Occasionally, when I’m around my homeschool friends, one of their kids will do something charmingly naive. Like, they’ll assume that the dog on top is hugging his friend. Or they’ll suppose that the man meant to say ‘You pitch!” and look around for the baseball.
Inevitably, the homeschool parent will turn to the other adults present and say, “And that’s why we homeschool!” It makes me smile every time.
But before I send you his way, I need a word with my homeschooling friends: This is not my attempt to turn the tables and say, “And that’s why we don’t homeschool.” Though my kids attend a public school, I found a lot of ‘homeschool blindspots’ to claim. I think that any discerning parent–regardless of where she sends her child to school– can be susceptible to the errors he lists here.
So, as long as we’re clear that I am pointing my finger only at myself, allow me to share an excerpt:
When my oldest son was almost 16 we let him get his first job washing dishes at a restaurant managed by a Christian friend of ours. As diehard shelterers we wrestled with whether or not our son was ready to enter the world’s workforce. We knew we couldn’t shelter him forever, and so finally concluded that he should be old enough to send into the world two nights a week. What we didn’t realize was that he would be working with drug-using, tattooed, partiers, and our Christian friend was never scheduled to work our son’s shift.
Within a month it became apparent that our son’s new work associates were having an effect on him. He came home one evening and asked, “Dad, can I dye my hair blue?” After my wife was finally able to peal me off the ceiling, I laid into him, reminding him whose son he was, and that I would not have people at church telling their children not to be like the pastor’s son. I explained that just because he wanted to use washable dye, it didn’t make me any happier. (Note that my intense reaction had to do with “outward appearances” and the impact on me.)
Of course, my wife and I immediately began to evaluate whether we had made a mistake by letting him take the job. After an intense discussion we decided to coach him more carefully and let him keep his job.
Two months later he came home from work and asked me if he could pierce his ear. Again, my wife had to peal me off the ceiling. He thought it might be okay since he wanted a cross earring — like I was supposed to be happy, because it would be a “sanctified” piercing. If that wasn’t enough, he also wanted to get a tattoo! But it was going to be okay, because it would be a Christian tattoo!
As I was looking back on this experience several years later, something my son said shortly after he started his job kept coming back to me. When I picked him up the second night of work, he got in the car with a big smile on his face and said “They like me!” As I dwelt on that comment, it suddenly came clear to me – my son had finally met someone who liked him for who he was. Few others in his entire life had shown him much acceptance, especially not his mother and I. Read the rest here.