Family

Answering the Same Homeschool Objections . . . Again

I started home educating my oldest son when he was in first grade. Unhappy with the private school he was attending, and a bit concerned about the condition of the public schools in the area, my husband and I decided to try homeschooling.

I was working for a large mortgage bank in the legal department, but I had attended college in order to become a teacher. The idea of teaching my own child sounded like bliss. So we went for it.

In these last 20 years, I have heard the same objections to homeschooling again and again. They have been addressed over and over, in newspapers, magazines, by educational establishments and research projects, but that doesn’t stop people from asking as if they are the first person on earth to imagine them.

Moderndaychris is a blogger, and a junior at Gettysburg College, studying American Studies, Music, and Education, with many exciting opportunities in his future. To that I say, “Congrats, and go for it!”

He is again asking questions, often in the form of accusations, at this post “The Home School vs The Public School.” So I thought I’d answer a few of them.

First, I want to say that I do not view public education and home education as opposites or adversaries. They are both legitimate options for parents. Private education is also in the mix as a valid choice when deciding where their child will receive academic instruction.

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Singing in Harmony

One Friday night in November found me and my family (along with several dozen other folks) sitting in Miss Kay’s proper parlor singing at the top of our lungs.

We almost missed it. Like the classic “big picture” person that I am, I had mixed up my dates, double-booked house guests, and created the very distinct possibility that we would be absent from a mainstay of the church’s yearly calendar. File this one under “How Not to Be a Good Pastor’s Wife.”

Fortunately we didn’t miss it. A little rearranging and a couple blushing conversations later, we ended up at Miss Kay’s front door promptly at 7:00. (Okay, not promptly… but we did get there.) The evening began like any other social gathering—food and small talk—but then about forty minutes in, something happened. A whisper spread through the house and with the enthusiasm of children, this eclectic group aged 17 months to 77 years assembled themselves in the front parlor (yes, I do mean parlor). Out came the guitars; next a mandolin; and before you knew it, someone was seated at the piano, running gospel scales up and down.

Then it began.

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Mad Men, June Cleaver and Biblical Womanhood

I have a confession to make. Recently, I watched “Mad Men” for the first time.

For some this may sound like a confession of moral laxity; for others it’s a confession of being horribly out of touch and having lived the last five years in a cave. Still, apart from the rampant licentiousness, unchecked greed, and ubiquitous alcoholism, I have to admit that it’s a pretty engaging show, especially as it captures the glamour of mid-20th century Manhattan—the perfect pencil skirts, the tailored three-piece suits, the sleek cars, and the poolside lunches at the Astoria. In its attempt to be historically accurate, “Mad Men” is also quick to make (and overstate) the point that this was a world dominated by men, a world where housewives were vacuous ninnies, and the only women with any sense of power were the “hens” at the office who knew how to get a man to do what they wanted.

Of course “Mad Men” is interesting in itself, but it’s been particularly interesting as my exposure to it coincides with the ramped up conversation surrounding traditional gender roles. With the release of Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womahood, everybody and her cousin seems to be parsing conservative interpretations of gender via the late 1950s and early 60s. Evans explains how she understands conservative mores here:

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Genesis, Submission & Modern Wives

By Georgia Purdom. © Answers in Genesis. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Common Misconceptions

The verses most commonly quoted concerning the wife’s role in relation to the husband’s role are Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22).

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Col. 3:18).

Many women struggle with the concept of submission in marriage because they mistakenly equate being submissive with being inferior. From Genesis we know that men and women are equal in God’s eyes because everyone, regardless of gender, is made in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

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Worshiping at the Altar of Family

“A family may support him off to the side, but he’s longing for the accolades, the respect, the riches. But I found myself, while he described the feelings of idolatry–the sense that this is my whole life, this is what I live for, this is what I dream of, this is what completes me and gives me significance–thinking that, for me, this is family. This stuff of many women’s fantasies includes an adoring, faithful spouse; attractive, obedient kids; people who depend on you, love you, give you a reason to get out of bed, regularly stand up and sing your praises. And it is idolatry, just like money, power, and fame.”

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Homeschoolers are Consumers, Too

Posted with permission from At Home and School.

When a new demographic emerges, companies begin to find ways to market their products to this budding audience, and entrepreneurs jump at the chance to fill an unexpected gap in the free market.

Home schoolers have been such a demographic. In the early days of home schooling, parents used whatever books they could find, and only a few companies would sell their textbooks to home educating parents. Nowadays, my mailbox and email inbox is regularly stuffed with periodicals, newsletters, and catalogs of home schooling encouragement, resources, and advice.

Yet I must say Caveat Emptor—“Let the buyer beware.” Not every website, textbook, catalog, or umbrella school is legitimate, or offers good quality educational materials and guidance. Parents who feel insecure to the task may depend on those they consider to be “experts,” but many of these experts are self-proclaimed, and do not possess much in the way of home schooling or business experience. They may be well-intentioned people trying to make some extra money in a tight economy…but let’s face it—some are outright scams.

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To Do: Nothing

todo

There are seasons in life where you learn to just hang on for the ride. My family’s in one of them now.

For several weeks, we’ve been in the middle of preparing for an interstate move (with husband there and me here), trying to find the “perfect” house (which apparently doesn’t exist), finishing all the end of school year activities for two kids, and trying to occasionally write interesting blog posts (although at this point I’d settle for adequate). And through it all, the one major take away has been learning that human beings were not intended to subsist on six hours of sleep a night, diet coke, and chocolate.

I confess I’m pretty much an idealist. In my world, if I want something badly enough, if I work hard enough, and if I just commit to making sure it happens, it will. Food, sleep, rest? What are those? They’re simply props for the weak. And yet, what I’m discovering—once again even after several decades on this planet—is my own weakness. I’m learning about my inability to do it all, how quickly stress affects every part of me and my tendency to be really mean when I’m overwhelmed.

But thankfully, this week I re-learned something even more important.

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