Monday, April 14, 2014

“Aren’t You Ruining The Environment?!”

Many large families hear this quite often, and ours is no exception. Forgive me for being a bit on the defensive with this one, but there comes a time when that is necessary.

If you happen to find yourself mumbling under your breath:  “Don’t they KNOW the 
effect their huge family has on the environment?” then this post is for you. I thought I'd take some time to reveal some of our environmental positions. Bear with me here. One of the issues we face as a large family is dealing with people who are so in love with the environment that they can not be happy for us having another baby. It’s not that uncommon, actually, to hear remarks from total strangers, who don’t even KNOW us, questioning our allegiance to particular environmental practices, but even less uncommon is the questioning by extended family members or acquaintances who actually do know us, or at least a little about us. The extreme emphasis on environmentalism causes people to become genuinely concerned about our family's long-term impact on the earth and I hope to lay some of those fears to rest here.

Yes, we do care about the environment.

As Christians, we believe that God put us in charge of the earth and that we are to be good stewards of His gift. So in our family, we try to teach resourcefulness as opposed to wastefulness, which is so prevalent in our American culture today. While we may not do everything 100% “environmentally conscious,” I can say that we are getting better and better as we learn and grow and we are becoming more and more self-sufficient.

After years of observing not only our own family, but smaller families as well, I can safely say that our family tends to have better environmental practices than most other people we know who even have much smaller families.

“So what are your environmentally friendly practices? Maybe you’re ruining the earth for everybody!”

I can’t speak for other large families in this post, I can only speak for ours. (Although what I'm about to share is practiced by nearly every large family I personally know. You may be surprised to learn that the majority of large families are indeed very earth conscious.)  These are small but valuable ways that we take care to minimize waste. So here goes:

~We recycle and compost. Can’t really get more basic than that.

~We  strive to be chemical free. We want healthy bodies. We want our children to be healthy and the best way to do that is to live as chemical-free as possible. One way we do this is by making our own laundry detergent. For the last five years, we've made all our laundry detergent using natural ingredients and essential oils. We believe that keeping chemicals and dyes out of the water stream is very important. Plus it saves a ton of money. With all the clothing that must be washed around here, this is a way we can make a healthier choice than buying commercial detergents. Not only is this better for our bodies, but for the environment as well.

We make our own liquid hand-soaps. Using a natural, paraben-free, dye-free bar of soap, I can make a gallon of liquid hand soap for our bathrooms. Better for skin, better for the earth. (And yes, we reuse the same hand-pump for YEARS.)

We make our own chemical free cleaning products. Using white vinegar and essential oils, I can create a cleanser that is very effective, cleans perfectly and is chemical free. We use this cleanser for virtually everything from windows to floors.

Natural, fluoride-free toothpaste is another way we roll. We aren't spitting chemicals down the drain. We use natural and/or organic soaps and shampoos, for all the reasons mentioned above.

~We don't use pesticides. We don't spray chemicals on our garden or on our grass. I'd rather have weeds than pesticides. 

~We buy very limited amounts of processed foods. Since we purchase foods in huge bulk bags or boxes, we eliminate all the packaging that would be tossed into a landfill if we purchased foods the way most Americans do. We rarely eat out. By cooking natural/organic whole foods from scratch, we eliminate a LOT of waste.

~We have High Efficiency appliances. (Just throwing that out there in case you’re foaming at the mouth at the thought of how much water we use for dishes and clothes washing.)

~We don’t buy paper towels. I mean ever. We use rags. Washed and reused until the fibers are virtually disintegrated. If you see a roll of paper towels at our house, it’s left over from Thanksgiving or some holiday when my mom brought it over.

~We use cloth diapers. We do our best to keep the disposables at bay, though there are times we use them. But it’s primarily cloth.

~We are also in the process of switching to washable cloth feminine/sanitary products. Just think of the waste eliminated by not throwing away pads and "feminine hygiene" products every single month. Most countries use washable products. Strange that it’s so uncommon in the US.

~We love our clothesline. I wait all year long for spring and summer so I can hang laundry out to line dry. I love the smell of line-dried linens and bedding. It saves a lot of energy using the sun as our dryer. 

~We use hand-me-downs. Instead of items ending up in a landfill somewhere, our family re-uses things others might throw away. We buy most of our items used and re-purpose them.

~Bath-time. There are rarely less than three little kids sharing a bath at one time. This conserves water.

~We are growing our own foods. We've had a garden for several years to grow veggies that our family consumes most. We have laying hens this year for organic eggs. As time goes by, we are learning how to be more and more self-sufficient and self-sustaining.

~We use less natural gas than most families. Larger families generally don’t need to use as much furnace heat. Because as a group, we just stay a bit warmer. On top of that, we burn wood during the colder parts of winter and this conserves electricity and natural gas.

~Nobody here uses any prescription drugs or hormone filled pills/ drugs/supplements. In other words, we aren't peeing out all that stuff into the water-stream. Just for the sake of mentioning.

~We don't have credit cards. What? What does that have to do with anything? Well we aren't cutting up plastic cards to go in the landfill every few years when new ones are issued. Something small, but still worth thinking about.

~We tend to carpool. In addition to that, we try to run all our errands in one shot so we aren't guzzling up gas going multiple places on separate days. 

~It takes the same amount of electricity to light a room for 12 people as it does for one person. Think about it. 

Let's talk honestly for a minute......

"But Michelle, I see what you drive! You drive a huge van!"

Yes, that's true. We do. We drive it 2-3 times per week in limited distances. We bought it from a company that was using it all day long, every single day. Our owning it actually means it's being driven far less than if it was sold to another industrial company, which is what was going to happen in this case.

Allegiance to the concept of GREEN, or environmentalism can really get people hyped up and angry, and even accusatory where they really lack knowledge of someone's family habits. And sometimes environmentalism creates more waste than if we'd left well enough alone.

Take for example the hard-core fanatics who want their house to be GREEN. It's a nice enough thought, but ripping out perfectly good cabinetry and flooring so you can buy "environmentally friendly" cabinets, counters and flooring, at a very hefty price tag, makes little sense to me. Because where does your old stuff go? To a landfill, of course. Stuff that was perfectly functional is now piled up in a dump. That only seems illogical to me. 

Another example is the idea of buying GREEN vehicles. It's a splendid idea, until you break down the thought process. If you want to stop driving your inefficient, gas-guzzling vehicle and buy a GREEN car, what will you do with your old car? If you junk it, it goes to a landfill. If you donate it, it may get used for certain parts to aid other cars (just like it) in getting back on the road, then go to a junk yard. But MOST people will SELL their old car because that makes more sense financially. So it's still being driven around, "polluting" the environment while you heavily financed a GREEN car in the name of being environmentally savvy, and to save a few bucks a month in gas. Well done.

I'm just not a fan of jumping on a bandwagon that doesn't actually work, so I'd never be able to call myself an environmentalist. I'm just a mom, trying to raise responsible adults who will honor God and be good stewards of all we have been blessed to manage. 

Our family isn't perfect, but when we learn better, we can do better.
Little by little, we can all make changes that are healthier for our families and our world. 
Whether a family has one child or ten children, we can all do our fair share to minimize waste and maximize efficiency.

It's certainly a goal of ours.

Friday, April 11, 2014

We've Been Busy Here! ~A Household Update

*All photos are owned by Arrows and Olives blog and may not be copied or printed without permission.

Life has flown by here at "The Manor" (which is what we call our house), and we have certainly been busy.

We've done LOADS of laundry. Literally.

We've played outside, 

gotten dirty and needed baths.

We've lost a first tooth

and celebrated a first birthday on St.Patrick's Day.

All the kids wore green for that one. 

Milo got a first-birthday muffin, which he enjoyed.

Not long after that, we celebrated a third birthday.
With a short visit to the beach

and an ice-cream cake.

Which was so amazingly delicious that we made TWO.

Yeah. That's a TON of crushed Oreos.

"Put a bite here."  Mack begged for the last piece a few days later, and said

"Mom, If you give me some, I'll go away." 

I know better than to believe a four-year old. Of course I'm not sharing.
He was shocked.

(I'm mean like that. Deal with it.)

We've had seeds sprouting on our window sill.

And a friend made super amazing raised beds out of old pallets.
(Thanks Jon!)

We trucked in a yard and a half of compost. Micah Shoveled it out of the truck and into the beds.

We got 15 baby chicks that will become our laying hens.

They live in our garage in an old pack 'n play.

They are quite cute. They will move into a coop after they grow feathers.

Over the last few months life has been full of fun, full of challenges and full of busyness. We've had school, band, choir, church, sun, rain, diapers and piano lessons. We've had visitors and sickness and cleaning. Time is going by so fast and before we know it, our new baby will be here. We will keep you updated on our gardening efforts and our chickens.

Happy Springtime!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Announcement.....

May I have your attention please.......

We are happy to announce the upcoming arrival of our sweet baby girl; another olive to be planted and an arrow added to our quiver.
We thank God for this precious gift and we are incredibly grateful for God's perfect plan. Thank you for sharing in our joy with us! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top 20 Challenges In A Large Family

These are the top 20 challenges in a  our large family

 1. Laundry
All of it. The whole thing. From beginning to end. Dear Jesus.

2. Keeping the grocery bill less than the mortgage payment

3. Dishes

4. Getting a date-night

5. Finding everyone's shoes when it's time to leave the house

6. Hiding the fact that your breath smells like chocolate

7. Explaining why your breath smells like chocolate

8. The tantrum that comes after stating why you won't be sharing the chocolate

9. Calling everyone the correct name on the first try

10. Finding a quiet place

11. Multiple toddlers and preschoolers (Need I say more?)

12. Going anywhere crowded

13. Keeping toilet paper and hand-soap filled in the bathrooms

14. Picking a 'Movie Night' movie that everyone agrees on

15. Keeping everyone's LEGO sets separated

16. Serving over 670 meals each month (No joke)

17. The house staying clean and organized for more than 3 hours

18. Finding out what *really* happened after something breaks

19. When every kid needs a shower or bath at the exact same time (Take a number!)

20. LAUNDRY. Did I mention Laundry?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

God I look to You

God I look to You, 
I won't be overwhelmed,
Give me vision,
To see things like You do

God I look to You
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom
You know just what to do

And I will love you Lord my strength
I will love you Lord my shield,
I will love you Lord my rock,
Forever all my days, I will love you God

Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reins
Forever all my days, Hallelujah

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just When I Was Ready To Panic...

Mike woke me up in the early morning; hovering over me in the darkness. If he does that, something is wrong. He never wakes me up unless there's a very good reason. It was still well before dawn, and frankly I need every ounce of "beauty sleep" I can muster.

I sat up alarmed and said "What's wrong?"

"I can't find TyTy." (He's our almost-three year old son.) "He isn't in his bed or in his room. I can't find him anywhere."

I'm fairly sure I passed a look of confusion here in the dark as my still-sleeping brain tried to register this.

"You can't find him? Where is he?" Okay, this is a dumb question, but give me some grace here. It's WAAAAY too early to ask my brain to use any problem-solving skills.

"I don't know," Mike replied. "I can't find him anywhere. All the doors are locked, so I know he's not outside."

The hunt began as I shot out of bed with my heart pounding.

We checked his room again. Nothing.  In the darkness we checked Mack's room; looked under beds, and under blankets. Not in the toy box either. We checked the laundry room where the baby sleeps. Nothing.

I hurried downstairs and made a quick pass of the living room and dining room. No kid.

Around the corner to the playroom I went. Surveying the room, I saw this three older siblings sleeping peacefully. Makenna was on the couch, the oldest two on the bunk-beds. The sliding door that leads outside was still locked. I looked under the bunk-bed. No dice.

Where could he be? Was he in a cabinet somewhere eating poison? Did he go outside and someone locked the door behind him? Did he...? Did he...? My brain was struggling to wake up.

In a moment of panic I flipped on the playroom light.

"Has anyone seen TyTy?" I asked loudly. Two kids sat up and rubbed their eyes.

"Huh?" Was the sleepy reply.

Where on earth could he be?! At this point I was praying silently in ernest; "Dear Jesus, help us find him!" And right before I was ready to panic and run through the house yelling his name and offering him cookies if he came out from wherever he was, I caught a glimpse of his fuzzy, dark head. He was curled up in Micah's bed next to the wall. I could barely see him.

"He's here," I said to Mike, relieved. Crisis averted.

Ty sat up upon hearing his name and rubbed his eyes.  Mike explained that he had to go back to his own bed. The small boy complied and got out of big brother's bed and walked to the hallway near the downstairs bathroom. In an animated voice, Ty pointed to my newly painted, yellow bathroom and said "Cheese-spider!" What on earth? Mike schlepped the toddler back up the stairs and tucked him into his own bed.

"Cheese-spider!" Ty Ty said loudly and pointed to his ceiling.

And then we understood.

If you don't have kids, you probably don't know what a cheese-spider is. Let me explain.
In the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, after Flynt Lockwood created a food-making machine, (movie 1)  his foods morphed into creative animals like tacodiles, sasquash, jellybees and shrimpanzees. One such creature is a cheese-spider made of a cheeseburger with 8 french-fry legs that spits out webs made of gooey cheese.

And our little guy had a bad dream and went down to sleep with his siblings so he could be safe. Awww

Mike assured him there was no cheese-spider in his room and it was safe to go to sleep.

And except for Mike who left for work, that's where everyone is now; back in bed, while I lay in the dark, wide awake, heart racing and very thankful.

When the sun comes up I'll be putting some sort of lock on the outside of Ty-Ty's door. It won't be a fancy lock, but I don't really care how ugly my hand-crafted lock will be as long as it's the type that keeps small kids safely in their room...

And any cheese-spiders out.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Not an Expert, or a WIZPERT

Quite a few months ago I received an email from CEO of "Wizpert," Michael Weinberg, stating that my blog may be a good fit for giving out "live" marriage/parenting advice to strangers who could connect to me through Wizpert via Skype chat. The "Wizperts" get paid for their advice after passing a trial period.

At first I thought it was a scam. I get plenty of spam and scam emails asking for this or that, and so I deleted it. But Mr. Weinberg sent a follow up email two weeks later, and my curiosity piqued.

I began to Google and saw that other bloggers were indeed adding a little blue Wizpert button to their blogs, advertising that they were qualified as experts in their field. They could connect with someone needing their particular advice through Wizpert, remain anonymous and eventually earn money for their time.

It's a novel idea, actually. And although I'm just now seeing it catch on, it could easily become the next "thing" in the world of blogging. Time will tell.

The problem for me is, I don't have time to give advice to people who may wish to connect for an "advisory" chat. I barely have time to shower. Or eat. I don't even have time to blog more than a few times a month, and I usually write in the middle of the night after waking up because of a foot cramp or needing to get up to use the bathroom.  Just look at how long it took for me to write this post. If I can spend time chatting with and advising my own kids, then I consider that pretty successful.

But I do have marriage advice to offer,  and if you care to read it, I will give it to you here FOR FREE!

Of course there are details and intricacies, there are studies and habits to work on. There is love and trust to build. But these are the very foundational basics.

Christian marriage requires submission by both partners; the husband to Christ, the wife to her husband.
~Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:21-24)

Husbands should care for and honor their wives.
~Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—  for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”    This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

~Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker sex  and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)

Wives should respect their husbands and exude an inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
~Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:1-4)

Keep the relationship growing.
~Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

~“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,  and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26, 27)

~Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Stay faithful.
~Do not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14,

~May your fountain be blessed, and may you delight in the wife of your youth....— May her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. (Proverbs 5:18, 19)

Wives are to be help meets for their husbands.
~And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an
 help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

Yup. Those are the very basic formulas for a successful Christian marriage.

Crack open the Bible and you'll get a lot of relationship and parenting advice- for free! No "self-help" books needed.

And the best part is, 

God is always available for a chat.

Friday, January 24, 2014

How and Why We Became "Those Crazy Homeschoolers"

Schooling is underway in the nation. While back in summertime some mothers were counting down the days, anxious to have their cherubs out from under foot, others had been plowing through summer lessons and math problems, science and language arts. Possibly with the hopes of taking those beginning weeks of September off, so they could hit the parks and beaches while the rest of the world was back in the swing of things. And, as any homeschooling mother knows, it's WAY easier to school through summer than to try and START back up again after 3 months of break. So here we are, in the middle of plowing through another year.

I get asked about our educational choices quite often. In fact, I get the BIG question, the one asked most often by fellow Christians:

"Do you believe it's a sin to NOT homeschool your children?"

And before I address that, I will share some of my story.

I myself only did a few years of public school in elementary grades. Junior-High through 12th grade I was educated in a private Christian school, where I received a fantastic bible-based education and a worldview that was filtered through the gospel message. My classes were tough, a thorough bible class was mandatory and the teachers prayed daily for all the students. As in any educational experience, there were teachers that I didn't like and teachers I loved. There were the same peer issues as in any school, but the curriculum being taught never put down my faith; it ENHANCED it. I graduated with a deep biblical worldview and an overall great education.

Fast forward several years and I've got a very rambunctious five year old, a three year old and zero money. Private school is OUT. We don't even have a second car at that point, so there's not even a way to drive to a private school. But there was a cute little public elementary school within walking distance from my house and it had LOADS of families from our church and even some very good teachers who are Christians. It was a no-brainer. Besides, God help me, I had to do SOMETHING with my five year old son. He was driving me NUTS. This way he would be gone for over SEVEN whole hours every. single. day.

Homeschooling? AHAHAHAHA! Why would anyone in their ever-loving-mind want to do THAT? Those folks were...uh....different. I grew up with several families who had done THAT, and well, the whole thing was WEIRD.

Homeschooling? Nope. Not for me. I pronounced the very word with a high pitched, nasally squeal in a voice that could rival Tim Curry's rendition of  Carmillita Spatts.

"Those Home-skewwwwlerths."

So, after grilling the principal on what they teach and don't teach, I felt quite comfortable turning my young, rambunctious son over to be someone else's problem for the majority of the day. And so off he went.

I remember one particular day, in the middle of kindergarten, one of Micah's classmates, Natalie, was not going to come back after winter break. Her mother said she was pulling Natalie out because she's been called to homeschool her. Was she nuts?! Why would anyone DO that? Particularly when they had such a sweet young teacher who also happened to be a Christian?

For the REST of that year, I marched my son to the bus stop, stuck him on and said to myself "Thank you GOD, for not calling ME to homeschool."


Yeah, you just see if I'll ever do that, Lord.

Crazy home-skewwwwlerths.

My kids did 3 years in public school. So I can approach what I'm going to say because I've been on both sides. The school was "good" as far as good schools go. Were there issues? Certainly. Problems? Yes. Was there persecution? A little bit.

Were they given materials I would not have approved for my home? Certainly.

Were there bad influences?




Did my kids learn bad language? Yup.

Were there problems with academics? Yes.

Discipline problems in the classroom? Absolutely.

One time my son even got into trouble for going to the bathroom for "too long." His teacher made him miss a recess and sent a note home explaining why he was punished. I had to call the teacher to explain that ten minutes in the bathroom was NORMAL for his little body. True story.

One day in particular, a big kid pulled on the backpack my five year old was wearing and after my son leaned forward to get away, the big kid finally let go, sending my little guy flying face-first into the concrete and busting his lip wide open. I got a call from the school nurse about ten minutes after the start of the day to come get him and take him to the doctor.

It was nearly impossible for me to remove my kiddos when we needed to do something else, like travel as a family, or go to the dentist. Or one day I wanted them out so we could just be together. No reason, really. I just wanted them with me that day so I went to get them out of class early. Try explaining that to a snooty office secretary.

It seemed like there were assemblies, fire-drills, earthquake and lockdown practice ALL THE TIME. I remember asking "Do you guys actually have class time where you sit at your desks and LEARN something?"

But there were good things too, like my own freedom for several hours. There was time for cleaning and laundry and running to the grocery store. There was time for showers and hair cuts and...(gasp) READING.

I could watch whatever television I wanted, or listen to "grown up" music.

I ate my breakfast in front of the TV and nobody whined "Can I have a bite?"

I could fold laundry and clean and it would stay clean until 4pm when the school bus arrived.

And suddenly it all changed.

We were moving to a bigger house about a mile away. The school would change. I hadn't heard good things about the "other" school that my kids would then be assigned to.
At that same time my good friend Christine was removing her kids from public school in order to homeschool. I remember looking at her cross-eyed and muttering something highly intelligent like


So she challenged me to YouTube everything I possibly could about home-education. Christians were doing it. Atheists were doing it. Buddhists were homeschooling. And Mormons, and Muslims and, well, nearly every walk of life and every race were taking charge of their children's learning to create an individual schooling experience. I spent over two months watching YouTube homeschool videos and I was AMAZED at the possibilities, the flexibility, and the academics. You mean we can do school WHENEVER we want? Or not at all? Yes! You mean our school day can be as long or as short as we want it to be? Yes! It could only be two hours, if we wanted. (If you add up learning time, that's really all they get in any elementary school after you remove roll-call, recesses, walking down the hallways, standing in line, lunch, discipline issues, etc.)

We can take private classes? We can go to the park for school? We can have school after dinner before bed? We can have school at Nana's house in a totally different state? Would you, could you in a box? Would you, could you with a fox?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Okay. So I hauled myself over to the library where I checked out no less than *30* books on home-education, and read them all. I read testimonies from hundreds of parents with all sorts of learning styles to accommodate. I learned about how to make a curriculum and what my state requirements were. I learned about my rights and that there are literally several million students across the US who opt out of public and private schools to educate the way they want and need to.

And so it began.

Cluelessly, I floundered through the first two years doing my best. But my kids were happier, they had better behavior (almost instantly,) they were learning tons and their faiths were growing. So I counted it as successful.

And here's where it gets tricky.

For those first few years I still hadn't learned about the SPIRITUAL commands from the Holy Lord God about parenting and educating our children. I was under the false impression that The Lord sort of left it up to me to choose their best schooling method even if that meant sending them to a public school to be taught Darwinian evolution by atheists. Even if that meant they would be presented with issues only adults should be dealing with, like sexual orientation, how to have multiple partners "safely" and whether in fact your gender can be whatever YOU decide it to be. 

I realize that there are many Christians who believe the topic of schooling is a matter of freedom in Christ. And that may very well be. We are not bound by any Mosaic or Old Testament laws, nor are we commanded by scripture specifically to homeschool. But if I'm honest with myself, I cannot find any scriptures that direct believers to place God's children under the teaching of a secular government with a humanistic world view. (I cannot even find any scripture that asks parents to have someone else teach their children!) I cannot find any biblical support that in any way recommends this, and I can only find scriptures that admonish the parents to train up our children in the ways of the Lord; to council them to walk with the wise and not to keep company with the unrighteousness. In the bible, the role of teaching is solely the parent's responsibility. As Jesus himself says; "give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." Our children belong to Almighty God, not to Caesar. Time and again, the word of God tells us our children belong to The Lord. 

As I said before, my own kids attended public school for three years, and although I received God's grace in that when I really didn't know any better, that grace was not given wholly without consequences. My kids were damaged in some areas where they would have otherwise been protected. They still remember being bullied on the bus. They remember the swear words they learned. They remember getting books from the library that were completely inappropriate that mom had to take away and call the school about. They remember people calling them "stupid" for believing in God, and they remember being frightened during lock-down drills. They remember being blamed for things they didn't do and for getting into trouble over very silly issues; like accidentally kicking a ball over the playground fence at recess.

The question isn't "Is it a sin not to homeschool?"

The real questions are:  

What are my options for education that will most glorify the Lord, enhance my childrens' faiths and lead them toward Christ? 

Is it a sin to purposefully place my Christian children under the teaching and training of  an amoral secular government and under non-Christian teachers and influences?


Is it a sin to willingly place Christian kids in an environment that deliberately teaches them things contrary to the bible?

Those are very loaded questions and ones worth looking deeply in to. The bible is clear that Christian parents are in charge of the spiritual teaching their children receive.
{see scriptures below}

For our family, it all boils down to this inescapable truth:
Our childrens' minds get trained in school. Is what's going into their mind aligning with God's word, or is it contrary? Are they being taught to place God's word foremost in their lives? Or are they taught to ignore Him?

Our children are greatly influenced by the peers and teachers we surround them with. The Bible cautions us to avoid companionship with fools. 

{Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. ~Proverbs 9:10}

{Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever! ~Psalm 111:10}

{He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed ~ Proverbs 13:20}

{Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. ~Psalm 1:1-6}

The Lord will hold us accountable for doing the absolute best we can with the options provided us. And that includes educating our children and training them in the ways of the Lord. This isn't a legalistic issue. If I'm honest, I'm not into the idea that every Christian MUST homeschool or else. There ARE situations where homeschooling is not possible. I will name a few, and we homeschooling Christians need to be very careful not to judge these families, or any families when we don't know someone's situation or why they've made certain educational decisions.

I personally know of a situation recently where the parents were going through a bitter divorce. The father abandoned the family. But because the father wanted to be vindictive, he convinced the court system to mandate that the kids be placed in public schools. They had formerly been homeschooled. It broke the mother's heart and there was nothing she could do about it. Will God judge her for not homeschoooling? I surely don't believe so. She had no other options. It was comply, or lose her kids. 

Another example is when a parent dies and there are not relatives available to care for and school the children, and the remaining parent must go to work. Although there are cases and examples where families in situations like this HAVE made homeschooling work, it's not the norm. Private Christian school is a wonderful option in many cases, but it's not always available to everyone, or affordable to the masses. 

Other women I know have longed to homeschool but their husbands have not allowed it. To those women I say; keep praying! Honoring your husband is something The Lord sees and He will bless. He hears you and knows your heart on this issue and you'll receive a bigger blessing honoring your husband's wishes than if you were to act in defiance and school the kids at home regardless of what your husband says or thinks. 

To all the Christian parents or guardians in any of these scenarios, you CAN give your children a godly upbringing and education rooted in His word, though it will be harder and take more effort than if your children were beside you all day learning from you. It may take hours of pouring over textbooks to weed out the truth from fiction. It may take extra science curriculum to teach the fallacies of Darwinian evolution. It may take extra history studies to see where God has been eliminated from historical documents. It will take deep bible study to examine what God says about men, women and His design for families. But these are things you CAN and SHOULD do; all the while training your children diligently in the ways of The Lord when you are with them. All that to say, sometimes things happen and homeschooling or Christian school isn't actually possible. And I don't believe the Lord will judge those who find themselves in these types of situations. 

The way we choose to educate our children is a very sensitive and personal topic indeed. This post isn't meant to bring guilt or shame or to convince you to change your opinion against your will. This is only meant to challenge Christian parents to delve in and investigate what the Lord says about the way we train our children, who ultimately belong to Him, and to share our personal experience having now been in both worlds.  

There are tons and tons of other reasons why a private, at-home educational experience works, but that's a whole different post, (or several that I hope to get to one day.) 

Whatever you decide to do for the education of your children, I ask you to do it purposefully and PRAYERFULLY.

{Some scriptures on children, teaching and training}

Gen. 33:5, 48:8-9; Isa.8:18; Heb. 2:13 (“Children whom the Lord has given me”)
Exodus 13:8,14; Joshua 4:20-22,24 (Teach you children what God has done).

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” ~Deut 4:9-10

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commandsthat I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~ Deut 6:1-9

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. 
~Deut 11:18-21

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. ~ Matt 18:6

All your children will be taught by the Lordand great will be their peace. ~ Isaiah 54:13

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors
 to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them even the children yet to be born,
 and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors—a stubborn and rebellious generation,whose hearts were not loyal to God,whose spirits were not faithful to him. ~ Psalm 78:1-8

As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. ~ Isaiah 59:21

**In Addition**
I strongly recommend Googling "Biblical reasons to homeschool." You'll find a wealth of information, scriptures and discussions on the topic of educational choices. Many posts that are laced with scriptural examples are far more eloquent and organized than this post here. Several I suggest are: 
Natural News
Simply Keeping Home