A Moment with The Homeschool Minute ~ Raising Real Men – Hal & Melanie Young
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It’s a laugh line at conventions, one of the first reactions we get to our announcement, “We’re going to homeschool the kids,” and frankly, the question which will never go away. When most people’s children spend the majority of their waking hours either physically in school, doing homework assigned at school, or taking part in social events and activities sponsored by the school, it’s hard for outsiders to picture what homeschoolers do without all that institutional structure to guide them.
And from all indications, most of us take the challenge seriously. We push back on the question, but really, the majority of homeschoolers are busy with all sorts of things in their churches, neighborhoods, and communities. Learning at home is individualized, but it’s not isolated unless we make it that way. And we all want our kids to grow up comfortable in all kinds of situations, able to speak easily and appropriately with people different than themselves, sensitive to other groups’ concerns, and showing sensitivity and respect toward others’ beliefs and cultural backgrounds.
Sometimes, though, the socialization problem isn’t our kids’–it’s our own. How’s that?
Because the conviction and self-confidence and independence which help us take the big step into home education, can make us rather unpleasant people to live with if we don’t keep them in perspective. For example:
- How well are we dealing with family and neighbors who don’t appreciate our homeschooling decision?
- Are we able to be patient and respectful toward their well-meant, or even their intrusive, concerns?
- Do we need to convince other parents that their choice is wrong in order to assure ourselves that our choice is right?
Homeschooling’s not the only conviction we carry. We all have opinions on a wide range of issues-we have to have some ideas to work from when we face everyday decisions. They might be our political philosophy or our beliefs on religious practice. They guide the choices we make about diet, health care, the use of credit cards, and whether we plan to send our children to college or not. They inform us on whether Santa Claus comes to our house or if we choose not to celebrate holidays at all. They explain our preference for an Android device over an iPhone (though that should be obvious).
The apostle Paul dealt with a church that was growing contentious over issues which were not clearly commanded in God’s word. Instead of confirming that one group was right and the other sadly mistaken, Paul advised them to “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5), and give others the time and the freedom to seek God and hear from their own consciences. “Who art thou that judgeth another man’s servant?” he asked. “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify the other.” (14:4, 19).
The ability to hold a firmly convinced position, but to love, live, and let live where God has given liberty–that’s really the essence of socialization. It’s good to remember that for ourselves while we’re teaching it to our kids!
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie Young
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