I’ve been homeschooling my oldest for a year and a half and while I may be new to homeschooling her, I’m not new to homeschooling. I knew when my oldest was just a baby that we were going to homeschool our children. I am the oldest of three girls, my younger two sisters were homeschooled, I was not. I was nearly out of public high school when my parents considered homeschooling me, so I declined. While I never agreed with my parents teaching methods or even approaches to parenting-I did see the importance of their decision, the value, the sacrifice, the long-term benefit of homeschooling-the opportunity to raise my impressionable children up to know Christ without the constant encroachment of a devolving society.
My husband and I waited roughly seven years to begin having children, we put our college education and establishing our career pathways first. All those years leading up to now, we used some of our spare time researching about homeschooling-different methods, different philosophies, different learning styles, curriculum, and all the different reasons why parents chose to homeschool.
Reasons To Homeschool
Parents have so many different reasons-the introduction of common core, a failing school system, different learning needs going unmet, the removal of God, a general lack of morality and ethics. I could go on but for us, it was all of it. In fact, everyday that goes by, only presents another reason that solidifies our decision, gives me confidence and a strong sense of conviction that this is my calling. I mean have you watched the news lately?
If you don’t subscribe to the idea of homeschooling and find it to be too extreme, please keep reading. I’ve come across this mindset, just a few days ago the very notion of “changing the world” by the act of homeschooling was called “crazy.” I would like to address that. You know what is crazy?
- school shootings
- teacher to student sexual abuse
- student to student violence
- student to student sexual assault
- extreme bullying that results in a child’s death
- drug and alcohol abuse
(Source:CDC-school violence fact sheet),
I know as Christians we are called to be the light in the world but the lack of safety in our school systems make that nearly impossible. I cannot send my children to school knowing what they are subjected to or that their classmate may be the next Nicholas Cruz. You may be reading this thinking the chances of that happening to my kid are extremely low-I would like to remind you of the words of Andrew Pollack the father of one of the parkland victims “You think everyone’s kids are safe? I didn’t think it was going to happen to me. If I knew that, I would have been at school every day if I knew it was that dangerous.” We can’t assume that it won’t happen to us-not our children nor should we live in fear-but we each need to search our hearts and listen to what God is calling us to do. I’m not saying that homeschooling is an absolute solution but it can be a piece of it, if it is your calling.
Homeschooling For Character Development
Ok- but how is homeschooling the solution? If your already homeschooling then you know this already (stick around cause there is more) but homeschooling is more than academia-it is life schooling. While we have a pretty good depiction of the current public school social climate-there is a vast difference in a home atmosphere. We as home educators can focus throughout the day on biblical character development- I follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education and often incorporate in habit training. Can you imagine the difference we can make-our children can make if we start (from the beginning) cultivating virtuous character within our children?
(My oldest doing food prep for a homeless shelter. I’m not sharing for self-glorification. My sole intention is to stress the importance of cultivating Godly character.)
If we enrich their daily lives and build a solid foundation in character qualities such as obedience, veracity, reverence, kindness, goodness, generosity, patience, self-control, perseverance-I could go on and on but in the few short years mine have been alive, these are the ones we have focused on. Can you imagine the positive change our children can make in the world if we focus on character development (all day) for the entire duration of their childhood?
Now please don’t misunderstand, I by no means expect perfection, only Christ is perfect. But even in their sinful acts children can be redirected to good habits by the nurturing hand of a gentle and loving mother.
My husband and I were having an interesting dinner table discussion regarding the current state of society. As I was feeling a bit glum he asked, have you heard of the Strauss and Howe generational theory? Me: “Ah, nope, I haven’t.” (the topics he comes up with always intrigue me) Well he went on, “Strauss and Howe laid the groundwork for their theory in their seminal book Generations, which retells the history of America as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584. Their 1997 book The Fourth Turning expands on the theory, focusing on a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras in American history. The theory is anchored in multidisciplinary social sciences, examining changes in human attitudes and behavior and in the social mood over time.”(source:fourthturning.com)
Strauss and Howe discovered in all their research that there are four generational archetypes: Nomad, Prophet, Artist, and Hero. “Nomads grow up as under protected children during a spiritual awakening, come of age as alienated young adults in a post-awakening world, mellow into pragmatic midlife leaders during a historical crisis, and age into tough post-crisis elders. Prophets grow up as the increasingly indulged children of a post-crisis era, come of age as narcissistic young crusaders of a spiritual awakening, cultivate principle as moralistic mid-lifers, and emerge as wise elders guiding another historical crisis. Artist generations are born during a great war or other historical crisis, a time when great worldly perils boil off the complexity of life and public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice prevail. Artists grow up overprotected by adults preoccupied with the crisis, come of age as the sensitive young adults of a post-crisis world, break free as indecisive midlife leaders during a spiritual awakening, and age into empathic post-awakening elders. Hero generations are born after a spiritual awakening, during a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, laissez faire, and national (or sectional or ethnic) chauvinism. Heroes grow up as increasingly protected post-awakening children, come of age as the heroic young team-workers of a historical crisis, demonstrate hubris as energetic midlifers, and emerge as powerful elders attacked by another awakening.” (Source:fourthturning.com)
Strauss and Howe further explain there are four turnings in Anglo-American History: First (High), Second (Awakening), Third (Unraveling), Fourth (Crisis). America is moving into a fourth turning, entering a crisis era and friends, as millennials we. are. the. hero. generation. While Strauss and Howe gather that a global financial crisis will be the catalyst for this generations turning point. I would like to point out that the devolving conditions of our society may also be coming to a head.
Friends-it’s not just the school system, or even our country-but all the people in the world have a heart issue that needs changing.
We can be that change-we can start with our children.
We can change ourselves.
WE can change the culture of our society.
I sat there listening to my husband and watching my children now playing in the other room. It became obvious to me my part in all this-my place in changing the world-cultivating virtuous character in my own children and just letting their inner beauty be the change the world needs. I whispered almost to myself; “she believed she could change the world…so she decided to homeschool her children.”
Do you think homeschooling your children could change the world?