Homeschool Seedlings

How many times have you been accused of sheltering your children from the real world because you homeschool? After experiencing this confrontation numerous times, I finally realized an important fact my accusers were ignoring. They sheltered their children from the real world, too. Most caring parents draw a line and set limits on what they allow their children to experience. The only difference between my sheltering and theirs was that I had simply drawn our children's line in a different place. R-rated movies, magazines and books that promoted sex outside of marriage, violent video games, and other activities that violated God's Word were not a part of our family life. The standards I wanted to set were for training in righteousness, not for training in the ways of the world.

Learning how to be in the world but not of it is difficult for Christians both young and old. The unbelieving community sees us as trying to live "holier than thou," but sometimes we must allow God to sanctify us by removing ourselves from the temptations that would lead us into sin. God even commands us to run away (flee) from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14) "and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11). However, Jesus also gave us the example of reaching the lost by meeting them in their homes and on the streets. Finding the balance between loving the lost and not getting caught in sin takes discernment and wisdom that comes from studying God's Word, praying, and listening to the Holy Spirit.

So, how much do you shelter your children from the evil in the world without quenching the redemptive work of Christ? After all, as Christians, we are to be salt and light. My answer to that question came one day while gardening. The Master Gardener showed me that if I transplanted my seedlings that I started inside the house into the outside garden too soon, they would die from the exposure to the elements. However, if I moved them at the right time and carefully nurtured the seedlings for a time with extra protection and fertilizer, they would grow into strong, healthy plants that would not only resist bugs, heat, and hail, but also produce an abundance of fruit. Don't let anyone's sheltering argument convince you to transplant your precious homeschooling seedlings too early!

Lord, give me discernment to hear Your voice on how to homeschool my children, so they are effective witnesses for You. Help me to ground them in Your Word and fertilize them with Your truths, so they not only survive in the world, but also flourish and change it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Comments(22 comments)

SAMUEL C 02/09/2010 08:13:26

I remember when we first started homeschooling our daughter I was very proud of our decision and told everyone about it. Well, as you know the skeptics showed up immediately and told us we were doing every thing you just mentioned in this devotional (human nature is strange that way ... same misunderstandings same accusations different city).

I thought then, "what is wrong with us we want to raise our children to understand God, Creation, American History, and develop their own specific gifts".

We have learned their is nothing wrong with us and the hate and disdain for home-schooling probably came from someone who truly desired to home-school but couldn't see through the seeming-stigma, commitment, frustration and changes necessary to begin and to stay focused.

As stated today, "If I transplanted my seedlings that had been started inside the house into the outside garden too soon, they would die from the exposure to the elements". As a parent God has given us the responsibility to nurture and train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The result over the last 10 years, our children know more of how the world functions than most children their age. They act with leadership, excellence, understanding and professionalism in every sphere of influence in our lives. They are not "sheltered" but have become "The Shelter" for many of their friends because they understand life properly.

Keep the faith that is what Jesus will be looking for when HE returns!

Sam Cottle

Luke 18:1-8

Franz K 02/09/2010 14:37:30


DORIS L 02/09/2011 02:33:13

AMEN, Sam.

QIULAN W 02/09/2011 03:09:46

I just love the last part of the article. It is really very true.

TRACI C 02/09/2011 04:55:22

Thank you for this reminder of why the Lord has called our family to homeschool. :)

FRANCES B 02/09/2011 07:00:20

Right on Sam and I agree with you, Qiulan W. The seedlings analogy really hits home for me. I am protecting my precious seedlings from the stormy world until they are strong enough to withstand it and make a difference.

KELLY W 02/09/2011 07:07:12

I can't tell you how I have stressed over this very issue. Thank you so very much for sharing this. Also, thank you for the story of planting a seed. That has helped me so much. I now have a visual in my mind....representing how I feel and have felt for so long.

LINDA W 02/09/2011 07:23:19

The seedlings comparison is perfect. Thank you so much for giving an easy-to-relate-to example to share with others.

LONI G 02/09/2011 08:02:19

Thank you so much, I truly needed this today. I am dealing with this very issue and mostly from my own church family. I believe that I am doing what God has called me to do and will continue. I loved the part in the article about transplanting my seedling to early and that thought will stay in my head forever.


Loni G.

BRENNA H 02/09/2011 08:59:24

I had to deal with that issue this weekend. I was asked to have my children try out for a play in our town. I prayed to God for an answer because I felt confused. It seemed harmless, but I still felt uneasy. God clearly told me "Protect your children" . I then told my friend what God said. She understood and accepted my answer without a second thought. I was amazed because she is not always so understanding about our sheltering. I stand firm that when God wants our girls more in the world, he will let me know. For now they will act and dance in church and homeschool co-op. Remember, We serve an AWSOME GOD. Peace and Prayers, Brenna

KIM A 02/11/2011 09:49:57

We are fixing to embark on this journey soon. I am so excited! Let them talk, I don't care. My child is so much more important than any worldly comments. May God richly bless our efforts to keep our kids on the right path!

SERENITY O 02/11/2011 13:24:35

I was told I was to young and unorganized to homeschool my children, and after my first had reached first grade in the public system, I knew that even my being young and unorganized was better then the public school environment having their worldly control on him. Now that we are in year two of home schooling, we are 100% more organized and still growing in that department. I have a lot of "Older" people irritated with my "lack of realizing that public school is the best" way for my children. The teacher in charge of my SLP's is amazed at how well I do with my son, And I can only hope that God will continue to work in our home to provide my children with the knowledge he desires them to have, without the muck of this world creeping in. I will be a green house proudly. I loved this analogy.

CRAIG P 02/13/2011 02:02:45

I so passionately want to homeschool my children for these very reasons, but my husband isn't so keen. Has anyone else been in this difficult situation?

EMMA W 02/09/2012 05:16:41

Thank you - a lot of wisdom in this article! I am two weeks in to homeschooling my children - pre-primary was completed last year at a local school, but I became convinced early last year that we were being lead to homeschool. I appreciate the encouragement of these emails.

E West

EMMA W 02/09/2012 05:19:31

Also, to Craig P - the best you can do is pray, and take the opportunities you have to teach them about the faith. You will still be an inspiration and an influence over them by your faith and your love and involvement with them as a mom. God is faithful to answer our prayers for our children and lead us and them wherever they are.

DANIELLE M 02/09/2012 05:27:40

I am going to start homeschooling for the next school year. I have prayed and I know prayer changes things! My knowledge, abilities, and organization have been questioned by my husband and families. Nevertheless God has layed this burden on my heart for all the above reasons you all have commented upon. How do we expect our children to love Jesus when we throw them into the den of Satan for mine it was 45 hours per week including bus ride? As God has shown me in my children they trust EVERYONE! They have no knowledge of sin right now. Everyone is just grand. It really has bothered me when the world is the way it is. I will shelter my children as God has called me to and he will perform that which he has begun in me. Prayers for all of you! You wouldn't think this is a battle but it is. Be Strong In the Lord and in the Power of HIS might! God Bless and keep doing the will of God in your life. Pray for me as I step into battle.

RHONDA B 02/09/2012 06:33:43

I actually enjoy my sheltered world. When I get out in the real world I am shocked by the environment. We are around a lot of people, but it seems to be mostly other Christians and home schoolers. When people asked about socialization for my kids, I always wonder why people think it is best for their kids to learn how to behave from a bunch of kids who are also just learning how to behave. Who are they learning from? My kids are not the only sheltered people in the house. I also shelter myself from the shows on TV. I love taking shelter in the Lord.

KATHY S 02/09/2012 07:35:53

I too shelter my child from the many storms that are "raging" in our outside world. My Dad used to have a motto "Don't trust anyone".

Well aside from Jesus, and My Mother and Brother, he was right. Even our few close friends,I trust to an extent, but, as the world goes, human nature can make people, most of the time unintentionally,do something to make you feel as though they can't be completley trusted.

I try and teach the goood from the bad in the T.V. shows, movies, ect that we watch together. I feel as though he needs to know what is good and bad, what can happen in our world, especially if we are not following Jesus, and how to avoid the bad situations.

Ill behaved children are running around all over, especially in Public schools. And actually we attended a private Catholic school for a short time, and I guess we picked a bad one. With only 16 children in the class, the childrens behavior was as bad, and some of it even worse than in the Public schools. At that point I started to think "are there any decent children out there?". And yes, we have found that there are some nice well behaved children around.

That was 4 years ago, since then, we have changed to a Non denominational Christian church, and of course, we started homeschooling a few months ago. Life is much better.

My son has a few close friends, and I teach him that a few really good friends are all you need. And even in that, children are still learning, I tell him to give them some trust, not complete trust, save that complete trust for Jesus.

Thank you for this devotional. And thank you Jesus that we still have the Freedom to homeschool our children. Amen.

TABITHA J 02/09/2012 09:08:26

I like the seedling example, especially since many people think that exposing the child to the world alone at the age of 5 is a good idea. I would not have my 5 year old nephews (not twins, they are the sons of two of my sisters) go to the store or to the park alone.

MICHELE M 02/09/2012 16:05:39

Hand in hand with the analogy of the seedlings, my husband always used to say, \"One day I am going to teach them to drive, but we won\'t be starting on the freeway.\"

Do we not teach them gradually how to cope with the battles of the world, and as they are mature enough to handle each one.

To the new homeschoolers....Godspeed! It\'s the best decision I ever made with our four children. (24, 22, 18, & 16)

sharon parker 02/09/2013 12:59:12

Awesome! I hear this all the time. Next time Im going to respond with my head held high and say..yes! You are absolutely right I am sheltering my seedlings because they are not yet ready to be transplanted into the "real world". No more long explanations and lists of all the activities we do outside of the home to somehow defend my family and yet hope not to offend others. What better way to keep the peace than to agree! Haha...WE ARE THE PARKERS AND YES WORLD...WE SHELTER OUR CHILDREN FROM THE REAL WORLD...UNTIL THEY ARE READY TO LIVE IN IT NOT OF IT. aahhh I feel better already. Thanks!!! ;-)

sabrina martinez 02/10/2014 05:34:45

Wow...I needed this. I have been homeschooling for 5 weeks now and I get the same thing from family. This post was great.....and what makes it even sweeter is 2nd grader is doing a science project that she has to observe a plant pod and as soon as it sprouted we planted it out in the garden. Two days later we saw that it was dying and we pulled it out again and took the pod in the house. Apparently, we took it out too soon the cold was killing it. Thank you for these daily God given messages

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