What makes a home school different from a public school?
Well, if you’re a follower of God, then your curriculum is radically different. It starts with radically different goals.
For instance, our goal is to “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
Public school, on the other hand, doesn’t even want to retain God’s in its knowledge (Romans 1:28).
Does Scripture provide any guidance on how to make children into the image of God, rather then the image of corruptible man? You betcha! 🙂
While reading through Genesis, a phrase caught my attention.
“When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Genesis 5:3).
Adam technically had two sons before this, Cain and Abel. Cain’s name comes from a Hebrew word that means “to create.” Abel’s name comes from a Hebrew word that means “the son of Adam.” You can tell that Adam and Eve were pretty excited about being first-time parents, especially first time in the history of the world. Of course, Abel was later murdered by Cain, so when they named their third son Seth, which means “substitute,” you can hear the pain of loss and the hope for the future.
Each of their sons was born in the likeness and image of their father Adam. Adam was also made in the image and likeness of Someone:
“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
The word image is from a Hebrew word that means “shadow or phantom.” God didn’t create little gods just like Himself. He created something entirely new, but something that would be a representation of Himself, like a shadow is reflected off a real form, holding its shape and reminding us of the real object.
God placed his shadow into Adam, the man He created. He intended for Adam to reflect His own personality and form, all His characteristics, so that all who saw Adam would be reminded of God.
When the first little boys were born, all who saw them were reminded of Adam. They were just like their Daddy. They had his image, and in concrete form, they also had his likeness. You could see Adam in their noses, in the way their hair waved, and in the way they walked. It was almost like holding up a mirror.
Their Daddy was made in the image of God, and they were made in the image of their Daddy.
Except that their Daddy sinned.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
They were created in the image and likeness of Adam. Sin and death were passed from father to son, from mother to daughter, all being made in the likeness of their parents.
“Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter'” (Ezekiel 16:44).
I think we’re all pretty proud of the fact that our children look like us, but we sometimes forget that we’ve been commanded to multiply the image of our Creator, not of ourselves.
“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number…'” (Genesis 1:27-28).
We are to be fruitful and increase the number of sons and daughters who bear the image of the God who created us. Sadly, Scripture warns us repeatedly that we’ll be tempted to worship created things rather than the Creator.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20).
When our lives are testaments to our Creator, then everyone can see God’s shadow, His invisible image, reflected out of our lives.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22).
In the arena of our minds, we stop reflecting God’s glory because we get tired of passing all the fame and credit on to Him.
“…and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:23).
Instead of being fruitful and increasing in the only kind of image that we are commanded to build (ie. children), we make statues and idols and god replacements that we can worship. Sometimes we even place our children on that pedestal, worshiping them and drawing attention to how much they are like ourselves, rather than how much their character and actions reflect the image of a righteous God.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised” (Romans 1:25).
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32).
Our Messiah came to redeem us and to show us how to fix this situation. God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:7). But Jesus was also in the image of God.
“…the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…” (Colossians 1:15).
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” (Hebrews 1:3).
God, our Father, has one goal for us, His children. He wants us to be just like Himself, representing Himself as His image and likeness. He does this by conforming us to the image of His Son.
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters…” (Romans 8:29).
As usual, when we don’t obey our Father, He comes and lives among us and walks out obedience by His example. He shows us exactly what He is wanting.
- We need to stop making images of created things, and we need to start making images of our Creator.
- We need to reproduce the image of God in our children, so that when people see our family, they give the glory and fame to God.
This is the ultimate goal of our parenting. I just happen to think it’s a lot easier to do this as a homeschooler! 😉
Why? Well, just as rebellion against God starts in the mind, so also does a righteous reflection of Him.
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).
Public schools, filled with the depravity of humanism, will not make it a priority to “retain the knowledge of God.” Once they have changed the curriculum, they will then see different actions in their students:
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:29-32).
These actions will gain the approval of public education.
However, as homeschoolers taking responsibility for making children in the image of God, we have a different curriculum and a different set of resulting actions.
First, since our children are born in Adam’s sinful nature, we have to help them put off the actions that come naturally to them.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices…” (Colossians 3:5-9).
As you homeschool, you can either allow these sinful practices in your home — and get the same outcome as the public schools — or you can rid them from your home. In other words, don’t start with math and phonics. Start with ridding your home of evil behaviors.
What will you replace them with? First, with knowledge that is correct.
“…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10).
It’s extremely urgent that we teach our children only “knowledge in the image of its Creator”! Where is this knowledge found? In Scripture. This is the only “curriculum” that will help our children be conformed to the image of our Messiah and to be made in the image and likeness of God!
“…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Of course, we cannot stop with just head knowledge. We must teach, train, prod, advise, counsel, and model a different set of actions.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
See some of the phrases in this passage? God’s chosen people. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. We are to be made in His image, and our children are to be made in our image after us.
When people say, “Like mother, like daughter” about you, do they see the reflection of your Creator?