As Close As It Gets

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

As I read the statistic on the Internet, all I could say was, "Wow, praise God!" According to the National Home Education Research Institute's website, approximately 2 million children were educated at home in the United States during 2010. What a difference from when I started homeschooling in the early 1980s! At that time, there were only an estimated 50,000 children being educated at home each year. As I considered the figures and did the math, I realized that since 1985, homeschooling has grown nearly 4,000%!

The incredible growth of homeschooling in America can be attributed to many factors, but I think the greatest factor is that parents are rediscovering God's original design for the family. Children and parents were never meant to be separated for days (sometimes weeks) with overloaded schedules that keep them passing in the night. How can any family be expected to have loving relationships with that routine? Homeschooling continues to grow because it provides a unique, nurturing environment where families can communicate throughout the day. Loving bonds are formed, and mutual respect is cultivated between siblings and parents. With God as the head, the family functions as He intended, and we reap the rich blessings of family togetherness.

Like our homeschooling families, God never intended for us to live apart from Him. Daily, we must come to Him in prayer and Bible study to continue to grow spiritually. Without the loving and nurturing guidance from the Holy Spirit throughout the day, we lose the intimacy God desires with His children. How about you? Can you remember the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with Him? If not, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8a).

Lord, forgive me for letting other things pull me away from the most important relationship in my life with You! Help me to hear Your voice and always stay close to Your heart and will for my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Comments(18 comments)

KRISTIN C 09/20/2009 14:26:09


SHARON W 09/20/2010 05:29:42

I don't agree with a good bit of this one. I'm a homeschooling proponent when it works for a family / child, but I grew up in a non-homeschooling envrionment, as did everyone I know, and there is no shortage of "loving relationships" among the respective families. So in response to "How can any family be expected to have loving relationships with that routine?" I say "Easily -- just make the most of the time you do have together, which is the same thing homeschooling famliies do." For me, homeschooling is looking like a viable option (and I'm not at the point of decision yet because my son is still a toddler) because it appears that he is a "hands-on" learner who might not do as well in a traditional, oral-instruction-based classroom environment. For that reason, I think I can give him a better educational experience at home. But for a different type of child, I would be just fine with traditional classrooms. So I absolutely don't believe that God is more pleased with homeschooling than other types of schooling -- He just wants us to train up the child properly, however that's done.

LESLEY B 09/21/2010 13:03:25

I grew up in school and I have to say, I learned more in college than in my pain staking years in elementary, middle and high school. My children attended private Christian school for two years. I have to say my family and I are closer, happier, and more at balance now that we home school. For two years now we have experienced so many things together we would not have if they were in school. Our communication surpasses anything I have ever imaged. I think once a family ACTUALLY home schools for more than a year they WILL see the difference. My friends and family are constantly commenting on how well our children express themselves, and how well we get along and communicate. I guess the bottom line is I have been given the gift to experience EVERY SINGLE part of my children's lives and they are ALL the better for it. Home schooling has given us great advantages like not have to be restricted to a grade. My son is doing some subjects 2 grades where he would be IN school. We EXPERIENCE our work not just sit at a desk for 5 hours or 6 hours. We can stay on a field trip for a weekend. WE LIVE EDUCATION.....thats the difference, thats the blessing given to us by GOD!!! So thumbs up to this devotion, the FACTS prove it all.

ANDREA D 09/20/2011 05:03:43

I love this devotional and I'm glad that someone has said it. God is concerned about how much time we spend with our children and if most of that time is spent with others...then those "others" are doing the raising of our dear ones (Deut. 6:7). Experience does not mandate right and wrong...God's Word does (2 Timothy 3:16). I think in our selfish society today many families talk themselves and justify sending their kids off to school all day due to many poor reasons. I do understand that there are certain circumstances that leave a parent(s) with no choice, but if one truly wants to follow the LORD and raise their child(ren) according to HIS Word (not our opinion, feelings, experiences), He will make a way for that family or parent. I thank the Lord for the provision He provides for us to is truly a blessing.

AMY H 09/20/2011 05:29:01

One reason I started homeschooling was that I had a 4-8pm job and I would have never gotten to see my son if he was away at school 8-3:30. I still feel that way in that now their extra curricular life is 4-8pm, and if they went to school too, between their extras and their homework, there is not alot of time left over for "us". So I treasure the time we have each day. As for the positive encouraging communication, that picture seems pretty rosy and idealistic. Of course it is what we strive for, but the reality of sibling rivalry and complaints about schoolwork is there daily. I am greatful for all the (almost too many) opportunities out there for homeschoolers now that make our continuing education so much fun!

MELISSA E 09/20/2011 05:55:55

My mother was a single parent, not by choice, and she worked a full time job. I went to a traditional school, but my mother and I were (and continue to be) very close.

The parents who do not have a loving relationship with their children are the parents who do not choose to take the time to have a loving relationship. This issue runs much deeper than routine.

However, I will say that since I chose to homeschool, which has been for academic reasons not spiritual reasons, I have seen a difference in my girls. They are achieving a greater sense of self and do not have some of the peer issues that can deviate behavior. Thank you, God.

I will also say that through the homeschool experience God is working with our family and drawing us closer to Him. This could be in part because our routine can be adapted to accomodate the ebb and flow of living and we are able to hear/feel God easier than the hustle and bustle of traditional school.

Whatever the case may be, homeschooling is a great opportunity for each family to draw closer to one another and God.

BECKYSUE R 09/20/2011 06:54:41

I started home schooling my oldest daughter because she has Irritable bowel syndrome while my youngest went to school. My reasoning behind this was I thought my youngest needed a lot more social interaction then my oldest. About 3 months into the second school year I started noticing my oldest daughter was souring way ahead of my youngest in the real life department. She was learning things like washing her own laundry, sending a package and learning how to get the best price (comparing the two shipping company's rates with each other), watching the septic tank being pumped and asking the questions of the man that came out to do the work and getting answers and learning how the septic tank works. She learned how to shop around to get the best price on tires, how to compare road wear warranty vs higher and lower cost. Then she blew me away when she asked me if she could do all her work in 4 school days if I would let her volunteer at the local food bank with grandpa every Tuesday. That is when I saw her social and networking skills soar. Not only that but the adults she was working with were loving christian adults not the whiny bad joke telling 10 and 11 year old kids that my youngest daughter came home telling me about. I felt so chastised by my own lack of foresight into education by association that I took my youngest daughter out of school and let her home school. My youngest still has play days with other home schooling kids like my oldest, but she also gets the real world education like learning how to bake bread, how to pour liquid into a glass measuring cup then lift it to your eye level to make sure you get the correct amount.

My youngest daughters latest thoughts were of having herself and her home schooling friends walk the dogs from the humane society once a week for a couple of hours to get them out of their kennels. This idea was born from the trip we took to the humane society to adopt a dog for our self and seeing the dogs kept in tiny kennels day and night.

I am not saying that there are no good children in public school but letting kids learn how to be an adult by associating with loving supportive adults vs school kids is the association I have chosen to let my girls grow up with and learn from.

MANDY B 09/20/2011 06:57:55

Thank you for this Daily Focus. I grew up in a home where all three kids went off to public school. We were scattered in our different sports after school and my parents were so busy taking us to all our functions that we hardly had time to really form close relationships. We were very dedicated to going to church and working in our local church, but still we were so busy all week long. I never really felt close to my siblings and even seemed distanced from my parents due to so much distractions in our growing up years. Sadlly, with so much time away from home while we were growing up, all three of us would give our hearts away to others outside our home, too soon and in ways that did not please God. God has chosen the home to be a place where parents can and should keep their children's hearts unitl they marry their future mates. You cannot do that when you spend so much time away from your children. My sister has chosen to go the public school route and is starting the cycle all over again. I have chosen to homeschool and I love every minute of it. My husband and I are so close and bonded with our children and I thank God every day for giving us this opportunity to be the ones who direct our children's hearts. Someone once said,"it takes a village to raise a child." I say, "I've seen the village, and I don't want the village to raise my child."

God Bless.

Mandy B.

MARY KAY C 09/20/2011 07:01:04

We started homeschool with just our eldest for academic reasons and left our other two in public school. Now we have all at home and no longer for academics. God lead us here with what we were comfortable with to make the move and that was academics. Then He showed me in just one short year what education is truely all about. Yes academics is stiil there but there is so much more. Their education has all the gaps filled in now. From religous, extras, life lessons, relationships, constant hands on, and developing the talents that God has blessed them with. We all have such potential but dont always let go and let God take control to reach that potential. I love what homeschooling has done for our family, but it was not the reasons we started. Thank God we started though !!

BRENNA H 09/20/2011 07:54:41

This has been a great discussion. We are very blessed by God to home school. I wanted to share that I once thought that home school was just a calling from God for our family. I have realized from reading the bible and praying that there is a calling for all parents to home school. When the bible says train up ypur child and the other quotes in the bible on teaching it is not just about God. It was placed firmly on my heart that it is expected that we should all teach our families. I am not writing this to hurt anyone or tell anyone what to do. Please do not be angry, it is a very hard to home school for differing reasons. I do only by the grace of God and I love my family with me. I was just writing this to express that the devotion from today is spot on. We have been learning at home for three years now and I used to think one should only teach at home if they felt called. I now believe that we are all called. Pray to God and really pour your heart out. If there is a will, God will and can make a way. Nothing is impossible with and for God. We serve an Awesome and Loving Lord.

SONYA S 09/20/2011 08:08:29

BIblically, the post is spot on. While it's true, many people homeschool for many reasons, we are commanded to teach our children, diligently, all the time, as we go through our daily routine. To shepherd/ disciple their hearts. Christ is our example, he called his disciples bc it means "with him". How does a shepherd shepherd his sheep, does he send them to be with wolves all day and expect them to return in one piece? No, he is always with them, he protects them. There are many warnings as well about putting ourselves(children) into the companionship of unbelievers.

Hopefully we are home schooling by design(God's) and not by default.

KELLE F 09/25/2011 06:34:13

Great posts. I am encouraged not only by the devotional but also by reading the other posts and hearing what great opportunities other families are having. We chose to homeschool because my son doesn't fit the mold of public school... he is gifted but was labeled ADHD by the system. I have studied what AHD symptoms are and I know my son simply needs to be academically challenged. He and I have grown so close, he used to want to stay home, avoided contact with others, was moody and stressed by school. We still struggle to get our 'work' done, it may take all day with lots of breaks, but he is happier.

ANISCIA B 09/20/2012 06:02:17

I think one person has gotten the wrong message from the Daily Focus, it was not said that God was more pleased with homeschooling; what was said is that in our daily lives when in traditional school and crazy schedules, Gods design of a family that seeks him can be pushed to the bottom of the list, and genuine strong family time can be lost in the hustle and bustle. God is pleased no matter how you school your children, as long as he is not taken out of the equation. I home school because in today\'s school system our children are no longer taught how to think but what to think, and also so that as a family we can build a stronger foundation and stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father, but if we were not able to home school, I know that my families relationship with him would not change and my children would in fact be a light in a dark place, which is what he says we should be.

KATHY S 09/20/2012 06:17:14

My only wish is that I had started Homeschooling my son earlier in his life. I could have spared him so much pain of Public School Bullying and just the type of enviornment he had to be exposed to.


But, 1/2 of last year and this year I have a happy child who is excited about spending time with me to learn!

We spend 24/7 together, so it\'s not like we don\'t see one another, but there is something about that \"special\" Learning time together that really makes him happy, and me too!

Thank you Jesus that you provide the ability for me to teach, and means for curriculum for me to homeschool my most precious gift from you, my son Anthony. Amen

ELIZABETH C 09/20/2012 07:22:14

I believe in my heart that when we read God\'s Word, specifically the parts that pertain to child-rearing for this example, we must be careful to not put \"our\" spin on His holy Word. \"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.\" Deuteronomy 6:6-7. Taken LITERALLY, we can not deny God\'s plan for teaching children. We should all be very careful to guard against the attacks of Satan, and the attitude that says \"wherever you CHOOSE to send your kids is YOUR decision\". Not really.

I love this devotional because it echos the very words that are in our hearts regarding our family. We see daily the effects of splitting up siblings into the public school system. Sports are especially hard on these families where children as young as 10 are not getting home until 7, 8, or 9 pm regularly. When, I ask, do you spend time in God\'s holy Word as a family when the time is so very limited? These families are almost in crisis-mode at times, just dealing with the day-to-day and doing homework. There is NO time for being together in the LORD. It breaks my heart, and our prayers are against the evil one who convinces so many that this is \"what\'s right for their family\".

Thank you, AOP, for always sharing the Truth in these devotionals. It is how I start my day, and I look forward to each one.

ROCHELLE R 09/20/2012 09:52:54

I have to respond to Sharon W.\'s comment. I have four children, each with different schooling experiences, which at this point may sound like I\'m proving your point...but wait. My oldest daughter went to a small Kindergarten through my university (I was a student), with 10 children in the class. I had few courses left, so was welcome in the class. A classmate was the son of an atheist, who did mean things and teased the other children about their beliefs. I spoke up to him about it; the teacher did not stop me. But that boy did torment my daughter. In 1st-3rd grade, she was in public school. In 3rd grade the teacher would not address her math questions because she was addressing the troublemakers. My daughter developed an aversion to math which she suffers to this day (age 27). The principal called me out for teaching her math at home to fill in what she wasn\'t learning at school. She said I was interfering, and that, \"Somebody has to fail.\" She sent social services to the house because my daughter got spanked for not cleaning her room (for several months). (She told another child in normal conversation.) What a nightmare! It was eventually marked \"inconclusive\". Lovely. She went to a Christian School for 4th-8th grade and learned a lot. It was much better, but my daughter was keen to hypocrisy, and it drove her away from God. Back to public school. She made it about 1.5 years, got accused of plagiarism because she is a gifted writer (another teacher vouched for her), and got pregnant at 16. The next 2 years were terrible, but she got her driver\'s license and GED, and commuted to a tech college and has straightened out her life, but still is out of church. (My husband was unsaved until she was 18, which was part of the problem.)

Our second daughter was so active, I homeschooled her in K4 to prepare her. (She needed more attention since Day 1.) Very bright, but so unconventional! She scared me to wits end. She memorized verses by jumping off a chair repeatedly and walking in circles. She constantly got in trouble for little things at school, and was a regular at the principal\'s office. In middle school the assistant principal understood that she was NOT a troublemaker, so didn\'t treat her harshly, but the teachers thought she was lazy. She actually had ADHD with time management issues. They would give her a zero for late work, even though she finally got an IEP in 6th grade. (We had tried since 3rd grade.) It was in 5th and 6th grade that she developed a hatred of school. Before that, she giddily hopped on the bus each day. It took until the middle of 7th grade to realize that she had better teachers. She managed through the rest of school, but had to give up clarinet for a \"resource class\", and had to prove she could do without it before they\'d let her drop resource. She missed out on some other classes because of that. She did graduate with grades all over the place (still getting zeros on late work), but got straight A\'s on her state exams. She is in community college and now and wants to major in wildlife management. She honors the Lord, has a Christian boyfriend attending college far away, and may commute to her next college as well because she needs more time at home.

Our third daughter was premature and had intermittent hearing problems. She could lip read at age 4. Apparently, she learned NOTHING in Kindergarten, but she was so pleasant. So in 1st grade when she couldn\'t remember how to write the ABC\'s, I realized the missed opportunity over the summer. I had been trying to find an ear doctor. She got tubes in 1st grade; a miraculous change. However, her speech and learning was lagging, and she needed assistance. I had to FIGHT for speech class for articulation in 2nd grade. In 3rd grade the teacher couldn\'t deal with her ADD, so threatened her in the classroom, but I couldn\'t prove it. She was afraid to go to school. The teacher wouldn\'t help her because she didn\'t have an IEP. I couldn\'t get one, again, until 6th grade. I found out in 9th grade that a 3rd gr. classmate had homeschooled 4th-8th grades because of witnessing that teacher\'s treatment of my daughter. I had several meetings with staff over the years, but the parent was always the doofus causing the problems, and the teachers were blameless. In 4th-5th grades I approached the teachers about changes and they did adapt to her needs. But 6th grade (new school) was the worst transition ever. Because she played a stringed instrument, she was on the team without assistance, and could not keep up. Both teachers complained that she needed help. They wanted to place her on the team her sister had 2 years earlier, so I refused. (That would be a guaranteed fail in English - I had dealt with them.) So they put her on the hardest team. (And I had to fight for viola lessons, because she was on a band team.) She failed science and nearly English. I put her in summer school...big mistake! Most of the kids there are trouble makers. She began to identify with them. The rest of middle school was downhill. My husband finally agreed to pull her out for high school. Within weeks, our church friends noticed the change in her demeanor. She returned to the sweet girl they knew a few years earlier. It was so drastic that they approached me to tell me so. After 9th grade she told me, \"In public school the teachers thought I was stupid, and I thought I was stupid. Now I know that I am not.\" She is in 12th grade and will go to community college in the fall. She wants to go into missions.

My son went to public school though 5th grade. His K and 1st grade teachers were fabulous. His 2nd grade teacher was awful. A clear sign is that the teacher won\'t let parents volunteer in the classroom. His other teachers were okay. I was worried about 5th grade when I found out it was my daughter\'s 3rd grade monster teacher! The principal convinced me and I decided I\'d be the Christian and deal with it. It turned out okay. My husband agreed that he\'d never set foot in the middle school, so he started homeschooling last year in 6th grade.

I was always involved in the PTA and classrooms at the schools. I ran programs such as \"TV Turn off Week\" and did the monthly birthday board so I\'d have an excuse to be visible. I noticed that evolution was being taught as fact, dinosaur drawings labeled \"millions of years\" were displayed, and one December, there was an out of context quote by Buddha on the display board, but no reference to Christmas or Chanukah or Holiday at all. I asked them to remove the quote but they did not. It basically said that good works are how you attain enlightenment. Yeah, that\'s what I want to teach my do good works only because it will earn me a better spot in my next reincarnation. Not appropriate.

As you probably guessed, I could write a book about my horrible experiences in public schools. Drives me CRAZY when every classroom I enter has grammatical errors and typos on the walls. How about in my oldest daughter\'s 3rd grade class when the kids copied down sentences that other children thought of the second week of school.... My daughter\'s sentence was something about bubble gum or baby sister. The other sentences on her paper were about Freddy Kruger and Jason and all kinds of horror characters that she knew nothing about. I had to actually write a note to the teacher to suggest that she not accept those ideas and redirect the classroom. ...And she had a doctorate in \"edumacation\".

TERESA S 09/20/2012 10:40:37

I doubt that Jesus was educated only by his mother and earthly father. Jewish boys were taught by a rabbi. And Paul certainly was not educated only by his parents.

It is easy to condemn others when we are not in their shoes. I love homeschooling, but if our household income was to drop, I would have to return to work, and the children to public school.

That said, homeschooling would probably be best for many folks. I am deluged with parental complaints about how stressful life is when the children are going to school. Peace was restored to our house when I brought my children home to learn. We are now family centered instead of school centered. My 12 yr old is becoming less angry and is studying more. She is even regularly completing books ( a feat that was difficult to achieve in public school). My 12 year old came home with a 15 year old\'s number, she got my phone and started texting him. The boy wanted her to send him nude pictures. At first she refused, Bet eventually relented. I walked in just as she completed texting \"ok\".

Some Christian children may thrive in public school, and some families seem to thrive with their lives centered around school. The parents are in charge of their children\'s education, but that does not mean that they cannot delegate this to others. They must know what is taught, and if they do not agree with some of the stuff, teach their kids why they do not agree ( as with evolution). We are responsible for our children\' s religious education, but send them to Sunday School and Church Camp.

I I would strongly encourage those who are able to homeschool, but as I am not God, I would never condemn those who do not.

Marien D 09/20/2012 13:38:49

I am happy to be homeschooling my two daughters. They were attending public school and I was shocked at the things they were learning. The sex and health education was definitely not age appropriate. The foulness they learned from other students was just jaw dropping. I am happy to be able to home school, this way I know what they are learning.

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