We look to our church families for support; many times to fill in the areas of fellowship and wisdom that we may not receive from our natural families. It can be challenging, and even painful, to be apart of a church community that does not support homeschooling.
Today’s community question has come to me through several mommas who struggle with this same experience.
“What do you do if your church does not support homeschooling? We go to a church that we otherwise love. We continuously feel that on the subject of education they are not homeschool friendly. In fact it seems they encourage other options over it. It hurts our hearts. Any tips, wisdom, or experiences?”
We were very blessed to be in a church for quite some time that heavily supported home education. The pastor’s eyes were opened while watching their grandchildren battle out spirit-quenching experiences in public school. Their son and daughter-in-law made huge life changes and sacrifices in order to homeschool. It didn’t take long for these pastors to see tremendous changes in the countenance of their grandchildren. They experienced the immense gift that homeschooling is for a family. Although these pastors were always clear to support their Christian public school teacher members, they also encouraged all parents to pray on home educating their children.
As a new homeschooling family, with our only child at the time being two, this was exactly the support we needed. Real people, with real struggles, holding onto Jesus and moving forward in faith. We are forever grateful for the church family support that we received in those early years.
My husband and I have been in other churches over the last 10 years as well. We’ve experienced churches with 50/50 members ( 1/2 homeschooled, 1/2 public or private school.) We’ve been to churches that have their own private school – so you know which method of education was encouraged there. And we’ve been to churches that say homeschooling is a wonderful choice, yet often preach public school is a Christian child’s ministry .
During our time in churches that did not support homeschooling I’ve learned a few things:
- Trust my husband’s leading. I had plenty of times when I wanted to run from that church because it was hard. But as long as my husband wanted us there I trusted him. He is the spiritual head of our home. There is a blessing if I submit to him and wait on God’s perfect timing.
- Trust the Lord and shine those lights! Ah, that. The Lord is faithful to bring forth fruit. We were able to answer families questions about homeschooling and fellowship with families who are feeling the desire to homeschool and needed encouragement.
- Pray. Pray for the Lord to give you the grace to be there, endure any misunderstanding or lack of support, and pray for the leaders. You could always buy those pastors a copy of the Indoctrination Movie if they’re interested in way many Christian families choose to homeschool.
My friend Sara from Side-tracked Sara has this answer to the question, “Pray that the Lord would open their hearts! We had a church who outwardly supported homeschooling (to our face), but behind our backs many were questioning us and talking badly about the homeschoolers. We prayed for things to change and tried to make sure none of us did anything that would cause them to question us. Next thing you know, they hired a new Children’s Minister who was a homeschooler. After that, when it was time to hire a new youth pastor, he was a homeschool dad as well. All of a sudden, they were VERY homeschool friendly. It was so neat to watch God at work, sending the right people at the right time.”
I posted this question on the Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling facebook wall last weekend. Here are a few of the wonderful readers responses. These are smart people. 😉
“No one else in my church homeschools. The negative message doesn’t come from the pulpit, but I have had other mothers in the church say comments to me that hurt. One mother suggested I homeschool because I want my daughter in a Christian bubble and that I should have her in public school because it’s a mission field. This is what I go back to: God told me to homeschool her. I have to remember that when I come up against people who don’t understand or agree. Not only did He tell us to homeschool, He has allowed us to see over and over how good it has been for our family and our daughter (academically, behaviorally, spiritually). We will stand before God one day, accountable for ourselves. No one else will be standing with us. I can’t say to Him, “Well, You told me to do this, but that woman made me feel pressured to do something else, so….” I say be sure of what you believe and what God has asked you to do. Ask Him to confirm that for you and assure you of His unfailing love and APPROVAL of you!“
“Sometimes the best way to educate is to SHOW them. It may take some time, but people will start seeing a much brighter side to homeschooling than what they have heard or think. Answer their questions about isolation with what your child is involved in. When they say things about a “Christian” bubble shortly & kindly explain what God laid on your family’s heart to do. We are blessed to have a pastor whom he & his wife homeschooled 5 boys in a time when it was much less accepted or heard of. They bravely & with great Christian love paved the way. There are those who are still outspokenly against it at our church, but I have found that if I don’t push the issue let them ask me the questions they start to understand. I hope this helps & if you are not involved w/ a homeschool support group or co-op I urge you to. They are a great source of help & comfort. God Bless!”
“My husband is a Pastor, and I would not necessarily encourage you to leave the church. If you cannot align with the Pastor, or you really feel you cannot worship there, then leaving may be best. But, if some other families not agreeing with you homeschooling is the only issue, then I would encourage you to stick it out, be open and honest about how you feel and be an example of positive homeschooling. So many people do not really know much about it, or believe the worldly stereotypes attached to it. Most importantly, pray about whether this is the church God wants you to be a part of. If God has placed homeschooling on your heart, and has also placed you in that church then He may be planning to use you to influence those other families!”