Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When You Rise Up: A book review

I borrowed this book, "When you Rise Up," by R.C. Sproul Jr. (RC) from a friend who recommended it highly! I immediately recognized the title from a fellow blogger's reading list and was looking forward to reading it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It challenged my thinking about homeschooling on so many levels. Now I find that several days later, I am still processing through some of the author's thoughts. There is no way I could cover every thing that is on my mind from this book! There is TOO MUCH good stuff!

Oh how I enjoy a book that challenges me to THINK! Clearly, I highly recommend this book if you are homeschooling or considering homeschooling. It will really help guide your purposes as you lay them out before God.

I will say that R.C. Sproul Jr. is extremely passionate about the responsibility of Christian parents to homeschool their covenant children. He doesn't sugar coat it and doesn't mince words. As a result, he did help me feel more secure and firm about my decision to homeschool. I may not agree with every conclusion he has drawn, but his book gave me a lot to think about.

In no particular order, here are some of the thoughts that I have been processing due to this book:

1. Psalm 78: 1-8. This passage was referred to throughout the book. What struck me from the passage was, "...Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God..."

I had never really thought about the fact that I am training my children to tell their children about God. I guess I know that, but never really pondered it deeply. I want to train my children, give them such a secure theological foundation and a biblical worldview that they can communicate and teach their own children. It is one thing to know something, yet another thing to be able to communicate it.

2. Curriculum. R.C. Sproul emphasizes that the Bible is our central curriculum. It isn't just a subject we sprinkle into the day. It isn't something we do for 10-15 minutes in the morning and check it off our list.

Once again, this is something I know, but don't always act upon. It is new to me to think of education in a biblical worldview. He emphasizes the the entire goal of academia is to glorify God and come to know Him better. I admit that I never looked at it that way in my own studies. I just did math, science, or history without seeing it as it relates to God.

I want to change this for my kids. I want them to see God more clearly as a result of their academic studies. As we study math (my personal favorite), I want them to recognize that math belongs to God. He invented math and rules over it. It is always objective and speaks truth because God is truth. Our academic studies should draw us closer to God and bring glory to Him.

In all honesty, I have a lot of praying and studying to do in this area. It was never part of my view of academics and I am not sure how to communicate it to my kids effectively, but that doesn't mean I won't pray for the wisdom to do so. This thought drives me to my knees in prayer...that my children might see God's hand in all of their studies and that I will be equip to guide them in this journey.

This is a great reason to have my children home with me and I have decided to focus on it. The local public school, while excellent in academics, can NOT give my children this sort of worldview.

3. How I measure up. R.C. Sproul challenged Christian parents to STOP measuring their children by the world's standards! He challenged homeschooling parents to stop defending homeschooling by the world's standards. It should not surprise us that homeschoolers are successful academically, but we should not feel the need to defend our choice by quoting the SAT scores of homeschoolers.

We don't homeschool because "my kids can be better than your kids, by your standards" because we aren't called to live by the world's standards. God calls me to raise Godly children who may or may not excel in the eyes of the world, but I am more interested in Godly children than smart children.

Granted, my children might be called to be brilliant doctors, Harvard Graduates, or even president one day. And I fully intend to prepare them to the best of my ability for any door God opens in their lives. I hope that by homeschooling I can better prepare them for the paths God has laid out for them.

But Harvard Graduates, brilliant doctors, and presidents are not my goal. Only God will direct those final outcomes as I prepare their hearts to follow Him completely and I educate them to walk through the doors He opens in their lives.

My goal is children who love the Lord and know the the secret to the good life is only found in following Him. In this house, we will celebrate the 6 year old who spends her own birthday money to get herself AND her little sister magnet dolls rather then getting herself two gifts. We'll rejoice in the sister who comforts and loves her brother when he falls down. And we'll encourage the child who takes compassion on those around her rather then trampling them on the way to the top. We will celebrate these moments above high reading levels and glowing math scores.

I am more convince after reading this book that having my children at home will give me an advantage in helping me equip my kids to celebrate their success in the eyes of God rather than the eyes of the world.

4. I am fully equipped! The bible declares that I am fully equipped for every good work that God has planned for me. It is my responsiblity to raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Therefore, since I feel a strong call from the Lord to homeschool my children in order to raise them in the nuture and admonition of the Lord, I can rest assured that I am fully equipped to do so.

I will NOT allow myself to believe the lies that sometimes creep into my head. I will NOT believe that the local school system can do a better job educating my child. I am fully committed to following God's calling in this area and He will equip me to do the the job my children need me to do!

I will NOT believe that some aspect of the very child God has given me is better suited for school rather than home. Too often comments I hear plant thoughts in my mind that if I have a certain type of child, they'd be better off in a school environment. I am not going to buy into it! My children are going to be successful at home with me whether they are shy, outgoing, introverted, extroverted, athletic, musical or rambuncious! God will help me to provide what they need for their individual personalities in a way that guides them to His calling on their lives.

Clearly, the book has also driven me to my knees for continual guidance while educating my children. Because the calling can be completely overwhelming as any parent can relate to.

I am going to stop there. I will add that there was SO MUCH MORE in this book but I'll never get my thoughts published at this rate! I think I will read it again over the summer to give me focus before the next year of homeschooling.


mom24 said...

Oh my, what a WONDEFUL post! I MUST read this book. I'll tell you that one of the things that I struggle with most is making the Bible the center and source of our homeschool education (and not just a piece of it). This is most difficult for me because I wasn't raised by believers in this way - dh and I are the starting point for making God's Word a legacy in our family.

For this reason, I started with Christ Centered Curriculum with J in kindergarten. It was awesome how many spiritual topics we talked about and how the curriculum gave all credit to God for every part of what was taught (phonics & math). I am using it now with Rachel also.

Not sure how to implement this as the kids get older though and I will continue to pray about it as well.

I also agree with the challenge NOT to measure our kids by the world's standards. This would be so FREEING if I would really do it, huh?? But it is sooooo true - godly children are a better goal than smart ones.

So glad I had some time to read this (my blog reading has been sparse recently...*sigh*)!! You rock, homeschool mama!

Jolanthe @ No Ordinary Moments said...

so apparently this is a book I need to read, huh? :)