Homeschooling and the Mission-Minded Parent

Homeschool Parents – The Path To Missions, Short Term & Otherwise

Homeschooling – The Mission Field

Larry Fast – Guest writer, Former Team Leader

We began the education of our children in the public sector, then moved them to a Christian school. Ultimately, in order to have the freedom to emphasize and develop Godly character, we chose to home educate our children.  This removed the peer pressure found in most groupings of kids of like age and developmental stages in life.

Homeschooling – The Exciting Mission Field

As an individual who worked in the public educational sector, I was often questioned about our decision.  This provided me with the opportunity to share why, for us, this was the best option available. Ultimately I was used as a resource by my school district to meet with parents who were considering homeschooling their children.

I don’t know about you, but when I find something that is new and exciting, I want everyone I know to experience the same thing.  Homeschooling was definitely this for me. I could make a pitch for homeschooling that would include all sorts of educational research and why homeschooling was the best educational option for anyone!  However, I quickly came to realize that homeschooling is simply not for every family, even if it was the best option for mine.

Even though I was excited about homeschooling my kids, I had to be very careful not to model a judgmental attitude toward others who were not doing so with their children.  In order to avoid this, I found it helpful to make sure when I did talk with people about homeschooling, first I would keep it simple and, secondly, I would address two fundamental thoughts.

Homeschooling – Influencing your children to follow Christ

“What type of person do you want your children to be when they leave your home to make their own way in life?”  

I have asked this question to hundreds of parents throughout my career as a School Psychologist.  I am not talking about what vocation they might enter, but rather what character qualities do parents believe are important for their children to develop in order to be a successful, responsible adult and a contributing member of society.  

The question above implies that you have a “life goal” in mind for your child and are working to help that child walk down this road.

Homeschooling – The steps you take with your children

A secondary thought, which naturally follows the previous one is: “What are you doing today to help your child/children take one step in that direction?”

When our children were still very young, someone challenged me to write a life goal for each of them.  The goal had to be succinct, one or two sentences, yet challenging enough that it would set the direction for their lives, with the high probability that it might never really be fully realized.  For us, we wanted our children to be “mighty in spirit, demonstrating Godly character.”

How does one walk down that path?  

Homeschooling – Godly, Character-filled Education

How does one become “mighty in spirit and demonstrate Godly character”?  The central passage which helped us develop answers to this question is found in 2 Peter 1:5-7, which says:

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (ESV)

Solomon, throughout the book of Proverbs, speaks to the first five of these qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control and steadfastness) repeatedly; and I would like to think that, if a person develops these qualities, that she/he would become a wise person.  The next two character qualities (godliness and brotherly affection) are the action pieces of Peter’s list by which we are called to spend our lives in service to God and to our fellow man. But all of these qualities help us develop an ever deepening love–a love of God and a love of those made in His image.

Homeschooling – Raising a learner

A few years ago my son said to me, “Dad, you know what I appreciate most out of my experience in homeschooling?  You taught us how to learn.” I was puzzled by this as I could think only of one project in which that was the goal of the project.  And our son was not even referring to that project!

As my son and I discussed what he meant by this this observation, I discovered that he deeply appreciated both the “opportunities and applications” that we tried to supply with anything that was taught.  Whether it was touring the local peanut factory after writing a book report on George Washington Carver, or encouraging him and his sister to go on mission trips to share the gospel with others, as an adult he could now deeply appreciate the efforts we made as parents to facilitate a deeper understanding of the things they were taught.

Homeschooling – Raising a missionary

“Missional” is a word that our son uses often in talking with students and parents who are interested in being involved in some form of Christ-centered outreach activity.  “Missional living is the adoption of the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary [I would substitute the word “Christ follower”] in order to engage others with the gospel message.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missional_living)

I had never considered that we were “missional” in the way we brought up and educated our children.  Being missionaries was really not on my radar. I have this aversion to my kids having to “beg” money from others in order to live, so they can serve the Lord vocationally.  If I’m honest, as a Dad I have had to do a lot of growing in this area. However, as one’s faith grows, and as Godly character matures, one naturally wants to share Christ with others – whether at home or elsewhere. While I did not know this word during our homeschooling years, we were definitely missional in what we did and how we taught.

Homeschooling – Raising your missionary

How can you go about raising your own missionary?  How can parents raise their children to be “mighty in spirit and to exhibit godly character”?  Our answer to this question is as follows:

  1. Learn from His Word and from fellow Christ followers,
  2. Apply to your daily life situations what you learn, and then
  3. Share your insights and lessons learned with …”everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you….” (I Peter 3:15)

As both of our children are now out of the house and raising families of their own, we continue to see that the hard work of parenting really never stops, does it?  What is this work? It is the work of being “missional” so that we continue to observe the results of asking ourselves the two questions we asked so many years ago:

“What type of person do you want your children to be when they leave your home and make their own way in life?”  

“What are you doing today to help them take one step in that direction?”

Larry Fast – Christ Follower, Father, Grandfather, Retired School Psychologist, and Bible Teacher

Click here to read how a homeschool mom raised missional-minded children.

The aim of Teen Missions International is spelled out clearly: “The goal of Teen Missions is to awaken teenagers to the needs in missions, acquaint them with the reality of life on the mission field and give them an opportunity to serve the Lord through work projects and evangelism.”For more information on specific trips go here,