When You Rise Up

When You Rise Up

A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling

by R. C. Sproul Jr.
Publisher: P&R Publishing
Trade Paperback, 142 pages
List Price: $9.99 Our Price: $7.50

For R.C. Sproul Jr., the issue of education is always the heart and education is discipleship. Looking to the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), he argues that parents are the only fit, God-appointed teachers of their children. This responsibility goes beyond teaching kids to read and write and embraces training their hearts and minds in godliness.

He seems to imply morality and doctrine are the only appropriate topics for study, and that academic study is irrelevant at best, and at worst pernicious. He insists that's not the case, that academic excellence is a logical result of the pursuit of spirituality, but often his protestations fall flat.

Especially when he sets up this false dichotomy—would you rather have a child who graduates Harvard summa cum laude to become involved with the Council for Secular Humanists, or one who never finishes high school and becomes a godly garbage man leading his family in righteousness? He hurriedly admits we don't have to make that choice, but then we wonder why he brings up such an absurd analogy in the first place.

Such moments are common when reading When You Rise Up. One feels Sproul wants homeschooling to be right because his own kids were homeschooled. He camps on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, referring to the verses whenever he's at a loss, and recycles arguments over and over like an Irishman protesting his sobriety.

There's a lot to agree with. Sproul affirms all subjects are objective because when properly taught they evidence God's truth, and his position that education is mostly about raising children with godly character is excellent—we simply hope the case will be argued better in the future, with less dogmatism and more reasonable and Scriptural proofs.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Unevenly argued, pietistic
Summary: A defense of home schooling that suggests Christian doctrine is the only appropriate subject for our children's education.

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  When You Rise Up
Albanyaloe of South Africa, 10/10/2011
If you're considering homeschooling, then this may be the book to read. It hits right to the core Biblical reasons for homeschooling. The author explains how homeschooling fulfills God's commands to parents in Deuteronomy 6: 6-7, and expounds practically how you go about living it out. I recommend this book to all new homeschoolers, but also to those who need new vision and purpose.

Whilst I did not agree with everything the author wrote (does one ever?), we found this book helped us in beginnning our journey to homeschool when we started years ago. We certainly did not find it a list of difficult things to do, rather, it enabled us to form our own vision for homeschooling, and gave us confidence that Gods Word is the same yesterday, today and always. I see a previous reviewer found some dubious information about the author. I have not searched for any, but we received our copy free from a company called Doorposts may years ago. They heartily recommended it.
  Keep Homeschooling in Focus
Daniel of Oregon, 4/16/2011
This book is a good refresher in the reasons for Christian homeschooling. R.C. Jr. does a good job of reminding us that if we have children, God will help us teach them well, and that their relationship with God should be our first priority, even though academics are also important.
He also gives some Bible-based structure for what we should teach, including "What is God?" "What has God done?" and "What does He require?"
As someone who already plans on homeschooling, I found this book encouraging. It reminds me that we are involved in a "culture war," and that the education issue is a very important battle for Christians. The state educational system in our current culture, with all its resources and "experts," cannot and will not do the job God has called ME to do: teach my children to know, love, and serve their Creator.
  Poor Argumentation
Mystie Winckler of WA, 2/18/2011
This is one of those books that makes me not want to homeschool (or make my own bread, or get chickens, and certainly never sew my own dresses), just so it’s clear I am not “one of those people” who think this lifestyle is the One Way of godliness.

His one argument is that Deut. 6 commands parents — and only parents — to teach their children from the time they rise up until the time they lay down (thus excluding sending them to school). Therefore, if God has given you children, he has also called — and commanded — you to homeschool. He hasn’t given you the responsibility of educating your children, it isn’t only that He will hold you accountable for how your children are educated, but He requires that you be the sole educator of your children.

Every counter example or position against his own argument was a complete straw man. He never seriously engaged with any arguments against his own, and his conviction that God requires homeschooling meant that every answer came down to, “We must believe God rather than man.” It was his trump card, and he pulled it out every time — who needs compelling and balanced persuasion when God Has Spoken?

I didn’t actually disagree so much with many of his statements, as much as the way he presents them and argues for them. On many of his positions — such as education is not and cannot be neutral — I don’t disagree, but I did not find the way he argued for them to be compelling at all. And many of the things he said along the way bothered me immensely. For example, he said one much not know more than the one being taught in order to teach. There are better ways to alleviate perceived inadequacies, but he goes so far as to deny inadequacy is relevant. Inadequacy in loving God, loving your children, or disciplining your children are problems every parent must work against. Academic inadequacy? Sproul Jr. simply shrugs his shoulders. Doesn’t really matter, so long as you teach them to be faithful.

His rhetoric is sloppy, and his whole style throughout is conversational. Conversation allows for tangents to not be tied in, for segues to be unclear, for arguments to be personal rather than logical.

This book will encourage and strengthen those who already agree with Sproul Jr.’s vision of the family, but I can’t see it actually evangelizing non-homeschoolers (which he admits is his goal — even using the word ‘evangelize’).
  Good Book, Bad-boy Author
Schoolingathome, 10/17/2008
I used to think this was a good book. Then I loaned my copy of When You Rise Up to a friend. She did a web search on R.C. Sproul Jr's name and what a surprise that turned out to be! I didn't know that he'd been defrocked, and he was defrocked over some really bad things too. I won't recommend his book again to anyone else. Too much risk of causing confusion with my friends that I'm trying to talk in to homeschooling. There are better books by people who haven't been in so much trouble.