Naive, Unworldly Homeschoolers

In any discussion with critics of home education, the objection will eventually crop up that “homeschoolers won’t know how to deal with the real world when they’re grown.”  It seems safe to assume that those who raise this objection aren’t worried that homeschooled children won’t be able to figure out how to buy groceries, drive a car, or effectively conduct personal business, given the fact that they are raised by people who do these things right in front of them every day.

Instead, the questioner seems most of the time to be referring to the cultural and moral differences between Christian homes and the non-Christian public schools. The objection could be accurately restated as “Homeschoolers will see so little of the brazen sinfulness of mainstream American culture that they will be shocked into helpless paralysis at the sight of {insert popular but blatantly sinful and unbiblical behavior or attitude here}. As if Good were such a weak little thing that the first whiff it gets of Evil will cause it to clutch its girly skirts and faint!

The basis of the “real world” complaint seems to be that if a child doesn’t go to a public school, he won’t learn how to be pure in the face of the sin of others. Exposure to bullies, peer pressure, drugs, anti-Christian authority figures and curriculum, and any number of other spiritually unhealthy things that children must face every day in public schools are, in this argument, held up as necessary way stations on the road to maturity.  And I admit, that line of reasoning sounds really compelling at first. After all, practice makes perfect! It’s right there in the Bible where it says…um…no. I can’t find anything that points to the soundness of having your children exposed to wrongdoing from early on so that they can resist worldliness. While there is nothing there about the benefits of exposing children to “diverse” worldviews, there is much about the perils of casting stumbling blocks before the weak and malleable souls of children.

In fact, it is wise for a child to have time learn how to deal with in-his-heart sin before we force him to come to terms with the in-his-face kind. “Train up a child in the way he should go.” “Bad company corrupts good morals.” “Yada, yada, yawn.” says the American Christian parent. “My kid is different.” They somehow believe that children can learn to fight the good fight by being forced into the fray before being sufficiently trained in spiritual warfare–most of the time before the child has even come to a place of true repentance! Given the spiritual condition of this so-called Christian nation after many decades of that kind of thinking, I’d say we’ve got pretty good evidence that this approach hasn’t worked very well.

If this need to be exposed to wickedness and destructive behavior from an early age is really such a good reason for sending children to public schools, then could somebody please explain to me the purpose of all these anti-bullying, anti-drug, and anti-violence programs? Because if those programs were to work (which they won’t), Christian children in public schools would suddenly be in grave danger of becoming just as naïve as their homeschooling counterparts! Wouldn’t that be awful? Stop trying to shelter your kids, public schoolers! They need this!

We all know quite well it that would be a good thing if every child were unbullied, unaware of even the existence of drugs, and able to trust that the people who are in authority over them are looking out for their best interests instead of, oh, trying to sleep with them, for instance. So why, if homeschooling parents are able to provide such a healthy environment for their children, is that a bad thing?

Homeschooling, contrary to this “real world” line of argument, is not done in order to keep children from finding out about sin. We can’t do that, because no one is innocent—not the children we’re raising, nor their parents. All have sinned, and keeping my children from public schools has not kept them from the “real world” of sin. Learning how to turn away from the World is a lesson that must be learned no matter the physical location of the child. It is not the existence of sin that must be taught on a daily basis, but what to do with sin in our own hearts.

I am constantly amazed (though I probably shouldn’t be by now) by the number of people who think that raising children in an environment that rejects the very idea of sin is the same thing as teaching them to confront evil. It’s not. It is teaching them to look on sin passively by removing even the language by which a child might articulate an objection to it. What immersion in secular schools does is train children first to tolerate sinful behavior, then to applaud it, and finally to join it.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”–1 Corinthians 15:33

Cultural norms are inculcated primarily through education, not (contrary to mainstream–dare I call it naïve?–Christian belief) through occasional dinner-table conversations and AWANA. Those things may be influential in varying degrees for different children, but it is what is learned during the useful hours of the day–the work hours–that becomes a child’s baseline for thinking about the world. For public schools, the baseline is one of amoral “preferences” and outcome-based decision making (i.e.: Say no to drugs because they’ll make you ugly and poor. Don’t have sex…unless you can make sure you’re “protected” from the physical consequences of it.) For Christians the baseline is (or should be) God’s word.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

–Proverbs 22:6

Every Christian parent’s job is to make sure that when our children meet the “real world”, they’ll know how to please God in their interactions with it. Which method of child-rearing seems more likely to accomplish that goal?

Public schooled children and home educated children are all going to be tempted to commit sexual sin. Homeschooling won’t change that. But which child is more likely to view sexual sin as normal and tolerable, even admirable, rather than unacceptable, yet forgivable?

Both sets of children are going to have to learn to turn away from behaviors like excessive drinking and drug abuse, or self-harm and violent anger. But which child will believe that these things are wrong primarily because they hamper material or social success? Which child is more likely to internalize the truth that these behaviors are wrong because they are, at their core, sinful abuses of God’s most treasured creation: the one who hears it only in his “spare time”, or the one who gets it daily with his writing lesson?

Both sets of children will have to learn to choose the right kinds of friends. Which is more likely to do so: the child who has learned to “make no friendship with an angry man” and then has been guided in that by a parent’s heart in choosing his friends, or the child who has been told that everyone of his own age (and this is now even further segregated out by academic ability) is his “peer”?

A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. –Proverbs 12:26

Which child is more likely to turn away—whether in disgust or confusion makes no difference, so long as he turns away—from the invitation of these “peers” to join them in immorality: the child who has as his default attitude an anything goes, “tolerant” worldview, or the child who has as his baseline a Christ-centered and constructive family-based culture?

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother–Proverbs 1:8

It seems to me that homeschooled children are more than equipped to “deal with” sin, if by “deal with” you mean “repent of it”. That is something they are certainly never going to find out about in public school. If spiritual strength is the goal, then public schooling doesn’t seem to have very much going for it. However, if your argument is that homeschooled kids might grow up to find themselves embarrassed not to know the meaning of certain slang or where to buy a bag of some illicit substance, then I say that’s the kind of naiveté that we could all use a little bit more of.

Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world; and if lost in a young man, is seldom recover’d. Sheepishness and ignorance of the world, the faults imputed to a private education, are neither the necessary consequences of being bred at home, nor if they were, are they incurable evils. Vice is the more stubborn, as well as the more dangerous evil of the two;… –John Locke

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tiffany December 20, 2012, 7:15 am

    I agree with your statements on the preparedness of homeschooled children but as a mom with one currently homeschooled and three currently in public school, I think that if parents are doing their jobs PROPERLY, children are prepared to face those things regardless of their schooling status. God prepares and calls each family differently and I think He has called some families to be SALT and LIGHT in the public schools and has placed them there to be a beacon. Meanwhile, there are others that are called to homeschool to create a different type of leader. My heart’s desire and sincere prayer is that youth from both camps grow into strong, influential Christian leaders that ban together to reclaim this entire earth for the glory of God!

    • Cindy December 20, 2012, 7:32 am

      I’m sure that many, many publicly educated children are prepared! However, I don’t believe for one moment that the schools are what is preparing them. As I said, the schools actively work against it. God, praise Him forever, is able to work in the hearts of his children wherever they are! However, the idea that salt and light are best “spread” by sending children to public schools seems to be contradicted by the actual results of the last hundred years of public education.

    • Emily K December 20, 2012, 7:40 am

      Anecdotally, NONE of my friends who were strong christians in highschool are christians today. Not a single one. And you would have not ever guessed that this would happen when they were in high school. They were beacons of salt and light I spose. I joined their club when I was living as an unbeliever, so that is good. But it wasn’t good for *them*.

      I am pretty sure that we know from evidence that homeschooled kids are much more likely to remain in the faith.

      I would be very careful with saying that God has called some families to put their kids in public schools. I don’t think that adds up at all. Maybe once they are older if they see public school as their mission field so to speak, but even then, probably not.

  • Rebecca
    Twitter: momsmustardseed
    December 20, 2012, 7:45 am

    Salt/light. I see nothing in the Bible that states children should be the salt in the world. We went down that road with our oldest. He seemed to be ‘equipped’ to handle the world, to be the salt – to be the light…and we began to see the demise of that light and are still working to undo harm to his heart in school and in our own local vicinity.
    I can find nowhere in the Bible where anyone became a minister in the world before the age of 30. I realize that was by tradition, but there is wisdom in that. Wisdom is from the truth and knowledge of the word and experience.
    Every parent should do what God has called them to do. If it’s public/private school, then be doubly prepared to undo everything at night that has impacted your child – if there is time between homework, activities, friends and the frantic world of running hither and…well, you get the point.
    I love this post, Cindy. While I don’t want to condemn or judge anyone who does not homeschool, I also don’t want anyone to condemn me for doing so. Homeschooling won’t ‘save’ my children…but, it can help keep me from having to undo all of the junk they are indoctrinated in….you can rule a nation through education. People keep asking – What’s wrong with our nation? Well, the truth is staring people in the face, they just don’t want to see it. And if a parent wants to be the salt/light in the school system, they should do it and NOT place that huge burden of responsibility on the shoulders of their child. We fell for that, too….and I can write a long story about how that was a huge fail….and caused more pain than any family should ever have to endure.

    • Ellen C.
      Twitter: ecorathers
      December 20, 2012, 8:28 am

      Very nicely put Rebecca.

    • Sam @ Sam's Noggin
      Twitter: samsnoggin
      February 4, 2013, 8:56 pm

      We don’t believe this is the role of a child either.

  • Mary Jo December 20, 2012, 7:45 am

    Excellent post, Cindy! As parents we should all desire that our children be simple (naive) concerning evil. (Romans 16:19) My MIL once got angry with me for not letting the girls watch a TV show where a young girl was being raped. Getting defensive, she gave me that line about how they’ll have to know about these things someday, etc… Quietly, I replied, “True. But they will also drive someday. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to give them the keys now.”

    Loved the comment about not sending soldiers into battle without proper training and equipment. How can we expect them to be “salt” and “light” when they have not been properly trained and equipped? In a series on the Book of Daniel, Pastor Voddie Baucham was correcting some misconceptions about Daniel and his friends. They were not little boys who were captured and stood strong for God. They were young men who had been homeschooled, who knew the Scriptures like the back of their hand and were able to stand for the Truth in the midst of a horrible, wicked culture.

    Anyway….. loved the post! You need to write more often!

    • Cindy December 20, 2012, 7:56 am

      Soon as I get these kids raised, ma’am! Priorities, you know. 😉

    • Katy April 24, 2013, 2:03 am

      Just a side note: Voddie Baucham has been one of my favorite people to listen to on this and many other subjects. Glad he got a mention!

  • jen December 20, 2012, 8:51 am

    EXCELLENT post.

  • Joy December 20, 2012, 9:52 am

    well said, Cindy! You have put into words what my husband and I have been trying to say all along!

  • Kela Nellums December 20, 2012, 12:22 pm

    Girl! There ain’t nothing I can add but PREACH IT!! Girl! You got me shoutin’ hallelujah!!

    • kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing
      Twitter: AdventurzNchild
      January 10, 2013, 10:37 pm

      and I’m just grinning like a fool at Kela Nellums “PREACH IT GIRL” – love it! Amen.

      • Cindy January 11, 2013, 7:21 am

        Kela always makes me smile.

  • Jennifer King December 20, 2012, 4:02 pm

    I love this!! It is everything I wish I could so eloquently say. As someone who has all sides of the family very against our homeschooling our little ones…sigh It confounds me that this is not better understood by people…Epecially those within the church body. I pray each day that there will be more eyes opened to the value and importance of keeping our little ones, and our bigger ones too, at our sides as we train them to be approved workmen of God 🙂 Bless you`

  • Sara December 20, 2012, 4:46 pm

    This is a very well written article! Excellent! And I send my child to a public school. But I get what you’re saying and I totally agree! I know some homeschooled kids and they don’t seem unworldly at all! Naive…yes….but I don’t think that’s such a horrible thing, like you pointed out, we could use a bit more of that in our society. I appreciate your article. It’s really made me think!

  • Mindy December 20, 2012, 10:54 pm

    As a parents of two very little ones, my husband and I have yet to make the final decision about how our children will be schooled, but this article is the most compelling pro-homeschool argument I’ve ever read. Thank you for your wise words! They will be taken with great consideration.

  • Amie December 21, 2012, 11:12 am

    I appreciate your sanity. I got grief for not wanting my children (in particular, the boy we’re expecting) to go to Hooter’s. Apparently, I’m supposed to let him practice his self control there. We talk about sin and problems more often than I like already at home. I feel no need to teach my kids that evil is normal or should be tolerated as diversity. Grace and love and forgiveness are always necessary, though, and should be practiced often, starting at home, modeled by my husband and myself.

    • Cindy December 21, 2012, 11:16 am

      Hooters? Really?! I guess I’m just surrounded by sane people. I doubt anybody who knows me would even suggest such a thing. Yikes!

      • Amie December 21, 2012, 3:38 pm

        I love our family. I just don’t agree with them sometimes. But they think my swimsuits, homeschooling, and other things are a little over the top as well. So, we love on each other the best we can.

  • Savannah
    Twitter: SavsBlessings
    January 4, 2013, 3:26 pm

    Love this and will be sharing it on my blog’s FB page. Many people think that we’re sheltering our kids too much, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to shelter our kids WHILE we train them to deal with all the crud in the world. I would rather make sure my kids know how to swim instead of throwing them in the deep and hoping for the best.

  • Noah's Ark Homeschool Academy January 5, 2013, 11:24 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I have always homeschooled my two sons, but my daughters fight me tooth and nail and it was very hard to get through the day and accomplish anything. I was growing increasingly stressed and my sons weren’t getting what they deserved. I decided in my own mind and strength to try the girls out in public school for a year and see if they do better there (educationally speaking) Needless to say there was not enough prayer or listening for God’s answer in this situation. At first it seemed like the perfect solution. They were soaring in that environment and their teachers loved how “well behaved they were.” It wasn’t till about half way through the year that I started to notice the effects of public school entering our family. One of the first things I noticed is my daughters challenging me on our family “ethics.” They were being taught different effects at school that didn’t match our beliefs. How confusing is it to a child to have to look up to, respect, and follow a teachers instruction and then to tell them that they aren’t always right and on certain issues you should not obey them. :/ Then I started to feel a seperation in our family. My boys and I were growing closer and closer while my daughters drifted away. Of course we still loved them, but we didn’t know them as well and they weren’t a part of our routine. When they came home it wasn’t the same unity that we had prior to sending them to school and is caused a division between brothers and sisters. Even my daughters started drifting from each other and letting their friends drive them apart and treat each other unkindly just so that they could be included. Then the bomb dropped! The last month of the school year my daughters came home and they were walking around the house with straws in their mouths and falling down. I asked them what they were doing and it took some doing to get them to tell me, but they finally said that they were having a grown up party and they were smoking and playing drunk games!!!!!!!! My mouth dropped open and my stomach fell out of my body and onto the floor. After questioning them I discovered that this had been going on all school year, but they didn’t have any idea of what the kids were doing. They didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding to be able to explain it until they had seen it ALL YEAR! I realized the window I had opened in my family, letting the evil ways of worldly culture just flow right into my family. That was enough for me to be absolutely sure that my children would never step foot in a public school again! I went into prayer and leaned more on Christ to work out the issues that we had in the past, and things have totally turned around. There is nothing more important in the job description of a Mother then training up (educating) your children.

    • Cindy January 7, 2013, 5:13 am

      I’ve always wondered how parents can send their children to school with the words “Listen to your teacher!” and then expect their children to discern at which times that admonition doesn’t apply. If we can’t trust the people raising our children to actually raise them, perhaps we should rethink allowing them to act in loco parentis, no? I haven’t sent my kids to school, but I went to one, so I know the attitude well. The State becomes the real authority and the parents become very poorly regarded babysitters.

      • Noah's Ark Homeschool Academy January 7, 2013, 9:51 am

        That is exactly what happened to us. They looked down their noses at us any time we disagreed with their judgement. Looking at it in another way, they are spending all the quality hours a day with your children so they believe they are raising your children for you, so they treat you that way. We learned our lesson!

  • Samantha January 7, 2013, 4:34 pm

    This post is everything I’ve always thought on the subject but never been able to properly articulate. We don’t even homeschool because of religious reasons, we are Christian but it wasn’t our primary reason for homeschooling, but it is definitely one of the benefits. And really it does bother me, the concept of sending our young children off to be salt and light when they don’t know how to fully be that yet. *I* am 30yrs old and have been a God follower for 25yrs and I STILL mess up at being salt and light. The idea of expecting my 7yr old to do it just boggles me. Thanks for a great, well articulated post.

  • Noel @ the Shepherd's farm January 8, 2013, 10:21 am

    I used to cringe at the thought of homeschooling my babe’s, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I will start this coming fall with my oldest. A little nervous because at times we butt heads, but I know God will give us grace. Thanks for your willingness to speak your mind. I don’t like walking on eggshells. Not comfortable.

  • kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing
    Twitter: AdventurzNchild
    January 10, 2013, 10:32 pm

    at the onset of your post – I got to laughing because my dad tells a story about taking my mother on a business trip to New Orleans one time – and it happened to be Marti Gras’ (I’m not sure how to spell that & I’m not gonna bother to look it up) Anyways, he said she was like a “deer in the headlights – standing in the middle of the street with her mouth hanging open” lol (she went to public school)

    • Cindy January 11, 2013, 7:21 am

      Some kinds of carnal experience, you really have to work your way up to. Or down to.

  • kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing
    Twitter: AdventurzNchild
    January 10, 2013, 10:34 pm

    and YES – respect, listen, and learn to your teachers . . . as they tell you that you came from a big blob of goo …explosion. . . grew legs and walked out of the ocean. . . swinging in the trees . . .

  • Hayley February 3, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Great article. How I wish I had it YESTERDAY when I had this exact conversation with someone. My oldest is 5 this year and I am already disappointed with some of the comments I get from fellow believers about our decision to home educate 🙁 If the ultimate truth of the bible can’t convince (convict?) people then I guess there is nothing I can say. I’ll let the fruit speak for itself.

    • Cindy February 3, 2013, 7:28 pm

      Sorry I didn’t get here in time. 😉

  • ChristineL. February 3, 2013, 7:21 pm

    It never made sense to me why my children would be “better off” experiencing bullying, boyfriend/girlfriend drama, hateful peers, hateful teachers, angst, confusion, isolation from family, stifling of hobbies, raunchy jokes, etc….My husband and I both did the public school thing. There wasn’t a single day where I said to myself, “Gee, I’m so glad my mom and dad think this is the best place for me to form myself and construct an idea of who I want to be in the future.” So I homeschool my kids. And it’s the hardest dern thing I ever chose to do. Some days I want to rip my hair out. Other days I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have a life changing discussion about servitude. Now matter what, I KNOW my boys will be better off for it. And that is what matters.

  • Kit February 3, 2013, 8:19 pm

    “In any discussion with critics of home education, the objection will eventually crop up that “homeschoolers won’t know how to deal with the real world when they’re grown.” … Instead, the questioner seems most of the time to be referring to the cultural and moral differences between Christian homes and the non-Christian public schools. ”

    What about homeschooled children who are not Christian? I am in no way against home schooling, but you seem to think that all homeschoolers are Christian, which is most definitely not the case. In discussions I have had with other people about homeschooling, social awkwardness and lack of exposure to different cultures and viewpoints (such as a friend who had never really interacted with a black person before attending college) are the issues that come to mind when we discuss homeschoolers and their inability to deal with the real world.

    • cindy February 3, 2013, 9:46 pm

      I went to public school and never interacted with an African American until college I still live in the same place and diversity is still scarce but I buy my kids all sorts of toys and we talk about all sorts of cultures. I know the author of this blog does not assume all HS’ers are Christian but hers is a Christian blog so I don’t know what you expect.

      • Katy April 24, 2013, 1:54 am

        I also was in public school from 6th grade through 12th, and because I was in a small, rural school, I didn’t actually interact with any race other than caucasian or Native American. To be honest, most of the cultural knowledge, including other religions, practices, languages, and topography was learned when I was homschooled. I think that has to be something the homeschooling parent allows into the curriculum, and the pro of educating those things to your children at home is that you get to present the other cultures etc. and at the same time, explain the differences the way you, as a parent, are convicted to explain them, comparing them to, say, the Bible, or “our” culture.

    • Cindy February 3, 2013, 9:55 pm

      From one post, you think that I think all homeschoolers are Christian? No, but all Christian homeschoolers are. Silly. So, are you saying that homeschoolers don’t know any black people? Or maybe that all homeschoolers are white? Or that all schools are diverse? The one I went to had…counting…5 black people and 2 hispanics. Also, a Hawaiian girl. I never spoke to any of them, because they were in different classes than I. So there’s your diversity, I guess. I think I’ve figured out what your concern is: You think people of different skin tones are only in school! Like I’m never going to run into anybody but people exactly like me out in the community. I guess the African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians we meet while shopping and going to the library and at church just don’t really count, since they’re not in school. Actually, the only difference is that my kids aren’t taught to think of diversity as some high holy numbers game, but to think of the people they meet as individuals. Naive, indeed, in this PC world.

  • cindy February 3, 2013, 9:48 pm

    I just discovered my son is going to have some difficulties and wondered if I would be able to homeschool after all every time I think of not doing it something pulls me back in. Thanks for being God’s messenger to me today.

  • Amy February 4, 2013, 7:50 am

    Hi! I enjoyed your article, I don’t disagree with any of it, but wanted to add one “real world” thing I think you don’t learn through homeschooling that isn’t generally considered sinful. My husband has a job where he sits in front of a computer in a tiny cubicle from 9 – 5. He has no incentive to work the whole time either because it isn’t like he can just leave once he gets his work done for the day. Traditional schooling (in his case Christian school) prepares one well for such a job. I was homeschooled and I know I would not survive in a cubicle 🙂 I get my work done as quick as possible. I don’t sit still well. I have trouble sitting through meetings where people ask a million questions about something that was just clearly explained to them. I have trouble following arbitrary rules. I don’t many of the homeschoolers I have known would ever work well in a cubicle, but that’s OK, there are plenty of other productive things they could do 🙂

    • Cindy February 4, 2013, 8:30 am

      That is probably true! And a feature, not a bug, of homeschooling. I nearly went CRAZY sitting at school all day. Good thing I had my daydreams. I do not make a good cube-dweller. However, I think that has a lot to do with personality, as well. My hubby can sit at his desk all day and not feel much the worse for it. As for the meetings…well, those are definitely a thorn in his side. All this group learning and thinking is, IMO, not very conducive to real thought and exploration.

      • Katy April 24, 2013, 1:49 am

        I was only homeschooled through 6th grade, but I excelled in a cubicle. I find myself making the best of most situations, and I wouldn’t say it was where I wanted to be most, but I was able to manage it just fine.
        To be honest, I think a big problem in the economics of America is the lack of tradesmen and the push for “cubicle dwellers.” Obviously, technology is causing this trend, but tradesmen are definetely not confined by cubicles most of the time! 🙂 I think there has to be a good balance between those who excel in the cubicles and those who excel out of them. Good point, though, Amy

  • Carlin February 4, 2013, 10:32 am

    None of your kids are grown. How can you be sure that what you are saying is true? There are many adult homeschooled kids who are, in fact, naive and unprepared for the real world. Can you really be sure yours won’t be among them?

    It’s always the moms of young children who are sure they are right.

    When you have raised children to adulthood, THEN you can write this post.

    • Cindy February 4, 2013, 11:36 am

      I have friends whose children are grown. I have a good Book that teaches me not only to shepherd my own heart, but those of my children. Maybe I don’t have the end result yet, but my Guide is infallible. Because of that, I know that I’m doing the best thing I can do for my kids. 🙂

      I might add that I know many, many adults from public schools who were completely unprepared for the real world. Blame public schools?

      Also, not to be touchy or anything, but I can write this post any time I like. It’s my blog. 😉

      • Carlin February 4, 2013, 6:26 pm

        Sorry, I meant “Then you can write this post convincingly, with credibility and first-hand knowledge.”

    • Mary Jo February 5, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Carlin, If you have a problem with something that Cindy says here, please address that instead of insinuating that she doesn’t have a right to offer her opinion since her children are small.

      But you’re absolutely right. There are adults who were homeschooled that are naive and unprepared for the world. I’ve met some of them. But most homeschoolers (at least the ones I know) are well-adjusted, hard-working, able to relate to people of all ages, and who thrive in society. Yes, we may get laughed at because we don’t know some things about pop culture, but there isn’t anything yet that I have felt deprived for not knowing. When you are taught how to learn, then you can pick up anything that you need to know quite easily.

      Besides, there are plenty of public school kids who are also naive and unprepared for the world. That’s a HUGE reason why many parents HOMESCHOOL!

  • Carlin February 4, 2013, 1:52 pm

    Of course there are public school kids who are unprepared for this world, I wasn’t saying otherwise.

    I am just saying that there is certainly the possibility that your kids might experience problems with socialization (though I hope they don’t), because there are homeschooled kids who have had this problem. It has happened before. You really can’t know your way is the right way, until you are done. It’s like saying a cake is going to be delicious when it is still in the oven.

    I’m sure you weren’t resting your whole post on the fact that you “know ” some adults who were homeschooled who “seem” just fine. Because that wouldn’t be any substantiation at all.

    Young parents often think they know it all. Kind of like people without kids think they have the best childrearing advice.

    • Cindy February 4, 2013, 7:57 pm

      Nope. I’m resting my whole post on the fact that I know people who are ABSOLUTELY doing well, and they are my friends and mentors. And I’m resting this post on what I know God’s word says about raising children. Further, I’m resting it on what I know of public education, human nature, and yes, the difference that I can already see in my own children from many of those around me. I’m not promising any particular results with my children, especially to you, who have no business asking. What I am relying on, mainly, is God’s faithfulness. I don’t care if you find me credible because (in case you hadn’t noticed), I’ve never claimed to be anybody but a mom with a blog. To attack my youth and credibility is nothing but ad hominem. If you don’t find this post persuasive, then I should think you’d have a better reply than to attack the messenger.

    • Jesse February 4, 2013, 8:35 pm

      See, this is what’s called a fallacious argument. By the same way of thinking, one could say that no one is capable of providing another person life advice by virtue of the fact that they aren’t dead yet. (To say nothing of the reference to ad hominem that Cindy has already graciously made.)

      There’s also the problem of your cake analogy. Sure, the cake might turn out bad, but you don’t bake on the assumption that you’re going to turn out something that tastes terrible, are you? You follow a recipe that others before you have followed and succeeded with; you smell the sweet aroma of your cake as it’s baking to assure yourself that the plan is coming to fruition. As Cindy mentioned before, she’s not working in a vacuum.

      The nit you’re picking leads to nihilism; no one can argue that any plan of action will succeed until it’s been done, but that must not lead us either to refusing to communicate on what we do as we do it, nor to refusing to act on what we feel is right. Otherwise, no one would ever attempt a solution for the first time, and we’d all still be picking food from the forest floor.

      Carlin, with all of that said, I can’t really change your mind. If you feel that you can’t trust the word of someone who’s not yet completed their work, then that’s really your problem to contend with, not the author’s failing. Rather than fault the author, I’d suggest you continue shopping for sources that you feel you can trust.

      Otherwise, you’re really just doing this:


    • Vicki Arnold
      Twitter: Vicki_arnold
      February 5, 2013, 7:04 am

      If it makes you feel better, my MIL has successfully raised two homeschool graduates who handle the world very well and I’ve heard her say many of the same things young Cindy has said here. In fact, she could have written this very blog post. If they had been her words, would you have believed her?

      And certainly you weren’t resting your whole argument on some adults you “know” where homeschooled who do not “seem” just fine to you. Because that wouldn’t be any sustantiation at all.

      • Cindy February 5, 2013, 7:14 am

        😀 I’m tempted to pull out Paul’s epistle to Timothy here…”Let no man despise your youth”. But I won’t because I’m not a preacher. Just a lowly mommy blogger.

      • Carlin February 5, 2013, 11:04 am

        Actually, yes, if your MIL was to post about her homeschooling experience, I would find it more credible. I’m not against homeschooling–not at all–just against writers who lack experience in what they write.

        • Cindy February 5, 2013, 2:31 pm

          Did you want to address my post, or do I need to block you as a troll? This ain’t “bash the blogger” day. It’s my home. We can discuss the merits of my arguments, but we will not be discussing the merits of ME. Got it?

  • Lauren February 4, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I think this is an interesting article that presents great points for homeschooling. As a public school special educator, I do think there are students who need public education (especially the students that I work with that have significant disabilities whose parents are unable to help them rehabilitate in the home environment due to their work schedules.) However, I think it is admirable to home school, and even though I may not have as strong a faith as some, I think it is important for every family to do what is right for them mentally, physically, and spiritually no matter what that means. As someone who sees and hears what happens in a public setting on a daily basis, I think this is a great insight into a different venue for education! 🙂

  • Julie Byrnes February 4, 2013, 8:09 pm

    I understand your frustration and agree with the Biblical principles of training our children in the way they should go. However, I pray that frustration over the comments made by some parents who may not understand God’s call to homeschool will not cause homeschool families to enter into judgement of Christian Families who have chosen to stay in the public school system. I homeschooled my special needs child for two years and at God’s direction placed her in public school in second grade. She has flourished there for three years now. God has provided for her in a most amazing way and has used her to minister to teachers and students. There have been situations where my husband and I have addressed things that were in conflict with our faith in Christ and His teachings, but the Lord showed us how to confront those without cutting off an ear that might hear the truth of the Gospel. We’ve found that these moments have actually given us favor with some people who felt like they had been judged by “Christians” in the past. I know that we are in public school for now at God’s direction. I pray that we all will choose to build each other up in our callings, pray for, and encourage one another, so the world will see the Hope we all have in Christ.

  • Deborah February 4, 2013, 9:19 pm

    Wow and Amen~!!

    Thank you for your words. I am going to share your post on my fb wall too.

  • Heather February 5, 2013, 1:58 am

    I am 44 years old. I taught in a public school for three years (8th grade). My oldest son was in public school for three years, which were the worst three years of his education and I do not say this to promote home education (reading one book in a year…really? teaching to the test? learning bad words and dirty actions and not even knowing what they mean?? BAD stuff was going on…).

    We/I (my husband is Navy and was mostly out to sea, so it was me) finally heard the call to home educate and it has been wonderful every year, even the very difficult ones, and there have been several of those. We have now been homeschooling for 13 years. I have five other children whom I home educate, ages 3-15 (my oldest is 21) and they are the sweetest, happiest, smartest, best socialized kids ever, or so say the many public schooling folks I meet all over the place all the time.

    My oldest son is 21, married (both he and his bride are Christians and waited until marriage to be intimate), owns his own house, owns his own small business (he’s a farrier), and they just rented a ten stall barn together so she could start giving riding lessons with a goal of owning their own boarding stable someday. He’s debt free (except his mortgage, which is very low), including his car, work equipment, and her four horse trailer. He’s very well socialized and always has been. He’s smart, well-spoken, and knows how to defend his faith and take good care of his wife. He manages money better than I do. I am so glad he exceeded my knowledge of so many areas thanks to the provision of the Lord, who supplied the correct influences and teachers (as in apprenticeships, ministries, etc.) at the right times.

    There are diverse ways of socializing and any parent can fail to help their kids not learn how to connect with people in a personal, healthy, and in our case, Christian way…not just those who home educate. By home educating, we are trying to follow the Bible’s command to teach our children diligently… and trying to lessen the negative impact of our worldly society by guiding the choices of which people and situations influence our children.

    Public schooling parents can attempt to do the same thing, and I do not condemn others for the choices they make as they feel called, but I do know that being the strongest influence in your child’s life is difficult when they are not home for the majority of the day. I’ve been there…done that…even when homeschooling, we had to draw back from a church/homeschool co-op that was too worldly (lots of families with money and entitled attitudes) and was negatively influencing my easily influenced son (it may have worked fine for other folks, just not for us).

    In any case, I just wanted to chime in as someone who agrees with all you have said in this article, and who admires the clarity with which you presented your various points. Thank you for the time this took. I will definitely be pointing others to your article.

    I hope anyone who reads this understands that I am not trying to brag (I could tell you my son’s shortcomings, but that wouldn’t be nice…he might be tempted to share with you mine!), just trying to be that older homeschooling parent who has graduated at least one kid successfully…and I know there are many out there who have done more/equally incredible things than what I have said.

    I am proud of my son and where he is today, but I know he would not be in the same good place if he’d continued in public school. There is no doubt in my mind at all. I am grateful that God guided me to home educate and relieved I finally listened!!



  • Rachel @
    Twitter: BubblyNature
    February 5, 2013, 3:40 pm

    This totally makes sense to me. I have often thought about this very thing. It’s not about sheltering as much as it is preparing. Kids really do need protection both physically and spiritually until they are fully grown. If the homeschooling parents did their job… then their children will be ready for the world and not be succumb by it! I know that my kids will need to learn that the world is not such a great place. It’s just that I want to be the one to tell them these things because then I can point them to the real hope in Christ. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Melissa February 6, 2013, 12:03 am

    Excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT post.

  • Elizabeth Sacks February 6, 2013, 12:38 pm

    I can’t say enough how on the button this post is! I’ve LIVED it! My parents homeschooled me. I was considered “sheltered.” and yes, as soon as I was out of my parents constricting views, I went my own way and found some sin of my own. As a result, I have my own consequences to deal with, and it has shaped my view of how to homeschool my children. Scripture pointed to what I had learned experientially. We can’t keep our children from sin, and we shouldn’t even try. We should teach them to deal with the sin in their hearts. And yes, scripture is clear that this is a job the parents must take responsibility for “when we rise in the morning, when we sit, and when we walk.” Also, that we must keep our children from the wicked. Proverbs is chock full of warnings about that. And it doesn’t have an age limit on it either! It isn’t ok to constantly seek out the wicked, and assume we are immune to sin. We need to stay out of sin by dealing with it on a heart level first. My husband and I know that when our children are young, and their hearts are tender, our home is the right place to deal with sin of the heart. They encounter it daily, and so do we. This kind of early training equips them Biblically for the world, not because of something we’ve done, but because that is how God designed children, families, etc. to work. His word is FULL of good advice on how to prepare our children for the world. And it all starts in teaching them his Word from early on. How can we do that if we submit them to an institution that denies his Word on all levels? We cannot, and so, whether or not they will be “naive” and “unworldly” it doesn’t matter. Those things are not measurable. The question is, can I stand before God, as a parent, and honestly answer that I not only read his Word on the subject of my children and my responsibilities as a parent, but also honestly answer that I did endeavor to apply it. 🙂

    • Cindy February 6, 2013, 6:07 pm

      Well said. Standing O!

  • sarah February 6, 2013, 3:55 pm

    Well said! This is our first year of homeschooling. We started early with our three year old and have been made fun of by family and friends at church! We have been given weird looks and have also been told that we are too pushy and that our child isn’t even of school age to be learning yet. Thanks for a little sunshine. Some days are tough and your words are encouraging 🙂

    • Cindy February 7, 2013, 4:11 pm

      Don’t get discouraged. If you’re going to homeschool a big kid later, the preschool practice will break you into the routine nice and early. Sounds like a great plan to me! Honestly, though, when I had my first three year old, preschool consisted of going to the park and watching Sesame Street. I don’t know whether to be ashamed or what. 😉 Give yourselves lots of time to play and lots of grace. Go slow on the “learning”, big on the togetherness.

  • Beth February 7, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Out of curiosity how do you ensure that your children have access to large group ensembles such as marching band, orchestra, or chorus? While I know some churches have wonderful music programs, the one I grew up in was to small – and some churches, including the one my home-schooled cousin was married in, didn’t even have an organ!

    • Cindy February 7, 2013, 8:46 pm

      Well, we don’t have a marching band, but there is a local homeschool orchestra. Music lessons are usually available privately, of course. Personally, I don’t think the world will end if we don’t learn to march and play tuba at the same time before college, but I imagine we could hire some high school kid to teach us how if we really, really wanted to know. 😉

  • Amanda February 8, 2013, 5:58 am

    Love these points you make. I was home-schooled throughout my K-12 education, and looking back at my transition to college two things pertaining to this topic jump out at me more and more. First, there was a great deal of sinful/destructive behavior that really did just go over my head unnoticed because I was very accustomed to and comfortable with setting my own life priorities and keeping up with them regardless of who was joining me in the process. Second but related: I tended to do the ‘opposite’ of what this situation proposes. Instead of noticing what bad choices were being made and being tempted by them and suckered in by bad company, I tended to look for people who were successful and ‘together’ and examine/emulate what THEY were doing. Obviously, this can lead to pitfalls as well if taken too far. But if you notice that the SUCCESSFUL kids are studying X hours for an exam, using a tutor, focusing on a certain kind of material…you don’t have to be a genius to start thinking, hmm, there’s something there.

  • Katy April 24, 2013, 1:33 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I desperately searched for some kind of answer to my husband’s arguments. I feel so convicted to homeschool all of our kids all the way through school for these exact reasons, not to mention a whole ton of others… but Biblical principals has to be the top reason. How can I, no matter how perfect of a parent I am, teach and guide my child to Christ if I only get 2 or 3 hours a day with him, versus the 8 to 10 hours that public school and peers would get?? How on earth would that be probable, much less possible? (and I know with God all things are possible, but come on! This is like creating a soggy soup of muck and looking up to God with a desperate cry of “Please, God? Make it drinkable again, even though I did this with my own choices…”)
    Anyway, this was the perfect article to read for encouragement. Thanks so much!

  • Charis April 26, 2013, 10:32 am

    I was a single parent homeschool mom and with the support of my family homeschooled my daughter and niece for three years. However, I failed to trust in the Lord in the face of financial stress, self-doubt, and pressure from others (including the girls) saying that public school would be better for them. I sent them to public school with the belief I was not good enough to teach them anyway. The WORST mistake I have ever made.

    We are paying the price for my lack of faith. Both girls have fallen into sexual sin, lying, theft, disrespectful behavior. They question God and basic moral values. One is fourteen and the other is sixteen.

    I encourage anyone wavering on continuing homeschool to hold on to God’s Word and to remember that God has placed YOU as steward over HIS children. He expects YOU to raise them and teach them. Public school has its placed and I am grateful for the free education that our country offers. However, our country is secular (sinful), therefore, so are public schools.

    It’s okay if you feel you are not doing your best. Remember, that it is not for your glory that you are teaching, it is for God’s.

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