Friday, July 28, 2006

Response to Random Thoughts on Homeschooling

Dear Blog,


I hope you "anonymous" (and not so anonymous) readers are still out there so you can read this post. I was very saddened to read your comments, my entire spirit was grieved actually, not because I regret making that post, but because it was not received as intended. If you really know me at all, you would know that I would not personally attack anyone or maliciously hurt anyone intentionally. A few of the readers realized this and they don’t even really know me!! And if you are someone I know in “real” life and you still interpreted my post in such a malicious way, then you must not know me all that well. I love and pray for all my friends (and strangers) and really care for people. I would NOT choose not to love or not like someone based solely on one of their life decisions. I care for all sorts of people in my life: Christians & non-Christians, single moms, divorcees, home and public schoolers alike.
With that said, I would like to restate that my post was in response to articles on anti-homeschooling sentiment which I mentioned. I was basically trying to process through reasons why a Christian might not choose to homeschool. I did say that there may be reasons other than the main ones I listed. I did NOT say that these are the ONLY reasons why a Christian would not choose to homeschool. And although your comments were quite expressive to say the least, they really did not give any concrete reasons as to why you are not choosing to homeschool (!), other than some references to using your children as God's light and public school being the "best option" for your family. I really want to understand other positions on this issue. *Please hear my sincerity here.* Unfortunately since no one has concretely explained why public school is the "best option" for them, I am no further along in my journey of understanding than I was before I posted.
In direct response to some of your comments:

  • Yes, Jesus did learn at the temple, but He was closer to the age of 12, not 5 years old. Also, the temple was run by God-believing people, unlike our current public school system.

“And when He was twelve years old....Now it was after three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” –Luke 2:42-47

  • Yes, I was a Christian for a short time in public school, as I began believing in my early high school years. And no, it was not easy. There are things I regret doing to this day. I also know many public schooled Christians who made regretful decisions during their schooling years as well. (This is not to say that a homeschooled child wouldn't make poor choices as well. You just asked me if it was easy.) I am thankful that during some of my early elementary years I went to a small private school. And unfortunately for children today, the public school experience is not like it was 20 years ago. God is only being removed further and further from the school system and being replaced with non-God honoring agendas. Perhaps you are not fully aware of what is going on in the public school system today, which might be another reason why you would choose public school. It could be that you don’t see any harm in sending your children there (for the last 5 years I have been thinking this very thought!!!!). I know maybe you are remembering your own school experience and thinking it wasn't so bad. There is so much information on the current state of public schools. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is just some quick information:
  1. Parents' rights stop once children enter public school doors
  2. Homosexual agenda in textbooks for grades K-12
  3. Humanistic Views in public schools
  4. Unnatural age division
  5. Failing Public School System
  6. Pledge ruled unconstitutional

I think one commenter stated that she wouldn’t go to a church that did not hold the same beliefs as she did, so why would she send her child to a school that did not teach the same things she believed as well? I am still wondering the same thing myself.

  • I do believe that the public schools need Christians and God's light, but in the form of Christian ADULTS, not children. Yes, Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes as an ADULT.

“Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age…” Luke 3:23

Before someone can be a light and witness to others, they must first be firm in their own foundation regarding what they believe. A child aged 5,6,7,8 will not be prepared to do so (at least none I have ever met). The purpose for homeschooling (especially if only in the early years) is for protection. I'm sure as a loving Christian parent you most likely do not allow your children to watch R-rated movies or play violent video games. Why? Because you are trying to protect their tender hearts and minds until they are fully able to handle what is being thrown at them. Wouldn’t it be the same with public schooling?

  • For those "choosing" the path for your children to be witnesses, could you please point me to some Biblical references for this? (I am NOT being sarcastic here, I am honestly looking for answers.) I don't think this is something you can choose for someone else, but rather each individual must choose this for themselves. Maybe at some point, our children would choose public school for the purpose of witnessing to others, which we would discuss at that time. There are not, however, any instances that I am aware of in God's word where children are being used as missionaries.
  • I NEVER insinuated that someone would be SINNING by sending their kids to public school. I don't even think this is the case.

  • A short note on the issue of shelter: Isn’t the idea of parenting to SHELTER our kids? Don’t we want to protect them as much as possible from being exposed to things that may harm them? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about IGNORANCE here. I am not saying that I (we) should keep our kids in a cultural bubble (I think someone used the term “sterile” environment), unaware of what is lurking in the outside world. Sure they will know about the evils of the world, but do you have to experience something firsthand to know that it is an evil?

  • Yes, this is a public blog & we are all entitled to our own opinions. And after all, aren’t we all judgmental to some degree? Don’t we all take what someone else says and filter it through what we currently believe be true? I honestly didn’t realize that my post would be as inflammatory as it seems to be. I didn’t outright call anyone names or use any all-encompassing statements like, “All parents who send their children to public school are selfish.” By the way, the selfish sentiment is not just something I cooked up in my head. It is something that I’ve heard other moms say as to why they could never homeschool, as in, “I just don’t think I could handle having all my children home all day!!”

I don’t know if I said it before, but I will say it again, I was **NEVER** planning on homeschooling my kids!!! You can ask my husband (if you know him). He was always in favor of homeschooling & I always was from the line of thinking, “What could be so bad about public school? I went to public schools and I turned out okay.” It wasn’t like I’ve been planning on homeschooling for the last 5 years, since Tatiana was born. Honest. For the last 5 years, I have been in the same place where (it seems like) most of you are now, where I would just send the girls to public school while teaching them as much about God and infusing our home life with Christ's likeness as much as I could. I know some of you mentioned having prayed about your decision and I would assume that you have searched the Scriptures as I have. In case you were wondering, here are the verses in God’s Word that I can not get to fit in with the idea of public schooling (my fault for not having included them in my original post):

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” –Proverbs 9:10 I am taking this to mean that really all learning should begin with the fear of the Lord. We all could probably agree that in a public school setting, the Lord would be the last person that an education would begin with.

“He who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm.” –Proverbs 13:20 I am talking "walking" here to mean "spending a significant amount of time with". There are many Scriptures regarding fools, spending time with fools, and what happens when you surround yourself with corrupt people.

“He who is not with Me is against me and He who does not gather with Me scatters.” –Luke 11:23 Public schools definitely are not silent about whether they are for or against God.

“…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” –Matthew 18:6 When I read this, I can not help but think that being in an environment that is so anti-God for so many hours of the day would cause a child to stumble. Maybe I am interpreting this verse incorrectly?

If you thought I was being judgmental, maybe you could review some of the comments and think about how it might feel on my side of the computer screen. Instead of flogging me for my point of view, could you help me to understand yours? Instead of using a vague term like "best option", could you lay out what factors make it {public school} the best option? Academically? Character development-wise? Spiritually? I am not so much saying to defend your choice as much as I am saying that if you disagree with something I said, perhaps you could enlighten me regarding another point of view. Give me some links or articles or information to read. Neither my heart or my mind are set in stone. If I am wrong, I am willing to admit it. I did say that I was feeling judgmental and "was working to overcome it". Adding harsh comments only has served to stir up more wrath. I would love for those that read my blog to enter into more of a dialogue with me. I welcome different opinions, but I do think we should be respectful as much as possible & I am deeply sorry if anyone felt disrespected in the first place. Maybe it would’ve been better to ask for clarification or ask questions about my position, instead of painting me out to be/think something that I am not. I will unfortunately have to moderate the comments (which I really do NOT want to do), if readers can NOT continue in a more conversational (as opposed to combative) manner. You could always start your own blog and post your own views, which I would love to read ;-)
Again, I sincerely apologize for anyone feeling personally attacked by the previous post. I NEVER intended to condemn or put down anyone. I really am motivated by love for children, a desire to understand people, and to uncover the truth. I am humbly asking for your forgiveness......

Love,
Beck

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rebecca,
I found your blog through some one else's blog on homeschoolblogger.com. It is a homeschool blog site where all the bloggers are homeschoolers. You can learn a lot about what other homeschoolers are doing, get ideas, and support.
I promise I don't work for them! LOL
But I blog there:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/snider6intx/
and really enjoy it!

GenaSuarez.com said...

We are absolutely called to shelter, or cover, our children. It is absurd that some are saying to beware of the "homeschool idol" or cult mentality. Where on earth did that come from? What does God's word say? A simple study on the word, "authority" should convince the reader that the one "covering" the other is the "shelterer - the one doing the sheltering." The parent is to love, protect (shelter) and provide for the child, as well as train him up in a way he should go. The sheltering part is very key. Keep them innocent; guard their hearts so they are pure. This was God's plan for the family.

I just really want to caution the young moms out there against the latest psychology-based teachings coming into the homeschooling community. This "anti-sheltering" message is actually confusing at best and could be dangerous to your family at worst. The teaching is not what it appears to be - it's phony, baseless (untested, phychology/theory based).

Read the word of God - it's your best parenting manual. Fall on the side of caution, or conservative values rather than liberal parenting or the newest "thing" in the latest revised parenting book. God's word...it's all we need. Don't risk your children by experimenting with this anti-sheltering junk - it's a bunch of nonsense.
- gena (www.genasuarez.com)

Anonymous said...

gena , when i told becky not to shelter, i in know way meant what i think you may have taken it as. I know and don't think she will do this, but what I meant was keeping your kids "locked up" for lack of a better term. Some kids don't know what to avoid because their PARENTS never taught them that it was sin. PLease don't get started on the whole conscience thing. I know all that. I am saying that we are lying to ourselves if we think that 6th graders are not interested in things we didn't face until highschool. if the parent completely ignores the fact that it exists, than the kid will not be PROPERLY equipped to face it. Please don't think i mean don't protect your kids. My number one job to my wife and kids is to protect them. I meant extreme shelter. I agree with your comment if I am reading it correctly.

GenaSuarez.com said...

Anonymous, we are probably talking about two different things, then, and my comment was generalized anyway, not directed at you specifically. :-)

I am seeing a new trend which loosely throws around the word, "shelter" like it's now a negative, or something. I think that there are speaker/authors out there who may have thought one way (and wrote about it) but when it failed with their own kids, they are re-writing the philosophies. These materials and talks are tainted with nothing but psychology and nonsense (babbling); they're not based on God's word at all. I'm pretty easy going, pretty "tolerant", if you will, but one thing I have a hard time with is anything outright phony, and that is what this new stuff boils down to. Moms sometimes "follow after" what sounds good; I know because I've been guilty of that myself. It's easy to get wrapped up in an emotional appeal. But we have to get back to what God's word (the bible) says about parenting, authority and purity. Sheltering your child from the evil junk out there IS going to protect them (if your child listens to you - if you have his heart to begin with).

Of course parents should talk with their children - parents (not the world) should be the ones educating them on what's out there, rather than stepping back (hands off attitude) in the name of, "Let's let Johnny experience it for himself. He needs to see what's out there if he is to function in the real world." Baloney. That's psychology talking again, and it's a lie.

I'm not saying parents should bury their heads. On the contrary - a faithful protector is always watchful, ever-aware, sharp-minded and upright. I don't think that a "sheltering family" should be made to look as fools, or that they are now aimlessly going too far (thus, now idolizing their family). That's utter nonsense, and more babbling. Focusing on the raising of your children is NOT making your family an idol.

Parents can properly equip their children by spending TIME with them, talking with them. Teaching them. Taking them places, working alongside them in ministry activities towards church and/or community. A wise parent knows what's out there already in the real world - and will prepare his or her child for it in a timely, orderly, godly fashion. This type of relationship-building is going to foster a healthy, safe environment for the child to share his or her heart - remember, your child's heart belongs to YOU as the parent right now. Guard it wisely; God gave it to you.

-gena
www.genasuarez.com

Jennifer said...

Rebecca,
I really enjoyed and thought your second post was quite well done. I've linked to you in today's entry, feel free to take a look and consider coming over to homeschool blogger. It is an amazing community of like-minded believers. My blog is www.homeschoolblogger.com/gabalot.

It is great to see Gena jump in here, I knew she would have a great comment or two.

Just want to continue to encourage you to be bold through love, which is just what you did today!
Jennifer

pottermom said...

Well I'd tell you to stay just right where you are and not head over to homeschoolblogger. I do find one problem with many homeschool families and that is their reluctance to associate with anyone that doesn't homeschool. You are correct in saying that adults need to be the salt and light in public schools, not children but in the same manner homeschool families need to be loving and accepting among public school families. When homeschool families limit their friends to only "like-minded" people often they miss out on some valuable friendships and insight. Homeschoolers are not the only ones with a corner on the truth market. As a homeschooler I encourage home school families to not isolate themselves. Often the exposure to some negative is a great learning tool and provides great fuel for Spiritual discussions. Better the kids learn some hard things and how to handle it when they are under your watchful eye than later on when they are off on their own and not prepared because they didn't know about it. Protect and teach yes, isolate no.

Anonymous said...

Becki:

I guess I am still left wondering "Does this mean that she thinks I am a bad parent?" When all the smoke clears from this mess... AM I accepted for who I am and the beliefs that I am striving to instill to my children? I guess I am blind to the idea that there are people out there who think that I am a bad mom for sending my kids to public school.

Maybe I didn't have any "winning" points in your eyes to sway your opinion either way...but my point isn't really for homeschool or public school...but for accepting people for what they choose.

I accept you for homeschooling. I even respect you for homeschooling. I am a little nervous about the whole concept IF there is little social interaction with children of the same ages as your two. But I know that home schooling can be beneficial for both parent and child. I also think that public school can be beneficial for both parent and child. I don't have convictions over sending my kids to public school and I don't think it is because I am not listening. I am here. I am praying. I am willing to change my childrens schooling...and I don't think my house will be clean! I have other children lets not forget who will need and deserve some quality one on one time.(or two on one in my case). I just don't think I am being selfish. I know what goes on in my home and the amount of time and work that it takes to orgainze a larger family. I am trying my best, and God-willing I will see the day that my children ARE an example of GOD's LIGHT in public school.

Maybe they will be too young to provide a light...but if so I ask you... Why is it that such a high percentage of the ENTIRE "saved" population accepted Christ BEFORE they entered high school? Especially when teachers aren't able to speak the name of Jesus anymore? Well...it must be the children's peers. They are asking their friends to come to groups like YESS and other youth groups. What would happen to schools if all the "Christian" kids were gone? Who would lead the unsaved child population? Remember...the teachers can't speak unless spoken to.

So...I am going to raise my kids to reach to those kids who are unsaved. That means immersing them into the public school and teaching them about acceptance of every type of person. We have already started to do this in our home and I am happy to report that Kellyn accepted Christ on her own two weeks ago. Nearly floored me as I didn't push her at all. It was a true blessing to Sean and I. Almost like a pat on the back for all the hard work that we are doing.

I just want to take a long sigh...and hmmmmm over this. I am so sad. Why can't people just be accepted for doing their best. That's what it comes down to. It would be a great day when I see both sides of the arguement UPLIFTING and giving helpful advice to the other side. I guess that will happen in Heaven.

Erin

GenaSuarez.com said...

Pottermom: You are right - homeschoolers do not have the corner on the market when it comes to Truth. Only Christians (followers and worshipers of CHRIST) do.

No one is saying that homeschoolers should turn inward and only associate with clones. In fact, what does God's word say? It says not to forsake the fellowship of the SAINTS (Christians). We are called to be light (as families - not as throwing our children to a sinful State system). We are called to kindness, to compassion, to caring for others. These things we can do with our children - with them alongside us, modeling us.

I don't think anyone here is insinuating that homeschoolers make idols of themselves - that would be weird. Yet there is a small "movement" suggesting that homeschoolers are doing that. And that is rubbish - the source preaches rubbish.

Parent your children. Keep them with you when they are young. It's their training time. Love other families. Go to church and be a blessing to others. Should you let anyone take your child home with them for the night? Of course not. Do things as a family when it comes to witnessing - teach them what "salt and light" is by example - your example. And no, the answer is not to "expose them to some negative so that you can use it as a learning tool." That's not protection, that's experimentation and it's faulty. They'll see plenty of negative everytime they walk out the door with you into the real world. Keep them close to you for now - guard their hearts and minds. Your time with them is short; make it count.

emily said...

Hi Rebecca! I found this article a long time ago...and saved it. I didn't know why, but I suppose it was for such a time as this. This totally and COMPLETELY puts the whole socialization bull to bed. Lemme know what you think! ~em

How to Answer the Socialization Question Once and for All
by Marsha Ransom

I am beginning to tire of the many articles, essays and responses I keep running across on what has become to be known as the "socialization question."

Homeschooling families, please listen carefully: What people refer to as socialization is a non-issue! It has become a buzz-word among the Official Homeschool Nay Sayers Society. When someone asks you the question ("What about SOCIALIZATION!?"), I suggest you begin by asking them, "What do you mean by socialization?" They will more than likely proceed with some variation on the following theme: "You know, having
your kids spend time with other kids their age. Hanging out with their friends, stuff like that." At that point do not, under any circumstances respond with, "Oh my little Susie gets plenty of socialization! She's in
4-H and Awanas, and Sunday school and HomeSchool band and she volunteers at the nursing home etc.etc. etc. In fact she has so many opportunities for socialization that I hardly have time to teach her some days..YaDa
YaDa YaDa." Why not? *Because this is not what socialization really is!*

Here is a more appropriate response: "Oh, I think the word you are looking for is *socializing*. * Socialization* is actually defined as the process by which the norms and standards of our society are passed from one generation to the next. I've never really thought that a complete
strangers' six-year old child would be a good source of information on the correct standards of behavior in our family and in society as a whole. As for socializing, I remember from my school days that it was something you weren't supposed to be doing during class!"

We do not have to defend homeschooling based on false assumptions, false accusations, and false information. Please stop telling others about all the opportunities your kids have for "socialization" and start gently exposing them to the real issue here-- a lot of what kids learn from other kids in social situations is simply living according to "The Law of
the Jungle." In our family, we have a higher set of laws to follow and I bet your family does too. Next time, don't be afraid to say so!

PeteS in CA said...

Becky,
What you say and what people hear sometimes don't match very well. Misunderstanding can be an opportunity to clarify your thoughts, sometimes to yourself.

We homeschooled for 18 years, "stopping" when our youngest graduated from high school. Because of things such as sports leagues, many, perhaps most, of the families we associated with were/are homeschoolers. However, through church, Boy Scouts and our neighborhood, many families we associated with have their children in PS or private schools. We didn't avoid them; homeschooling for us - and I don't think we're unique - was never isolation.

I think "sheltering" incompletely expresses what parents should be doing. Another way of looking at it is that we are controlling our children's progress toward being able to deal with adults' experiences and issues.

phyllis said...

Hello again Becky.

You were again VERY ELOQUENT in expressing your convictions. I couldn't have said it better myself. I can tell that you have really thought through this choice for your family. A great resource with lots more sound scriptural reasons for homeschooling is the great book by Chris Klicka, "The Heart of Homeschooling." Another terrific book by the same author is "Homeschooling, the RIGHT choice." Both of those books will help cement your conviction to keep your kids home and give you an arsenal of answers to overcome the inevitable objections (and flames) you will receive for this choice.

I personally think that this issue is so controversial because all (concerned, involved) parents really do want the best for their children.
Unfortunately, many have not critically thought through the educational choices available or
searched God's Word for applicable passages on parenting, raising up worldchangers, leaving a legacy of faith, our charges and responsibilities as parents, etc. It is much easier to accept the status-quo rather than question everything and always, ALWAYS go back to the Bible for the bottom line answer. I applaud you for doing your homework! =)

Many Blessings! You will surely reap a reward!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this and the starting blog with great interest. I read "Teaching the Trivium" by the Bluedorns and they make very very strong reasons why Christians should be homeschooling. Having said that, I am a homeschooling mom and I have a friend that homeschooled her children for a few years and she is an example of someone who SHOULD NOT homeschool. The children were not motivated (and some too young) to learn on their own and do any assignments and she was not motivated to teach them or make sure they were doing anything. It is sad that the only homeschool stories you hear about or read about in the media are tragic cases where they probably weren't really homeschooling just using it as a way out of truancy. As Christians we need to lift each other up and pray for one another that all of us are making the right choice (the choice God is telling us)for our families no matter if it is homeschool, public school, or private school. We as adults need to be the light. I hope those who are sending their children to public school are going to be volunteers, it is a good way to see what is going on in the school and make sure your child is going to grow there. Those who said things are different now than when we were in school are absolutely right. My brother is 14 years younger than me and the things he came home telling me in elementary are things I never even heard of until senior high at the earliest. So we all need to keep those little ones in pray who are in the school systems they need us.

Amity said...

I really enjoyed both of your posts about homeschooling. I am absolutely going to shelter and train my children. I was homeschooled till I was 15. When I entered public school I really tried to stick to my beliefs but I was not strong enough. Kids could be mean, and I wanted to be accepted. One small mistake led me deeper and deeper into sin and farther away from God. Am I back on the right track now?? Absolutely, however I am still paying for those mistakes and I deeply regret the fact that I ever entered the public school system (not to mention the poor education in the ps). Now as an ADULT I am much more equipt to handle peer pressure, I no longer care what people think of me, but that was not the case when I was 15. Thanks for the great posts!!!

Alicia said...

I don't plan on giving any reasons for why I'm choosing ps. I would just like you Bec to know that while yes I think I know you pretty well and may I say have really enjoyed our talks and time together!;0), but yes I still thought you sounded a little judgemental, but having said that it is very clear that no one has any idea what is being meant when you can not here their tone or see their expressions, that is the one hard part about writing instead of talking (which we all know I like to do)! In light of this I still pray we can lift each other up and be mommies together segragating no one. And I also have to tell you that I really have loved the information that you have given me on homeschooling because next year if we feel God is leading us in that direction then it will be put to great use!!! :0)

Rachel said...

"I NEVER insinuated that someone would be SINNING by sending their kids to public school."

I disagree. There is not one reason to PS your children. It is wrong if you are a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Good thing Rachel isn't a single mother. God forbid her husband dies or for some reason she is unable to homeschool her children. Don't be so quick to judge or to lump all Christians into the same group. Not everyone is in the same fortunate situation that you are girlfriend!

Lizzytra said...

Love your blog. Your rebuttal was an interesting read as my kids are so young that I haven't had much conflict w/my desire to home school.

My desire to hs stems mostly b/c of my public school experience and the incredible home schoolers I've met over the years. I dare say they impressed me more than many peers I met in my honors and AP classes in public school.

As a Christian I can appreciate several points you made, but I think it is possible that many miss out on the other benefits of homeschooling by keeping their focus limited to spiritual reasons.

My only opposition has been on the basis of "social" skills, etc. To which I say that those home schoolers I met where able to excel not only in academics but also in music, dance, or athletics b/c of the additional time and flexibility the homeschooling schedule can lend. Therefore, they had a great amount of opportunities for social interaction and growth during what I would consider more appropriate times.

For example, two homeschooled brothers I know each swam on their universities swim teams: Lehigh and Harvard. Each had a scholarship and were in leadership roles in their school settings. One brother told me the schedule and time were key to their success.

My one friend, Chris, surprised me by saying college actually "hurt" him academically b/c for the first time he realized success wasn't measured by what you know, but by what you could cram in before an exam. He said that in his high school years he would read his textbooks from cover to cover and teach himself things like pre-calculus, etc. In college, he realized you must only study what was to be on the test to achieve success: the letter A (I think grading is important but in this case it shows that there are many things need to be learned besides how to get an A)!

I know every student is different as well as every teacher (mother and father), but knowing these individuals have given me a desire to give homeschooling my best shot.

As someone noted, not all are in a situation that lends them to this possiblity of hsing, but I am thankful that I am able to stay home with my kids and have this incredible opportunity.

Thanks for taking time to post and I hope to stop by and read more in the future!