the weblog of Alan Knox

Raising missional homeschooled children

Posted by on Jun 6, 2011 in blog links, missional | 17 comments

Raising missional homeschooled children

My friend Wes at “a mission-driven life” has written an excellent article called “Missional Homeschooling.”

This post is a much needed correction to much that I’ve seen in homeschooling, primarily the desire to separate children from the world. Yes, we are to teach our children about God, both by our words and by our example. However, we cannot do this if we keep our children separated from the world.

Why? Because God loves the world, and he is sending us into the world. However, if we separate our children from the world, we are teaching them something that is contrary to God’s plan.

Here’s just one of the excellent paragraphs from Wes’ article:

Missional, as I define it, means the church being the church in its given cultural context. It means engaging the culture with the life-giving gospel holistically in the very neighborhoods where its members reside. Homeschools, as embodiments of the gospel and their local church to their neighbors, are providentially placed for taking their neighborhoods by storm. You may have various reasons for choosing to homeschool, but having made that choice, allow God to use you in reaching your neighbors. You will do this by example, in loving truth and learning, but most importantly in physically demonstrating your love for others, through both actions and the verbal proclamation of the gospel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-6-2011

    I stared off as a secular homeschooler. When I returned to faith we had plenty of unsaved connections in the local homeschooling world. I have never really connected with the Christian homeschoolers. They were usually big on curriculum and we were happily unschooling.

    My goal was never to homeschool for isolation purposes. I know God wants us to be plugging in and rubbing shoulders with the culture. How else can we reach them?

    We lost our apartment and had to move back home with my parents. Right across the street new neighbors moved in. Two lesbian moms with three or four little kids. They were younger than my daughter at the time but of course she was interested in connecting with them. The couple were delighted to have her come by.

    I saw it as a big sign from God “This is your mission field, bloom and blossom where you are planted. You cannot pull away into insulated isolation.” At the same time a more radical alternative family had joined my homeschooling support group. The Christians turned tail and RAN. It was so sad.

    My daughter and I befriended the family and they are serving God now six years later. I do not think it is because of us. I do know we were there to watch unlike the Christians who assumed it was contagious.

  2. 6-6-2011

    Alan, again, thanks for the link. I’m looking forward to see how folks have done this well, and what lessons people have learned. I need wisdom!

  3. 6-6-2011

    I think this is very important. We have not had much success in our neighborhood. The culture in our part of the world is not condusive to doing much with the people who live around you.

    We have had a lot of success by me going to a near bye high school and getting involved with Student Venture there. Some of the kids and their families get involved with my family and it goes from there. It is really a awesome blessing for everyone in my 11 member family. Since we are meeting as a church simply with the vision of seeing a multiplication movement of God’s Kingdom this works really well. I get to see my kids making disciples right along with me!

  4. 6-6-2011


    Thanks for sharing that awesome story!


    Thanks for a great post! Like I said, it’s a much needed correction to what I generally hear from homeschooling parents and enthusiasts (well, the Christian ones at least).


    I’ve found the same difficulty in our neighborhood. So, like you, we help our children love and serve other neighbors.


  5. 6-6-2011

    Alan, ToscaSac,

    Both of you mention homeschoolers who were not explicitly Christian. I figured that there are some folks who see the value in homeschooling who are not Christians. What experiences have you had? What are some reasons why non-Christians have for homeschooling their children? (I guess we could also find Christians who don’t homeschool their children in a specifically Christian way, but that’s another question for another day.)


  6. 6-6-2011


    I linked this time to my local secular homeschooling support group of over 300 members. During my time involved with them I found families homeschool for a myriad of reasons. Many if not most are well educated and dissatisfied with public school offerings.

    Some families have mild to severe special needs they are dealing with. Others like myself just stumble upon an idea as they begin to have children. I always assumed I would send my children to school as I went. That is until my daughter was born and I found myself attachment parenting.

    I went from extended nursing and being a stay at home mom even tho I am and was single to skipping pre school and then kindergarten.

    Homeschooling and Christianity are life style choices not educational or faith options alone. For either to work most effectively they must encompass families as a life style.

    We know atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Pagans and other decidedly non Christians who are homeschooling. If I found a supposedly Christian family was homeschooling secular I would question their salvation.

  7. 6-6-2011


    Thank you for entertaining my curiosity. I sincerely appreciate it. It’s especially helpful to be reminded of the parents who are forced to homeschool because their kids have special needs. Wow…what a ripe opportunity for the church to minister!

    Another question: Did/do you find that non Christian/secular homeschoolers are open to or hostile to Christians?


  8. 6-6-2011


    ToscaSac covered it. I would just say that Christians aren’t the only people concerned about educating their children and concerned about the state of public education.


  9. 6-7-2011

    Sadly I found the Christians to be the hostile ones who could not get along with their “neighbors” as it were. The most visible religion among us was Mormonism. People would only bristle if someone tried to assert their beliefs in a position higher than those who did not share them. This causes a lot of hurt feelings and every time it came up if I listened people would share their painful stories.

  10. 6-7-2011

    Great topic. We have found that we are building good relationships and sharing our faith through recreational soccer and football. We moved here about 7 years ago and signed our oldest up for soccer to burn off some of his energy! As I got to know a few people, someone mentioned, “you’re the only homeschoolers who join sports teams”. I know that’s not the case everywhere, but around here the homeschooling movement was very much about separating and was somewhat anit-sports. Anyway, we allow our 5 kids to choose one organized sport per year so it doesn’t overwhelm our lives, and that choice alone seems to be empowering to many non-Christian AND Christian parents who run from dance to ball to this to that year-round. We also get time for deeper conversations when we are all stuck at practices in our sports chairs each evening. : )

    We have also made good friends at a local nursing home, where we visit and hang out each Friday afternoon. We visit and bring a small gift to all of our immediate neighbors each December, which, although it took about 6 years, has actually established the start of relationships. The Lord actually “encouraged” : ) our missional living the most when we bought this house 7 years ago that we never would’ve bought had a whole series of circumstances not happened, the result being that we live on a major road that everyone in the community passes by on, and everyone knows what we are doing pretty much every day. My introverted husband calls it “the fishbowl”. We’ve had opportunities and experiences that have really stretched our faith and moved us toward an even more missional life.

  11. 6-7-2011


    That’s sad. We’ve run into some of that, but many of our homeschooling Christian friends take advantage of opportunity after opportunity to serve their neighbors.


    Wow! It looks like God has given you many, many opportunity to serve him and others! Thank you for sharing part of your story with us.


  12. 6-10-2011

    My daughter and I are presnting a workshop at the Arizona Families for Home Education on Missional Homeschooling this coming July. Good to see others are also thinking about the intersection of missional living and home schooling.
    Colene Lewis

  13. 6-11-2011

    Here’s a link to the website of a friend’s family

    We are a family of 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, and we found home schooling to be the best way to be discipled.

    As you might imagine, and if you have seen me around the Internet, you will know the subject of your post is a H=U=G=E topic for me; thank you SOOO much for talking about it!

    “They will know You are my disciples by your love for one another” and “Let love be without dissimulation” are two key phrases for us as a family that drive us to be missional in various ways:

    We try to love everyone the same. Specifically: As a family that takes Deuteronomy 6 as God’s explicit instructions as to how to perpetuate his Kingdom, we find whatever way we can to walk through life NOT ONLY with each other (the classic home school view) but also with “whosoever will,” i.e., loving without dissimulation… of course it’s balanced with discernment, discretion, being in the world but not of the world, etc. but we really really try not to let ourselves miss any opportunity to start conversations and make friends.

    Practically speaking this means we purposefully make time to talk to people on the street, across the fence, in Walmart, in the convenience store… and not to push a tract in their hand or a guilt trip down their throats, but just to love on them.

    Guess what? Shopping trips can take a lot longer, but we build relationships that lead to deeper and deeper conversations… usually starting with how do you… then how do you… and eventually to why do you… which along the way leads us to Jesus. We joke about going to Costco for fellowship and Walmart as a mission field. Stereotypically, folks in Costco usually are too snooty to engage unless they have a large family, too; most of the WYSIWYG folks in Walmart love to socialize : ) One location we need to take advantage of more once we get more established in our home and construction is done is a local flea market where there are tons of opportunities for open-ended conversation. I get through their once a week in the warm weather and hope to get some relationships going this year.

    As our children have become older, we have involved ourselves as a family with troubled kids, then teens, then young adults by having them in our home and in recent years by getting involved in street / urban / homeless ministries.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we try to make our home open all the time to everyone – not to entertain, but to let them join in the Deuteronomy 6 walk.

    God help us all to keep stretching and growing!

    Twitter and Facebook: JohnTheDisciple

  14. 8-1-2011


    In your brief introduction you made the point that we cannot teach our children about God if we keep them separated from the world (i.e., home schooled). My experience, however, tell me otherwise. Many of the most godly families I know have home educated their children (there‘s always exceptions, of course; I am speaking generally). On the other hand, a vast majority of Christian teens who attend public school will either walk away from the faith or are spiritually immature and much more concerned about “fitting in“ than expanding the kingdom of God. Obviously we should teach our children to be missional, regardless of whether or not we send them to government schools, but I simply do not understand the argument that immersion into the government school system is necessary for our children’s sanctification. Perhaps I misunderstood you.

  15. 8-1-2011


    The statement about keeping our children separated from the world is not about homeschooling/public school. We homeschool our children, so we obviously think it is a very good choice. However, we do not isolate our children from the world.


  16. 8-1-2011

    Thanks for the clarification, brother Alan.

  17. 8-1-2011


    If you haven’t yet, read Wes’ original post.



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