A MOVEMENT WRONGLY NAMED; OR WHAT’S WRONG WITH HOMESCHOOLING, ANYWAY?
[This is Part 6 of the Article “Please Don’t Homeschool Your Children!”]
Do you call yourself a homeschooler? Is that what you say to explain why your children are home during the day?
Naming something identifies it. Gives it meaning. Defines it.
In almost 30 years interacting with homeschooling families, I have met very few secure homeschool moms. Very few. They were secure enough as moms. They were secure enough at home. They just weren’t secure enough as schoolers. They weren’t at rest in their homeschooling.
It is easy for a homeschooling mom to say (or think), “Who am I to believe myself capable of fully educating my child?”
What happens when homeschool parents are insecure in the “schooling” part of their “home-schooling”? If we can agree that insecurity is simply another word for fear, we could say that there are a lot of fearful homeschooling parents out there. What are they afraid of and why is this fear so detrimental to them and to their children?
Fear, and faith, are life’s two major drivers. We will do almost anything to make fear go away and bring ourselves to a place of rest.
Parents used to send their children to school with the secure feeling that their children were being taught by professionals trained to educate children. Most parents did not consider that they, themselves, could do a job which others had spent years being trained to do. We might have felt that we could raise our children in some areas, but we were not prepared to say we could educate them.
Then, one day, we became homeschoolers. Insecure homeschoolers, perhaps; but homeschoolers, nonetheless. However, since what we were doing was labeled “homeschooling,” we, in our insecurity, actually became home-SCHOOLERS rather than HOME-schoolers. The importance of our children becoming educated (isn’t that what children do during the day?) took on greater prominence than the importance of them being home during the day. [It hasn’t helped that there is no cultural memory of what having our children home really means to the family or to society.]
You may recall that, at the very beginning of this Article, I was having a conversation with my oldest son at which time I said to him, “And, your kids won’t be homeschooled, either”? During Seth’s years at home, his academic education was never the priority. In our home, we did have clearly defined priorities, but those priorities were first relationships; second, practical skills; and, lastly, academics. Seth grew up with a strong academic upbringing, but, again, academics were never priority. Seth is a skilled, very competent individual. He is also one of the happiest young men I know. And, he loves the Lord.
As I look back on Seth’s time at home, I have come to realize that he was never “homeschooled.” He simply spent his days in a most remarkable and unusual place: his own home.
When our children were young we would take them with us to the store during the day—while other kids were in school. The check-out lady would invariably ask, “You boys aren’t in school today?”
Since the boys knew we were homeschoolers, they would respond, “No, ma’am, we’re homeschooled.”
If I had known what I know now—back in the early 1980’s, when we began to homeschool—I would not have called ourselves “homeschoolers”.
Naming something identifies it. Gives it meaning. Defines it. I never wanted to be a home-SCHOOLER, because I didn’t want the SCHOOLER part of that word to take on the fear-producing meaning it has taken on for most homeschooling parents.
If you are homeschooling and your emphasis is on the school part of that word, I would guess that you carry an ongoing feeling of insecurity.
I suggest you change your emphasis. In the next installment, I will give some examples of how to discover your true emphasis. I will also make some suggestions as to what your emphasis should be.