Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All Homeschoolers Are Not Christians & All Christians Are Not Homeschoolers

My post Mislabeling of Public School at Home Causes Confusion sparked heartburn among a few readers, and lead to an email dialogue with one reader. Here are some of the comments she made.

I've been actively involved in education for over 30 years. I support limited gov't involvement in education no matter where it takes place.
Most of the abuse of homeschool has come from unchurched families (not all, most) and someone needs to help these children without a voice.
Your position on this makes me think--your children are more important than the little one I am speaking of--in fact they are so important you are willing to sacrifice these little ones so you can do what you want with your children.

The government has no reason to be involved in homeschooling. Those who do not feed at the public trough (public schools) should be free of government involvement. Apparently this woman assumes that only Christians are fit to homeschool. I also find it troubling that she believes that without government intervention parents would abuse their children, and uses this to justify her belief that the government should be involved in homeschooling. Considering the government can't even protect public school students from abuse by public school teachers, bullying by other students and school shootings, she has a lot of nerve insisting that ALL homeschoolers should allow government intervention in homeschools to "protect the children". It's not my duty to protect "all the children of the world", it is my duty and responsibility to protect my own children and to see that they get the best education possible. No parent should be expected to do things for the greater good at their children's expense. 

all of us that parent as Christians homeschool. I would consider any parent that is the primary teacher for their children is homeschooling. That would include private school, public schools--any parent that is doing what God has called them to do.


Really!!!! I respectfully disagree, if you are a Christian and send your child to a public school you do not homeschool. Also all homeschoolers are not Christians. There are many Atheist, Deist, Wicca, etc that homeschool. Christians do not have a monopoly on homeschooling. Non-Christians even have their own homeschool support groups, since the majority of the Christian Groups discriminate against Non-Christians or Christians who do not measure up to their standards.
Homeschool Support Groups for Non-Christians & Free Thinking Christian's
Free Thinking Home Educators (you can be a Christian and a Free Thinker)
Jewish Homeschoolers
Islam/Muslim Homeschoolers
Resources for Pagan Homeschoolers
Of course there are parents who belong to other religions/philosophies then those listed here who homeschool, my apologies for leaving your specific religion/philosophy out - but this post is already long.


As to why I don't accept the legal definitions-- (of homeschooling) I don't consider them Biblical. I also would not accept the legal definition of gay marriage if it was allowed in my state--because I believe that also is against scripture. I only accept legal defintions when they do not contradict the Bible.

Well at least this explains why she has so much trouble comprehending that Dan isn't a homeschooler. She refuses to accept legal definitions & Dan's a Christian parent therefore according to her reasoning he is a homeschooler, even though he sends his son to a PUBLIC School. Here is one of the legal definitions which makes it pretty clear that homeschoolers are nonpublic school students (all the legal definitions I found specified non-public school student).

Home school - A non-public school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household. http://www.nche.com/law.html

You simply can't send your child to public school and claim to be a homeschooler because you are a Christian. That is the most illogical thing I have ever heard. And excuse me, but I have never read a definition of homeschooling in the Bible, so how prey tell can the legal definition of homeschooling contradict the Bible? Also since she is so dogmatic about only using scriptual definitions, I wonder if she realizes that the words of the New Testament were changed in the process of copying them (Whose Version of Luke?)

As to my question

What would you call a parent whose child does not attend a PUBLIC SCHOOL, is educated at the parents expense, and the parent is the one solely responsible for deciding what curriculum and textbooks to use?
Anyone that falls into this category can call themselves whatever they wish. They can call themselves homeschoolers

Since the legal definition of homeschool was created to describe non-public school students, whose parents bear the burden of their education, it makes sense that they call themselves homeschoolers. It does not make sense that parents that send their children to public or private school would mislabel themselves homeschoolers. As for people calling themselves whatever they wish, it would make communication impossible if everyone decided on their own meaning for words. What's next if you don't like the way something is spelt you decide on your own spelling? The fact that no one would know what the heck the word is suppose to be would be beside the point apparently. Just as it is necessary for us to spell words in a standard way so people know what word is being used, it's necessary for us to use standard definitions so the meaning of the word is clear. Homeschooling is an educational choice, not a religious calling!

22 comments:

Lynn S. said...

From "Alice in Wonderland":

Humpty Dumpty: When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.

Alice: The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.

Humpty Dumpty: The question is: which is to be master - that's all.

Thank you for standing up for non-Christian homeschoolers. The absolute gall of some people amazes me sometimes.

Pass the Torch said...

Very interesting post. I guess there are all kinds of beliefs and reasons why people homeschool (or think they do?)

We've just started homeschooling this week and our reason is we're in-between schools and the public school in our community didn't meet our kids' academic needs.

Alasandra said...

That's pretty much why we started homeschooling pass the torch. We moved to what we thought was a wonderful school district, the kids had a great experience with elementary school and then one snobby society lady decided that the children would look so much better if they were forced to dress in a preppy style like her kids and used her friends on the school board to force mandatory school uniforms on us. We discovered then that the school board didn't care about "the kids", didn't really care about educating their students. So we pulled them out of public school and started homeschooling. It was the best thing we ever did. My eldest started college at 16.

Alasandra said...

lyn s. you are welcome.

Margaret said...

Many Christians take the biblical passage of Deuteronomy 6:6-9 as a command to homeschool. (Not all - I don't.) It seems as though your correspondent perhaps takes this not as a command to homeschool but as a definition of homeschooling. As a Christian and a homeschooler, I disagree that every Christian is a homeschooler no matter how their children are educated. That is just a ludicrous statement and it is not helpful to Christians (or anyone else) - rather provides more evidence for those who think we're all goofballs.

Alasandra said...

Thanks for the insight Margaret. I read the passage in the King James Bible and I do see how it could be interpreted as an instruction for Christians to homeschool; although my interpretation is more we should teach our children about God.

You are right. My correspondent is probably very well meaning but she came off as a goofball by insisting that all Christians homeschool even if they send their kids to public or private school. When you don't even agree on the meaning of words it makes having any sort of discussion difficult.

jettybetty said...

I wonder if we could agree on a definition of "goofball"?

Alasandra said...

According to the dictionary

goofball- a goofy person

I do hope you understand that neither Margaret or I were trying to insult you. Margaret was merely stating how taking extreme positions can make Christians look like goofballs to others. I merely meant that your insistence that all Christians homeschool even if they send their children to public or private school made you appear like a goofball to others.

jettybetty said...

I do not mean to insult you either.

I do agree on your definition of goofball.

I do hope to those I know, your exclusive definition of homeschool is terribly illogical. I hesitate to use the word goofball just because someone does not agree with me.

I thought we were having a private email conversation. I do feel extremely disprespected because you took private conversation and published it on the internet without my permission or even telling me it was here.

Again, I hesitate to use the word goofball for your actions. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective.

Once again--I pray only blessings for you and your family Alasandra.

Alasandra said...

Well at least we agree on one definition. ;>)

I am sorry you are upset about my post. Since the original emailing began in relation to another post and with a comment left on the blog, I didn't consider it a private communication. The only reason I responded via email rather then the comments on blogger was I was having trouble signing in to blogger. I thought it was an important discussion as it highlighted some of the misconceptions that people have about homeschoolers.

jettybetty said...

To me, an email is always a private communication. I thought it was proper blogger etiquette to ask someone before posting something from a private email on the internet. Also, I believe I was taken out of context to prove a personal belief of yours--and was not even informed the information was on the internet.

I believe you have a right to your defintion of homeschooler. I respect you for your belief. I do want to understand you even if I don't agree with you. I want to validate you for following your beliefs.

I believe you have many misconceptions about my beliefs. I was emailing you in an attempt to help you understand what I believe. I suppose I thought you really wanted to know. If you did not, I apologize.

Warmly

Margaret said...

Since I was the one who introduced the term goofball I will apologize for any offense as well, though as you can see we were using the term to describe the way Christians are often viewed by non-Christians.

Alasandra said...

Or by other Christians of different sects.

We belong to the Church of God
http://churchofgod.chog.org/ME2/Audiences/Default.asp

After our pastor retired in an attempt to find a church closer to our home we visited a Baptist Church. I was asked IF we handled snakes? We don't and why they thought we did is beyond me, but the person who asked was convinced that all non Baptist did.

JB, I am interested in what you have to say. I still don't understand how you can define a homeschooler as any Christian parent regardless of if their child attends public or private school.

Homeschooling is a educational choice. Parents of any religion or no religion at all can homeschool.

Again my apologies for the post. I did not consider the emails private as the original discussion was started in the comment section of my blog, and would have been continued there except I was having trouble signing in.

jettybetty said...

I support your homeschooling if you that's what you feel called to do. I definitely don't think you are a goofball.

The reason I believed I homeschooled my children even though they went to public school--academics were not the main reason we sent them there. My husband and I are probably capable of teaching them that.

We sent them so they could learn how God works all around them--especially in people that are quite different from them. We wanted them to experience all kinds of *real life* things while they were still at home, so we could teach them God's way--so they could see what God had to say about it in the Bible--so we could pray together over very specific things happening in their lives. We tried to make it clear, we were still their *teachers*. I believe God blessed us.

I understand that some homeschoolers feel discrimination--feel like some think they are goofballs. I am so sorry if you have felt like that. I do hope you have NEVER felt that from me.

I have felt discrimination back from homeschoolers--even to the point that some call public school sin. What I believe God wants us to do is to encourage and support each other even when our choices are different.

Thanks for listening!
In His love,
JB

Alasandra said...

I don't believe sending your child to public school is a sin. My own kids went to public school K-5th grade for the oldest and K-3rd for the youngest before we made the decision to homeschool

I do believe that academics is the main reason to send a child to school, not to socialize and not to learn about popular culture. Homeschoolers socialize with many people, our kids learn about popular culture by watching TV, listening to the radio, using the Internet, joining clubs and recreational organizations that include not only homeschoolers, but private and public schoolers as well.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how so many Christians can take their own Bible out of context. The old law is done away with! Those who live by this law will die by it! Do you not realize that it is complete in Christ? All sin is equal. The law says homosexuality is wrong, among other things, but it also says not to wear clothing of mixed fabrics, eat pork etc. No man could live up to it alone, and that is the point: you can't do it alone. How can a Christian live by a law that is not his to live by? If you're going to believe in your faith than at least know what you believe. We're all sinners, and therefore all hypocrites, so why add fuel to the fire by judging someone who is still in bondage. There is sense in what I say for all mankind.

Furthermore, it would be only of minor nuisance if the government did have a hand in homeschooling, as long as it would be only to make sure children have their rights well kept in the home. If you're a Christian then you should have nothing to hide from them. As long as the curriculum does not go against your beliefs and meets the government's standard. The government exists solely to provide the people under it with peaceful and private lives, not to cater to you hand and foot. If one does not abide by the code which is called to you, do not make hostility with him because he does not see the world as you do, but love him, show him compassion, mercy, kindness and gentleness, regardless of color, race, creed, moral code, or choice of lifestyle, for who knows a man's heart but God?

waynomacavice@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Well, my concern is that these "Christian" extremeist h/s'ers are breeding children who will exhibit intolerance, hatred, and judgment..not really what Christ was about! If they're content with their choices, then should they not be genuinely happy as opposed to catty and possesive of the concept? I have some friends who are secular homeschoolers whose children, in my opinion, far exceed "extremist xian" children in both academic and emotional intelligence. To create an educational construct based upon such narrow and rigid ideologies actually does more harm to the children than good. At that point, we can pretty much conclude that the parents are doing what's best for THEM..not their children! If a homeschooling parent falls prey to their negative judgementalism and bashing of the 'unchurched'..are they really emotionally FIT to be educators? That's just a parent who needs counseling in my humble opinion ;)

I also would like to point out that my husband and I know of a 'xian' woman who h/s's her children. The children do not seem well adjusted, they seem sad, scared, hesitant to communicate readily with others, and overly shy. I have no doubt that her negative attitude of others that fall outside of her 'xian-label' paradigm is rubbing off on her children. This is an educator who will and has snub 'unchurched' children. I have to wonder what God thinks!

Alasandra said...

I doubt homeschooling is the reason the 'xian' woman's children are the way they are. It probably has more to do with her beliefs. I went to public school (7th grade) with a girl who was raised by "xian" fundamentalist parents. She never fit in, the only time she ever opened her mouth was to "witness" to us sinners. She wound up sitting alone in the cafeteria and no one would have anything to do with her.

I am sure God is horrified with their holier then thou attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Alasandra..
I totally agree with you that this extremist behavior can also be found in the public schools...and it ultimately depends on the parents..not the method of schooling. I think in these cases though, it is healthy for these children to be exposed to a variety of people. Somewhere in their minds, I would hope that others could make an impression upon these kids that there are good people out there who do not have to be 'fundamentalist' or any other affiliation to have moral direction and a system of values. I say this because I grew up around many fundamentalists..and was raised in a strict xian home. My mother was a little more liberal than some of my church members so that helped my sisters and I..my dad was quite liberal, so we learned to appreciate that not everyone thinks alike. I personally remember being shocked that some people who were not 'xian' or church-going..could be such great people. It made a strong and positive impression on my psyche and helped me learn to appreciate others who did not believe the way I was raised. I had a mother who would always remind me.."yes, they're nice, but do they love God?" My question was, "doesn't God love us all? And, why should we assume they don't love God if they don't go to our church?" Needless to say, I left that extremist church, but everytime I run into kids that remind me of my upbringing, it hits home quite hard!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Humpty Dumpty is what I thought of, too, Lynn S.

I am a Christian homeschooler and it seems to me that Deut. 6 can be seen as a reason to homeschool, and perhaps a description of what one approach to homeschooling might look like, but it is *not* a 'definition' of homeschooling, certainly not THE definition of homeschooling. I don't see any definition of homeschooling in the Bible.

Since there is no definition of homeschooling in the Bible, there is no 'biblical' or 'unbiblical' definition of homeschooling any more than there is a 'biblical definition' of private school, public school, college, high school, kindergarten, or apple pie.

You can make up a pie filled with blueberries and call it an apple pie if you want and claim that you do so because the definition of an apple pie is 'unbiblical,' but that would be strange, irrational, and just as reasonable as saying that if a parent is Christian, that means they homeschool no matter how their children are educated.

Anonymous said...

Alasandra..
I totally agree with you that this extremist behavior can also be found in the public schools...and it ultimately depends on the parents..not the method of schooling. I think in these cases though, it is healthy for these children to be exposed to a variety of people. Somewhere in their minds, I would hope that others could make an impression upon these kids that there are good people out there who do not have to be 'fundamentalist' or any other affiliation to have moral direction and a system of values. I say this because I grew up around many fundamentalists..and was raised in a strict xian home. My mother was a little more liberal than some of my church members so that helped my sisters and I..my dad was quite liberal, so we learned to appreciate that not everyone thinks alike. I personally remember being shocked that some people who were not 'xian' or church-going..could be such great people. It made a strong and positive impression on my psyche and helped me learn to appreciate others who did not believe the way I was raised. I had a mother who would always remind me.."yes, they're nice, but do they love God?" My question was, "doesn't God love us all? And, why should we assume they don't love God if they don't go to our church?" Needless to say, I left that extremist church, but every time I run into kids that remind me of my upbringing, it hits home quite hard!

DiSCo said...
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