Why I Have No Intention of Homeschooling My Children

Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome the newest guest blogger to “Adventures”! Going by the pen name of Ms. Ava Sendler! Leave her some feedback and make her feel appreciated!

A couple things you need to know about me before you read this article. It’s not my intent to make anyone mad, these are simply my views on a matter – you can have your own, that I will not begrudge you. I am a homeschooled kid – have been since kindergarten. I’m not someone who just throws out opinions for the sake of having them; these are questions that I’ve asked myself as I consider the futures of my children. Not all of these statements are true for everyone, but they’re what I’ve observed to be the tendency the homeschool community leans toward. Finally, I’m a very list-oriented sort of person, so here’s a list.

Final caveat: this isn’t meant to say that if you are planning on homeschooling your kids that you’re wrong – it’s my point of view, take it or leave it as you like.

 

1. Homeschooling instils dogma

 

Someone, somewhere is going to jump up and quote Proverbs 22:6 at me. To that person I say that there is a stark difference between dogma and training. Training (at least in my mind) is a set of guidelines that are given to the trainee, and can be used in a manner that is often abstract. Training tells you to draw a picture and color it in. Dogma gives you a bland coloring book and whacks you with a ruler if you don’t color in the lines.

Dogma, on the other hand is a set of unyielding principles, often archaic in origin, which are adhered to with astonishing strictness. Those instructed in dogma are often ill prepared to handle “real world” scenarios, as they aren’t capable to comprehend the possibility of the validity of another viewpoint.

Dogma ultimately destroys. It cripples relationships, due to a lack of willingness to understand. It stunts futures; if you have a very set dogma, you are less likely to pursue a path that you actually want to, you simply do what you’ve been told. Dogma is intensely difficult to overcome, and by the time it is (if it is) the damage done on a child’s life is already too high.

Let’s suppose that you were raised in a a community that was of a singular ethnicity. Imagine first seeing a person with a trait that was different from everyone else’s. You would stare until your eyes fell out. The only problem is that when something comes into our lives that’s different, we tend to stare. Then we tend to grab our pitchforks and torches and go on a good, old fashioned witch hunt.

If our kids are raised knowing that there are other opinions out there – some of which are right, some of which are wrong – they’ll be less likely to see opposing ideas as things to be fought, but rather as things to be accepted. Moreover, if they’re raised recognizing the existence of other ideas, they’ll be forced to establish solid ones of their own.

 

2.  Homeschooling does not equal superiority

 

Homeschoolers like saying that they’re academically superior to pretty much everyone else. That leads a lot of them to look down on people who weren’t homeschooled, or anyone who got a lower ACT score than them.

Bully for you. You can pass a test. Now go do something that actually matters, like treating people decently – regardless of education, test scores, or whatever.

 

 

3.  Homeschooling does not always equal relational closeness

 

So many families have told me over the years that they started homeschooling so they could grow closer as a family. Some are succeeding, and I say more power to them.

The problem, however, becomes when you think that relational and physical closeness are the same thing. I could tell you right now that I am close to my cat. In reality, I have my suspicions that she’s plotting my murder. We’re physically close, not relationally.

In a lot of homeschooling families, the dad works a job with long hours, comes home, and doesn’t say a word to the kids, aside from the scripted supper prayer. In my experience, my dad talked to me if I was in trouble or if I’d done something exceedingly awesome. Yet everyone assumes we’re close because I’m home pretty much always.

Relational closeness isn’t something that magically happens the first time you decide, “hey guys! you get to stay home for school!” Rather, it’s something that is worked for for a lifetime. Everyone builds it differently. Everyone needs it desperately.

 

4.  Homeschooling decides that a bird in the hand is worth all of the ones in the bush

 

Another reason a lot of parents cite for homeschooling their children is the state of the public school systems, or perhaps because they are unable to pay for private school, or some combination thereof. I’m not saying this is an invalid concern. It’s a very real issue.

I do feel the need to say that not all teachers, administrators, and principals are perfect and should be entrusted with children. There are, however, a lot of people who are trying to teach the youth of today with a shocking amount of earnest energy, particularly when pay and conditions are considered.

So why don’t homeschoolers encourage their kids to go into teaching? Why don’t the capable homeschool parents start teaching in their public school system? Instead of being selfish with your capabilities to teach, why not benefit as many people as possible?

I know homeschool parents who actively protest the local school system. My suggestion is this: go do something. Talk to God and get motivated. The world isn’t changed by passive people, but by people who see a need and fill it.

 

5.  Homeschooling teaches you to live life with a closed fist

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a homeschool graduation ceremony. It’s a really emotional event. Most parents cry (except for the ones who have like, twelve kids, who can out-cheer the audience. I’m mostly kidding), because they’re having to send off their baby into the big mean world.

Granted, graduation is a big deal. You’re finally becoming an adult, stretching your wings as it were. It’s exciting.

Not so exciting when your parents weep over losing their baby. Most parents worry that their kids will run off to college and jump straight off the deep end (a legitimate concern, a lot of us do).

The question I have for these parents is this: are you not in the least bit confident of your raising of this child? If you are confident, then great. Watch your kid grow up. Root for them and be willing to gently assist if they crash and burn.

If you are sprouting grey hairs even reading this point, then I suspect that there was a great deal of dogma involved in this child’s rearing. Dogma won’t hold up under pressure. It simply can’t.

For children, it means that they cling onto their families with a tenacity that rivals most hunting dogs’. They don’t try to discover who they are outside of their parents’ definition. Many simply won’t. Others still just can’t.

Holding onto your child is possibly one of the most selfish things you can do. It impairs their growth, and it impairs yours. Parents are coming into a new phase of life too, and they need just as much space and stretching room as the kids do.

Don’t live your life with a death grip on things – no matter how precious. It’s excruciating when they’re ripped from your grasp – as they inevitably are.

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Don’t Call Him Father

Well guys, our favorite mysterious guest blogger is back! He’ll now be going by the pen name of Elliott Villanueva. Let’s give a round of applause, shall we? I, for one, always enjoy his well thought-out (possibly unorthodox) views. If you do as well, why not leave a comment and let him know?

 

If you are expecting this post to be a feminist attack on the identity of God, you will be disappointed. Rather, this is call for change in how we refer to, and think of God. The change that I believe we need is, for us as Christians, to cut back on referring to God as our father as much as we currently do. This belief stems from the culture we live in; I feel that referring to God as a father sells Him short and downplays even what we as humans can comprehend of His love.

Now, is He our Father? Yes He is. So then, what is the problem with referring to Him as our Father? The problem does lie with Him; but rather with fathers here on earth.

I am assuming that you are aware of the staggering and saddening statistics regarding fathers in America today. For the purposes of this post, just look around you; there is no need for statistics for you to see the huge problems that exist; and unfortunately, Christian fathers are not exempt.

Now, earthy fathers are human; and therefore fallen, but don’t you think fathers in our society could still be doing a better job than they currently are? I do not have the space nor the wisdom and knowledge to write about what a father should be doing; but if you would like to purse this topic further, there is a great book by Stephen and Alex Kendrick that dives right into what fathers should be doing titled, “The Resolution for Men.”

 Due to the reality of fathers today, when we talk about fathers both inside and outside the church, there is a lot of hollowness in the word father; there can be painful baggage attached as well. Many Americans today do not really know what a father is supposed to do for them; so they can’t relate when we call God our father.

Furthermore, we often project the image of our earthly fathers onto God. The church has recognized this problem, but their response still falls short in my opinion. We attempt to compensate by talking about God as our perfect father, which He is; however there is a major flaw in using this phrase to describe God. Here is the flaw I see; if the only point of reference you had for a father was a highly imperfect dad, your view of what a perfect father does will be obstructed by your limited viewpoint. When you are told of a perfect father, your understanding of that perfect father is limited to only the things your imperfect father did right, and the opposite of what your imperfect father did wrong. This is essentially all you can comprehend of the love of a father; but God is so much more than what an imperfect father did right or wrong.

So even calling God a perfect father is not a worthy compromise because of the limited view of fathers we have in our society today. I am not stating that we should never refer to God as our father; there are instances where I believe it is entirely appropriate to do so. What I am arguing for is simply this; let’s make sure we do our best to communicate who God is and what His characteristics really are before we associate Him with our earthly father.

Context & Hope

Here’s another guest post from the anonymous writer. It has some excellent points:

I believe that many of the New Testament verses used by the church to condemn homosexuality as a sin are not being used with their full context and message. I actually believe this radical statement I have just made; which hopefully by the end of this post, you will not find to be as radical as you do now.

Before I continue, let me first make a quick disclaimer; I am not a historian, nor a Bible scholar. I am simply a student who enjoys research, and I try my best to purse God’s truth in the research that I do. I would encourage you not to simply take my word, but to take what I say and investigate and research the claims I make for yourself.

I will begin with a brief, broad overview of the letters. They were written by Paul to the early church in different cities regarding Christian ethics and theology. In these letters, there are many verses on sexual purity; in which Paul warns and rebukes members of those churches (1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 6:9, etc.). Homosexuality is a sin; it is laid out pretty clearly in those verses. The evangelical right has this part down pretty well; not many people would say we a problem with not rebuking people for homosexual behaviors. This analysis, while correct on this facet, falls short of capturing the bigger picture though.

Now this is where it gets interesting; I will examine the historical context present when Paul’s epistles were written. In the Greco-Roman culture he was writing to, homosexual practices were rampant. Homosexual relationships in that time were much different than they are now however. In the cities Paul was writing to most homosexual encounters were between an autonomous adult and someone who “worked” as a prostitute. When I say worked, they didn’t have a choice in the matter; they were slaves essentially.

Sexual slavery, not an overly popular topic in the church now is it? (But given that it still has a presence in our world today, maybe it should be). Those in the church to whom Paul was writing to weren’t looking to marry a partner of the same sex, but rather they were seeking fleeting sinful acts to satisfy their lust.

So where do we miss the mark? I believe we miss the implicit message of hope contained in the verses condemning homosexual behavior. Hope? Hope for whom? Hope for those living as slaves to the lustful whims of these societies. Through the spreading of the gospel and the disciplining of new believers, it would be inevitable that these slaves would be set free as Christianity spread.

How is this relevant to today? The homosexual practices and debates in America today do not involve one party in a state of slavery to the temple of a false religion, but the underlying concepts of hope for the lost still apply.

“Love the sinner, but hate the sin,” is just our nicer way of saying, “Come to Jesus and renounce homosexuality.” Don’t get me wrong, this statement is correct, but I believe it is incomplete. When you apply the implicit message of hope, the message also includes; “Come to Jesus and renounce despair,” and, “Come to Jesus and renounce loneliness.”

Let’s stop using legislation as our primary offensive against homosexuality, and start using Christ’s love. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”(ESV)

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag?

Ladies and gentlemen, my blog’s first ever guest post! The author wished to remain anonymous.

I recently attended a conference of a stereotypical evangelical right group; the opening ceremonies began with a prayer, per standard, followed by a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. This chain of events would hardly surprise anyone acquainted with this community. While reciting this pledge with the hundreds in attendance however, I began to think about what exactly I was saying. More specifically, is pledging allegiance to a post-Christian nation without stopping to contemplate the gravity of what we are saying something we should regularly engage in?

Now, before you label me a traitor, I love my country; there is no other nation on earth I would rather be a citizen of, and I thank God for the many blessings and freedoms I have received as a member of our great nation. Rather, the question I am posing to you is this; why must we always associate our nation with our God?

In our demographic, we love to associate the two; it makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. We cling to phrases like, “One nation under God.” Well I would propose to you that all nations are under God. Believe it or not, God is still in control of nations like North Korea, and He has a plan for them. America and Jesus are two different things; America is a creation of man, Jesus came to save man.

So how is this relevant? In the context of recent cultural debates, our focus should not be to make laws that align with our beliefs, but rather make our “enemies” align with our beliefs. With that being said, having laws that do align with our beliefs to a degree is an enormous blessing, but it should not be our ultimate goal.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard “America was founded on Christian principles.” My response is simply, so what? Nations change their principles; America is not the church, nor has it ever been so. As a Christian, your first allegiance should be to your God, before any institution of man regardless of the intentions that institution was founded with.

The conclusions I want to derive from this are simple, I believe you should put what is best for the church ahead of what you believe is best for America. With a heavily bureaucratic, sometimes corrupt, and often unpopular government, is it best for the American church to claim a strong relation to this government?

Based on the aforementioned augments, I believe that we need to separate our love of God from love of country. Furthermore, just imagine if we took all the time and effort we put into declaring our political beliefs, and instead put that time and effort into sharing the gospel?