Homeschooling: The Issue of Finances
From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase
Part five of a series. Read part four.
Trusting in God’s provision rather than focusing on worldly prosperity is vital for homeschooling families. This is not merely a pious platitude but a command of God – and one of His greatest blessings.
Over the years I have spoken with many parents who are considering homeschooling, but wonder if they can afford it. Most often this fear stems from the fact that both father and mother earn an income from a job outside the home, and wonder if the loss of one of those incomes will sink the household financially.
Parents Must Stop Thinking Like the World
It is usually the mother who would be giving up a job outside the home in order to facilitate homeschooling her children. What I am about to say is entirely counter-cultural to say the least, but I believe on the basis of the Word of God it needs to be said.
The thinking of the Christless world-system has even many Christian women convinced that they are worthless unless they have a position, title, and salary outside the home. Sadly, the visible church often reinforces this false notion. I have even heard and read self-described Christian commentators who say that the “Proverbs 31 woman” is the “Christian professional woman” or even the “Christian feminist.” Christian women working outside the home is, in the vast majority of cases, principally a matter of expectations and appearances, of acceptability in a world with a perverted value system, and not a matter of true necessity.
The same world-system thinking has many men convinced that they need not be the sole provider for the household. But in 1 Timothy 5:8 we read that “if anyone does not provide for the needs of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” The original language is clearly masculine, speaking of the male(s) of the household. The word translated “provide” is the Greek pronoei, which speaks of provision for the household through forethought and planning. It is a key aspect of genuine male headship in the home.
If prospective homeschool parents are truly economically dependent on two incomes – or at least perceive themselves to be – it is often because they have chosen to place themselves in that position. It will take forethought and planning to make the transition to the Biblical model of male providership in order to facilitate homeschooling. It will require taking a Biblically honest look at what is really important in life, and what truly honors God.
I can tell you based on many personal contacts that couples who have prayerfully committed themselves to making the transition to male providership have often found it less painful than they anticipated, and have been amazed at the Lord’s provision for their needs. Often parents find that many of the expenses they are able to reduce or eliminate stem from worldly involvements that clear-eyed, Spirit-led examination convinces them they must abandon for their own good, and their children’s – even apart from the homeschooling question.
“But We Still Pay Taxes”
Some object to homeschooling because the parents of homeschool children continue to pay the taxes that support the public school system, but receive no benefit from it. But how can any Bible-believing Christian see sending a child to public school as a “benefit”?
Also, we all pay taxes for many things from which we do not personally benefit, and often in present-day society for things to which we as Christians firmly object on Biblical grounds, such as government-funded abortion. But the same was true in Jesus’ days on earth. The Caesars and kings of Israel in that time were some of the most pagan, ruthless, bloodthirsty men who ever ruled nations. But Jesus’ instruction could not have been more clear: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Part of “rendering unto God” for Christian parents is to take personal spiritual responsibility for their children’s education.
Creative Approaches to Curricula
Many parents are concerned about the cost of homeschool curricula. Some of the packaged programs are quite expensive, and at times we cannot help wondering if the producers see their work primarily as an activity to enrich themselves or to enrich the people of God and their children. But there are many choices that are not as expensive. For example, homeschooling parents whose children have finished a particular grade level often offer their used materials to others, in perfectly acceptable condition, at a greatly reduced price.
There are many other lower-cost options. This is an area in which I have seen parents become very creative, and their children have benefited. There are many online sources, as well as Christian homeschooling conventions, umbrella groups, and other support groups, that can aid parents in this.
Seek, and Rest in, God’s Provision
Finally, let me encourage both present and prospective homeschooling parents to trust in the Lord’s provision. That is not merely a pious platitude, the Word of God shouts it to us again and again. For example, in Psalm 37 David’s theme is that the one who trusts in God need not look at the prosperity of the unbelieving, but must focus instead upon the Lord’s provision:
Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday….
A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives. For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. (Psalm 37:1-7, 16-27)
Dr. Paul M. Elliott is a founder and president of TeachingTheWord Ministries, and the regular speaker on The Scripture-Driven Church broadcast.
Raised in a Christian home, Dr. Elliott came to personal saving faith in Christ at an early age in the 1960s. He was a manager and consultant in the business world before God called him to the ministry. A frequent conference, seminar, and pulpit speaker, he holds a doctorate in Biblical interpretation, and has written six full-length books and hundreds of articles and booklets.
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