Thursday, March 3, 2011

Have You Heard? Homeschooling is a Weapon!

Hitler and Stalin both outlawed homeschooling in their countries. Stalin said, “Education is a weapon whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” That sounds a bit alarming! In the US, a college professor named Chris Lubienski once stated that “homeschooling is a social threat to public education.” And here you thought that homeschooling was simply a personal choice that benefited your family!

If homeschooling is a weapon, then there must be a target. What are we aiming at? I’ve come up with a list that I think represents reasons why most of us choose home education for our families.

Target #1: negative influences/peer pressure/violence
Many homeschooling families fight the negative influences, peer pressure, and violence that can be found in brick-and-mortar schools. Are there good schools with good teachers and good policies? Of course. However, that doesn’t always prevent bullying from occurring. That doesn’t stop students from talking in the halls or on the playground about inappropriate or offensive subjects. Drugs and gangs are in our schools. I spoke with a police officer and was stunned to learn about the number of gangs that he was aware of in our community and in our public school! Parents have a right to protect their children from these things. We’ve been called to raise them in the nurture and admonition of our Lord. Sometimes that involved homeschooling.

Target #2: ignorance
Those who live in districts where the traditional schools are substandard may turn to homeschooling to give their children a better education. Homeschooling can fight ignorance. Ignorance is defined as “the condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed.” Homeschool parents can work on subjects until their children have a clear understanding. We can go into more depth on subjects. We can study topics not included in the traditional school’s curriculum. We can fight ignorance.

Target #3: government indoctrination
People have different opinions about government indoctrination and whether it really exists within our public schools. I’m not prepared to debate the question, but I’ve read accounts in the news of teachers presenting very biased lessons on politics and trying to hide it from the students’ parents. In high school, I had teachers who were active in local politics, and I knew their party affiliation. It’s not too farfetched to say that some parents would choose to homeschool to avoid government control over what their children are taught. Certainly, being able to teach creationism and explain the flaws in the theory of evolution are attractive reasons for a Christian to homeschool.

Target #4: apathy
A child who once loved learning may lose that love in a traditional school, and it’s often because of not being taught to his or her learning style. Not all children learn well by sitting quietly and listening to a lecture. It’s heartbreaking when a child becomes apathetic about learning. Fortunately, homeschooling can solve that problem. The parent can discover each child’s learning style and adapt lessons accordingly.

Target #5: family disunity
One of the reasons I embraced homeschooling was for the additional time I could spend with my children. After seven childless years, my husband and I had become foster parents. Then we were able to adopt our son and daughter. I didn’t want to send them away from home each day! I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. I used homeschooling to fight family disunity. Homeschooling keeps the family together, and it allows siblings more time to spend with each other and develop close relationships.

Target #6:  Godless worldview
Homeschooling targets the “separation of church and state” debate. By taking your child’s education out of the state’s hands and into your own, you are free to teach from a biblical worldview. A worldview is defined as the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. As Christians, we want our children to embrace a biblical worldview.

Target #7: Godless week days
I grew up going to public school Monday through Friday and going to church on Sunday – the Lord’s Day. When only one out of seven days is devoted to God, a child might draw the conclusion that God is just a Sunday school subject. Our faith shouldn’t be compartmentalized like that. As Christians, we should know that all of life should be lived with all of God.  We need always to be conscious of God, not merely on Sundays, at mealtimes, or when we are in trouble. Homeschooling can combat that compartmentalization. When education takes place at home, God can be a part of every moment of your child’s day!

Just so you know, I don’t think homeschooling is the answer for every family. I would never judge anyone for sending their children to a private or public school. I can only know what God called me to do. While homeschooling may be a weapon aimed at the above targets, it isn’t the only weapon! Christian parents can still have an effect on their children and against those targets. We have a God-given responsibility to protect and train our children properly. As it says in Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Also published at www.christianonlinemagazine.org

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