Outside appearances have me as a good child, brought up in a Christian family, able to influence others to do good things. However, outside appearances cannot hide a wicked heart for long. And I was wicked when I was growing up.
I, to my shame, never remember thinking of God much when I was at school. School was a slog I hated. Perhaps this is not everyone’s experience, but most children, whether they enjoy school or not forget God more than they would at home with Godly parents.
Sadly, were your children in my company when I was five, they would have been influenced to their harm. I found out how to steal Barbie dolls when I was six, so I could have the nice things other girls have that my poor parents couldn’t give me. I realize they may have had other reasons to avoid buying Barbie dolls with me (ie. The gross sexualisation happening in our culture). When my parents saw the dolls I lied and told them someone had given them to me.
At six-years-old I was disobeying the eighth and ninth commandment flagrantly, unbeknown to my parents. They didn’t know about it and they couldn’t help me with my problems.
Those who know me now would be surprised I was this wicked so young. Even though it happened when I was five, I still cringe and know that but for God’s grace, I would perish in the flames of hell for this.
When I was eight-years-old my parent homeschooled me. It was for my benefit, but getting me out of my peer's company probably benefitted them as I was a bad influence.
My character improved under the tutelage of my parents. I stopped stealing and begun to scorn lying to my parents. My parents became my best friends and my siblings were my second best friends. However, I still harboured many dark thoughts (thoughts that I remember forming from the lonely hours at school, where I wanted to be alone, yet felt lonely). These thoughts still stay with me.
I would like to say I improved dramatically. I did. But, I was not perfect and even my homeschool friends were poisoned by my dark character at times. I would swear. Perhaps not bad swearing by the world's standards, but they were outbreaks, like pimples on a forehead, against God. ‘Damn’ I would say. Then later I would say, ‘crap’ repeatedly. (This latter one I picked up from a homeschooling friend and made my own.)
I was a girl who loved God, but I was still immature and needed my parent’s time and attention so they could teach me maturity in Christ. Only lately, having nearly reached the age of 28, would I think I would be a fit peer to influence in the way of the Lord. And that’s why I believe parents are the best ‘peers’. They’re the only one’s mature enough.
Ask yourself this question: If I, Rebbecca, who came from a Christian family, was a bad influence, what are non-Christian children likely to look like? How much worse is their influence going to be?
By Rebbecca Devitt 29/2/2016
The door rattled as he knocked on it.
“Hurry up – we gotta go soon, Beccy.”
“Okay, okay…but, is Josh out of the shower yet?”
My younger brother, Neville, replied in the affirmative as I struggled out of bed and trundled into the shower. Sleep still clung to my eyes. Another day brought another fight. At seven years old, I was sick of my ‘Christian’ school – tired of the kids, the bullies and the constant effort of trying to fit in. I was the second of three siblings. Rather than waking up on my own, we were awakened bright and early and hustled into the shower. We learned how to knot our ties and tie our shoes, before filing into the car and driving to school. At school, assembly would start and we would listen to the headmaster and whoever else decided they wanted a turn at the microphone before heading off to our first class. After two classes recess, eventually lunch came.
I hated recess and lunch too. During these times, I felt lonely and rejected. While I didn’t feel like I wanted to be part of the popular group, I wasn’t keen on being in the Christian girls group. I thought the Christian girls were so boring because they never did anything exciting. I would hang out on the fringes of the cool group, or spend time with Neville and his friends at recess. I liked spending time with Neville. However, I couldn’t spend too much time with him or the other children would brand me as ‘uncool,’ for spending too much time with the ‘little kids’.
So I’d wander off down the newly mown school yard by myself. Joshua, my older brother, was mad about soccer and at lunchtime he was always trying to kick the leather off the ball. But, he was a year older and always too busy to hang out with the ‘little kids’. I understood. But then I was still lonely. Sometimes, I would catch a glimpse of my father who would volunteer to mow the school lawns. My heart leaped when I saw who it was and I’d run over and give him a hug. Seeing my father was the highlight of my day. My father! Here at my school! However, he would soon send me back to the classroom, afraid of interfering with my education.
I hated lessons too. I was at the bottom of my class and I struggled with feeling stupid. It seemed like everyone else understand, but me. Was it just me who was always waiting for the teacher’s help? Having my hand up constantly was so humiliating. I had to ask for help all the time. The girl sitting at the next desk from me would always put up her hand first to signal she had finished. I was only half way through. Soon I was embarrassed as everyone seemed to be waiting for me to finish and I was holding the class up.
At the end of the day, we filed up for the bus in multiple lines. The teacher shouted to quiet everyone down and get their attention, something she did all the time. “The best-behaved line gets onto the buses first.” Everything was a contest. That was the only way they could control us. Everybody hated waiting in line, so we tried to behave as best we could. In the end, the oldest line of Year 4 students always got picked. I don’t know why I tried in the first place. It’s not like anyone noticed us.
When we were on the bus, my younger brother, Neville, usually sat with me in the front row because it was a bit rowdy at the back. Neville and I always sat together. I didn’t mind that part. I listened to him chatter away about his day. I loved hearing my little brother talk. It was almost relaxing. We enjoyed each other’s company. However, this day we got on the bus and the big kids hadn’t taken the back seats. Neville looked at me with excitement and ran to the back seat. What an opportunity to sit where the ‘cool’ people sat, he must have thought. I watched him running up the back of the bus, his oversized school bag bobbing up and down on his back. He signaled to me to sit next to him. I declined the offer but sat a few rows up to keep an eye on him.
Something told me the back seat was a dangerous place to be. As the bus filled up, the oldest children sat next to Neville, either side of his small body like towering pillars. But, where was Jordan? He was the biggest and coolest of them all. He was the pack leader, the show-off, and the bully. Neville was oblivious of the danger. As the bus was set to pull out, Jordan jumped on the bus last and sauntered toward the back seat, making jokes with the children and throwing insults as he went. Eventually, he reached the back and saw Neville. His eyes narrowed as he saw the little boy on the seat; a big grin displayed, Neville was enjoying himself immensely. “What are you doing in my seat?” Jordan bellowed.
“It’s not your…” but before Neville got further, Jordan caught him by the hair of his head, lifted him out of the seat and dumped him unceremoniously on the floor. Neville started to cry, his face going red with fear and embarrassment, as he picked himself up and shuffled over to the spare seat beside me. I got out of my seat, furious at what I had just witnessed and exploded. “I can’t believe you just did that, Jordan! You big bully! You’re horrible and that was a nasty, nasty thing to do to a little boy.” Jordan looked shamefaced and mumbled something about being sorry. I got in my seat next to Neville, who was still sobbing quietly. We were hoping the day would end soon…
While I only spent three years at school, but I’d already discovered so much wrong there. My Christian school was supposed to provide the perfect Christian education. While the school’s theory and curriculum may have looked Christian, what was modeled by my classmates (and sometimes even teachers), was not. School was often a lonely and ruthless place. My early school experience felt like doggy paddling in a vast, deep ocean with no land in sight. Here we fought for survival because there was so much wrong with my school.
Rebbecca Devitt is a Christian wife, nurse, homeschooling writer and blogger at www.whyonearthhomeschool.com.
How can you get to university if you're a homeschooler? You have no HSC or ATAR. You don't have any school contacts. Are you just setting yourself up for failure?
Keep reading, as we present four ways to get to university after homeschooling, \\. As a bonus, these entry pathways are remarkably stress-free compared to a HSC or ATAR score.
Ways to get from homeschool to University in Australia include:
As a homeschooler, I'm often questioned about how I managed to go to university (let alone study medicine for a year) with ‘only a homeschooling background’. Many people with school backgrounds find it hard to comprehend alternative pathways to university besides the grueling academic slog called high school.
I was blessed to enter university on the back of my extra-curricular activities (nursing portfolio) and work experience, none of which was outstanding. It was a cruisy pathway compared to high school.
Because I had no chemistry, biology or anatomy training, I began a medical sciences degree and immediately became terrified at the thought of failing the unit. Fear propelled me to work steadily.
But, I didn’t fail – rather, I ended up ranking in the top 10 percent of students in that class (most of which had studied these subjects at high school). In my other classes, I worked hard and continued to score well.
My brothers, and many of my homeschooled friends, also had no problem at University. This has more to do with our drive to study than any inherent intelligence on our part. Indeed, because homeschoolers have had to self-motivate themselves in the past, tertiary education motivation is easy.
Despite being of very average intelligence, I've been able to do all the things I've always wanted to do.
About the Author.
Rebbecca Devitt has been a Christian Homeschooling blogger for over three years. She is a homeschool graduate, dementia nurse, and housewife that lives in Canberra. If you would like to contact her with questions, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
I sank slowly into my seat at class. There was a friendly atmosphere and a lot of small talk happening in the room. As I unpacked my pens and books onto the desk, the woman two chairs down chirped up and asked me a friendly question (which the whole class heard), ‘So, why are you writing a book on Christian homeschooling?’ The small group around us chattered, saying they’d had the same question.
I tried to think quickly about the right answer for this crowd – they were a different target audience to my book. ‘Well, I’m a Christian. I was homeschooled and I’m passionate about spreading the homeschooling word because of my great experiences – besides school teaches so much secular material these days.” The woman sitting next to me smiled, “My sister homeschools and I think it's a very good idea.” I perked up, “Are you going to homeschool?” She looked at the mound of homework in front of her, “No, I can’t afford to homeschool – I’d have to do without a double income. How would you answer that concern?”
The answer came naturally to me, “I guess it’s a case of priorities. What do you value more?” She shrugged and nodded in agreement. A man sitting on the opposite bench said, “But what about Christian schools? You wouldn’t have to forgo your income and they would get a Christian education.” “Yes,” another one piped up, “I went to an Anglican school and it was great for that.” At that point, they forgot about me and began talking among themselves. Homeschooling was a hot topic.
If choosing schooling is just about the cost, parents ought to should choose public school. However, if you want the best schooling, choose to homeschool.
Homeschooled children know they’re more important to their parents than new clothes because those from second-hand stores are sufficient. They’re more important than movies at the theatre because rented videos for $4.99 are sufficient. They’re more important than computer games because old-fashioned board games are sufficient. They’re more important meals at fast food restaurants because home-cooked meals are sufficient. They’re more important than luxuries because cheaper versions are sufficient.
To begin with, let’s look at some good reasons to keep your child out of school.
1. School can be an unsafe environment. From the shootings to violent victimizations, school can be a dangerous environment[EmJF1] . [EmJF2] About 15 percent of Australian children are being physically hurt while at school. But who’s doing the bullying? Because 51% of students admit to bullying other students, it must be the other students doing the bullying. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on my children being around that kind of danger. Weapons aren’t the only problem. Thefts, deaths, drug peddling and violent victimizations are becoming a more common part of school life with over a quarter of school students saying drugs were available to them.
1. Negative Role Models. The school environment is packed with negative role models. These can be teachers or other students. Negative role models often teach anti-Christian ethics compared to Christian settings. A Christian definition of a negative role model is anyone who is not a Christian. Environments filled with non-Christians will model a different set of ethics compared to Christian setting. Bad company ruins good morals.’
2. Reverse Evangelism. Reverse Evangelism is when children who are urged to ‘win souls’ are, instead, themselves converted by the non-Christian company they keep. We know that sending children into dangerous environments is a bad idea. But somehow we don’t see school as one of them! It’s unwise and dangerous to send small, impressionable children into the main battleground of the humanists and then expect them to win souls.
3. Public Schools (or Non-Christian Schools) Are Not Thorough. A subject that rejects the Word is incomplete and often inaccurate (e.g. how the world was made). In every field, God has something to say. Therefore, why do we persist in trying to educate children in unbiblical ways? After 13 years of school, no wonder they consider paganism.
4. Declining Academic Results. Compared to other countries, Australian children rank 19th for maths, 16th for science and 13th for reading out of 65 countries. This is down from 6th for maths, 8th for science and 4th for reading out of 41 countries, despite spending far more money on education compared to the majority of those states.
5. “Success is Possible without God.” The end goal of many schools is to prepare students for a successful life through education. These schools don’t think godly ethics are necessary for successful living.
6. No Fear of God in a Godless Curriculum. Many schools teach a curriculum devoid of reference and reverence to God. The founders of the public education system, Horace Mann and John Dewey, hated God openly. They feared the education system would be used to preach the fear of God, as it had been in the past. Therefore, they set up an anti-Christian curriculum. Dewey wanted to use the public schools for the propagation of non-Christian social values – like socialist Russia did. By sending our children to public school, we indoctrinate them with these godless values. Christian parents are simply raising pagans without the Word breathing into their children’s lives.
 Within the space of a year there was 31 school associated violent deaths in the United States (25 homicides; 6 suicides) in 2010-2011. In 2012, there were 615,600 thefts, 749,200 violent victimizations, 5% of which occurred at school. In 2011, students are more afraid of an attack at school than in other environments. U.S. Department of Education (2014) National Center for Education and Statistics. Check ABS: Aus stats.
 Donna Cross, Therese Shaw, Lydia Hearn, Melanie Epstein, Helen Monks, Leanne Lester and Laura Thomas ‘Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study’ (2009) Edith Cowan University p. 22.
 Colleen Ricci ‘OECD education rankings show Australia slipping, Asian countries in the lead’ (2015) The Sydney Morning Herald <http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/oecd-education-rankings-show-australia-slipping-asian-countries-in-the-lead-20150525-gh94eu.html>.
[EmJF1]In two sentences you move from “can be” to “is a”. May require more evidence.
[EmJF2]Dept of education?
Are we blessed to be lucky or lucky to be blessed? Many think these terms are interchangeable. But doesn’t a Christian thank providence, not chance? At the beginning of my book, Why on Earth Homeschool, I used the word luck many times. However, I’ve been convicted while thinking about it and have decided I don’t like the word.
I guess I see it as ungrateful to God. It’s like saying to the person who shouts me coffee, “Wasn’t I lucky to get a coffee. What fortune! What chance!” How much more does this apply to God, who is the Maker and Creator of everything?
Perhaps this word harkens back to Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Here Darwin discounts the idea of a sovereign Creator and instead invokes Chance as his God. Or maybe Darwin becomes his own god (and every man becomes his own god) if a sovereign God exits the scene.
I’ve wondered if I’m just being a bit pedantic. Am I being legalistic in insisting this is the way? Or if I admire the word ‘lucky’, am I being a blind follower of secular culture?
What do you think?
I asked some homeschool parents what advice they would give new and upcoming homeschooling parents. The themes that ran through the advice were patience, persistence and practice. Here are some of their answers:
Sue and Will: We would encourage you in your Christian personal life with God – in your growing closer to him. Read and seek wisdom about godly families and how they should function. Read the Bible and pray. They should know there is a network of Christian homeschoolers out there. If they’re in a good relationship with other Christians, don’t be afraid to ask for their help. Meet other Christians also homeschooling. It’s valuable and makes for a good time. Pick one another’s brains.
Steven and Barbara: Don’t be frightened and don’t be intimidated. Don’t feel that you’re not going to be able to cope with it. Take one day at a time – and remember – it does end! You will have your (fairly regular) times when you say, ‘I’M SENDING THEM TO SCHOOL – THAT’S IT. But they’ll pass.
Bill and Antoinette: Persevere in the beginning if you find it difficult and you will reap the rewards. It’s important to be supported by other homeschooling parents. Don’t shy away from homeschooling or think for a second you can’t do it. Just remind yourself how bad some children are coming out today…can you be worse than that? I guarantee your children won’t be. It’s easy to educate a child adequately when you homeschool them – but, chances are, they’ll be much better. The fear about socializing and not fitting into society are just not true. That can happen and does, whether kids go to school or not. And as far as the education goes, if the parents can’t motivate them, I don’t think the teachers will. When it comes to high school, don’t be afraid to research and keep your children at home. Now you’ve got online courses, teachers and tutors you can hire. We hired tutors for Maths, English, Music and Languages.
Jenny: Research it prayerfully, read lots and decide what approach will suit you and your family. Find yourself a support system or group. Develop strategies to make sure you have the support you need because homeschooling (particularly homeschooling several children) is a full time job and needs commitment. Plan carefully and keep accurate records. Have a wonderful time and treasure every day you have at home with your children. If you commit homeschooling to the Lord, he will go before you and bless you.
by Rebbecca Devitt
When I was six I stole a Barbie doll. It wasn't the first thing I'd stolen. I nabbed anything that took my fancy really. I even stole my cousins prized cabbage patch doll.
Why? Peer pressure. At school, there was a group of girls I used to hang around with. They all had Barbie dolls. Therefore, they were the cool ones. I wanted to be cool, so I had to get a Barbie doll. After nagging my parents, (who were very poor at the time), I decided it would be easier to steal one. And so I did.
It was a rewarding experience. Apart from having to hide the Barbie dolls every time Mum and Dad walked in the room. But then I began to lie and tell them that I'd borrowed the Barbie dolls from the girls at school. Easy done. Everything was great now. I'd just steal everything I wanted. I was becoming popular at school! There was a downright thrill to stealing things which were forbidden. Augustin talks about it in his book on Confessions:
"There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its colour or for its flavour. Late one night–having prolonged our games in the streets until then, as our bad habit was–a group of young scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree. We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden. Such was my heart, O God, such was my heart–which thou didst pity even in that bottomless pit. Behold, now let my heart confess to thee what it was seeking there, when I was being gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved my own undoing. I loved my error–not that for which I erred but the error itself. A depraved soul, falling away from security in thee to destruction in itself, seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself."
Eventually, I got caught. Mum and Dad asked me if I'd stolen them. I knew a lie here wouldn't further my predicament. And so I confessed. They said I would have to apologize to the manager at the local supermarket where I'd stolen the Barbie dolls. I was so scared. I thought something terrible was going to happen. They bought me shaking and crying uncontrollably into the supermarket.
When we arrived, the large supermarket had never looked more scary. The manager was summoned over to the front counter. Dad told the confused manager I had stolen a Barbie doll and I wanted to say sorry. The manager came over looking confused and trying to look stern. Through my tears I began, "I'm really sorry I stole a Barbie doll..."
I stopped to cry something between a cough and a cry and continued, "...and I'll never do it again." The manager had mercy on me and said, "That's ok."
At school, I was a companion of fools. The girls I spent time with in my Christian school all came from non-Christian homes. 1 Corinthians 15: 33-34 says:
'Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.'
I stole Barbie dolls to be popular with my peers. I was a servant of man and sought their approval above Gods (Galatians 1:10). I began to ignore my parents teachings about not thieving and listened to my peers who thought popularity was about having things. This was the beginning.
Dad and Mum soon woke up to this. My father recently told me that this was the jolt which got him looking into homeschooling. He began to think of Matthew 6:33 which says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
In truth, my father really believed all his children would become educationally retarded if they were homeschooled. Yet, he said, "I don't care. So long as they know Christ in the end." He thought, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" If we knew our education subjects well, yet forfeited our souls, what good would that be?
I believe God has blessed our parents for their brave steps. Despite the criticism they received at times, they began homeschooling. As a result, and despite their own fears, we all grew up as educationally competent. My brothers particularly so.
This is consistent with Brian Ray's study. Ray has shown homeschoolers perform 15-30% better than public school students in America. Australian studies also show homeschoolers perform equally or even better than student in the school environment.(1)
And so, I would like to assure readers, homeschooling does not educationally stunt its students. It does the opposite. It teaches them better than ever, whatever the parent wishes to teach. Therefore, if parents want to teach children in the way of the Lord (Prov 22:6), homeschooling is often a better educational option than school.
(1) Glenda Jackson 'SUMMARY OF AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH ON HOME EDUCATION' [PDF submitted to the parliamentary enquiry in NSW] 1st August 2012, Faculty of Education at Monash University.
I was cutting carrots this morning. The knife I was using wasn’t all that sharp. I wished I had a sharper knife. “Wouldn’t it be good if carrots sharpened knives?” I thought. Truth is, I needed some iron to sharpen my knife. This is a pretty basic biblical principle. That is, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Prov 27:17)
But this article is not so much about iron as it is about men. I believe we have forgotten Paul’s exhortation in Titus 2:3-5 which says, “[Older women] are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
When we do one-on-ones, our mentors are usually other men or women of the same age. And while they are godly people, they often have little idea about the next step in life. I myself am guilty of this and have recently been convicted. I do two one-on-one’s (when one person meets with another person) every week with a woman a year younger, and one a year older. We study the Bible together and talk about the things going on in our lives.
While we try to mentor each other, the truth is, we sometimes have very little clue of the wise answer to give. For instance, both the girls I see have never been engaged or married. Therefore, they have never talked about the relationship they have with their in-laws (something I would like some advice on from time-to-time). They have never had a house of their own. Or had to submit to a man, despite thinking (wrongly or rightly) he was going the wrong direction.
While I love these girls greatly, I don’t get particularly helpful advice on these types of issues (despite them both having studied in a theological capacity for quite some time). I do, however, get this type of advice from my mother, my mother’s friends and other older women in the church. Of course, this is exactly what Titus 2 is getting at!
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if an older woman in your congregation offered to meet up with a younger woman once a fortnight? What if an older man suggested to a younger they go kayaking once a month? The older could teach the younger how to love their wife/husband (I know this is a hard issue – even for a young girl or boy trained in the Bible their whole lives), how to be self-controlled, pure, how to work at home well, how to be kind and submissive. All this is so the servants of God are not seen as hypocrites, and God’s Word is not reviled.
Ok. So I know I go on about it. But I think it’s a really important issue to get straightened out. That is, we simply do not value the wise teachings of older people.
In light of this I would like to ask two questions:
To the older woman: Are you mentoring a younger person? If not, why not offer your services and shout a young lady a coffee every fortnight.
To the younger woman: Are you being mentored? If not, why not ask an older lady whom you respect to mentor you.
Why not visit my website at www.whyonearthhomeschool.com. Or you could follow me by clicking the link at the bottom corner of the page.Happy reading!
Hi There, I'm Rebbecca. I'm a Christian homeschooling advocate based in Australia. I write to provide apologetic reasons to Christian homeschool.