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Objections to Homeschooling September 1, 2007

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Homeschooling.
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Your children are being too sheltered from the world.

A reader of the blog had this comment to the last posting about why we homeschool.

“I really don’t think that sheltering a child from quite normal (though inappropriate) exposure is a legit reason to homeschool. I understand your concern and desire to protect Benjamin, but the child will learn it one way or another (in my opinion if properly socialized).”

I began to reply in the comment section but thought this may be better addressed in a posting of its own. I have the next part of the homeschooling series ready and will probably get that posted soon.

Though I don’t deny that protecting our children from influences that are unGodly plays a significant role in our decision to homeschool, there is more to it than only that. There was a time when I would probably have held your same opinion (and I was resistant to homeschooling for a variety of reasons), but maturity and becoming a parent has shaped my thinking. How you feel about a “social issue” in the abstract is a whole different thing than how you feel when it influences the ones you love.

As for unGodly behavior being “quite normal,” I think that in itself is a problem. “Normal” implies acceptable and inevitable, “the usual.” As Christians, the role model we should be emulating is Christ. His treatment of other people is the norm I’d like my children to use when deciding how to behave.

Most people have heard of language acquisition by immersion. The theory is that one should be immersed in learning opportunities- culture and language spoken by natives- by living in a place where the new language is all that is spoken. One will naturally absorb the language. Pronunciation and vocabulary will grow far faster than if exposure is just in a classroom setting.

The same is true of anything in which you immerse yourself. Our English grammar books tell us never to “dangle prepositions,” yet in the course of daily speech, we certainly do that and even pick up slang terms not find in the dictionary. That is an innocuous example, but we can expect our children to absorb and use as a reference point anything to which they get steady exposure.

There have long been studies of the behavior of children who watch violent television and play violent video games. Children who grow up in abusive homes tend to repeat the cycle because it is familiar to them. As parents, we must be very careful what we allow our children to find “normal.”

Does that mean we never go in public or associate with non-Christians? No. Does that mean that we’re in denial that they will still have some exposure to unGodly (and maybe even outright evil) people? No. Even Christians (in fact ALL of us) fall short of Christ’s example, so there will always be opportunity to learn to deal with the imperfect aspects of life.

Yes, we carefully (try to) shield our children from a constant bombardment of negative influences, but we WANT them to have small amounts of experience at a time with them. With our guidance, they can learn how to identify right from wrong, compare the standards of “the world” with those God provided, and respond in a healthy way. That is not the mission of public schools, as evident from the removal of all mention of God.

The object isn’t to put them in a bubble; it’s to allow them to build character and be tested in ways they can handle at any given age. We felt that first grade was not the right developmental time to be confronted with crude sexual slang and gestures. We looked into other options first, but felt that God’s intention was for us to teach our children at home for a period of time. We’ll continue to seek His will on this from year to year. He may have other plans in mind for the future. We don’t anticipate homeschooling in high school and possibly not even middle school, but we will listen for His guidance.

As for the issue of “socialization” you mention, I will try to address that soon.

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Comments»

1. Sheryl - September 4, 2007

Good point. Like you said, it is to their detriment to find certain things “normal” at such a young age. Understanding something when one is able is not the same as allowing a precedent to be set now, BEFORE one understands it.
Maybe they’ll spend less of their adult lives working out the stuff they knew before they understood, like a lot of people do.
I’ll look forward to the next entry.

2. chickenmama - September 5, 2007

You know, I didn’t even consider how long into adulthood we may spend trying to reconcile the misinformation and too early exposure to things we had as kids! That’s so true!

We do set expectations for ourselves or how relationships and such should be/work based on how we observed as children. If the info we’d gotten was (at least MOSTLY) true, healthy, and respectful, we’d be a lot better off. How much bad/premature info did I get from the older kids in the carpool, from the “bad kids” on the playground, teen magazines, and so on? Way too much.

I’m glad you mentioned it because that is another facet to keep in mind when we are making decisions that impact our children.


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