8. A LETTER FROM A FRIEND
by Wayne S. Walker
The following paragraphs contain several statements taken from a letter that a good friend of my wife's wrote to Karen. She had asked about homeschooling before but when Karen politely provided some information about it via e-mail, she accused Karen of “yelling” at her, so they decided not to continue the discussion. Then she later wrote the following in another e-mail. Other than corrections of a few obvious errors of spelling and punctuation, it is as she sent it.
“I have found that a lot of preachers homeschool their kids. I guess that is fine, but I feel that kids that are homeschooled miss out on a lot of things when it comes to the high school years, like sports or speech clubs or Spanish or French clubs and classes. They may be the star of a sports team and could get help with college funds, etc.
“But that is how I feel and I want to make it clear that I am not putting down homeschooling, but things are different in the world now days in this time than in the past and that in high school you get a feel and have to face the tip of the ice berg of life and how things are and what the kids will have to face.
“And as they face the issues we as Christian moms and dads help them through them and keep teaching them right from wrong and what the Bible says we need to do as Christians.
“I have a good friend who was homeschooled and did not know how bad things were out in the real world, and when she got out on her own in college and had to face them she was lost because she did not know things like that went on and she has told me more than once that if she had been in a public high school and know about the problems out in the world she would have been better able to deal with them as a Christian and been stronger as a Christian instead of falling away for a bit before finding her way back to the Lord.
“And I have heard a few other people who were homeschooled say the same thing.”
Well, how do you respond to that? Karen sent her friend a reply, but I kept a copy of the letter so that I could use it in this newsletter to show common attitudes toward homeschooling even on the part of members of the Lord's church and give my own response. First, homeschoolers do not have to “miss out on a lot of things when it comes to the high school years, like sports or speech clubs or Spanish or French clubs and classes.” If they want such things, they can provide them for themselves. One does not have to go to a public or private institutionalized high school to enjoy these benefits. Homeschool support groups and co-ops are notoriously famous for their inventiveness and ingenuity in adapting what may be positive things in public schools without carrying over the negative aspects.
It is always possible that a homeschooled student might “be the star of a sports team and could get help with college funds.” And then again, he might not be. Of course, there have been homeschooled students who still excelled in some sport and received a scholarship to help with college funds as a result. But it is still important to ask what the basic purpose of “schooling” is–to play sports or to get a good education? The fact is that, because of the superior education that homeschooling parents can provide their children, many, many more homeschooled students can “get help with college funds” through academic scholarships.
Yes, it is certainly true that “things are different in the world now days in this time than in the past.” In far too many instances, public schools are simply no longer safe places for children to be–physically with shootings, drugs, crime, sexual molestation, etc.; and morally, with evolution, “values-neutral” sex education, pro-homosexual agenda, abortion advocacy, etc. I guess that I just do not understand this notion that in order to prepare our children for the evils of the “real world” we need to immerse them in a culture that is characterized by those evils. I mean, do we really not believe what the scriptures explicitly say about this? “Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'” (1 Corinthians 15:33). If I am going to err, it is going to be on the side of safety!
The fact is that our children will “face the tip of the ice berg of life and how things are and what the kids will have to face” just by living, going to the grocery store, playing with the kids in the neighborhood, watching some television, looking at the newspaper, and sometimes, unfortunately, even having contact with other children at church. Therefore, it is just as true of homeschooling parents that “as they face the issues we as Christian moms and dads help them through them and keep teaching them right from wrong and what the Bible says we need to do as Christians.” In fact, this is one aim of our homeschooling, that we can teach them about these things from a Biblical worldview rather than their learning about them from unbelievers at school and then our having to “deprogram” them every day.
I am sorry that the homeschooled friend felt that she “did not know how bad things were out in the real world,” so that in college she “was lost because she did not know things about the problems out in the world,” and then fell away “for a bit before finding her way back to the Lord,” although I am glad that she did find her way back. Anecdotal evidence does not really prove anything, even if there are “a few other people who were homeschooled [and] say the same thing.” The fact is that I have known of many, many (far too many, in fact) children who were raised in godly homes but went to public high school and either felt lost in college or fell away. If homeschooling is bad because “a few” homeschooled people faced such problems, then could it not be argued that public schooling is much, much worse because so many people who went there faced the same problems? However, it is also a fact that I have known of many, many (far too many, in fact, to name) homeschooled students who went to college and found that the superior teaching and instruction that they received at home had well prepared them for both the academic and moral challenges that they faced. Given the statistics, I shall take my chances with the homeschooling route.
I have one more comment. My wife's friend wrote, “I have found that a lot of preachers homeschool their kids.” I hope that I can say this without sounding superior or “better-than-thou,” because there is an increasing number of Christians who are not preachers yet homeschool their kids too, but is it at least within the realm of possibility that so many preachers homeschool their kids because as those who have given their lives over to the study and teaching of God's word they have been impressed with scriptural principles that have led them to conclude that educating their children at home is the best way to fulfil their responsibilities in training their children? Well, I guess that I need to quit because, as one friend once said, I have already told you more than I know.
8. A LETTER FROM A FRIEND