So, my sister has had me thinking.
She questioned me on her last visit about WHY I homeschool. First off, let me say that I have an incredibly supportive family. When we first started homeschooling, I think there were a few reservations about certain aspects (socialization, etc.) but they trusted me enough to believe it would all work out okay. (And it has- I’ve got really well-adjusted kids, I promise.) I’ve never had to defend our choices to my family, but I’ve never really been asked to explain them, either. So, when she asked me, I had to think about whether she wanted my REAL answer, or just the EASY answer. Most people get the easy answer when they ask, because the real answer can be misinterpreted as an attack on their beliefs, so I’m reluctant to give it. As a matter of fact, I almost NEVER talk about it to someone unless they are homeschooling for the same reason. It’s just that sensitive a topic. I don’t want our choice to seem like a judgement on anyone else. I’m not out to offend or make anyone feel bad about their choices, so I just keep mum about it. But the truth is, the REAL truth, is that we homeschool because we believe the public school system in America has an anti- God agenda, and we won’t allow the State to indoctrinate our child.
We’re all still standing? I didn’t accidentally explode the universe, did I?
Some people automatically roll their eyes at a statement like that, and crack a joke or two about conspiracy theorists. I get it. It does sound a little fruity. Let me explain what I’m talking about before you write it off completely. I’m talking about humanism. From Wikipedia: Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, worldview or practice that focuses on human values and concerns, attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. (I think Wikipedia is being very polite, by the way, in their wording. The American Humanist goes a lot further in their explanation of the term.)
Have you ever heard of John Dewey? He’s credited as being the father of modern education. Google him, there’s tons out there on him. He was a philosopher and educator during the 20’s and 30’s who made significant changes to our education approach. He was a big time Humanist. As a matter of fact, he signed and cowrote The Humanist Manifesto in 1933. The NEA, the National Educators Association, has a deep and abiding love for John Dewey, whom they honored with Lifetime Membership and high honors during his lifetime. John Dewey is all over our education philosophy. Humanism and public education have gotten all wrapped up in each other, and it’s no accident, and it’s not a thing of the past, by any means.
I could post a lot of quotes from humanists that would scare the pants off you. A part of me really, really wants to. But I think you need to see it for yourself. I’ll leave you to investigate the ties between humanism and modern education on your own, if you’re ready to get your hands dirty. It’s not hard to spot, once you’re looking for it. As a matter of fact, it becomes impossible to see anything else. Though we want to believe that school is just a venue for passing along math facts and grammar rules, it’s not. It can’t help but be more. Students aren’t learning in a void- they are absorbing every aspect of the learning experience- the teacher, the environment, the peers, the material, the interpretations and applications of the material, the relevance and importance of the material, etc. Maybe they have the wisdom to filter out the most obvious, erroneous subject matter. Maybe not. You don’t know. That’s the point. You just don’t know.
And if the founding philosophy of this whole education system is that there is no God and our own humanity is enough– then, no thank you. It’s not a gamble I’m willing to take.
So, we homeschool.
That’s the REAL answer. There are lots of other reasons to homeschool, but this is the hardest one to give. I don’t think I would have had the courage to admit it when we first started, but we’re a long way from that time. We are six years and three students in to it, and I am becoming passionate about it. It’s hard, there are days I struggle and question my sanity, but there is an underlying peace in my heart with this decision. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see my children learning, and not having to swim against the current of humanism to do it.
So, that’s that. Whatcha think? Are we still friends? Are you rolling your eyes? The floor is open.