Monday, May 11, 2009

homeschooling: reason one

As I've been trying to distill my reasons to try homeschooling our kids, I've come up with my number one reason: I want to firmly establish 'the good' in their minds as normal. I read a post recently by a DRE who stated that almost without exception, the public school kids at his parish did poorly on their sacraments testing before first communion while the homeschoolers did very well. He went on to talk about how homeschoolers did not have a problem with a spiritual vocabulary, while publicly schooled kids did; homeschoolers are engaging their spirituality throughout the day while public schoolers spend the majority of their day in an atmosphere that ignores all things spiritual. It is striking to me that a child who goes to public school will spend most of his or her waking hours around people who generally treat spirituality as an alien concept. What is normal, at least at school (no matter how many Christian teachers there are in public schools), is to ignore anything religious.

I've been hyper aware lately of the fact that I am establishing what is normal in my children's minds by what we do and don't do in our family. Because of this, I'm starting to be more careful not to squander opportunities to speak of faith to our three year old. No one else can establish this as normal conversation like my husband and I can simply because our kids spend nearly all their time with us.

I've also been noticing how thoroughly our culture likes to present a picture of life that has been completely sanitized of religion. For instance, for all the ways Sesame street loves to introduce children to the diversity of our world, I have yet to see the show even hint that someones identity is wrapped up in worshiping God. Do they ever show a Muslim praying, or a little Jewish boy wearing a yarmulke, or a child going for first communion? It seems plain silly that though it is not hard to see a person's religion has a profound impact on who they are, pop culture pretends otherwise. It is normal to ignore the most important facet of human existence; relationship to God. This seems a dangerous atmosphere to raise a child in.

It's not impossible to raise a faith-filled child in public school, but I do think doing so adds one more hurdle to the task. I wish I knew who said this first so I could properly attribute it, but...would you rather raise your child in an atmosphere that makes it easy to be holy, or one that makes it difficult? By homeschooling, I hope to choose the former (Lord have mercy!).

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