There’s been a lot going around news-wise about homeschooling, and it got me to writing a bit, and before I knew it I had three long blog-posts written, so here we go….
About 14 years ago (wow, has it been that long?) my wife and I made the decision to educate our children at home. This was a radical decision for us, as both of us went to public school, K-12. Many of the homeschool families we knew in the 1980s were, well, weird. We even had a communal type group that lived in our area. So it was no surprise that when we made the decision to educate our children that many of our relatives responded with, “What??? Are you nuts???”
While they weren’t concerned so much with the academic side of things (I have two earned degrees and am finishing a third, and my wife is very intelligent), the usual “concern” we heard was, “They’ll grow up to be social misfits.”
I’m happy to say—entirely because of God’s grace—that everyone one of my children are extremely social and can carry on a conversation with anyone of any age. It doesn’t matter if the individual is elderly or young my kids are friendly, helpful, and have a ministry mindset. Do they act immature at times? Of course they do. Look who they have for a dad! (And, not to mention, they are kids!) But overall, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told what good kids they are. As an example, here’s a recent email I received—
_____ and I stopped at the library yesterday afternoon to get some videos and books and saw both Hannah and Andy while we were there. We talked to both of them for a few minutes and had a good time chatting. It is quite evident from observation of your children (all of them) that they have been taught well and have their priorities straight. Both you and Trisha are to be commended in allowing the Lord to work through you for their physical, spiritual, and emotional maturation.
I’m not so deluded as to think that my kids can do no wrong (again, look who they have for a dad—apples don’t fall far from trees). I live with them. I see them at their worst. But they also see me at my worst. Thankfully we must be considered on the basis of our overall character, and if we are striving by God’s grace through the help of the Spirit to live our lives in line with His will, our overall character should be “blameless.”
So, how do children living their lives largely at home learn how to be socially mature? I’d first suggest that grouping kids of the same age together is no guarantee for social maturation. In fact, it can (does?) have quite the opposite effect, as the kid only knows how to interact with those of their age.
Homeschooling kids can learn to be socially mature through…..church. This is surprisingly often a missing ingredient in things, which is really sad, as the NT talks a lot about the church and not at all about homeschooling. In a church your kids come in contact with lots of different people. They meet them, have the opportunity to talk to them, minister to and be ministered by them.
Some may say that churches with Sunday schools and etc. just perpetuate the “herd” mentality of kids—socializing with their own age group. Yes, that can and does happen, but again, it’s the parents responsibility to train their kids. So while we were at Inter-City Baptist Church I took my kids (who at that time were ages 6, 4, 4, and 2) to where the seniors met every week and we talked with them. Doing so not only helped the little ones learn how to talk to others, but also to learn to minister to them. We prayed for them. And my kids got a lot of new “grandparents”!
Parents and families (as well as everybody else) have to make an effort to fellowship and minister. This “nobody talked to me” mentality is unbiblical. So no one talked to you today—who did you talk to then? Did you greet someone? Genuinely ask how they were? What you could pray for? What needs you could help with?
God has given the church for fulfilling his purposes in this day and age, which includes the unity, maturity, protection, and growth of Christians (Eph 4:11–16).
Tomorrow I’ll address our reasons for homeschooling.