A discouraging word on “religion” in the public schools

Wayne Walker with another note from the Jan., 2006, issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter:


     According to USA Today on Dec. 20, 2005, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that teaching “intelligent design” to public school science classes is unconstitutional, calling the concept that parts of the universe are the result of an intelligent designer “a religious view.” This was the result of the case in Dover, PA, where the school board had mandated teaching intelligent design then was ousted in the November elections. These kinds of statement absolutely infuriate me. Why are people, including judges who you might think would be intelligent, unable to see that teaching that the universe came from nothing and man evolved through purely natural processes, as is commonly taught in public schools, is also “a religious view.” I hate to sound pessimistic, and I still encourage people to fight, but I am quickly reaching the conclusion that Bible believers have lost the culture war, especially in the public schools. And that is one reason why I am homeschooling!

Christmas and public schools

Wayne Walker here with another item adaptd from a note that appears in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free, e-mail monthly homeschooling newsletter.


     American Family Association reported the following information. In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Ridgeway Elementary School's “winter program” has changed the name of “Silent Night” to “Cold in the Night.” Sung to the tune of “Silent Night,” the lyrics include: “Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.” The “winter program” included decorating classrooms with Santa Claus, Kwanza symbols, Menorahs, and Labafana–a Christmas witch! Also in Wisconsin, the Glendale-River Hills School District has banned every Christmas song which has any Christian “motive or theme.” But while banning Christian Christmas songs, the district permits secular holiday songs as well as songs celebrating Hanukkah. In defending this policy, Frances Smith, the district administrator, says that the Hanukkah songs are more cultural than spiritual. What these schools are doing to our children is not educating, but indoctrinating! And they are using Christmas as an excuse. Following the lead of the National Educational Association, Wisconsin educational leaders preach tolerance and diversity while being highly intolerant! Most of the residents of Wisconsin are tolerant, but not their educational leaders. Banning nativity scenes. Banning Christmas songs in school. Banning Christmas in advertising. Calling a Christmas tree a “holiday” tree. Calling a Christmas parade a holiday parade….It is time to take a stand for our children, our families, our faith and our freedom! Educational leaders in your state could be the next officials to join this anti-Christian bigotry parade. Note–I do not cite this information necessarily to promote or encourage the religious celebration of Christmas. As I have stated in other places, my family and I, as well as many other New Testament Christians, do not observe Christmas as the birthday of Christ. However, many people do and such has become a part of our nation's cultural heritage. What I do oppose is the systematic attempt to remove all reference to anything seen as “Christian” because it is “religious” (whether I happen to agree with it personally or not) yet allow pagan (Wicca) symbols, Hannukah celebrations, and the religion of secular humanism. Even though we do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it does not offend me in the least that others do.  Truly this is intolerance in the name of tolerance!

Homeschooling on television

I watch very little television.  First, I do not have a whole lot of free time, and second there is just not much on network or even local broadcast stations that is worth watching.  I will not have cable because I do not want my money going to a business that basically makes its profit off of what I consider pornographic.  However, with the success of homeschooling, it is inevitable that it will become the focus of more and more television shows.  Therefore, it was with interest that I read the following information that I included as a note in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.


I do not–repeat DO NOT–watch the fairly new ABC television show “Wifeswap,” so the only way I know about this is what I read on a homeschooling e-mail list where some homeschooling mother indicated that her husband watches the show and she wanted some information to help show him how wrong this kind of thinking is. Apparently what had happened on the show is that one of the women who agreed to swap families was a homeschooling mother. Most people simply pointed out that the whole idea of “wife-swapping” is unbiblical, but someone else wondered if the woman started homeschooling the children in the new family! Still another said that since the show's whole premise is sinful she was not surprised that homeschooling would be portrayed negatively. Then on 12/15/2005, I received the following information from our local support group leader, Cathy Mullins, who had received it from someone else. “We were watching the program 'Nanny 911' on Monday night (8pm) on Channel 2 [our local Fox Network affiliate, WSW]. The preview for next week's program features a home-schooling family with 6 kids. The preview didn't sound at all positive and portrayed the mom as home-schooling because she's over-protective and dealing with constant interruptions.”

homeschooler wins science competition

     Wayne Walker here with a note from the Jan., 06, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.  You may have already seen this item elsewhere, but it is certainly interesting.

     Our children don't all have to win such competitions to benefit from homeschooling, but it is nice to know that homeschooling certainly did not keep this young man back, as critics often claim, and we do want to rejoice with him in his accomplishments.

     Homeschooled California boy wins science competition: The following information, posted 12/5/2005 at 9:49 AM by USA Today, was sent to a local homeschooling list that same day. “A 16-year-old, homeschooled California boy won a premier high school science competition Monday for his innovative approach to an old math problem that could help in the design of airplane wings. Michael Viscardi, a senior from San Diego, won a $100,000 college scholarship, the top individual prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Viscardi tackled a 19th century math problem and his new method of solving it has potential applications in the fields of engineering and physics. 'He is a super-duper mathematics student,' said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. 'It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old,' she said.”

Chew on this for a while

     In an article “Securing Hearts While We Have Time,” Scott LaMascus, editor of The Christian Chronicle (Dec., 2005; Vol. 62, No. 12, pp. 4-5), quoted from George Barna's book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions (Regal, 2003), in which Barna says, “Having devoted more than two decades of my life and all of my professional skills to studying and working with ministries of all types, I am now convinced that the greatest hope for the local church lies in raising godly children….Social scientists have known for years that the moral foundations of children are generally determined by the time the individual reaches 9. Our research confirms a parallel outcome in the spiritual dimension: by age 9, most children have their spiritual moorings in place.” I hope that such a quotation helps to explain to many of our fellow church-goers why we feel that homeschooling is so important.

random thoughts

     I don't know how many people read these blogs.  I know that there are a lot of blogs on this website–TOS volunteer state coordinators (both individual blogs and state blogs), other TOS staff people, plus a whole lot of others.  I am not much into blogging, simply because I do not have the time to write or read them.  As a result I have not posted very much.  However, I am going to try to be a little more diligent in adding to this blog, perhaps every day and if not then every few days.

     In my free monthly e-mail newsletter for homeschooling Christians, intended primarily for people associated with churches of Christ but available to anyone who wants it, I do book reviews.  I also carry reviews by other people of books that I have not read, some to recommend and some to warn against.  Here is some information about a popular set of books for young people that came across my desk recently.  I thought that readers might be interested in it, especially with the new Narnia movie out in the theaters.

     The Nov., 2005, issue of my newsletter contained a review by Kathy Davis of Philip Pullman's book The Golden Compass, which is book one of “His Dark Materials” series, in which she gave a “Parental Advisory” warning against this book. Karen Chason sent me the following information. “I was just made aware of the author Philip Pullman and thought I would pass this info along. I have not personally read any of his materials. I was given a long list of reading materials from a wonderful sister that pre-reads her children's books, so I use that primarily. Just something to be aware of. Here's a quote below: Please note what Charles McGrath writes to illuminate Pullman's trilogy in the Magazine section of the New York Times, November 13, 2005: 'Lewis's greatest influence, though, is on the British fantasy writer Philip Pullman, whose “His Dark Materials” trilogy is both a homage of sorts (it begins with a girl in a wardrobe) and also a kind of anti-Narnia, a negation of everything Lewis stood for. God in these books turns out to be a senile impostor and Christianity merely a “very powerful and convincing mistake.” Pullman is an atheist and, not coincidentally, one of Lewis's fiercest critics. He has said of the Narnia cycle that “it is one of the most ugly and poisonous things I've ever read” and has called Lewis a bigot and his fans “unhinged.”'” Note–the Magazine section of the New York Times is NOT part of any “right wing” conspiracy!

The beauty of homeschooling

Wayne Walker here with a note that will appear in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.  I thought that you might like a sneak preview.


      The beauty of homeschooling: Opponents of homeschooling have tried many tactics to destroy it. They said that parents just could not provide an adequate education for their own children. Standardized test scores and homeschool college scholarships have proven this view wrong. Then they asked, “What about socialization?”, implying that homeschooled children would be unprepared for life in society, as if their parents locked them in closets. Studies by Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute, have shown that homeschoolers are actually better “socialized” (in the good sense of the word) than public school students. More recent claims have been that children have some kind of “right” to receive input in their lives different from that of their parents so they need to be in schools, and that taking children out of the public schools to educate them at home will destroy the public school system. I say, let it be destroyed. This nation had the highest literacy rate on earth in days before mandatory public schools existed. However, given our government's claim to support “education” (which actually means supporting public schools, and there is a big difference between education and schools), I doubt that the public education system will go down the tubes, although it is quite plain that we are throwing good money after bad down a never-ending rat hole.

     Having said all that, the point I want to make is that another criticism of homeschooling is that even if the kids are well educated and socialized, there is just so much that they will miss out on by not being in public schools. Yeah, drugs, sex, situation ethics, evolution taught as fact, promotion of homosexuality. But that is not what people usually mean. They mean music, sports, and other “extra curricular” activities. Well, homeschool parents have been notoriously famous for providing such needs. My sons have played roller hockey, volleyball, bowling, and baseball on homeschool teams. Mark is taking private drum lessons (from a homeschooled student, no less)–and I just spent nearly $700 to buy a drum set for him! Jeremy may start taking homeschool recorder lessons. Which brings me to my main point. On Dec. 14, 2005, we attended a recorder recital for homeschooled students who were taught by our good friend, homeschooling mother, and music teacher Trisch Breed. Some fourteen homeschooled young people of various ages and degrees of ability performed together and as soloists. They are learning music and how to perform in public. The recital was delightful, and we had a wonderful time.

     In most states, there are homeschooling parents who are fighting for the right to participate in public school programs such as music, sports, drama, etc. Here in Missouri, the state law has been amended to require that schools allow such “dual enrollment.” In other states, it is a mixed bag–some authorities have said yes, others have said no, and courts have ruled on both sides of the issue. I cannot say that this is necessarily wrong and for some families in certain situations this may be the best that they can do, but I believe that a word of warning is in order. Yes, I know, we pay taxes. However, the more homeschoolers appeal to the government school bureaucracy for “goodies,” the more such homeschoolers will be drawn under its control. And the more it is seen that homeschoolers need to appeal for these “goodies,” the more attempts will be made to exercise public school control over homeschoolers in general, even the ones who do not want the “goodies.” As for me and my house, we shall remain independent homeschoolers and make our own arrangements to provide for all the needs of our children.

third article from 12/05 HEADSUP

by Wayne S. Walker
     The following paragraphs contain several statements taken from a letter that a good friend of my wife's wrote to Karen.  She had asked about homeschooling before but when Karen politely provided some information about it via e-mail, she accused Karen of “yelling” at her, so they decided not to continue the discussion.  Then she later wrote the following in another e-mail.  Other than corrections of a few obvious errors of spelling and punctuation, it is as she sent it.
     “I have found that a lot of preachers homeschool their kids.  I guess that is fine, but I feel that kids that are homeschooled miss out on a lot of things when it comes to the high school years, like sports or speech clubs or Spanish or French clubs and classes.  They may be the star of a sports team and could get help with college funds, etc.
     “But that is how I feel and I want to make it clear that I am not putting down homeschooling, but things are different in the world now days in this time than in the past and that in high school you get a feel and have to face the tip of the ice berg of life and how things are and what the kids will have to face.
     “And as they face the issues we as Christian moms and dads help them through them and keep teaching them right from wrong and what the Bible says we need to do as Christians.
     “I have a good friend who was homeschooled and did not know how bad things were out in the real world, and when she got out on her own in college and had to face them she was lost because she did not know things like that went on and she has told me more than once that if she had been in a public high school and know about the problems out in the world she would have been better able to deal with them as a Christian and been stronger as a Christian instead of falling away for a bit before finding her way back to the Lord.
     “And I have heard a few other people who were homeschooled say the same thing.”
     Well, how do you respond to that?  Karen sent her friend a reply, but I kept a copy of the letter so that I could use it in this newsletter to show common attitudes toward homeschooling even on the part of members of the Lord's church and give my own response.  First, homeschoolers do not have to “miss out on a lot of things when it comes to the high school years, like sports or speech clubs or Spanish or French clubs and classes.”  If they want such things, they can provide them for themselves.  One does not have to go to a public or private institutionalized high school to enjoy these benefits.  Homeschool support groups and co-ops are notoriously famous for their inventiveness and ingenuity in adapting what may be positive things in public schools without carrying over the negative aspects.
     It is always possible that a homeschooled student might “be the star of a sports team and could get help with college funds.”  And then again, he might not be.  Of course, there have been homeschooled students who still excelled in some sport and received a scholarship to help with college funds as a result.  But it is still important to ask what the basic purpose of “schooling” is–to play sports or to get a good education?  The fact is that, because of the superior education that homeschooling parents can provide their children, many, many more homeschooled students can “get help with college funds” through academic scholarships.
     Yes, it is certainly true that “things are different in the world now days in this time than in the past.”  In far too many instances, public schools are simply no longer safe places for children to be–physically with shootings, drugs, crime, sexual molestation, etc.; and morally, with evolution, “values-neutral” sex education, pro-homosexual agenda, abortion advocacy, etc.  I guess that I just do not understand this notion that in order to prepare our children for the evils of the “real world” we need to immerse them in a culture that is characterized by those evils.  I mean, do we really not believe what the scriptures explicitly say about this?  “Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  If I am going to err, it is going to be on the side of safety!
     The fact is that our children will “face the tip of the ice berg of life and how things are and what the kids will have to face” just by living, going to the grocery store, playing with the kids in the neighborhood, watching some television, looking at the newspaper, and sometimes, unfortunately, even having contact with other children at church.  Therefore, it is just as true of homeschooling parents that “as they face the issues we as Christian moms and dads help them through them and keep teaching them right from wrong and what the Bible says we need to do as Christians.”  In fact, this is one aim of our homeschooling, that we can teach them about these things from a Biblical worldview rather than their learning about them from unbelievers at school and then our having to “deprogram” them every day.
     I am sorry that the homeschooled friend felt that she “did not know how bad things were out in the real world,” so that in college she “was lost because she did not know things about the problems out in the world,” and then fell away “for a bit before finding her way back to the Lord,” although I am glad that she did find her way back.  Anecdotal evidence does not really prove anything, even if there are “a few other people who were homeschooled [and] say the same thing.”  The fact is that I have known of many, many (far too many, in fact) children who were raised in godly homes but went to public high school and either felt lost in college or fell away.  If homeschooling is bad because “a few” homeschooled people faced such problems, then could it not be argued that public schooling is much, much worse because so many people who went there faced the same problems?  However, it is also a fact that I have known of many, many (far too many, in fact, to name) homeschooled students who went to college and found that the superior teaching and instruction that they received at home had well prepared them for both the academic and moral challenges that they faced.  Given the statistics, I shall take my chances with the homeschooling route.
     I have one more comment.  My wife's friend wrote, “I have found that a lot of preachers homeschool their kids.”  I hope that I can say this without sounding superior or “better-than-thou,” because there is an increasing number of Christians who are not preachers yet homeschool their kids too, but is it at least within the realm of possibility that so many preachers homeschool their kids because as those who have given their lives over to the study and teaching of God's word they have been impressed with scriptural principles that have led them to conclude that educating their children at home is the best way to fulfil their responsibilities in training their children?  Well, I guess that I need to quit because, as one friend once said, I have already told you more than I know.

second article from 12/05 HEADSUP

by Wayne S. Walker
     As stated earlier, my interest in the introduction and subsequent defeat of the pro-homeschooling resolution among the Southern Baptists, and our own experiences, as well as those of other homeschooling families, among Churches of Christ, made me curious as to how various religious organizations view homeschooling, so I sent letters to 51 major religious bodies in the United States as listed in the 2001 World Almanac and received fifteen replies.  Basically, I asked each one if there was any “official position” in their creeds, constitutions, by-laws,or whatever, regarding homeschooling, and then asked for any other information available about homeschool in that group.  Since I am not a member of any of these churches, I will endeavor to relay to you just what they told me without a great deal of comment or attempted explanation on my part.
Salvation Army
     Major Dorothy Hitzka, National Consultant for Christian Education of the Salvation Army, 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA  22313, responded, “The Salvation Army has no official position on the issue of home schooling for its lay membership.  Thank you for your inquiry.”
Church of God (Anderson, IN)
     Jeanette Flynn, Director of Congregational Ministries Team with the Church of God Ministries, 1201 E. 5th St., Anderson, IN  46018, replied, “Thank you for your request for information regarding Home schooling in relation to what the Church of God believes.  I know that there are many viewpoints within various congregations.  We do not have any written resolution or document that states specific beliefs of the Church of God relating to Home schooling.  Unfortunately we are not able to assist with information for your newsletter.  We appreciate your inquiry.”
Church of the Brethren
     Cheryl Brumbaugh Cayford, of the Church of the Brethren General Council, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL  60120, sent me a study guide entitled “Education of the Public: Statement of the Church of the Brethren 1989 Annual Conference” with an attached note, “I hope this is what you need.  Let me know if I can help further.”  The 22 page document does not mention homeschooling specifically, but does contain several statements that might lead one to conclude how the Education of the Public Committee would view it.  “The role of the church in relationship to the public schools has undergone constant review and evaluation, affected by needs of youth, societal influences, and court interpretations of the First Amendment requiring separation of church from the state.  The Church of the Brethren has responded and adjusted to these influences to maintain its support of public education” (p. 2).  “Strengthening public schools must be high on the agenda of Christian churches, including the Church of the Brethren….[T]he Church of the Brethren, as a denomination, its congregations, and individual members can and should support public education” (p. 3).  “In light of the current crisis of credibility and performance of the public schools, this is not a good time for withdrawal of support or even a laissez faire attitude” (p. 13).  “The Church of the Brethren continues its long-standing support for public schools, while working for increased commitment to excellence” (p. 14).  Cheryl wrote in an e-mail to me, “In brief, the Church of the Brethren's position has been to support public schools and equal access to quality education for all, rather than to focus on home schooling as a solution to the problems with education.”
American Baptist Churches
     Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, National Coordinator–Public and Social Advocacy with the National Ministries of the American Baptist Churches USA, e-mailed me to say, “I am writing in response to your letter of June 7, 2004, requesting information on the position of the American Baptist Churches USA with respect to homeschooling.  Our General Board has not taken a position on homeschooling.  For those policy statements and resolutions adopted by our General Board, please see our website at www.abc-usa.org and follow the link to 'Policy Statements and Resolutions.'  Please know that while these policy statements and resolutions recommend action to the churches that are associated with ABCUSA, they are non-binding in so far as these congregations are concerned.  Moreover, they speak only to the position of the denomination on these matters, and not to that of individual congregations or regions of the ABCUSA.  In this respect individual American Baptist churches and/or regions may have a position with respect to homeschooling.”  I checked the website mentioned and found nothing related to homeschooling.
Unitarian-Universalist Church
     Erika Nonken, Public Information Assistant with the Unitarian Universalist Association, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA  02108, e-mailed me to inform me, “There is no official Unitarian Universalist stance on homeschooling.  However, there has been a lively discussion about homeschooling in our congregations and association for many years.  Here are some links with essays, articles, etc. about homeschooling and Unitarian Universalism: [four links were given].  The most helpful to you would probably be an article in this month's church magazine, the UU World, entitled 'No Classroom Walls: More Unitarian Universalists than ever are choosing homeschooling alternatives to public schools' by  Donald E. Skinner.  For a copy of the World article, please write to world@uua.org.  If you need more information, please let me know.”
     Before I had a chance to check any of this information out, Erika e-mailed me again to say, “The UU World has informed me that they have a policy that does not allow them to send you a copy of the Homeschooling article.  Because the article includes children's pictures, names, and quotes, our web staff and the World magazine staff think it is best not to have that article accessible to the public.  I suggest you ask for a copy of the magazine through your local library, who, even though they probably don't get a subscription themselves, could get the magazine through interlibrary loan.  Best of luck!”  I thought it rather strange that they had a policy that “it is best not to have that article accessible to the public” yet it could still be obtained through interlibrary loan!  In doing further research, I did find a website and discussion board devoted to homeschooling among the Unitarian Universalists.  It is located at http://www.uuhomeschool.org.
Christian Reformed Church
     David H. Engelhard, General Secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), e-mailed to tell me, “Today I received your letter re HEADSUP.  I am writing to inform you that the Christian Reformed Church in North America has a long history of establishing and promoting Christian Day Schools throughout the USA and Canada.  Home schooling is new among our members and we have not officially encouraged or discouraged it.  Our latest study regarding Christian Day School education (2003) recognized Home schooling as a reality and as an option for our parents, but we didn't promote [it] over the established Christian schools among our churches.  I can imagine that in some communities pastors may be critical of those who choose Home schooling because the absence of such children from the Christian school weaken it and its purposes and programs.  Such critical attitudes, however, are not fueled by denominational pronouncements.”
Evangelical Free Church
     William J. Hamel, Evangelical Free Church of America President, e-mailed a response saying, “The EFCA does not have an official position on home schools or Christian schools.  Certainly most of our churches have home schoolers and some have Christian schools.  Overall we would be supportive.”
Free Methodist Church
     Cathy Fortner, Director with the Marston Memorial Historical Center of the Free Methodist Church of North America, e-mailed a reply telling me, “In response to your inquiry dated June 7, 2004, I have been looking into the Home schooling subject within Free Methodism.  After some research into our Book of Discipline Paragraph 3450 states, 'The Free Methodist Church views the education of its children as a parental responsibility (Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Ephesians 6:4).  Part of that responsibility may be delegated but not relinquished to either public or Christian institutions of education.'  It goes on to state that the church wishes to support public schools and recognizes the challenge to Christian teachers, parents and students to be as lights in the world.  When parents choose to use Christian schools or home schooling, we also support them in their decision.  We request that our children be excused from assignments and activities which conflict with the values held by the denomination.”
Episcopal Church
     Bernie Lucas, Info Desk Manager with the Episcopal Church, sent an e-mail to inform me, “Your letter regarding home schooling was referred to the Info Desk for response.  To obtain the Episcopal Church's official position on a particular issue, please visit the Website for the Archives of the Episcopal Church at http://www.episcopalarchives.org….”  I went to the website, and typed “homeschooling” and “home education” in their search engine but found nothing; I then typed in  “public education” and found these recent items.  “The 68th General Convention encourages Episcopalians to become involved in improving and supporting public education” (1985).  “The 69th General Convention supports improving public school education and urges dioceses and congregations to consider programs with public schools” (1988).  “The 73rd General Convention commends and supports the public school system and opposes private school vouchers” (2000).
Christian Science Church
     A lady, whose name I failed to jot down, from the Mother Church of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, MA, called me on the telephone to say that Christian Science has no official position on homeschooling.  Each individual member is encouraged to have his own ideas based on his own experiences.  She also said that she knows many Christian Scientists who homeschool and love it.
United Church of Christ
     Jan Resseger, Minister for Public Education and Witness with the Justice and Witness Ministries, A Covenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH  44115, responded, “Thank you for your inquiry to the United Church of Christ about any policies we may have about home schooling.  Our policies do not speak to the issue of home schooling directly.  We are a denomination with a strong policy base in support of public education, and I have enclosed the relevant General Synod pronouncements and resolution….I would add that the United Church of Christ is congregational in its polity.  This means that the national setting and the General Synod, our governing body, speak to and guide local congregations, but that local congregations are neither governed nor controlled by the denomination.  You will find a range of beliefs and opinions among members of our 6,000 congregations.”
     Reading through the relevant pronouncements and resolutions that were included, I found that there was indeed strong support of public education.  A General Synod XXIII Resolution of 2001-2002 stated, “The Twenty-third General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon the United Church of Christ in all its settings to proclaim public school support and advocacy for the same as one of the foremost civil rights issues in the twenty-first century.”   That is pretty strong!  The only thing that I found that may relate to homeschooling in some way is a General Synod 15 Pronouncement on Public Education of 1985, which says, “We defend the right of parents to choose alternative, private, religious, or independent schools, but continue to declare that those schools should be funded by private sources of income.”  One could conclude that “alternative…schools” might include homeschooling.
Mormon Church
     F. Michael Watson, Secretary to the First Presidency with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 47 East South Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT  84150, replies, “Thank you for your letter of June 7, 2004, to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have been asked to respond.
     “Church leaders recognize the challenges facing parents and the concern they feel for their children.  They also recognize that there are circumstances wherein children may benefit from home schooling.  The Brethren have taken no official position on this question, but they encourage members to carefully assess the implications of withdrawing their children from public systems and of what the loss of Church members could mean for those same public institutions.
     “Members of the Church are counseled to do all they can to provide spirituality in their homes to offset the satanic influences in the world; to do all they can to improve the quality of Church programs; and to encourage the youth to receive religious instruction in our seminary and institute programs.
     “Parents and individuals may wish to prayerfully consider becoming more involved in the public school systems in their communities and the education of their youth.  An important guide for us today is the Savior's prayer in behalf of His disciples when He said, 'I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil' (John 17:15).
     “It is the hope of the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that strong homes and families will contribute to the strength of the youth and the communities in which they live.”  That is interesting in view of the fact that A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling website (http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/religion/mormon.htm) lists a couple of Mormon homeschooling organizations–the LDS Home Educators Association, which says, “Nothing in the doctrine of the Church is in opposition to home education. When there is criticism, it is often the result of misunderstanding and is culturally based rather than doctrinally based,” and the LDS Homeschooling Organization, which says, “Our vision is to connect LDS homeschoolers worldwide, thus providing friendship, practical help and support.”  There are also a LDS Homeschool Conventions List of upcoming conventions provided by LDS Homeschooling.org and several e-mail groups for LDS homeschoolers mentioned.
Bible Baptist Fellowship
     Loran McAlister, Associate Mission Director with the World Mission Service Center of the Bible Baptist Fellowship International, 720 E. Kearney, Springfield, MO, wrote, “Thank you for your letter concerning home schooling.  The Baptist Bible Fellowship International is a Fellowship of about 4500 Independent Baptist Churches.  Since we do not function as a denomination, we do not have written policies on subjects like home schooling.  However, I would state that the vast majority of the pastors in our churches would support home schooling.  In my travels to the churches, I have met a large number of home schooling families.  I must also say that while on the mission field, we home schooled our daughter for a period of time.  I really appreciate the effort most home schooling parents make to get the best possible education for their children.  I am sorry I cannot help you any more than I have.”
Assemblies of God
     Judi Farrington, Office of Public Relations with The General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1445 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO  65802, told me in a letter, “Thank you for your letter concerning home schooling.  The Assemblies of God does not have an official position on home schooling, but I have enclosed an article from the August 25, 2002, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel which discusses this topic.  I hope this is helpful to you.”  The article, “Where Should Your Child Go To School?” by Billie Davis, discusses homeschooling, Christian schools, and public school as three options, gives both the advantages and disadvantages of each, and does not promote one above another.  The author does say that homeschooling requires “Qualified parents who enjoy reading and are enthusiastic about teaching.”  The article itself does not explain what “qualified” means, but a sign board accompanying the article says, “Homeschooling is a good choice if you are qualified academically.”
Jehovah's Witnesses
     The “Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses,” 2821 Route 22, Patterson, NY  12563, sent me a letter that said, “We are pleased to respond to your letter of June 7, 2004, wherein you inquire about the position of Jehovah's Witnesses toward home schooling.  In this regard, we are enclosing a photocopy of the article 'Home Schooling–Is It for You?” from Awake! of April 8, 1993, pages 9 to 12.  We trust that this information will be of help to you, and we send you our best wishes.”  As you may know, articles in Awake! never have an author's name attached.  The article explains why people homeschool,  presents the evidence that answers the question “Does It Work?”, does feel the need to mention the objections of critics but provides good responses by homeschooling advocates, and then asks, “Is It For You?”  The last paragraph reads, “Parents, who are ultimately responsible for the proper education and training of their children, need to decide for themselves the type of schooling they feel will most benefit their family.  So weigh all the factors carefully before deciding if you are ready to take on the challenge of teaching your children at home.”
     Well, there you have it.  Of course, there are many more very well-known and large religious organizations which did not respond.  But of the fifteen who did, you can see that it is somewhat of a mixed bag.  None of them seem to have any “official” position on homeschooling.  Some of them tend to favor it, whereas others appear to discourage it, at least officially.  However, I have an idea that even among the membership of those churches who appear to discourage it there is probably a growing number of homeschooling families.  Again, I do not approve of the existence of denominations, their organizational hierarchies, and their credal statements, but I thought that it would be interesting to find out what the leadership of various religious bodies thinks about homeschooling.

lead article from 12/05 HEADSUP

Wayne Walker here with the lead article for the 12/05 issue of Homeschool Educators on Active Duty Sending Upward Praises free monthly e-mail newsletter with the theme of how different religious organizations view homeschooling.  Two other articles of my own from the issue will follow, but the other articles in the issue were written by other people, so you will have to ask for the newsletter to be able to read them.


Monthly newsletter of general interest, encouragement,
and information for homeschooling Christians
% Wayne S. Walker, 9024 Amona Dr., Affton (St. Louis), MO  63123
E-mail: wswalker310@juno.com; phones: (314) 638-4710 home, 544-1612 office
December, 2005; Volume 8, Number 5
2. PUBLIC DIVIDE: Southern Baptists are about to take up a crucial debate over Christian children and state schools, by Joel Belz
8. A LETTER FROM A FRIEND by Wayne S. Walker
9. PUBLIC EDUCATION by John Clayton
by Wayne S. Walker
     Last year, a resolution was introduced at the Southern Baptist Convention that was very anti-public school and very pro-homeschooling.  It did not pass, but it did produce a lot of discussion and receive a lot of media attention.  Reference was made to it in the Oct., 2004, issue of this newsletter, which actually contained the text of the resolution.  This year, a similar, though somewhat toned-down, resolution was to be introduced again, but since I am not a Southern Baptist, I do not know what happened to it and I have not really seen any more news about it.  However, the furor over the SBC resolution prompted me to wonder what various religious organizations in this country think about homeschooling.  So that becomes the theme for this issue.
     First, let me make sure that everyone understands from whence I am coming.  I am a preacher or minister, but I am not a part of nor am I affiliated with any denominational organization.   Rather, I am a member of the Church of Christ.  Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18).  Those who were saved were added by the Lord to this church (Acts 2:47).  This church is referred to in the scriptures as the body over which Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23).  The Church of Christ has no earthly headquarters, universal leadership, or man-made creed but accepts Christ as its only head and the inspired word of God as its only guide.  So far as my religious connections are concerned, I intend to be identified with nothing other than the church that Jesus established and is revealed on the pages of the New Testament.  Those who are members of the Church of Christ seek to be nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else than Christians (Acts 11:26 and 26:28).
     These non-denominational, New Testament Christians organize themselves as local congregations in the various communities where they live, and as such they assemble together to worship God and work together to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such congregations were known in New Testament times as “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16).  We strive to identify ourselves in the same simple way today.  Each congregation is independent and autonomous.  There is no hierarchy and there are no organizational, denominational-type ties that bind these congregations together.  They simply have a common faith, love, and hope based upon the teachings of the Bible.
     A growing number of people in such churches are choosing to educate their children at home, seeing all the moral and educational problems that have developed in the public schools and wishing to have more control over the influences that enter their children's minds so that they might do the best job that they can do in passing on to their children the faith once for all delivered to the saints (2 Timothy 1:3-5, Jude verse 3).  They take very seriously their job of bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  Yet, many of them, especially in earlier days, faced opposition by some members of the congregations where they worshipped and other brethren whom they knew.  This seemed especially strange since a lot of those same opposers were lamenting about how churches were losing so many of their young people.
     The April, 1999 (Vol. 1, No. 9) issue of this newsletter (when it was still a monthly support group newsletter in Dayton, OH) carried an article entitled “The Early Days” written by David Pratte, a good friend and fellow gospel preacher, chronicling some of the strong objections that he experienced from members of the church when he and his family started homeschooling in 1982.  The August, 2000, issue reprinted three articles about homeschooling, one against and two for, from a couple of subscription journals published by people associated with churches of Christ.  The February, 2002, issue had as its theme “A History of Homeschooling Among Churches of Christ.”  And the February, 2005, issue dealt with “Attitudes Towards Homeschooling” that many of us have found expressed by those with whom we worship and work in local churches.  Since churches of Christ are independent and there is no official “statement of faith” or anything like that, attitudes have varied.  Let me illustrate.
     In July of this year, I was asked to deliver a lecture, as part of a series on “The Sheathed Sword,” with the assigned topic, “What Has Happened to the Battle Against Evolution?” at a local church of Christ in Indianapolis, IN.   I pointed out studies which show that some 85% of young people even in conservative religious organizations who graduate from public schools no longer believe in creation and other important Biblical truth.  In my last point, during which I made some suggestions of what Christians can do to unsheathe the sword, I said the following.  “Let me conclude with one other suggestion.  Some of us, in our attempt to unsheathe the sword in the fight against evolution, have chosen to homeschool our children.  Please do not misunderstand what I am saying.  I do not necessarily preach, or even believe, that all Christians MUST homeschool their children to be faithful to the Lord.  Many children of Christians have gone to public schools and still believe the truth.  However, many do not come out of public schools holding to the faith.  Whatever route we choose, we need to take to heart what God told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 6.6-7.  'And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.'
     “There are those who are convinced that the best route is to teach our children at home ourselves and present everything from a Biblical worldview rather than having constantly to correct and reteach everything that they learn in school.  Some people criticize this as hiding our children's light under a bushel, not letting them be the salt of the earth, and over-protecting them from the world.  However, I know a lot of homeschooling families, and this is not the aim of most parents who educate their children at home.  Rather, our aim is to make sure that our children are protected from unnecessary moral evil and wholly immersed in the truth during their most impressionable years so that when they are more mature and do go out into the world they will be fully equipped to stand up for creation and fight against evolution.  Again, I cannot tell anyone that he or she has to homeschool, but many find it a useful weapon in warring against the militancy of the evolutionists.  We just want to do everything possible in making it more likely to keep our children from being part of that 85% and raise up warriors who are prepared to join in the battle against evolution.”
     This was on Tuesday.  Following the last afternoon lecture, there was an open forum, where anyone could suggest a Biblical topic for discussion, drawn from either one of the lectures or any other source.  My good friend Ronny Milliner, whom I have known from over thirty years ago in college and respect greatly, made some very interesting comments.  He said that he too once thought that homeschooling was an overreaction.  His daughters went to public schools, and they have turned out quite well.  His wife has taught in public schools, and he himself is now working in a public school system as a computer administrator.  However, he also said that the more he sees of the public schools, the more he is changing his mind about homeschooling.  He concluded that while he knew that his daughter and son-in-law would do a good job with his grandchildren, there are some public schools where he would NOT want his grandchildren to go and asked what others thought.
     There happened to be a couple of other homeschooling fathers in the open forum.  The first said that he and his wife were having to spend so much time “deprogramming” (his word) their children when they came home from school every night that they just decided that they could invest that time better simply teaching them at home.  The second said that when he and his wife decided to homeschool their children, they made no statements about what others were doing but began getting comments that other members of the church were feeling threatened and starting to get defensive because of it.  He concluded that the decision to homeschool was one that he and his wife made for their family and was not intended to be a reflection on anyone else.
     Someone else said that he certainly views homeschooling as an individual choice but wondered if that by keeping their children home parents might not be limiting their children not only in their own potential but also their ability to influence others for good.  My response is that the aim of most homeschooling parents is to increase their children's ability to influence others for good by doing everything they can to make sure that the children during their most impressionable years are immersed in the truth and not drawn away from the Lord by seducing influences in public schools.  One other person said that he attended public schools in the 1990's and remained faithful, so parents really have nothing to fear from the public schools.  My response is that while I agree that faithful Christians who are seeking to train their children in the way that they should go have nothing to fear, it is also true that the devil still goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  I am personally convinced that in many places he is using public schools as a tool to poison the minds of young people, and I am very apprehensive of that.  Therefore, I have chosen to fight him by educating my children at home.
     One of the questions that seemed to tie those who either had or previously had had objections to homeschooling was wondering if homeschooling was “retreating” from the “real world” in which we as Christians must learn to live.  The word “retreat” is an interesting one.  As I have thought about this question since, I have two answers.  First, there are times in warfare when a general finds his army in circumstances where the enemy has the upper hand and so, knowing that his army is outnumbered and out gunned, he decides that rather than risking further loss he needs to retreat to a safer place where he can regroup and rally to pitch the battle at a time and place more conducive to victory for his troops.  I believe that Satan and his humanist allies have basically won the battle for the public schools, so in that particular arena it might be wise to retreat.  However, I certainly do not advocate “retreat” as hermits and monks from the world in general.  We need to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12)!  Yet, for the most part generals do not send in raw recruits to fight important battles, but seasoned soldiers.  Until our children are well trained, are they really ready to face evolution, the pro-homosexual agenda, abortion advocacy, and sex education that promotes promiscuity (IN THE FIRST GRADE!)?  Yes, I want to train them for fighting the good fight of the faith when they are prepared to do so, but in their most formative years I simply am not willing to sacrifice them  upon the altar of “salt and light.”
     I do not cite any of this to be critical.  All of the individuals to which I have referred in the paragraphs above are people whom I consider to be good friends and faithful Christians.  I simply cite what they have said to show the different kinds of attitudes towards homeschooling that can be found in churches of Christ.  The same kinds of attitudes have been experienced by people in various denominational churches as well.  In doing the research for this issue, I sent letters to all major religious organizations in the United States asking if they have any official position on homeschooling.  My records show that I tried to contact 51 different groups as listed in the 2001 issue of the World Almanac (the last edition that I have).  I received fifteen responses.  After some articles dealing with the Southern Baptist Convention issue, I will share with you what the different denominations told me.  I hope that you will find it interesting and enlightening.