Country Living Series

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lazy homeschoolers

A few months ago, my WorldNetDaily editor, Ron Strom, wrote a column called "Too Lazy Not to Homeschool." It is, bar none, one of the best columns I've ever read on the subject.

I asked permission to reprint it in its entirety for your edification.

There are many reasons my wife and I homeschool our children and have done so for 13 years now. These include reasons you might hear from typical homeschooling Christians: the ability to teach biblical values, the benefit of tailoring curriculum to learning styles and interests, the flexibility of daily schedules that enable spontaneity and special activities. But the main reason I homeschool my daughters is because I'm simply too lazy not to homeschool them.

Sure, homeschooling is a lot of work, especially for the mother, but it doesn't compare with the work needed to effectively deprogram a child who is not homeschooled.

Christians are tasked with bringing up their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," to raise them to embrace the truth of the Bible and live out that truth in obedience day to day. If a Christian sends his children to the government schools for several hours each week – or even to the age-segregated and peer-dependent environs of a private school – how many hours and how much effort is needed to counteract the inestimable impact of the secular worldview and cultural swamp such a child experiences in even one day?

Do the math. If a child is subject to the current atheistic indoctrination that passes for education in the government schools for six hours a day, how many hours would his or her parents have to spend to undo that influence? And, even if it were possible, are there really Christian parents who go through such an exercise? Again, I'm just too lazy to do so.

If one of my daughters were to come home from school having been wrapped up in a juvenile scenario of matching up boys and girls, and she begins to value such silliness, how many hours might it take me to counsel her through the countless broken hearts when campus romances explode? And worse, how many hours would be needed to deal with good old-fashioned rebellion when it rears its ugly head thanks to today's pervasive youth ethic of disrespecting their parents?

Countless Christian ministries give parents tips on how to "connect" with these supposedly strange people called teenagers and how to deal with rebellion and discontent, in hopes that a reasonable adult emerges after several years of relational angst. Perhaps Christian parents should prevent such attitudes from starting by refusing to turn their treasures over to the state (or, again, even private schools) in the first place.

A press release I received recently was headlined: "WHY AREN'T YOUR KIDS TALKING TO YOU? Creators of Website for Teens, Tweens Suggest Parents Struggling to Connect with their Children Should Stay Real and Relevant."

This was a promotion for two ordained ministers who are trying to help parents and teenagers online. They state:

As kids enter the stages of life where they are highly sensitive to peer pressure and being "cool," the disconnect between parents and children seems to widen. Throw in the ever-changing lingo of youth and the pop culture they are exposed to, and the communication gap increases. So what are the keys to having a great relationship with your kids?

Um, one key might be as easy as not "exposing" your children to pop culture and peer pressure – no problem, no need for a solution.

As much as these two men likely are sincere about helping Christian parents talk to their teenagers, I wish their services weren't needed. Somehow I don't think many of their customers are we lazy homeschooling parents.

And please don't fool yourself into believing that a couple hours at youth group and a morning at church weekly will somehow neutralize the impact of 30 or more hours at school – especially when the influence a teen receives at a typical church youth setting often imitates the style and practices of a high-school campus. Parents, and especially fathers, are called to provide their children spiritual instruction (see Deuteronomy 6: 4-9); we are not to leave it to hired professionals and expect them to miraculously wash away the imprint of today's American youth culture.

When I see my 18-year-old senior loving and respecting her parents and walking as a devoted believer, I wonder what kind of young woman she might have become if I had allowed the state to raise her the last 13 years. Would she know more of the world's ways and have a greater knowledge of the vast array of cuss words in the English language? Definitely. Would she buck the wishes and values of her parents in favor of the "values" of her peers? Most likely.

Of course, my daughter has become the person she is despite myriad mistakes I have made in the last few years. Only by God's grace can any parent raise a productive, well-adjusted child to adulthood. But why handicap yourself from the get-go by yielding so much control to the state and its demonstrably detrimental system of "education" – and the damaging peer influence that accompanies it?
There's an old saying: "Don't work harder, work smarter." Maybe that applies to raising children. For the lazy Christian parent: Work smart – homeschool your kids.


  1. Tsk tsk....another lazy American.

    Seriously, though, I'll be sending this to someone in my Bible study group who's the mother of a 7 and a 4 year old. Thanks, Patrice.

    A. McSp

  2. Save the Canning JarsOctober 23, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Even though I finished home schooling my kids 8 years ago, I enjoy reading articles/blogs on the subject. (Kind of like "Once a Marine, Always a Marine).

    I home schooled my two kids the final 7 years of their childhood education. They had several years of public education and several years of private education beforehand. I brought them home just as they were becoming teenagers.

    The final straws that broke the camels back were some math problems about Joel having a certain amount of cocaine that he purchased on the street for such and such amount of money. If Joel cut it into 5ths (fractions) and sold it at the new amount, how much profit did Joel make? And the math problem about cutting my daughter into 6 parts and burying 2/6 in another classmates backyard, what fraction of her did not get buried? And the kid behind her would not do the problem but would say he was going to dig her up and do such and such with her. Hey, I guess it was some of that "New Math!" A few years later that teacher went to prison for other reasons.

    So yes, we brought them home. We were certain we could do a better job. And do you know how many times they whined to go back to public school with their peers? NOT ONCE!
    They thanked us then. They thank us now.

    They started college by CLEP testing out of college algebra and college trigonometry. The daughter was the valedictorian of two colleges and the son graduated with highest honors from both colleges as well.

    They both graduated college debt free (yes, in this economy) because debt free living was programmed into them by the parents. Your values will become their values.
    If you love the Lord, they will love the Lord.
    If you are polite, they will be polite.

    The BONUS is when you watch your children Exceed you in every area of life. That is what it is like to live under God's blessing. Home school while you still can.

  3. Well, that's a perspective I had not thought of, but he's absolutely right. I think it's called "deprogramming" in the military. No need to deprogram if the kids aren't subjected to the government's program in the first brilliant because it's so simple.

    Anonymous Patriot

  4. My oldest is a Junior at a private Christian school she has attended since K - she has done well and has an excellent education and moral foundation. She is one that would have done well at Public or Private or Home....

    We brought our 2 boys home after their 5th and 1st years at the same school. Things have changed and we didnt feel our money was being spent to the fullest.

    When your 5th grade son tells you that he hates PE and some of the awful things said and the stuff they were forced to do and you ask why he never told you and you realize its because he thought it was "normal" then you know that their time IN school is done....

    Its been the best decision we have ever made and I am so glad I listened to God's prompting when He first whispered ;)

  5. CanJar and Pearldriver, I'm sending y'all hugs. Ya done good.
    Who knows who your words and ensample here may inspire. God bless your ears to hear and eyes to see.


  6. "A daily drenching in the world cannot be dried with one hour of Sabbath sunshine."

    I can't remember who said it, but it's my response to every parent who calls themselves a Christian and yet sends their children to public school.

    Like your editor stated, in order to overcome the programming, you must spend at least an equal amount of time countering it. How many parents actually do this? Not many, as far as I can see.


  7. Good Evening. I read this post because someone on Facebook linked this article to their page, and I just wanted to give my opinion of the article. I am hoping that since you open your comment section to the public that you are in favor of all comments, even if they don't mirror your own.

    First of all, I have to say that the article was offensive as a product of the American public schools, as an educator in public schools, and most of all as a Christian. Here are my reasons:

    As a product of public schools, I can assure you that I have never been brainwashed by "atheist indoctrination" as the original writer, Ron Strom, assumes, nor do I know any fellow public-schoolers that have been. In fact, many of my teachers in school made it very clear to me that were Christians. Every once in a while, we were taught other religions alongside Christianity, but it was always taught as strictly informational and never invitational (which I found it very interesting to learn about these other religions, especially since I have since met people practicing these religions and it is much easier for me to talk to them about my religion when I am not completely ignorant about theirs). In 9th grade, we were briefly taught about the theory of evolution, which is another concept that students need to know about (and make the decision for themselves about what they think about it) if they ever want to be involved in a scientific field (how much credibility would a Creationist have if they had never heard of evolution? none). Other than these two instances, I don't remember any other controversial teachings in my K - 12 schooling. I think it is insulting to my parents, who certainly raised me in a Deuteronomy 6:7 kind of way. They sent me to public school because they knew that a teacher, who went to college for their specific subject area, could teach me calculus, physics, literature, and history better than they could (this is not an attack on parents who homeschool, it is just the opinion of my parents). They did not ever have to "deprogram" me of what I was taught at school because they taught me to find out things for myself, and if I didn't agree with something that I learned at school, they encouraged me to study it for myself and find out what the Bible said about that subject. They did a great job of bringing me up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." It seems as though the Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs 31 did a fine job of bringing up her children as well, even though she was planting a vineyard, trading, sewing, making and selling linen garments. Her husband was busy taking his seat among the elders of the land, so it doesn't seem that they had the time to be the only teachers in their childrens' lives.

    (continued below)

  8. As an educator in the American public schools, I can absolutely assure you that I (nor my co-workers) participate in "atheistic indoctrination" of our students. We would get fired. I can also assure you that, as a math teacher, I have never even imagined giving math problems about cocaine or chopped up body parts (as a previous comment stated). Now, I understand that not every teacher is perfect, and some teachers probably do not need to be teachers. I've also met a few inadequate parents that homeschool their children, but I certainly don't write blogs grouping ALL homeschool parents together and accusing them all of doing a lousy job. Please understand that when you copy a story such as this one, you are talking about millions of INDIVIDUALS that spend most of their waking hours caring for, loving, teaching, and planning for their students (some of which don't get that standard of care at their own homes). If you would like, I can send you information about how you can visit my classroom in order to form your own opinions about my teaching and what students are learning in my classroom. Until then, please do not judge me, my profession, and the product of my profession until you actually know what happens in my classroom.

    As a Christian, this article offends me because if all of the Christians take their children out of public schools (as it suggests), who will tell the children left in public school about Jesus? I really wish you could see what a difference some of my students make in the lives of others by being in public schools and telling others of their faith. Jesus spent his time on earth eating with sinners, and in Mark 2:17, He says, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Shouldn't we do the same? I completely agree with your (and Mr. Strom's) idea that we are to provide our children with "spiritual instruction." But, how are our children to be "witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" if they are only around other Christians? I also think that it is belittling to my religion that you and Mr. Strom assume that Christians won't be strong enough to stand up to this "cultural swamp." 1 John 5:4 says, "for everyone born of God overcomes the world." I am not suggesting that every child should just be thrown into the world and hope that things turn out okay. I am suggesting that if a child/teen has a firm foundation in Jesus Christ, then sometimes they need to be among the sinners, sharing their faith.

    I just don't understand where these children are going to live and work in which they will be constantly sheltered from "pop culture" and "peer pressure?" I'm glad that I was able to experience these things while growing up because it helps me know how to handle them now that I face them in even stronger proportions as an adult.

    Thank you for your time.

  9. In response to Anonymous (with an oposing view) First, I would like to say I agree with you that all teachers/schools/homeeducators are not created equal - well said and we are Biblically charged to not judge others. However, we are also charged with teaching them as they rise up, as we walk about and as we lie down and that is what I believe this article to be about. As parents we are there to raise our children - to show them the way. If our kids are in public school where are we? When the opportunity presents itself for them to be a witness who is encouraging them? Christ sent his disciples out by twos so that they wouldn't be dragged down, persuaded otherwise - "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" Kids in school are young, still forming a personal faith - I am not saying they aren't saved, but strong is a whole other topic. As parents we are to be the example in witnessing, we are to go with our kids to places that require us to share, we are to invite people into our homes that need to hear the gospel - they are to witness and learn and participate in an environment that doesn't leave them with questions unanswered. You are a teacher so maybe your kids are around you and you are there to hold their hand as they need it and to watch from the background as they grow; how wonderful that God has placed you in a position to where you can be a witness to a great majority of this world! Some moms are able to run a daycare from their home because they need money and they want to be with their kid - wonderful! However, that isn't the path that God has all of us on. I already have 5 kids under 6 years old - who would bring their kids to me to have me watch them? If I went to teach in the schools to be with my 6 year old who would be home to be with my other 4 children? You see there isn't 1 right answer for everyone, but I would wager there is a greater majority of us Christians that aren't able to be teachers and be there with our kids. So the question arises: as Christians who are not employeed by the public school system what are we to do? We need to be investing in our kids the most time possible before they leave our protective covering. Now we all delegate the training of our children on some level whether it is piano lessons, Sunday School or public school, but the training of our children is our sole responsiblity before God so we better know, before we stand in front of the throne, that our kids were taught the right thing. I am confident that there could be some schools out there that have a completely Christian staff. My confidence gets thinner as I think of even the strength of those Christians to lead my children so that i can stand with a clear conscience before God. You see, I know some Christians, people with professed faith in God, whose lifestyle is not that of which I want influencing my kids. I am not even including the large number of children that would daily be influencing a child. Subjects are not all that is taught in a public school setting, there is much that is caught by seeing the way the world does it. As parents we hope to raise our boys to have the strength and courage it will take to defend their family, their country - but I will not put my little boys out on the firing line because one day they may be called to duty.

  10. Excellent Article. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. I would like to reply to the Anonymous above who took offense at being labeled an atheist indoctrinator: I questioned the most ardent of atheistic beliefs in an oceanography class I took, poking fun at the theory of evolution (it is still a theory, since "they" can't seem to prove it) and the professor had little to say against me because she didn't need to. My fellow classmates took offense at me questioning evolutions validity. Now, if they weren't indoctrinated to believe that in public school, where did they learn that? Was it in church? from their parents? Maybe during half-time at a basketball game? FWIW, I am a product of a public education but my parents taught me to question what I'm told and compare it to what the Bible teaches and I am passing that same thing on to my daughters. Ironically, that sentiment should apply not just to our (or our children's) education but to things we are told in church, by the evening news and by politicians.
    Another Anony Mouse

  12. I was raised with this philosophy in the 80's and 90's with all my siblings, in the days when we indeed stayed away from the windows during the school day for fear of being seen due to HSLDA-inculcated paranoia. Both parents were ministers, family-integrated church-planters, and a series of other families followed ours into homeschooling. We used A Beka, Saxon math and other materials and studied the Bible twice each day. The focus of all our homeschooling was on developing in us a Christian worldview and preparing us to be leaders for Christ. We were in the world, but not of the world. We were distinct and set apart. At the same time, I wouldn't say my parents were terribly legalistic. I pre-dated the more extreme versions of homeschool parents trying to arrange their children's marriages. We had no TV ever and movies were few and far between; secular music was limited.

    Today neither I nor any of my siblings are Christian. However, this doesn't feel like a loss. It was a struggle, absolutely and deeply, to learn to live after leaving Christianity and all the community around it, but leaving gave me a new lease on life, my own life, with opportunity to gain education and my own perspective on our world, including religion and spirituality. As a woman, I've been enabled to live as a full person rather than feeling restricted to living as a helpmeet who dies to my per diem suffering.

    The biggest loss is that we are all very estranged from my mother, despite a dozen years of her dedication to homeschooling us. The isolation and self-righteousness that prospered among homeschoolers at that time provided a closed Petri dish where the dysfunctions that every family has were unmediated by outside influences - and were instead encouraged by the groupthink of likeminded believers - giving those dysfunctions ample opportunity to blossom into what all my siblings can describe as abuse (James Dobson, Reb Bradley and Michael Pearl would disagree). We don't question that we were loved to the best of our parents' abilities in the context of who they were as people and the choices that they made.

    The other loss has been our ability to feel fully American. While we were submerged in the idea of American exceptionalism and in praise for the godliness of our founding fathers, we don't share American cultural reference points with our generation, and have had to learn how Americans think, work and relate to each other. We've each endured the painful deprogramming that comes with learning that dinosaurs and humanity did not walk the earth together; that Americans connect with each other around references to shows, movies and sports; the world doesn't consist of America+ungodly heathens; men and women work side by side; no one has a monopoly on rightness or truth. Culturally, we have been like immigrants in our own country but without another place of origin to claim as our own. However, it means I appreciate the friendships and experiences of immigrants to this country. The great conservativeness of the Christianity I was brought up in has its closest cousin in Islam, and my sister and I particularly appreciate our friendships with Muslim women from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia because we find we have shared experiences and struggles regarding gender, religion and relationships.

  13. This is an extremely thoughtful dialog. I think our premise in homeshooling is foundational to its success. If you are homeschooling because you feel it is the only way you are closed minded and misguided. If you are doing it as the best of several options with no judgement on others you will have better results. I did for years -14!- and it stressed all of the goodness out of me! Now I'm going to put the remainder of my children in public school.