The Myths of Homeschooling #4 (Conclusion)

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In concluding this series (which previously was found in three parts: 1, 2, and 3), I’d like to reference a reply I made in the comments section of my last post to explain my rationale for taking on these myths:

[H]omeschool is used like a set of brass knuckles to the jaws of some parents. They are being crushed by guilt for not homeschooling or are likened to sinners or profligate parents for not homeschooling. Those accusers and accused know who they are, and I hope they’re reading this and seeing that homeschool is not the be all and end all of life. I also want those parents who homeschool their kids to know how to work the land or to raise animals that they are not freaks for doing so.

I meet victims of homeschoolers’ ire and they are indeed hurting. Many are Christians and yet their own churches label them negatively because they don’t homeschool or they think some things are more important than understanding Plato’s dancing shadows.

I see the moms with seven kids who are homeschooling them all. They get all the accolades. Good for them. But what about the mom who can’t homeschool because her ailing parents consume her time? To have people berate her for that disgusts me! And I’ve seen that happen.

Homeschooling is used increasingly as a ruler to measure people and judge their fitness as parents. If you don’t see that, then count yourself lucky that you live in a place where people don’t do that. I don’t live in that place. Despite living all over the Midwest and California, I’ve never lived in a place where homeschooling wasn’t used to judge people.

All I want is to tone down the rhetoric; it’s hurting people. It’s also forcing people into homeschooling who are not equipped or are overburdened already. If keeping up with the homeschooling Joneses is what it is coming down to, then we need to offer people more grace to pursue other options without feeling like the spawn of hell.

That’s all that this series is about. I hope the people who need to hear this are getting the message.

I’ve had a lot of arguments tossed at me during this series. Several comments, weblinks, and e-mails have said that what I’ve witnessed in my 18 years of watching the homeschooling movement simply isn’t true. At homeschoolOthers have said that they’ve never seen some of the behaviors I’ve talked about.

My challenge to those folks is to look around, step out of the hype for a few seconds, and examine the messages and behaviors espoused in the homeschooling movement. Some scary thoughts and practices exist in homeschooling circles, and we choose to ignore them at our own peril—and to the peril of the accused I referenced in my quoted comment above.

Consider that some women no longer introduce themselves as “a mom of four kids” but as “a homeschooling mom of four kids,” as if the homeschooling tag must be added to ratchet up the standard of successful parenthood one more notch. That’s nothing but competitive pride. Notice, too, what happens when a group of homeschooling parents encounters parents who do not homeschool. Watch the social dynamic. Look at people’s faces. Watch the reactions when the topic of homeschooling arises. The societal pressure is obvious, especially in Christians.

The myths I’ve featured in this series are used to beat down people in a new kind of social class ranking. That stratification extends even to homeschoolers, as various teaching methodologies gain or lose traction. With the rise of classical education within homeschooling ranks, other methods have been relegated to lower positions as if there’s a right and wrong way to present knowledge.

Some of this is a reaction against educational methodologies originally made popular in the public schools. With all things related to public school under massive scrutiny by homeschooling advocates, anything that smacks of public school is subject to scorn. John Holt’s educational ideas that form the backbone of the “unschooling” movement were highly popular in public schools in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and some homeschooling parents consider them suspect. Other homeschooling parents who were not exposed to Holt as practiced in public school are more willing to use his ideas. This, of course, will bring conflict to a massing of homeschooling groups where one methodology is preferred to another. Stick classicists with unschoolers and let them have at it—the results are sadly amusing.

In conclusion, a few points.

Homeschooling is not for everyone. We need to be more accepting of families that choose not to homeschool. In almost all cases, they are not helmed by bad parents. In fact, those parents may be doing their children a favor by acknowledging their own weaknesses in teaching. One of the backbone beliefs of the homeschooling movement is that parents know their own kids best. Why then do some homeschool advocates lambaste parents who believe their children would thrive in a non-homeschooled environment? I have great respect for parents who acknowledge their own insufficiencies to meet their child’s educational needs. Most parents WILL struggle with teaching once a child gets beyond a seventh grade education. We resist thinking the world has changed, but a vast sea of knowledge has been added or has trickled down to lower grade levels since we were in school. Do we persist in homeschooling beyond a certain level for the right reasons? Or do we capitulate to peer pressure and pride?

No one educational method reigns. Frankly, I believe that parents homeschooling to a lone methodology (e.g., classical, unschooling, behavioral, etc.) rob their kids of a broad-based education. That goes for private and public schools, too. There is no magic bullet. Teaching kids to think for themselves is fine, but that’s not what the corporate world wants, quite honestly. Which world do we teach to then? How we accommodate what is valued in our society today matters. Creating a superkid who can’t make his learning conform to societal demands is asking for another Todd Marinovich-type burnout. Tunnel vision is dangerous, and too many homeschoolers have so focused their teaching that I wonder how their kids will cope when their entire education proves to be the square peg in society’s round hole.

Don’t despise the basics. In our rush to turn our kids into quantum physicists who will unite both the particle and wave models of the universe, we may well be creating children who can’t feed themselves. With globalization opening up American workers to foreign competition, our children will not be able to compete on an equal playing field if money is the bottom line. It would be wise of us to acknowledge this truth and prepare our children for a markedly different work future than the one we faced at the same age. Engineers in the U.S. are finding that they can’t convince their kids to go into engineering, and this is a shock to them; perhaps the kids are smarter than they are given credit, considering that many of them would rather work for less pay than face the perpetual layoff cycle they saw their parents endure. In light of this, I firmly believe that instructing our children in a locally-needed trade may be the best work prep we can offer them. If we subsequently add  an understanding of the land, animal husbandry, and small farm techniques, we can ensure them a better future than the one already upon us. Remember, THAT was a biblical education in the days of Jesus. While it is true that we need the educational superstars to continue to build the next-generation medical devices and such, increasingly those superstars are not going to be Americans. Honestly, skyrocketing tuition costs may put college out of reach of the middle class, so other job and education options must be explored. We need to prepare our kids differently for a different future.

God is a God of grace. If we firmly believe He is in control, then we will entrust the care of the children He’s given us—children that are not ours but His—to Him and Him alone. How that plays out in your children’s educations is something God alone can deliver. And that may NOT include homeschooling. We should not limit God on how He can work in our children’s educations. Nor should we enforce our will on other parents. God deals with all of us in different ways. We should not judge people by their schooling choices, especially if we are not vehicles of grace to accept their decision or help them move into a homeschooling model if the toughness of living is making it hard for them to do so. We’ve made homeschooling a millstone around the necks of parents and children alike, and the Lord is not in the millstone necklace business.

Education is not the path to salvation. Ironically, it is the very secular humanists that Christians vigorously oppose who truly believe that premise. However, as much as Christians say that is not them, George Barna recently showed otherwise. In one of  Barna’s published surveys showed Evangelical parents were more concerned that their kids got into an elite college than that their kids followed Christ. That’s a devilishly misplaced priority! Homeschooling, like anything else, can become an idol. God would much prefer a non-scholar with a heart that burns for Him than a Nobel-winning scientist who claims He does not exist. That’s where our focus should be, raising kids for Christ, no matter where they go to school.

Thanks for reading through this series. I hope the gang now preparing the tar and feathers will graciously reconsider.

***

This four-part series:

The Myths of Homeschooling #1

The Myths of Homeschooling #2

The Myths of Homeschooling #3

The Myths of Homeschooling #4

40 thoughts on “The Myths of Homeschooling #4 (Conclusion)

  1. No tar and feathers, Dan . . .

    I was thinking the rack might be more appropriate.

    Just kidding!

    I’m a parent with 2 kids in public school and 2 in private Christian school. I’m starting negotiations with my wife to have a fifth child so we can homeschool the little one, just so I’ll have all my educational bases covered.

    wink wink 🙂

    Seriously, this was a thought-provoking series. How do you find time to write and research these things?

  2. Travis

    I don’t see the “chief end” of education here, Dan… ::taps foot impatiently::

    Oh! I just had a thought about this whole series and the number of (good!) points you made in it: twenty years ago the situation was exactly the inverse of this (aside from enrollment percentages): it was the homeschoolers who were consistently berated and made to feel like bad parents. Could it be that over the years they’ve succumbed to the temptation to live by the not-so-golden rule? “Do unto others as others do to you.” Sad, but perhaps there’s some truth there. =/

  3. Travis

    “Listen to the fact that some women no longer introduce themselves as ‘a mom of four kids,’ but as ‘a homeschooling mom of four kids,’ as if the ‘homeschooling’ tag must be added in order to ratchet up the standard of successful parenthood one more notch. There’s something prideful and competitive about that.”

    Right, Dan. =p Oh, you’re not rushing into judgment there, no sir…

    Could it simply be that there’s understood to be a different dynamic at work in a homeschooling household (much as the purpose behind introducing yourself with the number of your children, your gender, or your parental or marital status)? Naw, it couldn’t be that… 😉

  4. Travis,

    I just finished up attending a meeting of almost 750 women and I saw the faces of the non-homeschool moms when the homeschooling moms purposefully dropped the word “homeschooling” in their descriptions of themselves. It really is creating a dichotomy between the “perfect” moms and the “not-so-perfect” moms. We need to be sensitive to that. I’m pointing it out for the very reason that no one else is. It’s something we need to start thinking about.

  5. Travis

    Well that’s understandable, and it’s good to be concerned for how non-homeschooling moms are feeling. I didn’t mean to contradict any of that.

    What I was pointing out is that when party a says something near party b, you can’t say party a was prideful and competitive simply because party b felt humiliated. It may very well be that party a is prideful; but party b‘s feelings are not a sufficient measure of party a‘s intent.

  6. Dan Edelen: �preparing the tar and feathers�

    I for one am not. I have neither tar nor feathers, nor a pillory, nor rotten tomatoes. Nor would I use them if I did.

    But I very much would like your take on public schools. One question, for example, I’d like to see you really tackle is “how do xtians parents go about de-programming their children, given all secularist indoctrination that often goes on in the public school system”.

    Would deprogramming go something like this:

    “Yes, Johnny, I know your social studies teacher has told you that �fundamentalist� xtians are dangerous extremists, that the Bible is mythological and made up by ignorant, primitive men, and that marriage is nothing but a �social convention�, but …”

    Anyhow, Dan, I am very curious to know.

  7. NixGuy

    We don’t agree on everything, but we’re pretty close. Your last paragraph is a winner and something we should all agree on. A good way to close your thoughts.

  8. Oengus,

    Despite the fact that public schools are often pictured as bastions of top secret curricula never intended for parental viewing, I’ve found that most public schools are fairly open about the curricula and texts they use. Any semi-interested parent could see where the curricula stumbles and respond accordingly.

  9. Carla

    Dan…

    Wow. And wow.

    I must tell you declared a school emergency this morning to finish reading this series, and all the comments. Just one of the benefits of being the teacher, and the district administrator, all rolled into one. 🙂

    I have to say, hands down, this is THE most beneficial, and realistic picture I’ve ever read, of the reality of MUCH of the Christian HS community.

    I need to respond this, but it’s going to be at least 2 miles long, so I’m going to take the liberty of responding to it, point by fantastic point, at my blog (maybe I’ll even post my response at my homeschool blog too?).

    Thank you so much for this, it was WELL needed, and even made me laugh, several times.

    Good work.

    SDG,
    Carla

  10. Dan: “I’ve found that most public schools are fairly open about the curricula and texts they use.”

    Well, that’s wonderful good news! I do wonder about what parts of the country it holds true in. But I am sincerely glad that parents need not worry, at least where you are

    By the way, the stuff that little Johnny was getting shoved down his throat was based on what I was subjected to during my time in the public schools, at least where I was. Yes, I fondly remember Mr. Zupanic waving his copy of “The Naked Ape” telling everyone in his H.S. class that marriage was a farce, that we all are merely big hairless primates. (I wonder what his wife thought of such things?)

    Also, folks, do you concur with Dan’s estimation of our public school system? Speak up about your experiences there for both you and your children. Are things okay where you are?

  11. Kim

    I agree with Carla (as I do on many issues). Thank you for this.

    You should see some of the looks on faces of friends when I tell them my 16 year old daughter will enter the public school system in 2006. It isn’t pretty.

  12. Anonymous

    Oengus,

    I pretty much agree with him. I’ve seen entirely too many people homeschooling when they shouldn’t be. My younger sister, for example, didn’t graduate high school until she was 23 or so; she’s homeschooled her children and is homeschooling the ones left at home. Her own fear and hatred of math she has passed on to her children. It wasn’t native to them; they learned to hate math.

    Otoh, the public school system has issues too. Go read http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm if you want an eye-opener on that system.

  13. Elena

    Thanks for reading through this series. I hope the gang now preparing the tar and feathers will graciously reconsider.

    Well certainly I can think of better use for the tar… and the feathers come to think of it.

    The homeschool stuff you’re talking about is something I witnessed about 11 years ago. It’s soooo over from where I’m sitting. Maybe that’s just an Ohio thing, maybe it’s a Catholic thing, but I’m not relating currently to much of what you are talking about.

    As for introducing myself as a homeschool mom of whatever… it’s just a descriptor. I use to introduce myself as a dancer, a musician, a director of medical records etc. Those were just ways to describe my occupation nothing more, nothing less.

  14. Anonymous: “I pretty much agree with him. I’ve seen entirely too many people homeschooling when they shouldn’t be.”

    I don’t think I would disagree with too much of what Dan has been pointing out about some aspects of home-schooling. I am just trying to get at two things:

    (1) Why did xtians start home-schooling to begin with?

    (2) And for those who don’t home-school, what exactly should they do to counter-act the inculcation of secularistic thinking that often goes on the education system?

    On #1 above, in the case of at least one family I knew, the answer was they didn’t want their kids ending up being “stuck on stupid”. And furthermore, they didn’t want them to grow up to be nice little bohemian atheists, living a “Bonobo Life Style”, to put it in so many words if crudely. I know that in their particular case, their kids have grown up and have turned out quite well. But of course, I am not saying this proves that all parents must, should, or can home-school.

    Which brings me to item #2. Dan seems to be suggesting that everything is really okay. Maybe there’s nothing to worry about in sending one’s children to public schools. I am a little unconvinced though. If everything was really okay, why did a number of people start home-schooling to begin with? They must have been concerned about something they were seeing, weren’t they?

  15. Oengus,

    All I am saying is that blanket condemnations (be they of public, private, charter, or homeschools) are pointless. There are good and bad versions of all of those. Just don’t be locked in to one way of thinking on this issue.

    In my area, the Cincinnati Public Schools have long been troubled— except for Walnut Hills High School and The School for Creative and Performing Arts. Parents across the metro area purposefully move so they can live in the areas those two schools draw from. Walnut Hills is considered one of the best schools in the entire United States. There are always exceptions.

  16. Julana

    Dan,
    As I mentioned in a coment on your previous post, we met with our son’s teacher and principal this am. I mentioned homeschooling. The principal said that almost invariably when they take homeschooling students into school, there are large gaps in the child’s education. They are always behind. Recently, they took in a sixth grader who could recognize three sight words, and started him in fifth grade.

    I told him that they were likely receiving the failures, rather than the successes. He stated that the stories of the Harvard student, the homeschooled doctor, etc., were the starts, the exceptions to the rule.

    The subject of standardized testing came up. I stated that I understood why homeschoolers fight it so vehemently, but that it did work against the good of some children. I stated that I felt homeschooling did work best for some children.

    I was, at first, surprised the principal had such a negative view. It was diametrically opposed to the hardcore homeschoolers. He admitted that he had devoted his life to public schooling, which showed where his priorities/values lie.

    I still believe every child, every situation, is different. You look at your child, yourself, the school, and your options, and make a decision, year by year.

  17. Hind's Feet

    There is so much I agree with and disagree with here. You did a lot of unfair generalizing… but I’m too tired unload all my thoughts at the moment. I just want to comment that the “I’m a homeschooling mom of…” description that we homeschooling moms use, is not to ratchet ourselves up a notch! We give ourselves that title so that we can recognize each other, swap notes, and chat a bit… and maybe even get our kids together to combat the “socialization” issue. It nothing to do with competing against public school moms for the better mommy award! I think you’re thinking like a man. Men have titles to ratchet themselves up, while women have titles to find friends with similar interests. Oh wait, that’s generalizing. And generalizations are generally unfair….

  18. Carla

    Well, it took me a few days, but I finally finished my 2 mile long response to your series.

    Feel free to send the tar & feather people after me, we’ll use the tar to fix the roof and use the feathers for a few new pillows. (Us homeschoolers are handy that way).

    SDG,
    Carla

  19. Dan: “All I am saying is that blanket condemnations�are pointless. �There are always exceptions.”

    Yes, there are always exceptions to every rule. For every “Walnut Hills”, there are dozens more that are godforsaken educational wrecks. Pity the parents who out of necessity must entrust their children to them. What shall they do? But, yes, it is a truism that blanket condemnations, as well as blanket recommendations, often miss the mark no matter what the subject is under consideration.

    But I did notice that you don’t really tackle my two questions (see above) with any depth. But that’s okay. It’s your perogative to blog about those things you find interesting. So I will drop the matter, with just this one departing word: you are a delightful writer, and I alway enjoy reading Cerulean Sanctum.

  20. Rooted in Him

    Dan;

    Liked your posting. I teach in a public school and have the blessing of being able to have my children in the same district I teach in. My eldest, in fact, had me last year, the closest I will ever get to homeschooling.

    The public school is an excellent one, and I am blessed by knowing personally many of the teachers my children have. Some are believers, some not. Most function with integrity and a desire to do the best they can for their students. We can, but have not had to, avoid the others.

    My wife and I are very much in a minority at our church. However, we have not had any problem with the homeschoolers, and several I count among my closest friends.

    Our pastors, by God’s leading more than by their own design, have each done something different. One homeschools, one private schools, one public schools. All have successfully raised their children because, as you note in your posting, their primary concern was whether or not the children were growing up in the nurture and the admonitiion of the Lord, not who was teaching them.

    In our small group at church, we had all three “factions.” And we functioned well together.

    When we put our children into the local public school, the one pastor who had his children there also chuckled and told us we would have lots of interesting dinnertime conversations. We have continue to be deeply involved in our children’s lives, homework, friends. And we continue to pray with them, teach them, and encourage them.

    In fact, we only had one problem when we took our two children out of private school and placed them in public school. One of the other private school parents rebuked us and used the word, ‘betrayal.’

  21. Hind’s Feet,

    My only comment about the “homeschooling mom of _____ kids” is if it’s only to identify likeminded people, why don’t you hear “quilting mom of ______ kids” or “beekeeping mom of _______ kids” at all? There’s something very different about the homeschooling tag, at least from what I’ve observed. I’ve noticed that if given a choice to limit a description, homeschoolers always choose the homeschooling tag over all other possible self-labels.

    Just my observation.

  22. To all the new readers:

    I appreciate that all of you have come here. Feel free to hang out beyond this topic. We talk about a lot of interesting subjects here and the comments are always lively (as this one topic points out!)

  23. Elena

    Actually I do hear other tags like
    “Stay-at-home mom” of _____kids, or “working mom” of ________kids. The one the media really seems to like is “single mom” of ______kids. Those are the 3 most common that come to mind immediately.

  24. Warren

    I was homeschooled for all 12 years, and am now in college, majoring in Computer Information Systems, and I think I came out pretty well 🙂

    I took a couple weeks because I wanted to come up with a response to what you’ve said that didn’t sound off the cuff. I just posted a lengthy blog entry to my personal journal. I agree with a great deal of what you said, and would appreciate you taking a look at what I’ve written.

    Thanks for being willing to write about this topic!

  25. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am one of those parents who chose to send her kids to public school. You have spoken rightly about the condemnation we receive from homeschoolers. It is awful. I am made to feel like a leper. I try to support homeschoolers. I have never been against that. But I don’t see the homeschoolers supporting me. You are right, they think they know what is best for my child. Was the public school perfect? No. Is homeschool perfect? No. Why do we beat people up for their choices? We did Catholic school for a while and liked that. Then we could no longer afford it, and it was public school for us, after praying about what we should do. There are so many fads in the Christian realm (I’m not talking about homeschool) and we make so many of them a test of fellowship. Why do we have to have such a lock-step mentality? There are many homeschooling moms that I admire, but they won’t fellowship with me. My children are grown now, so it is no longer an issue. But I feel I must grovel and say that I did wrong and that if I had it to do over, I would homeschool, and I wouldn’t. I think I made the right choice for my children.

  26. shevrae

    Most myths usually have a grain of truth. In other words, these things are not always true, but some of them may be for some people.

    I homeschool and my best friend sends her kids to public school. Sadly, the situation causes her much more distress than it does me. I’m all for parents making decisions about what’s best for their kids. She’s very worried about my children’s socialization and academic performance. She just “doesn’t see how it can work”. But she is a public school teacher. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

    Fortunately, I don’t make my decisions in life based on what makes everyone around me comfortable. My husband and I prayed about it a lot and God clearly lead us to homeschooling. That doesn’t mean everyone has to do it – but it means I’m going to make the decision to be obedient. And thankfully I have the freedom to do so.

  27. Doug-lasky

    Myth #1: If you don’t homeschool your kids, you’re not a good parent
    I’d agree, that’s a myth. Though I do think there is a terrific amount wrong with the public school system.
    Myth #2: Homeschooling more actively involves parents in their children’s educations
    I can’t attest to this, as I’ve only known two homeschooling families and I’m going off of what I will be doing as a homeschooling father. I would say that, if you are a homeschooling parent and you are NOT more actively involved in your child’s education, then shame on you. If it is truly the case, as you attest, than I am disappointed.
    Myth #3: The educational methodology behind most homeschooling curriculum is superior to the methodology used in public schools.
    Again, you’ve got me here as you have studied the matter. I would simply note, as a simple and theoretical argument, that an active parent teaching a child 1-on-1, that loves and cares for them, should be a superior to a teacher of a class of 30 given the same subject matter. I simply know more about my children and what motivates them, interests them, etc.
    Myth #4: The ________________ method is by far the best way to homeschool kids
    I agree whole-heartedly with this. Don’t put the blinders on; use everything you can.
    Myth #5: A parent is a child’s best teacher
    I have to disagree with this the most. First, ask any teacher ‘what is the single most important indicator of a child’s educational success’ and without hesitation they will tell you ‘parental involvement.’ Why is that? I could elaborate, but YOU understand where I am going. As a quick example I taught my daughter her times tables while in the lines at Disneyland, and in the car trip back. We had fun with it; her classmates are still learning to ‘carry the one’ in addition.
    Personally I have a standard Bachelors degree in Finance. One of the first rules of investing I would always tell my clients is that ‘no one will ever care more about your money than you do.’ Similarly, no one will ever care more about your child than you do.
    My standard college education – nothing special – has proven to me that I can learn any subject and teach it to my child. As for subjects I can’t teach, perhaps I should be more humble but I’m not sure there is one. At least not at the high school/college level. If it can be written in a book I can learn it – and I can teach it. As for things like advanced math and science, (physics, chemistry, human anatomy, entomology, horticulture) I’ve already got it down. Just to be sure, I’ll buy the college textbook, but I’ve taken the college math/science courses and gotten an A or B in it. If she gets beyond those subjects we can enroll her at Lansing Community College at 14, and I hope to have that problem. As for English/writing, I wrote papers at the college level and was briefly involved in the campus newspaper. I know how to study for the standardized tests, and did quite well at them in H.S. I only wish someone had given me the concept to ‘train’ for those as I did for sports; who knows what doors would have been open for me. I don’t know anything about music or mechanics; only the former will I have to get a tutor for. I’d be concerned about this in situations where the parent was less educated – or less motivated to educate themselves. I personally love to learn, and I hope to pass this on to my children first and foremost.
    And you are ‘right on’ that most useful things are learned outside the classroom. And that, I believe, is the main reason to homeschool. There are plenty of opportunities to job shadow, intern, and see the ‘behind the scenes’ of museums, factories, parks, etc, rather than being stuck in a classroom learning Latin. At least if you are doing the homeschooling thing right.

    Myth #6: It is “more Christian” to homeschool
    I agree, a myth.
    Myth #7: Homeschooling protects our children
    I don’t like the word ‘protect.’ Replace that with ‘gives me a better opportunity to influence my child’ and I’ll fight you over this point. As a father I am supposed to train my child with discipline, and set an example for them to follow. Yet if they are in a school 8 hours per day, I have precious little time to do that. In short, the people they will be emulating for most of their developmental years are mere hatchlings like themselves.
    Now, you are dead-right that as Christians we need to send our children out into the world as ‘a beacon onto others.’ I think you need to build them up in Christ first; develop in them discipline, responsibility, and give them the tools (or armor, as you put it) against the world, FIRST. I wouldn’t drop my daughter off in downtown KABUL today and tell her to ‘be a good Christian;’ but neither would I call that ‘protecting’ her.
    And again, you know more homeschoolers than I do, but my vision of homeschooling involves children being out in the WORLD more than the average child, and they will be able to do that specifically because they are not in school.
    Myth #8: Homeschooled children are smarter than their peers
    I’ve looked and looked on this one as well, and you are right that the results are mixed at best. The consensus seems to be that homeschoolers score a bit higher, but I could easily attribute that to the bottom 10% or so of homeschoolers simply opting to never take an ACT test and therefore skewing the results.
    My quick and simple retort here is that if you child isn’t smarter, more responsible, disciplined, loving, merciful, and wiser than the typical American child, shame on you as the parent. Because now you have no one to blame but yourself.

  28. Julia

    Thank you for your series, it’s truly been quite helpful!

    I have a 14 mo old and even at her young, tender age, am considering hard the educational options we have. You have so many “myths” that I haven’t heard of and/or had a hard time finding someone willing to discuss them. I was leaning towards Homeschooling myself but after consideration, I found I was heading in that direction based out of fear, worry, and pressure from my Mom- a woman that is homeschooling her two youngest. I know many that have the bunker mentality, my mother included, and she’s always going on about the end of times being around the corner and having to shelter her two teen boys from the cold, hard world. Yet she plants them in front of the computer screen and/or allows them to hide away the vast majority of the time in their rooms. It’s about shoving her world views down their throats and them parroting the ideas. I love her dearly, but I see the harm that this type of “education” is doing. It’s setting them up to be dependent upon her into their adult years, which, she proudly states as fact (wanting them home until they are 30+).

    The world is a scary place. I do worry about what the world could and quite possibly do to my daughter and her precious, good, warm soul. I don’t want that cheerfulness and naturally calm and happy self to burn out from society and her peers influence. I also know that I can’t shelter her and hide her away as that in all likelihood will backfire. I want to protect her, not incapacitate her. I want her to be able to think for herself, learn all she can. And whether it’s public/private education or homeschooling, she will be taught with a slant. I can help to counter the slant she gets outside of our home, but I can’t effectively teach her about the outside world without being biased.

    I do have a question for you, I know it’s been some years since you wrote this. That being said, how do you propose to “Deprogram” children from the school day? I want to be able to talk through her day with her and give her the family’s viewpoint or belief system to counter any negative messages she might hear. How are some ways to do this with children regardless of age?

    • Julia,

      I don’t think there is any substitute for simply talking with your children. Ask them what they’ve heard lately that made them think. Or ask about a new idea that changed their mind about something they used to think. Also, parents know what the world’s talking points are. Bring those up in casual conversation and debunk them from a Christian worldview. Don’t give those worldly ideas more power and gravitas than they should have, either. Too many Christians treat the world’s ideas as if they are nuclear bombs that will destroy the entire universe. I don’t do that. I treat them in passing, as if they are nothing more than small ideas in a larger pool filled with small ideas. Make the Christian ideas the big ones and make sure your kids recognize that people will try to make small what is really big and really big what is actually small. Your lack of fear in the face of small, worldly ideas will be communicated to your children.

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