This topic has been churning around in my mind over the past few weeks. I have intended to write about this, but was beat to the punch so to speak by a fellow blogger named Tony Sisk, aka the "Rambling Prophet". What he wrote has been published on the collaborative blog, SBC Impact, and is entitled "Character Formation in Children: Not A By-Product". It's a very good article and I encourage you to read it.
There is a common misunderstanding or assumption (or maybe a little of both) by homeschooling parents. It is assumed that because we are homeschooling our children that the development of godly character will be a natural result and that many of the temptations that ensnare other children will not entrap them.
My children are very young . . . but I can see in each of them the same sinful nature that every other child possesses, homeschooled or not. My kids inherited it from me and my husband, who inherited it from our parents, who . . . . . . . . . Adam & Eve. And man oh man, is it a human default, or what? My 20 month old began showing his sinful nature 4 months ago. There will be temptation to lie, to boast, to hoard, to not control anger, to not control self, to say the words they shouldn't say, to do the things they shouldn't do, to put their selfish desires first, to expose themselves to things that are not good for them, and I'm not even contemplating with this list the things that must come with hormonal changes in adolescence.
The truth is, we're all plagued by it our entire lives. Choosing a homeschool or private school may shield our children from certain influences and peer pressures that we see as harmful and just too risky. But it does nothing to eradicate the innate desire to put self first and do the things that are wrong.
I truly think our best tool is God's Word. That's what works in the lives of Christian adults. How do we resist temptation? It is knowing God's Word, being filled with the Spirit and yielding our stubborn, prideful natures to His Kingship. And we adults fail at this . . . and our children will fail as well. But we can disciple them, we can teach them what God's Word says, we can gently lead them into a faith and relationship with the Father that is their own. That is our highest calling, and I'm asking God to make me better at fulfilling it!