Are You Teaching in a Pre- or Post-1963 Home School?
In the fateful year of 1963, prayer was no longer welcome in public schools. With its decision in the case of Abington Township School District v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively banned school officials from organizing or leading prayers and devotional Bible reading in public schools. Many people point to this as a major watershed moment in the history of our country when American society entered a post-Christian era.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
I attended public school in the 1960s and ’70s. During that time my fellow students and I recited the pledge of allegiance to the flag (at least through sixth grade), but I never heard a teacher or student pray in class. Later, as a young adult, I came to understand the ramifications the 1963 decision had for my own life, and I would occasionally wonder what school might have been like if group prayer had been part of the experience.
Of course, the bumper stickers say that as long as teachers give tests, there will always be prayer in school. But kidding aside, each year public schools become less and less tolerant of prayer, Bible reading, morality, and Christianity in general. Sure, there are glimpses of hope in the “Meet Me at the Pole” prayer day held each year on the first Thursday in May and the “See You at the Pole” gatherings each fall. But let’s face it, one or two days of “recognized” prayer just doesn’t cut it. Even daily silent prayers, when allowed, are not exactly promoting spiritual growth among the student population.
Now let’s shift gears and talk about home education. As a homeschooling parent, you are in a position of authority in your school. For the most part, you are able to choose the curriculum, set the school calendar, plan the weekly schedule, organize activities, administer discipline, and arrange the school menus. In other words, you’re in charge of pretty much everything!
So my question to you is this: Does your school include organized prayer? Not just a quick, “Thank you, God, for this day. Please help make it a good one. See you at dinner.” No, I’m talking about making time for the parents to pray before the day gets rolling. Time to pray for and with the kids in the morning. Time to gather the entire family regularly for worship in the evening. Time to tuck the little ones in bed and say some sweet, sincere, and meaningful prayers with them. Is prayer welcome, alive, and well in your home school?
Is yours a pre- or post-1963 school? Even if you already make prayer a regular part of your home school routine, I hope you never take it for granted. Millions of students across America will not hear a single prayer during the course of their education, while others hear only a few cursory prayers from administrators who mock the one true God or serve other gods entirely.
James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous person avails much. So when you gather your family to pray during this school year, pray fervently. Remember that you are privileged to pray without restriction, without reprimand, and without persecution. Pray with faith. Pray with purpose. Pray for other homeschooling families. Pray for students and teachers in private schools and public schools. Pray for America. Pray for other countries. Pray in the name of Jesus Christ. And keep on praying.
© 2017 Davis Carman
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, God, based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path, an ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.