Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homeschooling. . . Now This Makes Sense. . . .


What took the longest on this post was coming up with a title. I've got the sneaky suspicion that anything I write in that title slot is going to get me in trouble with somebody. I've settled for what it says up there. . . so let's move on. . .

Homeschooling. . . to be honest, the topic has sometimes driven me nuts. Over the years, I've had aggressive and offensive/defensive homeschoolers come at me hard. I've stood at the front of the room fielding questions at the end of a seminar where I know that warring factions are in the room and I'm being set up. I avoid those arguments like the plague. My standard answer and position is this: "Different kids thrive in different kinds of schooling." I also tell people that my kids all went to public school. Christian/Private school options were not affordable. If we had chosen homeschooling, you would have read about our family in the newspaper.

What always concerned me the most was the "why" behind homeschooling. I've seen and heard from an overwhelming number of people who believed that 1)homeschooling was the only "Christian" option; 2) homeschooling is a clear indicator of parental love and a close family; 3) homeschooling guarantees good outcomes; 4) homeschooling keeps kids from being poisoned by the world; 5) etc. I've never bought it. . . any of it. Theologically and biblically you just can't make the case. These attitudes have troubled me deeply. I've also seen too many sheltered homeschooled kids who either couldn't function in the world, or who blew up later in life. The real issue for all kids - homeschooled or not homeschooled - is the darkness in their hearts. . . just like the rest of us. Too much of the homeschooling culture has reminded me of the Pharisees. Fact is, no kid is immune from cultural influence. Still - and people need to hear this - I think homeschooling can be done in the right spirit and that it is the best option for some kids. I could say so much more.

This last week, a friend informed me of an article that a Christian school headmaster had posted on the school's website. The title caught my attention: "Solving the Crisis In Homeschooling: Exposing the Seven Major Blindspots of Homeschoolers." At first glance, it might look like an attack from outside the Homeschool community. Rather, it is written by someone from within. It's a noble and honest article that wrestles with biblical and practical realities. It's worth a read. . . not just if you're a homeschooler who's got your head in the sand. . . but if you're a Christian parent who's got your head in the sand. . . or a Christian parent. . . or someone like me who needs to be reminded of these things.

Give it a read. This is helpful stuff.

5 comments:

Meredith said...

as a youth pastor, and as one who grew up homeschooled (until i went to high school) this is a tremendous article.

even without the homeschooling aspect, it's very rich in parenting discussion fodder as well.

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

"If we had chosen homeschooling, you would have read about our family in the newspaper."

I love it. I actually laughed out loud.

Matt said...

My wife and I have been considering homeschooling simply because the education system largely has become a joke. My sister-in-law (a 5th grader) had to switch from private to public school this year, and there is a lot she is learning this year that she learned last year in private school (Catholic).

While the "sheltering" factor has entered our discussions, we know it's impossible to protect anyone from everything. For us, it's more a question of educational quality.

Anonymous said...

I have read the article, heard the speaker in person and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has many many wonderful points. I hope all homeschoolers will read it and take what it says to heart. Homeschooling will not save your children and it as an idol proves faulty. Isolation is certainly not the solution as God calls us to community and with all the body of Christ not just other "families". Having said that, I have always homeschooled our 3 children which range from elementary to high school age. I know there are stereotypes out there and some unbiblical models ....but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and don't assume all homeschoolers are alike. It's wrong to assume all homeschoolers are the same as it is wrong to assume all parents who send their children to public school just can't love their children. Our children are homeschooled, but we do not hunker down and bar the doors...they are very involved with our PCA church, attend youth group, and don't even wear dresses ha!.....so Walt, please, brother in Christ, don't be hasty in your judgements.

Again, it is a great read and Reb Bradley handles the subject beautifully. Thanks for your pointing it out.

Matt said...

Thanks for the article. Way longer than a blog post :-) Appreciated the insights that they provide.

Matt