Sunday, January 11, 2009

ANSWERS & ADVICE: Homeschoolers & The Real World

Recently got this question from another homeschooling mom:

Q: "Making home a priority is so important. What do I say to those people (Christians) who say, "Get off of your island!"; "You are so shielded from the real world."; "Your children will never know how to act in the real world - you are crippling them."; "You need to let other people invest in the lives of your children." Seriously - people say this stuff to me. I never know how to respond."
A: I do not know the age of the mother asking this question... and that certainly affects my reply. But here are my thoughts in response to her question; please feel free to add your response in the comments section.

I think receiving these comments when one's children are young is, frankly, absurd. But to the homeschooling community in general, there is a tendency for some of these things to be true about our children if we are not careful to get them to a point where they can wisely, safely and healthily live IN the world by the time they are adults. Ours is a society with transgender kindergarteners and porn addictions, teen pregnancies and same-sex marriage. Just using google can Pretending like these things don't exist is not a choice that will serve our children well.

I've proposed my thoughts about that in an article called "Thoughts on Sheltering". Michael Pearl has also put out a series of articles called "The Cloistered Homeschooler Syndrome" that I would recommend to every homeschooler. I absolutely would recommend a process of prayerfully and carefully talking through real life issues, and slowly but surely and intentionally releasing our children so that they can wisely live in the world.

I say all of that because I don't know how old your children are. If they are older, I'd encourage you to read the above mentioned articles and prayerfully consider ways that you can release your children into adulthood in the real world in a meaningful & intentional way. But if they are younger, I'd just either not say anything, or if I was really being challenged (more than just an occasional comment), I'd reference Deut. 6, Proverbs, and other places that show that parents are to be the primary teachers and "input" into their children's lives, particularly when they are young.

One other random thought-- I was interested to note that the very first mention of motherhood in the bible is when GOD says "a man shall leave his mother" in reference to Adam & Eve's union... from the very beginning-- before there were even children, LEAVING was the whole point. I think we as moms need to remember that, particularly as our children grow older.

But to moms of young children, these concerns are ridiculous. I don't want other first graders "socializing" my son when he ought to be learning. I can do a much better job socializing my son about real world things he'll encounter as an adult rather than having him exist in a microcosm where Bratz and Wii games are the most important things, thankyouverymuch. :) Additionally, God instructs me to be teaching my children diligently. So, that's what I'm doing. The time for outside input will come later.

But for now, I get the opportunity to pour in as much of the Lord, His Word, and His wisdom into my children, and I don't want to squander that.

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