Thursday, November 03, 2005

Home Schooling Exposed Part II

In response to my 2.3 readers I am addressing the social aspect of home schooling. This requires a little bit of delving into the home school family psyche. Generally there are two types of home school families: the radical, hyper-conservatives who want to shield their children from the world and the concerned conservatives who want to have greater control over the education and moral upbringing of their children. *Nota Bene: there are liberal home schoolers, but it's a much smaller group.

Remember the weird home school kids? The ones who dressed funny and spoke in really long, very grown-up sentences and talked about politics and who never watched TV or Disney movies and who weren't allowed to listen to "secular" music? Those were the offspring of the hyper-conservatives. The girls often wore only long skirts and sleeves, music with a syncopated beat was banned, Disney's Bambi slept with girlfriend Feliene and they clearly weren't married etc...

This group of home schoolers had very good intentions. They hoped to maintain their kids' innocence and purity. They wanted to create a separate, holy nation. They had lofty goals to go back to a simpler way of life. There's nothing wrong with fresh-ground wheat for the home-baked bread and colorful calico for the hand-sewn skirts. Many peoples and cultures have sought to create Utopia. Unfortunately, reality gets in the way. They forgot the command to be in the world, but not of the world. They tried to have it both ways: separate from the culture and society, but still be a successful witness to the lost. They forgot that Jesus lived amongst the people, he dressed like they did, talked like they did, showed up at the same parties and marketplaces, ate the same food, drank the same wine (yes, I said it) and counted IRS men and prostitutes among his buddies. Christ was counter-cultural while remaining in the culture. He never ran away from those in the world, He embraced them, died for them and rose again to redeem them.

Many of the radical home schoolers ended up disillusioned and frustrated and left behind a bad impression for all those on the outside looking in. Their children had a hard time relating to the rest of their generation and an even harder time maintaining their Utopian habits when forging their own lives upon reaching adulthood. For those of you who only knew these home schoolers, you would be right in thinking "it just doesn't work."

This post has become really long, so I will wait until tomorrow to talk about the other set of home schoolers, the concerned conservatives. Keep your comments and questions coming, I love hearing other ideas about home schooling!

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I think Homeschooling is a good idea if used for the right child. If a child may need extra help and the parent knows exactly how to help them then no shame should be talked about in why the child is being homeschooled. THere are so many ways today children can become involved with activities. Just because a child is not in a school all day with other children does not mean that child can not play on a soccer team or join a music club. The child will still be gaining the knowledge he or she needs and developing the social skills necessary to mature.

Troy said...

Let's not forget the point here. Who's responsibility is it to teach a child. I believe the Bible makes it clear that it is the parents' responsibility - NOT the state's responsibility! (We are treading very close to a soapbox moment, I confess.) Why is it that home schoolers and private schools are the ones that have to defend their positions? Where do the standards for public education come from? The Legislature! How much do they really know about education? They depend on educational experts and lobbyists to make their decisions. It is possible to fashion a home school education to parallel a public education. Many Christian schools are accredited by legitimate institutions run by people trained in education (with PhD's, EdD's, etc even!) In my mind, it comes down to where the foundation for the education is. The state has removed absolute truth from the equation. No one can dispute this. On what do public educators base their discipline systems? What is the final authority in fields such as science, ethics, philosophy? Through what framework will history, sociology, psychology, and literature be analyzed and interpreted? I challenge every Christian parent to consider these questions before choosing to put their children in public schools. If you can't afford it, why can't you? What choices are you making? I could go on and on and on....

Aimee said...

You guys are making great points. Not having kids (at least not human ones), i've not thought about this decision alot, until recently. Thinking back on my public school experience, and seeing the progression of the "school life", it's a tough decision. Yes, I enjoyed the school activities, but luckily I made the right decisions and didn't get swept away in all of the peer pressures. I can only imagine how hard it is for the kids these days. Many times they can't concentrate on school for all of the thing surrounding it. Additionally, with God being taken out of the public school format, it's almost an 'easy' decision in my mind.

This has been a great topic, Laurie!

bill said...

Some of us new to homeschooling eschew both liberalism and conservatism. We decided to teach our kids at home because the public school failed after 6 years of ensuring us that they had everything under control. They run a standardized factory and can't successfully handle children who fall outside of their bandwidth (2 sigma of the general population). But once we got started, we found another benefit.

We can better run our own lives now. Our lives no longer revolve around the school system's schedule.

I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. Thanks for giving us some insight into the homeschool student's perspective.