Pr. Weedon wrote in a post the other day, "Pondering how Satan is so adept at getting us all worked up, hot and bothered, over the things that finally don't matter; so that we stay cooly indifferent to the things that finally do. 'We are not ignorant of his devises.' Surely majoring in the minors is one such. 'Lord, help us to love what you command and desire what you promise!’”
I responded as follows:
This point reminds me of Martha and Mary, and is so applicable to many facets of our lives. In particular, I’m thinking about the priority-setting that is so necessary for homeschool parents – especially at this time of year. What to teach, how to teach it, what other activities to participate in, etc., etc., etc…
Most importantly, I note that it is a tool of the devil to make homeschool parents feel guilty that they are not able to teach some academic subjects at the same level that the public schools often can if they have “good” teachers.
I believe Homeschool parents should try to break away from the modern public school curriculum mandates and decide what is truly good, necessary, and edifying for their children to learn, based upon their future goals in life.
We can also easily get so worried and bogged down with teaching academic subjects that are not really that important, or to a level of mastery that is not at all necessary, that we forget to focus on the priorities of teaching theology and the roles of sons and daughters in developing their understanding, learning, and practicing of their respective roles in a biblical understanding of οἰκονομία – keeping/managing the house.
How many parents wouldn’t think of allowing their child to miss a math lesson, while never even thinking to ensure that at least the primary texts of the Small Catechism have been recited daily according to the injunctions in the same. Luther writes:
“And if this were not sufficient to admonish us to read the Catechism daily, yet we should feel sufficiently constrained by the command of God alone, who solemnly enjoins in Deut. 6:6ff that we should always meditate upon His precepts, sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising, and have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Doubtless He did not so solemnly require and enjoin this without a purpose; but because He knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils, He wishes to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good armor against their fiery darts and with good medicine against their evil infection and suggestion. Oh, what mad, senseless fools are we that, while we must ever live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils are, we nevertheless despise our weapons and defense, and are too lazy to look at or think of them!”
The primary goal of homeschooling, in my opinion, should remember the biggest advantage of homeschooling: being at home with family, having time for theological discussions, and having the flexibility to teach according to the future goals and needs of each child. With few exceptions, we are raising future Christian husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. I believe preparing for the additional vocations found outside the home, while especially important for men, must remain secondary in priority to the teaching of these primary vocations.
As a homeschool father, I have found that the more we try to duplicate the entire curriculum mandates of public education, the focus of our lives moved away from the home, church, and family, and into the self-absorbed attitude of simply creating another independent individual for the state.
The same can be said for over-indulgence in extracurricular activities for each child. Parents can easily become bus drivers for independent children who have little time for family meals and edifying family leisure.