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.
I want to share an article with you written by a well known homeschool dad, Reb Bradley, entitled, “Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers“.
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.
Have seen this article a few times now, and it was good! I had to laugh at your opening paragraph though. That's not why we homeschool! 🙂 This does apply to anyone that is a parent. Many (regardless of how they educate their child) have blind spots. Good reminders!
We enjoyed the article too! Mark actually Tweeted it yesterday. I do totally agree that this is for all parents. I think people send their kids to Public School out of fear that they won't have socialized kids, that they won't look missional, or their kids will go astray if they don't have practice fighting temptation at school etc. This is a total doctrinal issue. If we are right on our doctrine, we will realize that it is only by grace that any of our kids will make it…no matter where they are! No matter how many outward things we do, they won't love Christ unless he has changed their hearts. Great reminders for sure!!!
Sandy, Thanks for your note. While I know it's not why you homeschool, there is something nice about a child being sheltered from cultural vomit.
Jocelyn, good thoughts. Fear isn't a good motivator. Nor is pride. If we can uproot those two from our parenting, I think we will be much more clear headed as we make decisions about school and everything else.
This is one of those “heaven” things for me. You know, like, in heaven we'll never have to worry about our weight or what we eat anymore! In heaven, we will be free from financial worries! And, in heaven, we won't have to think about the whole public school/private school/homeschool debate. In fact, we won't have to worry about school ever again! Heaven. I'm gonna love it there. 🙂
Good article (or should I say, book?!). Lots of thoughts flying around in my head after reading that. Made me think of the book Shepherding Your Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Thanks for posting!
Oh yeah, and I'm really glad I don't have to bake bread for my kids to turn out well…phew! Because if that was the case, I'd be in big trouble. 😉
Homeschooling vs. public schooling aside, the article as a whole was a great piece to read concerning parenting in general. How easy it is to focus on the externals and to put internal “stuff” on the back burner. We parents are sometmes too concerned about making sure our kids make us look like great Christians and excellent parents.
My two teenage step-children have been really making me think through the whole parenting thing (and in turn making it difficult for me NOT to pull my hair out!) I'm learning to get myself and my expectations out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do His work, and then helping them through the process of repentance and restoration. The jury is still out….
Alice, I agree. Won't that be grand? Our blind spots will be all gone then.
Heidi, yes, it reminded me of that book, too. Great book. And as for bread–I have pretty much given up trying to make it (Except for an occasional gluten free loaf for Cole.) Every time I plan to make bread for company, or whatever, something comes up and it never gets done. 🙂
Traci, yes–it's the inside/outside focus. That was my major takeaway–not to make parenting about meeting my goals. Good grief. I make my heavenly father look so bad sometimes, but rather than huffing and puffing, he guides (or prods) me back to the road that leads to my flourishing and his glory.
I hope you have a great day with your kids!
I love the picture of God “huffing and puffing” because that is what I do so much!! Thankfully He doesn't. I was just telling someone about that yesterday, how being a parent has made me understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father so much better. Oh, to be a parent such as He!