Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

A who lives without honor will not gain by education

Skeptics and Critics, Part 2

When we can ignore the skeptics

The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.

Exodus 14:14 (NASB)

I learned the hard way that it’s useless to try to justify our reasons for homeschooling. The best response is to listen quietly to criticism and swallow that big lump of hurt pride that sticks in our throats. Remember Jesus’ words:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Luke 23:34 (NASB)

The devil would like nothing better than to use a good thing to force a wedge into relationships and tear them apart. We just have to let go of the urge to defend ourselves and let our actions speak for themselves.

Criticism is a great purifier. It’s one way God gives us a gut check on our motives and goals. After all, why are we doing this? Are our convictions solid enough to live out in the public eye of scrutiny? One of my favorites is last week’s quote from Matthew:

Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

Matthew 11:19b (NASB)

The best recommendation we can receive is when others see the Lord Jesus doing a good thing in our lives. A godly life, lived quietly before God, can banish criticism better than any argument we can muster. When people see us walk out our faith, they will know our God is real. Then we can rejoice before the Lord when He takes our meager efforts and blesses them.

When we need to listen

Sometimes criticism is rooted in truth. Sometimes it’s the reaction of others to an unhealthy attitude they see in us. If we act smug or self-righteous, or if we carry around an air of martyrdom because we stay at home and care for our own kids, others may feel resentful and probably for good reason.

Perhaps in the past we have been prone to flit from one “ministry” to another without real direction or commitment. In this case, we are going to have to prove we are serious by stepping up to the new challenge in steadfastness and discipline. I’m sure God taught me more through homeschooling than I ever taught my own children.

It’s also important to validate the efforts and love of the many educators that serve in public and private schools. They have a really hard job. We are, after all, co-laborers toward a common goal.

Then there’s Noah

Our work with our children, even if carried out quietly, will spark resentment in people around us at some point. Those who aren’t in sympathy with the homeschool movement may feel intimidated by the homeschooler’s role as teacher. Others may feel convicted by a parent’s commitment to his children. Others are just opinionated and need to share that opinion with us.

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Hebrews 11:7

What we’re doing with our children flows from the same heart response that moved Noah to lead his children to salvation. The ark he built represented his faith and obedience to God’s word to him. He set his sights on completing the job given to him and ignored the criticism and mockery he undoubtedly experienced. He committed himself to the long haul and kept his eyes on the goal.

In the end, his obedience and toil were rewarded. May God take our small strength and empower us to walk in that same obedience.

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, caregiver, and veteran homeschooler. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

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