Home Schooling: The Ultimate Missionary Venture
Home School Legal Defense Association's first venture into the international arena was launched with the formation of HSLDA of Canada, Ltd.
Canada is, of course, a close neighbor, and as children of a common mother, we share many traditions and legal principles. We are greatly encouraged to be able to begin helping home schoolers in Canada, who have many similar legal problems to the ones we experience here in the United States.
Canada is not the only country from which we have received requests to provide legal assistance to home schoolers. We have had urgent requests from Germany for legal assistance. Home schoolers from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and even Ethiopia have sought our help in the past.
Our venture into Canada causes us to think more broadly about home schooling in other nations. It specifically causes us to focus on our ultimate international goal: We would like to see families all over the globe raise godly children.
Achievement of this goal will require a missionary endeavor. Home schooling could play an important role in missionary efforts in two different ways.
First, the predominant form of education for missionary children should be home education. More than anything else, missionaries need to model godly family living. How can this be accomplished if their children are hundreds or thousands of miles away at school? Some mission boards try to limit home schooling by their missionaries. Others tolerate it—barely. This unfortunate trend must be reversed.
A recent letter we received from India gave me a second idea for home-schooling missionary efforts. We have been corresponding with a physician from India about home schooling. He has not been seeking legal help—he wants educational instruction for potential home-schooling families. In effect, he wants home-schooling missionaries to come to India to help train mothers to home school their children. He sees the benefits of home schooling and desires these results for the children in his country. I believe such efforts could be possible in many other nations as well. We are all familiar with the concept of a medical missionary. A doctor or nurse uses medical skills to help people while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are also familiar with teachers who become missionaries. They use their vocational skills as an introduction to the people so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will ultimately be advanced. Home-schooling parents have a vocation that can be put to valuable use in other countries. We can train mothers and fathers to have sufficient skills to teach their children at home successfully. This “vocation” can be used just as a physician uses his medical skills to gain the confidence of the people and introduce them to Jesus.
Rather than perceiving home schooling as a detriment to missions, a creative missions agency can ride the tide of the greatest revival effort of our day—family discipleship through home education. Such missionaries would not be sent out to advance home education any more than medical missionaries are sent out to advance medicine. All are using their skills to advance God's Kingdom and His principles.
The primary reason many American Christians have embraced home schooling so enthuseastically lies in the discovery that it is the very best way to our children in godliness. The academic success of home schooling is simply the icing on the cake.
If we truly want to obey Christ's command to "disciple all nations," we should be rapidly exporting the very best discipleship training program of all time—home schooling.
Mission boards—are you listening?
Michael P. Farris