The Three Myths of Homeschooling
By Berit Kjos - 1998
"Mom, would you be mad at me if I didn't do my work at school?" Ten-year old Christina looked concerned.
"Why wouldn't you want to do it, honey?"
"I have to answer some questions I don't think are right."
Her mother, Ramona Mays, asked to see the assignment.
"The teacher told us we couldn't take it home."
"But Christina, I need to see it so I can support you. The school can't take away your freedom to show me what you are learning. Your Dad and I are responsible for you."
Christina agreed. She knew that Proverbs 22:6 told parents to train their children in God's ways. So she brought the work pages home the next day, and her mother began to read:
Make a list of ten people you care more about than others. Include yourself in the list.
Rewrite the names in the list in the order that you care about them.
Mrs. Mays pondered the strange assignment. "Why would they tell you to rank the people you love?" she asked. "And what does this have to do with Advanced English?"
Christina didn't know, so Mrs. Mays asked her teacher. She didn't explain. Already concerned about the lack of academics, the distorted views of Christianity in multicultural literature, and the use of intrusive questions and surveys to assess the beliefs and values of students and their families, Richard and Ramona Mays decided to teach their three daughters at home.
Today's reasons for homeschooling vary. Nick Peros, a California parent, grew concerned when his daughter Lydia told about him the daily classroom "circles" where students would share family problems. If a parent seemed "too strict", the class would dialogue and decide together on steps the student should take to resolve the conflict. "The peers were usurping the parents' role," he explained.
Many share his concern about the touchy-feely consensus groups which train children to conform to group decisions based on moral relativism and universal values. They don't want their children to compromise their faith or purity.
Others want to guard their children from pressure to participate in earth-centered rituals that invoke animal spirits or honor pantheistic gods. They wouldn't mind if schools only taught about other religions, but they worry about the new emphasis on "real-life" multicultural and environmental "experiences" that immerse children in pagan practices. Didn't God say "You shall have no other gods"? (Ex 20:3)
These parents face a dilemma. They want the freedom to guide their children's education, but what are the choices? There may be an uncompromising Christian school in their community, but many can't afford the cost. Teaching at home costs less money but requires more time. How do you decide?
Homeschooling friends stress the rewards: a flexible schedule, more time for family activities, a return to fact-based academics, and a loyal family that shares the same values and enjoys being together. Yet many parents lack the confidence to start. Doubts and questions tear at their confidence. "How could I teach?" they argue. "I never went to college. And even if I could teach, my children wouldn't learn the social skills they need." Facing what seems to be an impossible situation, some simply argue away the problem: "Maybe I'm wrong about the public schools. They may not be so bad after all."
Let's look again at these objections. Pull back the curtain of doubt and let the light of truth expose the main myths of homeschooling, then look with fresh eyes at the benefits. If you question your own adequacy, remember what God promised long ago: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Myth 1: They won't learn the needed social skills if I teach at home.
Fact: To the contrary, most homeschooled children learn healthy social skills from parents and Christian friends, not from peers with contrary values. Studies have shown that homeschooled children surpass their peers in public schools "in adaptability, cohesion, social adjustment, maturity and leadership; and lower levels in aggressive behavior, loudness and competitiveness. Homeschooled children tend to go on to occupations which are more entrepreneurial and professional. They tend to be more independently minded [and] more family oriented." 
In most public schools, children are socialized by their friends and classmates. Their values are formed through the "critical thinking" strategies used in classrooms from coast to coast to free students from traditional moral absolutes so they can "create their own" values. These tend to reflect the rampant amorality spread by popular movies, music, books, and television.
"What sold me on homeschooling was a visit from two young girls the daughters of homeschooling friends," said Sarah Leslie, an Iowa mother of seven children.) "They were polite, modest, confident, thoughtful, natural, and well able to keep up with adult conversation. They showed no sign of the rebellion parents are told to expect from their teenagers. I thought, 'If this is what homeschool socialization does, I want it for my kids."
Nick and Joan Peros, after a year of homeschooling their children in California, have also seen the difference. "They are free from the teasing, swearing, meanness, and peer pressures they faced a year ago," said Nick. "And they have plenty of friends. They're involved in baseball, a community chorus, and a drama group. We're getting the good part of socialization and leaving out the bad."
Many families join homeschooling co-ops. "We meet once a week with fifteen families," said Anne Peters, who began teaching by faith, unaware of the wonderful resources God had prepared for her family's success. "All follow the same history and science curriculum, and our children do oral presentations. Once a month we go on a field trip together. A year ago, our kids didn't want to leave their old school. We prayed for months asking that God would prepare their hearts. Now they don't want to go back!"
Myth 2: I could never teach! I don't have any degree.
Fact: If you can read, you can teach. With some motivation and a little research you can find the kind of homeschooling program that fits your family's needs.
"I wanted my children to learn how to learn," said Sarah Leslie, a busy mother who also publishes a magazine 2 with her husband and older children. "I don't stand over them and lecture all day long. We found that a good curriculum like A Beka walks them through the lessons and explains every step of the way. The children teach themselves and don't need to have help every ten minutes. They seldom ask, 'What does this mean' or 'How do I do that?'"
Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, who began homeschooling their five children long before it became a national movement, would agree. "We don't have to know everything there is to know about chemistry or physics or biology, but we do have to teach our children how to teach themselves." They are convinced that parents make the best teachers regardless of educational background, and through their website and catalog they help provide parents with the encouragement and resources needed to succeed.
To appreciate the range of options available to starting families, scan the list of homeschool resources and suppliers. Pray that God lead you to the curricula best suited for your family. Even intimidating subjects like math can be conquered with programs such as Saxon math. "It breaks things down into pieces and takes you step by step," says Harvey Bluedorn. "The last book in the Saxon series is calculus. My son is an average child, but he was able to get through calculus without any help from a teacher."
Do you feel inadequate to teach high school science? Video courses makes science an adventure for the entire family. And Peterson's Guide to Independent Study lists all the high school and college correspondence courses available. Any lab equipment and chemicals needed for home experiments can be ordered by mail.
Finally, remember that "with God nothing will be impossible." When He asks you to "train up your child in the way he should go," He will surely enable you. (Luke 1:37; Proverbs 22:6)
Myth 3: My kids are going to a good school. Public schools may be changing in other parts of the country, but our school is different!
Fact: Your school may be trailing behind most others in implementing Goals 2000, but eventually all schools must conform to the law of the land.
Perhaps you have a Christian principal who is keeping the flood of intrusive surveys and pantheistic experiences out of your school. Maybe you have Christian teachers who have not yet been trained to facilitate the consensus groups which teach students to trade individual beliefs for collective thinking. Perhaps you are part of a Mom's in Touch group that prays each week that God would guard your school and keep children safe. If so, He probably is blocking some of the influences that prompt children in other schools to trade truth and facts for myth and feeling-based learning.
But soon your school, like all the others, must demonstrate that its students have learned the "higher order thinking skills", have been trained to conform to the group consensus, and have embraced global values. If the new student assessments fail to show the expected progress, your school will be punished. Teachers, principals, and school boards may be replaced, and your school would be forced to follow state guidelines based on national standards and international benchmarks. In the end, all must conform.
Goals 2000, our massive education law, which follows the blueprint prepared by UNESCO for its 1990 World Conference on Education for All, sets AD 2000 as the deadline for system-wide transformation. Its plan for retraining teachers would eliminate all who refuse to conform to politically correct standards. Those standards focus on affective (dealing with feelings and values) rather than academic learning. Christian teachers who resist using the new psycho-social strategies would not be certified.
Do you find it hard to believe this could be happening in America? Many do. Yet, whether we believe or not, this global revolution in education is transforming American minds and producing a "paradigm shift" the public acceptance of a new world view that opposes biblical Christianity on every point. Like the proverbial frog in the pan of slow-warming water, most people simply flow with the changes.
BIBLICAL ABSOLUTES & VALUES RELATIVE VALUES GLOBAL ABSOLUTES & VALUES The Bible reveals reality Science alone explains reality Feelings and experience prove reality God is personal (loves us) and greater than His creation God is a crutch, an illusion An impersonal universal god (pantheism) makes all things one (monism) Teach personal responsibility Teach human rights Teach collective duties or responsibilities Don't tolerate sin (but love sinners) Tolerate all lifestyles Don't tolerate dissenters (zero tolerance) Trust God Trust self Trust the state
Never has it been more important to train children to see reality from God's perspective. The truths about our sovereign God, His creation, the world, our own human nature, the spiritual war that rages behind the scenes all have been turned upside down by the new global paradigm. It's up to parents to teach children to see everything through the filter of His Word. So, while public school children are immersed in myths and experiences that promote the global paradigm, we must immerse our children in God's truth. That takes time, and Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says it well:
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit walklie down, andrise up.
Does that sound like homeschooling to you? Keep in mind, unless we teach our children to know and follow His Word, they will not be ready for the spiritual battles ahead.
Education leaders are fighting hard for control over all children, not just those in government schools. Curfew laws, national standards and tests, work certificates, requirements for teacher certification that would include parents who teach at home these are some of the threats to our freedom.
We don't know what our earthly future holds, nor how long we may freely train our children to love and follow God. But we can trust the One who holds the future in His hands. One day-maybe very soon-He will come for His own. Between today and that glorious day, we may be tested in ways we can hardly imagine. Will our children be ready? Will you and I?
Now is the time to prepare. We can trust our Shepherd to provide all the time and strength we need to follow. Remember, "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." Count on it! (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
1. Harvey Bluedorn summarizing part of a study by Dr. Brian Ray, "Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drums: A Profile of Home Education Research," The National Home Education Research Institute (Home School Legal Defense Association, 1992).
2. The family worked together to publish a magazine: The Christian Conscience. It has been replaced by this website: http://herescope.blogspot.com
4. Write to Trivium Pursuit, 139 Colorado Street, Suite 168, Muscatine, Iowa 52761.
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