Troy brought up some great points in the comment section, namely that it's not home schoolers who should have to defend their position but rather the public education system. Before I go any further I want to say that this discussion is in no way intended to be a rant against public education. I simply want to demystify home schooling and provide greater insight into the arguments and truths of home education.
Which takes us to the second half of my last entry: concerned conservatives. My parents fall into this group. These people usually home school their children not because they want to remove them from society, but because they want them to understand society from a completely Christ-centered perspective. My parents could choose exactly what doctrines to teach me. I never grew up being confused about the disconnect between a created world and the Big Bang theory. I never had to struggle with how to reconcile "alternative" lifestyles. I was never exposed to the idea that it was "normal" to disrespect adults, to use profanity, to start dating at age 12 or to explore my sexuality/drug interest/independence etc...
My parents never shielded me from those things. On the contrary, they spoke openly and frankly with me on a variety of topics and reaffirmed God's truths and exposed the enemy's lies. I know Christian families can put their kids in school and still teach them these things. But you have to realize the kids spend 8+ hours per day surrounded by people who are teaching them lies. Children often end up confused about the truth and begin to question authority. Doubts creep in when your stuffy old parents tell you one thing and your cool friends and favorite teacher tell you something completely different. I never had to deal with that. I was taught to rely on God's truth alone and test all other ideas against it. My mother consistently taught and corrected me using scripture. How many public school teachers teach and rebuke their students with scripture? It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized how much scripture was hidden in my heart as a direct result of the hours spent with my mother.
Home school families are also much more likely to reinforce God-given roles for men and women. A significant part of my education centered around womanly pursuits. I was taught how to maintain a household, sew clothing and quilts, cook and bake (even homemade bread!), plant flower and vegetable gardens, care for young children, and budget for a family. Sure public schools provide home ec classes, but I got to learn all of that from my mother! We spent hours together deepening our relationship while pursuing domestic excellence. I learned all of those things and still managed to be an independent-thinking, college-educated, career woman. A woman who loves her job but has a deeper desire to be a wife and mother. I fit into the culture, but I'm not defined by it. Again, please don't hear me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to pursue a career. I also don't think a woman is less of a woman if she doesn't know how to sew, cook etc... But I can't deny the value of being blessed with those skills as an overflow of my home education.
More to follow next time about home schoolers and the "S" word: Socialization!