evolution Theory and Survival of the Fittest was the mantra taught then, and even now, in most schools.
As we grew, we started questioning many of the ‘assumptions’ which we had always thought to be true. For example, we were taught that our aim in life is to be happy, make money, become rich, successful and famous, by becoming better than others, who also have the same goal as you!
We were forced to question this when as part of our spiritual growth we came across passages like this: Have no love for the world or for the things which are in the world. If any man has love for the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world. And the world and its desires is coming to an end: but he who does God’s pleasure is living for ever. (1 John 2:15-17 BBE)
But those who have a desire for wealth are falling into danger, and are taken as in a net by a number of foolish and damaging desires, through which men are overtaken by death and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all evil: and some whose hearts were fixed on it have been turned away from the faith, and been wounded with unnumbered sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 BBE)
So getting rich, the mad chase after name, fame and wealth, the desire to prove to ourselves and others that we are ‘someone’ were not what was best for our lives? There is really something better? Yes, and that is what we found out! It has been so much of a relief to just soak in the realization that ‘Hey, you are not God, and you never have to be!’
You are just a creation of God, and God who created you obviously knows what is best for you! Our entire world view is gradually changing from being ‘me’ centered to being ‘God’ centered.
Here is the deal we have made with God. We do what is best for God, and He does what is best for us. And let me tell you, He never breaks His covenant, even when we have been guilty many times of breaking ours.
So we decided to find out what is the best we as parents are called to do with our children. As the Bible states, it is the parents’ responsibility primarily to train our children for life. Parents should teach their own children the most important things in life, since children are given to parents and not to teachers, the school or the government.
When we realized how valuable children are and how great is our responsibility to such precious treasures, we were convinced that it will be ‘training by Parents’, not ‘teaching at School’ for our kids. The greatest tragedy of our times is seeing intelligent and highly educated adults who do not know what is right and what is wrong, or even what their purpose in life is!
It did take time for us to think through our decision, since our daughter was at that time going to a ‘good’ school in Sr. Kg. With the blessing of the school Principal and our parents’ reluctant consent, we took the plunge, totally trusting the Lord. For this reason the Lord God of Israel has said, I will give honour to those by whom I am honoured, and those who have no respect for me will be of small value in my eyes. (1 Samuel 2:30 BBE)
Our daughter has been home schooled since the last 8 years. Our son and third daughter also naturally were taught the same way, both of them having never gone to school.
We have seen to it that all three of our children get a solid foundation in all subjects, and most importantly an understanding of what is right and wrong. The Bible has been our external, objective reference for what is right and wrong. We do not base our decisions based on our feelings or even our conscience, because we know that these are very subjective and fluctuant.
Parents should teach their own children the most important things in life, since children are given to parents and not to teachers, the school or the government.
We believe the heart of the child is the most important, not his or her mind and brain. So our emphasis in homeschooling our children has been to shepherd their heart, give them a heart that loves God and loves to do what is pleasing to God, what is right, and not what is popular or pleasing to themselves. This has been a challenge, because as the Bible says, we all have a tendency to do what is wrong, even though we may know it is so. That is the default state of mankind ever since the fall. This sin of rebellion has separated us from God. We love doing what we think is right.
One can be a genius, but if one does not know what is right or wrong, then any genius can become a threat. We also know that bad company corrupts, and hence we teach our children also to be careful in choosing their friends.
On the academic front, we follow the Tree of Life approach. What we mean by this is that each and every thing we teach our child is linked to many other things, subjects and facets of life. At the center of everything is God, and for us study is a means to worship God, just to marvel at the amazing way God has created the world around us with such love and care, designed for human beings to enjoy life on this unique planet called Earth, and also with a sense of stewardship, taking the best possible care of this planet.
So for example when we teach about Africa, it includes Geography, History of the people there, Biology based on the crops, flora and fauna there, and anything else that their imagination leads them to.
Our children also have developed a love for various subjects, (No subject can be taught in isolation) and we like to encourage them in whatever way possible. Our dream is for each of them to live a fulfilled life, find a career or calling that best uses the talents that God has gifted them with in a unique way, since every child is unique and like no other.