As a former homeschool mom, I am glad that the movement has matured sufficiently to be able to self-assess. For many years, any comment of concern or analysis of both pros and cons, challenges and problems with home education were frowned upon. Pioneers who fought for the right to choose to home educate worked long and hard to win the legislative victories that now make it legal in all 50 states. We owe these pioneers a great debt for their sacrifice and commitment. But because home education was so hard won, public discussion of inherent problems in the movement were discouraged for many years.
As the first generation of homeschoolers has grown up and had children of their own, there is a refreshing candor these days about both the blessings and pitfalls of educating in a home setting. The Christian homeschool movement has much to commend it, and the freedom to choose to educate as we see fit is a great blessing. But there are pitfalls specifically within the Christian movement. One homeschool father, Reb Bradley, has written a detailed article about seven specific blind spots, as he calls them, that Christian parents need to know about. The article is not new, but having re-read it recently, I found it helpful as Tom and I consider education options for our youngest daughter. I have seen and personally experienced many of these “blind spots.” His article is right on target, and hopefully, it will be a help to those who are homeschooling or planning on homeschooling in the future. Here is the article.
P.S. I was not an “ideological” homeschooler, meaning, I did not home educate with the belief that it was the only Christian way to raise children. With multiple children and with the high cost of private education, school at home was sometimes the most affordable, common sense option for our children. Some Christians hold to the view that home education is the only correct, biblical way for children to get an education. Many of the blind spots listed in the article are most often a problem among those who believe that homeschooling will somehow help them achieve what home education advocate Michael Pearl claims in the following:
“In the final analysis, it is not the community or the church that produces great children and tremendous young adults; it is home life rooted in sincere, relaxed love of God and family that bears eternal fruit. Genuine, laughing love immersed in creativity is a miracle cure-all that supercharges the soul and grows up children that are too healthy to come down with soul diseases.”
Michael Pearl means well, but he is wrong. There is no “cure-all” in a family, no matter how loving and Christian it is, that will “supercharge” a child against “soul diseases.” As the article I linked to points out, homeschool parents who had visions of all their children becoming vibrant, committed Christians as a result of their exhaustive labors are sometimes devastated to learn that their children have chosen a very different path, one that doesn’t comport with what they were told by homeschool leaders like Pearl. The heart problem of rebellion comes from within, not from outside (Jeremiah 17:9), and no amount of tweaking an environment is going to guarantee a certain outcome. We are called to be faithful as parents to love and teach our children biblical truth. To put more than this on the backs of parents is a false burden of guilt. We are all responsible for what we do with what we are given.
5 thoughts on “Home Education: 7 Blind Spots to Consider”
Wow! Lots to think about in the article.
You are so right Ingrid! The article was fascinating. At one one point I felt terribly sorry for this man’s children, and I wonder to this day if they don’t carry resentment towards him for the constant negatives through-out their childhoods.
Ingrid, that is something that we all need to come to terms with. Not just homeschoolers, but all christians. We are ALL born with a soul disease. Not just a disease but a fatality. We are dead in trespasses and sins according to scripture. We so need to recover the understanding of sin, what it is, and what it isn’t. The doctrine of the sinfulness of sin and the offensiveness of it. And that it is deep and incurable by man’s devising. We desperately need the salvation that only Jesus Christ can give. He and he alone can bring spiritual life. His death, burial and resurrection are the only way for sinners to be made right in the sight of a holy God.
Many today are looking for amagic answer. Even Christians are looking for that easy way out. Homeschooling is touted as a cure all. It is not. I speak from experience. So many are afraid of the world and want to protect their children from it, little realizing that that cute little baby was born with the world in their heart. The homeschool child and the public school child and the father and mothers of this nation have one thing in common: a sin nature.
Well said, Julie.
Interesting that in that whole long article he didn’t mention sharing the gospel with your children and praying for their salvation. Isn’t that ultimately what we christian parents want for our children? Not just goodness, or a good education but salvation for the glory of God? To spend eternity together praising God? Assuming the gospel is a big blind spot. Do not assume that your child understands the gospel, even if he or she says they want to be saved.
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