Baptists start homeschooling organization

By Ron Strom

Hoping to increase the influence of homeschoolers within the Southern Baptist Convention, a group of home educators have begun a new organization in the wake of the denomination’s rejection of a resolution urging Baptists to pull their kids out of government schools.

The Southern Baptist Church and Home Education Association hopes to serve as a national voice for homeschoolers in the denomination.

“We have submitted our request to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to officially endorse us as a Southern Baptist ministry,” Said co-founder Elizabeth Watkins, who resides in Allen, Texas. “That would enable us to participate in any Southern Baptist function.”

Watkins says it was obvious during the debate over the education resolution that Southern Baptists homeschoolers did not have a voice with policy-makers.

“No one asked us homeschoolers what our opinion of the resolution was,” she told WND.

The resolution, written by Baptist activists Bruce N. Shortt and T.C. Pinckney, called on the millions of members of the denomination to take their kids out of public schools and either homeschool them or send them to Christian schools. The SBC voted down the resolution at its annual convention in June.

Watkins says though the group now is blossoming, she has been working for years on putting it together.

“This is something I’ve been doing research on for almost two years. Because of the debate over the Christian education resolution, I wrote an essay,” she explained.

That essay got the attention of several homeschooling advocates who have helped and encouraged Watkins.

“God just really opened doors for us this summer,” she commented.

Watkins says her group hopes to exhort Baptists parents, even those who send their children to government schools, to home educate at some level – “whether they do it after school, part-time, full-time … we want [the organization] to be open to anyone.”

The greatest emphasis, however, is helping homeschool families with co-op learning, dual-enrollment situations with colleges, apprenticeships and internships.

“We are hoping to be an umbrella association to cover many models of education,” she commented.

The group hopes to serve as a liaison between Baptist colleges and homeschool high-schoolers. As more homeschooled children come of age, colleges and universities have activity recruited high-school graduates who were educated at home.

Watkins also noted the organization plans to establish a network of retired Christian teachers to provide a tutoring service for homeschooling families.

So what is the organization’s message to Baptists who send their children to public school?

“We want to let them know of the dangers in government schools,” Watkins said, “including the secular humanism and relativism being taught.”

Related stories:

Baptists kill anti-public-school resolution

Fate of Baptist resolution revealed today

Baptist resolution gets critical endorsement

Baptist activists: Pull kids out of school