Skeet Savage is a "veteran homeschooler," which, somewhat tongue in cheek, she explains, simply means that she "was homeschooling when homeschooling wasn't cool." She is also the founder of Wisdom's Gate and publisher of both Home School Digest and An Encouraging Word. I already have many books about homeschooling in my library, but I am very happy to add this one. Many of the other books are "hands-on, how-to" books, and they have a lot of useful information. In contrast, this book is divided into thirty-one devotional chapters which seem primarily designed to explain why homeschooling is the best form of education for children and to encourage those who have chosen it in their journey. Yet, the book is more. It draws from Mrs. Savage's own experiences in homeschooling her six children to provide Bible-based instructions and suggestions about how to raise children generally. Written with a gentle wit and a wisdom born of first-hand knowledge, it will challenge all parents to work at developing the kinds of attitudes in themselves that will enable them to direct their children in the ways of the Lord.
The early chapters deal with such subjects as the "perfect" homeschool family, reasons for homeschooling, homeschooling amid opposition, and finding and giving real support. Later chapters discuss tuning your child's character, biblical discipline, knowing your child by heart, and when rebellion hits home. The author also addresses topics like burnout, over-commitment, socialization, and learning to let go. While affirming, "I am a serious homeschooler. I mean it. I want you to know at the outset--I am 100% sold on homeschooling," she also warns, "However, homeschooling, itself, does not guarantee you a positive outcome....So, if you're thinking of homeschooling as the end-all, beat-all, cure-all, fix-all, I can tell you right up front--it's not." Let me give you some examples of some items that I found especially helpful.
Concerning "Finding and Giving Real Support," Mrs. Savage wrote:
There has been much discussion over the years about the nature of homeschool support groups: Should they be exclusively Christian or open and inclusive of any and all who wish to attend? I would rephrase the question: Should they be 'exclusive' or truly Christian? From what I have observed, the average American Christian is about as deep as a mud puddle and just about as pure. As a result, upon encountering one, the average American pagan has learned to sidestep them on sight. Yet, incredibly, we Christians are so worried about getting soiled by our contact with the world. What are we so afraid of? If we are convinced that we are right in all that we believe, do, and say, then what do we have to fear from someone who supposedly has less light than we claim to possess? If we have the vaccine, then what reason would we have to fear the disease? The common ground of homeschooling provides a wonderful opportunity for outreach to unbelieving families. Just start with the things you have in common. These folks obviously love their children or they wouldn't be making the sacrifices necessary to home educate them. Plan family activities together. Have a cookout. Make plans to attend a used book swap or homeschooling seminar together. Just look for ways and opportunities to minister the love of God to them in the Name of Jesus. It is a rare individual that will turn away from genuine love!
Concerning socialization, she said:
As homeschooling parents we have absolutely no Biblical admonition to 'socialize' our children. However, as mature Christians, we are called to be salt and light to this world. Homeschooling is the process by which we prepare our children to fulfill that purpose. The erroneous notion that we should send our impressionable Christian children into those pagan dens of iniquity commonly known as 'public schools' so that they can be 'salt and light' makes about as much sense as dropping them off down at the local neighborhood gay bar so that they can be a witness for Jesus--and learn tolerance to boot!
Concerning separation from the world, she noted:
Allow me to clarify something here. In speaking of our Lord's command regarding separation from the world, I'm not talking about some misguided, separatist, militia mentality that suggests we all should just head for the hills and hole up in the woods with our freeze-dried foods and ammunition. Separation from the world does not mean hiding out in the boonies where you don't have to see, or deal with, anybody (although we all have days where we would gladly settle for that interpretation!).
Rather, she remarked:
Since separation from the world is not optional for the true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, what does it mean to be separated from the world? It means you don't feed your mind on the world's junk-food quality entertainment. You don't wear their uniforms or desire their bounty. You don't worship their idols or trust in their gods. You don't sacrifice your children on their educational altars."
Another observation was made which I found interesting since it so closely mirrors the beliefs of those of us who are associated with non-denominational, New Testament churches of Christ.
Today, in order to attract folks to their 'activities,' churches have gone to incredible extremes. Some are hiring professional marketing personnel to draw up advertisements that portray the church as being (and this is a quote) 'non-condemning and user-friendly.' This 'come as you are, stay as you are' approach offers no real hope to the desperate and hurting. One church even used money out of their tithes and offerings to bring in a circus! Another sent out a flyer announcing their upcoming 'Bible' school (though, I must confess, I have yet to find the following scenario in the Bible) that advised parents to have their children wear old clothes to church (here comes another quote) 'where there will be face painting by the clowns at the church.' (Look, folks, don't get mad at me. I'm not name-calling-that's their wording!) Think about that for a moment though-that is exactly what the world calls us; why would we want to give them ammo?
The advertisement goes on... 'Meanwhile, the teens are all invited to participate in the paint balloon fight that will take place out on the church lawn.' (I'll bet that really blessed the folks driving by!) The ad didn't say what the adults would be doing and I just shudder to think of the type of nonsense they are probably involved in!
To what are we attracting people with this kind of a process? How does any of this speak to a lost and dying world about Jesus? In what way are people being drawn to our God, or lifted out of their suffering, or called to forsake their sins and change their wicked ways? The world is not impressed by these types of shenanigans.
Here are a few other recommendations for the book. "Homeschooling for Eternity is a must-read for all Christian parents, including those who don't homeschool their children. Skeet Savage brings her vast knowledge of Scripture to bear on the foundational principles of child rearing." (Lee Webb, news anchor CBN News). "Warm, wise, and often witty, Homeschooling For Eternity gives those of us who are still in the middle of our homeschooling journey encouragement and reassurance." (Bruce N. Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools). "Homeschooling for Eternity is a must-read for all homeschool families who are serious about raising their families for God's glory." (Christopher Klicka, Senior Counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association). "Skeet Savage excavates for a sure foundation for teaching and training our children to be 'faithful servants of the Lord, seeing as God sees.'" (Brian and Betsy Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute).
In conclusion, the crux of the book is expressed in the following paragraph. "How can we, as Christians, live in and reach out to this sick world, yet, maintain a safe and peaceful environment for our families? Is it possible to live purposefully and effectively for the Kingdom, or is life just a mere game of chance recklessly played against gambler's odds?" While there may be a few specific statements with which not everyone will necessarily agree, I believe that if you are convinced that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," for the most part Skeet Savage draws broad, general principles from Bible teaching that will help you to answer those questions.