How many times have you been accused of sheltering your children from the real world because you homeschool? After experiencing this confrontation numerous times, I finally realized an important fact my accusers were ignoring. They sheltered their children from the real world, too. Most caring parents draw a line and set limits on what they allow their children to experience. The only difference between my sheltering and theirs was that I had simply drawn our children's line in a different place. R-rated movies, magazines and books that promoted sex outside of marriage, violent video games, and other activities that violated God's Word were not a part of our family life. The standards I wanted to set were for training in righteousness, not for training in the ways of the world.

Learning how to be in the world but not of it is difficult for Christians both young and old. The unbelieving community sees us as trying to live "holier than thou," but sometimes we must allow God to sanctify us by removing ourselves from the temptations that would lead us into sin. God even commands us to run away (flee) from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14) "and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11). However, Jesus also gave us the example of reaching the lost by meeting them in their homes and on the streets. Finding the balance between loving the lost and not getting caught in sin takes discernment and wisdom that comes from studying God's Word, praying, and listening to the Holy Spirit.

So, how much do you shelter your children from the evil in the world without quenching the redemptive work of Christ? After all, as Christians, we are to be salt and light. My answer to that question came one day while gardening. The Master Gardener showed me that if I transplanted my seedlings that I started inside the house into the outside garden too soon, they would die from the exposure to the elements. However, if I moved them at the right time and carefully nurtured the seedlings for a time with extra protection and fertilizer, they would grow into strong, healthy plants that would not only resist bugs, heat, and hail, but also produce an abundance of fruit. Don't let anyone's sheltering argument convince you to transplant your precious homeschooling seedlings too early!

Lord, give me discernment to hear Your voice on how to homeschool my children, so they are effective witnesses for You. Help me to ground them in Your Word and fertilize them with Your truths, so they not only survive in the world, but also flourish and change it. In Jesus' name, Amen.