If you homeschool your children, you may wonder if your new church membership will affect that in any way.
The church is officially neutral on the subject of homeschooling. They consider the method of education of children to be the responsibility of the parents. It is, of course, necessary for parents to provide education, and to provide it legally.
“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;”
Many LDS homeschoolers take this as their guiding principle for homeschooling. A house of learning certainly describes a good homeschool. Using the best books and teaching our children not just to receive an education but to seek knowledge will keep our house of learning gospel-focused.
Some states don’t allow you to count religious education in your required number of hours. However, you can still include religion in all your teaching. When teaching controversial topics, teach both sides, but then help your children find out what the church teaches on the subject. For instance, when I taught my children about evolution, I included creation as one of the options for how the world began, as well as evolutionary creation. We explored all the ideas of man and God and then went to the Institute of Religion manual for a definitive answer: “While it is interesting to note these various theories, officially the Church has not taken a stand on the age of the earth. For reasons best known to Himself, the Lord has not yet seen fit to formally reveal the details of the Creation. Therefore, while Latter-day Saints are commanded to learn truth from many different fields of study (see D&C 88:77–79), an attempt to establish any theory as the official position of the Church is not justifiable.”
There was more in the discussion, and we used it to help the children come to their own conclusions, but to point out the important part wasn’t how it was created, but who created it and why. This is something your children can’t learn in a public school, but fits nicely into a scientific study of the origins of the earth.
The church gives your children the opportunity to have experiences non-homeschoolers are likely to think your children need. They have the opportunity to learn from other adults, sit still in a formal classroom, attend social events, hold leadership positions as teenagers, and expand their horizons. Because the church is so extensive, your children can find many opportunities for growth outside the home.
Everyday gospel activities in the home can be counted towards educational experiences—reading scriptures, leading the music in family home evening, conducting family council and so on.
The restored gospel is an ideal foundation on which to build your new and improved LDS homeschool.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.