Country Living Series

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sex education, home-style

Lately I’ve been following an online discussion between progressives and conservatives on the subject of abortions for teens. The argument of the progressives (besides the idea that abortion should be fully-funded and allowable at any time, for any reason) is that we need eternal sex education for our young people. “We need effective, very effective sex education at early ages mandatory for all,” wrote one woman. “Ask a lot of 14 to 16 year old (fertile) females what can cause pregnancy and you will get some bizarre answers. Free condoms and birth control pills, free use of RU 486 and effective sex education and that will nearly eliminate unwanted pregnancies.”

Putting aside the dangerous concept of mandatory progressive one-size-fits-all sex education for children starting at “early ages,” this comment got me thinking: Our daughters are 14 and 16, right in the “fertile” age group this woman mentions. And since they’re homeschooled, they’ve never had “sex education” per se. Certainly they’ve never learned the finer points of using condoms, birth control pills, RU 486, or other methods of controlling fertility. And needless to say they’ve never darkened the door of Planned Parenthood. (See how deprived our girls are?)

But since they were three years old and noticed the antics of Mr. Rooster with the hens, they’ve never been unclear about the connection between mating and babies.

In this information age, how on earth can any teen be ignorant about the connection between sex and pregnancy? While I agree there are some bizarre myths floating around on the issue of under what conditions a pregnancy can occur, I don’t know that anyone who has even the mildest connection with the Real World who cannot grasp the correlation that pregnancy is always caused by sex (in one form or another).

I don’t blame teen pregnancy on (just) ignorance; I blame teen pregnancy on a lack of self-control. For every teen who thinks, “It can’t happen to me” when faced with the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy after irresponsible sex, there are other teens who think, “I’d better not do this” before they have irresponsible sex, and then don’t have to worry about pregnancy at all. The former are NOT practicing self-control. The latter ARE.

As I see it, that’s one of the advantages of homeschooling. Nearly all homeschooling parents teach their children sex education by osmosis because they teach their children self-control. They generally teach their children right and wrong, rather than, “If it feels right, then do it.”

Without the constant exposure to a peer culture that encourages and rewards a lack of self-control ("Oooh, you stud! You scored last night!"), homeschooled kids tend to hang around both adults and other (homeschooled) peers who understand that self-control is one of the most critical qualities to acquire in order to live a decent life.

So what kind of sex education do homeschoolers receive? In all likelihood, homeschooled kids are going to see intimacy taking place within the proper context (i.e., two married and committed parents). They’ll also take note of the damage to individuals, families, and society when sex happens outside the proper context. They’ll learn that, while birth control has its place, its place is not unlimited and uncontrolled sex while single (especially while under age).

With all the discussions about what young people “should” be learning in sex education, a logical question to ask is: what’s more effective? Learning self-control and the proper time and place for intimacy (i.e. marriage) despite a body full of raging hormones? Or learning about all the tricks of the trade to have baby-free sex wherever and whenever they want?

Which options will promote happiness and stability on a long-term basis?

In short, I believe that learning true sex education (which includes self-control) would virtually eliminate the need for any of the services offered by places like Planned Parenthood.

But of course, this assumes that parents are stepping up to the plate and teaching their teens real sex education.

Your thoughts?


  1. Hmmm, thoughts to ponder for sure. As I am still young, and don't yet have kids, I realize that my views are possibly/probably biased. So without further ado, I'll share my thoughts. While I do agree with you that abstinence and self control should be taught as the one and only right and true method, I think kids should also be exposed to what they're going to face when introduced to a more liberal crowd. Now that DOES NOT mean sex ed at a young age, or even at all. But it's just been my experience knowing some PK's that are home schooled, that they become shell shocked when they reach college and are introduced to something that they didn't realize existed. I hope my words don't sound condescending to the homeschooling crowd, because that's most definitely not what I mean. I just think that while it is definitely important to show children the right way to act, it is equally important for them to know what they're up against in the world.

    1. We agree. But isn't that what Patrice is saying? Her girls aren't ignorant of what to expect from a more liberal crowd. They don't stay at home all the time, hidden away from the big bad scary world. But then, we've been reading Patrice's columns and articles for several years. We know how she thinks and believes. We know many people who are or have homeschooled their children, including one of our own daughters. Their children get out into the liberal world quite often. They interact with other children by playing soccer, going to church, having picnics, camping out and such. It's a liberal-progressive lie that most homeschooled children don't get exposed to the "real" world. --Fred & Deb in AZ

  2. I'm glad you added the last comment of "assuming that parents are stepping up". I don't think the discussions about how much sex education children should receive is ever in reference to children like yours. It is almost always in reference to children who parents either can't or won't be an example and have appropriate conversations with them. Working in healthcare I am constantly amazed at the seemingly obvious things (from thinking a woman on top can't conceive to not knowing an antipyretic is needed for fevers) that so many people don't have as general knowledge. I'm no really sure where I feel like sex education and birth control options should begin and end but I do feel like so many of the people talking about them aren't living in the same world as the people who are most affected by them.

    1. We're betting the problems you mention are more prevalent with children who have NOT been homeschooled than those who have. From our experience (we're both in our 60's) it's more a problem with public school-educated kids than with those who have been homeschooled. --Fred & Deb in AZ

    2. My children weren't home schooled, but I didn't rely on the public school system to teach my children such fundamental information as morality, sex and faith. All 3 of which I fully believe must be taught together for a child to completely understand the concepts and responsibilities that having sex entail. My son's and daughter are far from perfect but they do understand that sex should only be shared in a loving and committed relationship and is to be saved for the person they are marrying. Fortunately two of my son's are engaged to lovely, and shockingly enough in this day and age, virgins. Can I prove that - no, but I know the girls well and know they were raised very similarly to my own children. I could always tell when my children brought home girlfriends or in the case of my daughter, boyfriends, that were not not raised by parents that paid such close attention or felt the need to be involved in their children's full education. Fortunately my children managed to figure that out pretty quickly themselves and chose not to keep dating those young people. It's the parents that have the biggest impact on how our children act, think and what they determine is acceptable behavior.

  3. hi. i graduated college in 1971, during the sexual revolution. thank God i'm from the south so we were not too affected by that garbage, although there were definitely trickle down effects - a bit too much 'tolerance' for misbehaviors.
    the woman who said there would be no more unwanted babies had obviously not been born back then because that is the exact parroting of the same lie we were told by "feminists"--definition; people who hate women.
    there are unwanted babies--ask any grade school teacher. but many are born because girls want to become emancipated minors. this gets them out of their homes, which may, indeed, be terrible and gets them housing, medical card, and food stamps. they plan for this. and before the outcry begins let me say that i have heard them planning when to get pregnant so that they will be 16 when the baby is born, thus eligible for emancipation.
    let me also say i used to be a social worker covering foster care. that will show you the damage done by the unprepared having children.

    i used to tell my sunday school class that self-control is the cornerstone of civilization. if they learned nothing else from me i hope they learned that one thing.
    you cannot control others. it isn't our business for the most part.think if the progressives found us trying to control them what a hue and cry!!

    another side to this which is rarely touched on is that when my gandmother got married at 16 that was the norm. her mother married a 15. all the technology in the world does not alter a single fact of biology. normal girls love babies and eventually want them..i remember how, before most of your readers were born,the little girls would hover around a new mother like bees around nectar. they would ask if they could hold the baby and at last the day would come when the mom felt the baby was old enough and each little girl was allowed to hold the baby for a precious few seconds. none of this filth that a baby is just a mass of tissue.

    babies are precious, so we must keep sight of them while the arguments are flying back and forth about eliminating them altogether.
    p.s.; if there were enough real men, there would be more marriage for young ladies and a stable home for them and their precious babies.
    deb harvey

    1. So I'm abnormal for not wanting to have children? I love babies that are related to me, others are generally a bit dull, but I have no interest in raising a child and should not feel pressured to do so for the sake of normality. Especially in a world with an all too quickly expanding population.

    2. If you don't want to have children, who's forcing you? But do realize that having children is one of the outcomes of sexual relations -- relations that are ideally best kept to married couples. I get a sense that you want to be able to have sex but divorce it from the natural outcome of sex... that you have no intention of having children. And if an "accident" were to take place, your next course of action would be to procure an abortion.

      I trust you can see the inappropriate thought process that goes with entering into relations with somebody you're not married to and/or whom you don't want to have children with.

      Also, do you honestly believe the "quickly expanding population" mumbo-jumbo that has been recycled since the 18th century? They thought back then that the world would be without food by 1890. Think about that during your next trip to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Then take a hop over to and get the facts. Don't worry, you won't be introducing any increased carbon footprint into the environment by checking it out.

    3. I think it's probably a good idea that Heidi doesn't want to have children .. nuff said.

    4. There's nothing inappropriate about consensual protected sex. I would never have an abortion so that's a very bold assumption, though I refuse to aspire to a world where women who are in such a situation are forced to have dangerous, illegal abortions. You people don't seem to understand that people are always going to have non-procreational sex, and the only way to ensure that this is safe is to offer readily available contraception. Waving the bible in their faces has been attempted for generations and still isn't working so I suggest you rethink tactics.

    5. "I think it's probably a good idea that Heidi doesn't want to have children...nuff said."

      I'm honestly appalled at this response. Heidi said she did not want children and True_Faithful_Catholic's first response was to assume Heidi would have an abortion. Then Anonymous comes with that comment--simply because Heidi calmly stated her opinion.

      I'm a Christian. I study the Bible, go to Church, and practice what I preach. I may not always agree with what Heidi says, but I also don't always agree with what Patrice says.

      For people claiming to be followers of God and then posting comments like these, it is no wonder people leave the faith so often. I thought we were supposed to build each other up and pray for others, not say it is a good idea that someone who has a different viewpoint than you shouldn't have children.

    6. Ah... but Heidi DOES support a woman's "right" to have an abortion!

      Heidi is like other women that want to have recreational "protected" sex, regardless of the knowledge that contraception CAN and DOES fail, and she has stated that she doesn't want to have children. You can't tell me that you didn't smell the abortion support from a mile away!!!

      She claims she wouldn't have one herself, and I hope that's true, but one has to worry that there aren't many mental safeguards in place if she thinks it's OK for others to have an abortion. For example, if she thinks abortion kills a baby, then she doesn't want to kill her baby but she thinks it's OK for other women to kill their babies. What kind of strength in determination is there for such a position? And given the weak stance on abortion, the flip side is also likely to be true... if it's OK for others, why not her as well?

      Sure you know that abortion is almost always option #1 for women that want to have sex but don't want children. Any guesses on the number of ADOPTIONS that Planned Parenthood has referred for pregnant women that come in to their clinics? It's almost microscopic in comparison to their abortion business.

      We don't do Heidi (and others that read the exchange) any favors by candy-coating the truth. It isn't charitable to leave people with mis-informed consciences when you can do something to convey the truth. Some of the Spiritual Works of Mercy that should always be referred upon during such online discussions are "Counsel the doubtful", "Instruct the ignorant", "Admonish sinners", and "Comfort the afflicted".

      People don't leave the faith because they've been TOLD THEY TRUTH, they leave because they're STARVING FOR THE TRUTH and don't find it where they're at!

  4. " ...homeschooled kids tend to hang around both adults and other (homeschooled) peers who understand that self-control is one of the most critical qualities to acquire in order to live a decent life. "

    Amen and amen. (You child torturer you.)

    "all the tricks of the trade to have baby-free sex wherever and whenever they want? "

    So tragic and true, not to mention that said tricks very often fail to address the issue of std transmissions. No small concern, that.

    We've just met a new client who moved here from your region and homeschooled their kids. He's building them a new house and we really like them.

    At about the same time they first called us, husband came home talking about a discussion he'd heard on the fact the only kids who aren't spun out with a.d.d. seem to mostly be the [cough] homeschooled kids. Gee. Funny how that works.

    Y'all out there in the boonies teachin' 'nem kids how to think and stuff.

    Thank God, for all our sakes.

    A. McSp

    1. A-men! --Fred & Deb in AZ

  5. what has totally amazed and flabbergasted me over the last thirty years or so is how many mothers have taken their 12-16 year old daughters to the ob-gyn and had their daughters put on birth control pills...for other problems other than pregnancy like cramps and such...well 12-16 yr old girls are not stupid but as you said in your article they lack maturity to make good choices/judgments and what the heck-they got mama and daddies' permission since it was the parents that sought the birth control right? what many parents do to their children is down right wrong...

    1. Having had those "other problems" as as a teenager, I would have appreciated the medication so that my life wasn't so miserable one week a month. Schools typically do not allow for appropriate personal care time during or between classes. Heaven forbid if you take an aspirin.

      That said. I do understand the thought behind that its just giving them a license. What I've seen here from when I graduated (cough 30 years ago) to now are girls (and boys) given free social reign. . . dances, running to the mall, movies, what ever what ever. Gotta have a boyfriend!!!

      Its almost like a lot of these parents APPROVE of their children cozying up to the opposite sex, dating, paring off. 15-16 year girls don't necessarily have good judgement when some good ol boy blows in their ear. So don't allow them to date so soon. They can have social time that doesn't allow private, intimate time with the opposite sex. Nothing wrong with allowing them to grow up first.

      Limit the availability of inappropriate situations and you will limit the consequences...even if they are on the pill. Limit cell phone and computer time.

      (Sheesh. .. I've become my mother....who didn't let me date until I was 18.)

    2. Another unintended consequence of early prescriptions for birth control shows up when the young lady grows up and does want children - in my childbirth class before having my first baby, there were two gals with me who had been on the Pill since puberty and only came off it long enough to get pregnant. They didn't even know whether they had dysmennorrhea as teens, because they had only ever experienced one cycle before their moms started them on the Pill. They wanted natural childbirth but were deeply afraid of the physical changes in pregnancy, and could not understand any of the signs of impending labor - since they had NO IDEA what cramps felt like or how their bodies should operate normally. They both wound up with multiple traumatic interventions eventually, emergency C-Sections. Sad.

  6. Unfortunately there are many girls who are growing up in situations where they are not protected by parents who will teach them "real sex education". Instead they are in situations where 'safe' men are far and few between and where the balance between sexes is not in their favor. Sex is often a manipulation of attention and love on an immature, unguided girl. I think it is naive to say that pregnancy is always a lack of self control, because sex for many young women (girls) is not actually something that they have control of.

  7. I couldn't agree more. Though the things I see around me, even in my own family bother me beyond words... How even children raised in the same household could have such different ideals. I wonder is there more then just self control? DH(27) and I(30) vowed to each other no sex before marriage and we stuck to that commitment even though it was incredibly difficult. We did it for love of each other, and for our future together... knowing full well that no relationship lasts when sex is the foundation of it. GOD has to be the foundation or it will ALWAYS crumble. DH's sister(25)... 2 kids outside of marriage and still lives at home. Same family, raised Catholic, 2 loving devoted parents... a "good" family by all accounts... but apparently something very important was/is different. Maybe self control but maybe something else as well? I can't wrap my head around it. His sister says "timing" is the ONLY problem she sees. But clearly something must be different between the two, raised presumably the same way? I see this all the time, "do what feels good" and "you're the most important person in the whole world". Maybe that is what it is... more and more kids are being taught that THEY are the most important thing and what they want is #1. No one else matters... so do what makes YOU happy. I think that maybe this plays into it as well.

    Anyway... I just love this quote and both my husband and I try to live by it and diligently teach this to our children.

    "Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character and the self-posession to do what is good, true, noble and right." -Matthew Kelly

  8. A few years back I was teaching at Alternative Education. A first yr teacher and I had heard several girl students talking about if you want to be free of your parents get pregnant. They continued the conversation taking about different services that were out there. The other teacher and I were curious about how much money these girls were getting from government entitlements. When we finished calculating the monthly total the first yr teacher was horrified. She looked at me and told me it was more than she made each month.
    These girls know exactly what they are doing. Our society pays them for their immoral behavior. In fact, their behavior is encouraged and rewarded with the NUMEROUS entitlements they receive. More babies without a daddy = more money.

  9. Good blog post. I haven't ever commented before (or at least I cannot remember doing so), but I read daily.

  10. The sex education that our 2 daughters received was from the pages of "The Theology of the Body". It was not a simple short session but a year of 1. respect for others, 2. understanding of God's will for us, 3. understanding of the gift of yourself to your future spouse. What we learned now that our daughters are adults (both living in large metropolitan areas) is that their friends have a huge impact on them. However, they will still retain the lessons learned from their parents and have faith in most of them. My hope is the few lessons they now reject will be accepted when they become parents themselves.

  11. Our thoughts are totally, absolutely and completely in agreement with yours, Patrice. Unfortunately, more and more it is becoming a liberal-progressive world, and liberals do NOT agree with you! We often wonder and discuss why so many people today have such little regard for morality and human life. Why so many think only of themselves and not others and why so many have such poor judgment. Common sense is simply the ability to tell right from wrong, and that ability has become almost extinct in people today. Common sense has been conditioned right out of many of us by our liberal leaders, celebrities, instructors and teachers. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) --Fred & Deb in AZ

  12. Without proper parental behavior and teachings, which most young girls nowadays don't experience, they are not going to magically develop the morals you describe. I believe in sex-ed in the public schools for this reason. I hope that teenage girls do avail themselves of contraceptives because they are not mature enough to become mothers. Unfortunately, teen pregnancy and kids raising kids is too common where I am. As is incest. And there are some children here whose parents have pimped them out for drugs. Anon 6:09 summed up my feelings rather well.

  13. Hear! Hear! Great insight, great article. As usual you are right on.

  14. I applaud your bringing up this subject. On the opposite extreme there are parents that don't feel it necessary to explain the birds & bees to their children - even teenagers. I know a homeschool mom that has delayed telling her teenaged girls about menstruation. They have no clue at all! Very sad, and will likely be terrifying when that day comes and they have no idea what is happening to them or why.

    Sex wasn't a subject to be discussed in our household growing up. I attended Christian school and they didn't teach it either. The only lesson was that sex is something you "don't do or talk about". End of discussion. That approach didn't prove successful in my case. I wowed to not have that attitude in raising my own family. While it was difficult for me to present the subject to my own children, I understand that this was mostly because of my own discomfort. Sex ed isn't an open and shut subject. There needs to be a degree of comfort with the subject to keep an open dialog throughout those years. Again, it's not comfortable but the lack of discussion could lead to far more uncomfortable situations.

    I agree that having farm animals around definitely helps illustrate some of the mystery of the subject. As does allowing young women to have real knowldedge of what true childbirth entails. Mine have willingly witnessed two unmedicated births. They found it fascinating and have a far better understandings than any textbook or "what to expect when you're expecting" book could ever offer. Hopefully the impression will be lasting. Sex leads to babies. And while babies are wonderful, it is hard work birthing them (as well as raising them!)

  15. I am in my 50s, and I was taught very little about self-control except "don't cry in public." When my period started, mom brought me a book about female anatomy and the reproductive cycle from the library, and that was it. Color me completely freaked out.

    I actually learned more at school, and they showed a number of really embarrassing films about self-control, and not letting oneself be deceived by a guy who only wants to get into your panties. Unfortunately, I think that was the last year those films were shown at my school (1973). I guess I'm lucky that I am as old as I am :).

    The so-called progressive education system has actually dumbed down people, and made them easily maniuplated because they lack self-control. People without self-control not only engage in self-harmful sexual behaviour, not understanding that the standards set in the Bible are for our benefit, but they also don't learn the self-control needed to study and learn and think for themselves. They don't learn the self-control needed to keep working at a job when it gets difficult.

    What they do "learn" is that they are entitled to what they haven't earned, and they are entitled to have "fun" all the time.

    Although I wasn't in a position to home-school my kids, I did take the time to sit down with them every week to talk about life, and the challenges that they would be facing, peer pressure, learning to think for themselves. I made sure that they did their homework, and believe me, that took self-control on my part :)

    There are lots of different names given to the generation coming up, but the one I like best is the Patsy Generation.

  16. I'm not sure how it happens, but in all my work with youth, they know very little about sex. I think the misinformation comes from the massive amounts we have now. The Internet has more false pages than correct ones I would guess.

    And while I do not agree with Planned Parenthood on abortions and their sex Ed view, I think it is important to recognize the majority of their work is preventative care. They provide women's health and GYN services to a poor and under served populations.

    1. I dont think Planned Parenthood does that at all. They have a total ulterior motive. Birth control and contraceptives is what leads to abortions. If "you" werent relying on a contraceptive to begin with you wouldn't need an abortion.

    2. I respectfully disagree. Planned Parenthood was my go-to place for pap smears when I was a young college student and was not covered by insurance. (I had to have them twice a year from third grade on because my mother was given a drug during her pregnancy with me that caused cancer in many of those exposed to in in utero.) When I did approach PP for birth control, the doctor I had urged me to let my mother know I was considering becoming sexually active. She said she would prescribe it, but felt that it was something I needed to discuss with my mother. The docs I saw there were always kind, always professional, and always willing to spend time to educate. They were some of the best docs I've ever had. I can't fathom what kind of "ulterior motive" you believe they had. I always felt they were trying to prevent abortions through their patient education.

  17. The idea that kids cannot be taught self-control is a myth promoted by the makers of birth-control and planned barrenhood. We are selling our children short if we don't teach them that actions have consequences. Pre-marital sex has consequences, even if the girl does not get pregnant. How many emotionally scarred kids later on get married and then cannot have the emotional and spiritual closeness to their spouse because of all the pre-marital sex they had as teens and young adults. Could this be a factor contributing to the high divorce rate? Giving teens birth control is basically saying "we give up on you. We think you are just an animal, so it's ok to give in to your raging hormones."

  18. First of all, teen pregnancy is not an issue that changes with one's political affiliation, where they grew up, their religion, or whether or not they were home schooled. Girls from every demographic struggle with these decisions.
    It is a PERSONAL decision whether to be abstinent or to use birth control. In my opinion both are responsible and show not "self control" but self awareness and strength.
    More information and access to resources pertaining to women's health and bodies can only help our young women to be informed, confident, and in control of their lives. Whether that be from parents, churches, schools, planned parenthood, or one's doctor doesn't matter.
    This is NOT a partisan issue.
    "Self control" isn't enough. That's not reality.

  19. My sister and I have commented often that we have never had the birds and the bees talk...but we were raised on a goat farm and so we SAW the birds and the forward 30 years and my 7 year old already gets it...just from watching our chickens do the "chicken dance" and 21 days later we have chicks. I'm sure she doesn't totally understand how her baby sister got here...but she has a good foundation...and no glamorization of sex...its just nature. No awkward sit down needed.

    Cass PNWPrepper

  20. Self-Control is in very short supply across the board.

    It isn't just with sex. Look at how we spend, how folks expect life to yield certain results and then get very put out when it does not.

    They get mad at each other.
    They get mad at life.
    They get mad at God. (Who gave some very clear instructions on several key areas of "self-control".)

    Until we realize that we "make our own beds and must lie in them", no progress (maturing) will occur.

    I want it.
    I want it now.
    I don't care where you get it or who you hurt, I want it and I will vote for you if you will provide it to me.

    Many of our fellow citizens are selling their votes far too cheaply.

    Me? I am trying to buy FREEDOM when I vote.

    Freedom from what?

    Freedom from those without self-control - the reason that governments were invented.

  21. I'm a firm believer in self control, and Patience is a virtue for a reason. They are the same thing in the long run. As for sex education, I'm a firm believer in a good detailed BIOLOGY class (Especially for non-farm kids). Don't teach them sex, teach them what parts they have and how they work. They go into detail how your eyes work, and your heart,or larynx, but how many high school kids know how their vas deferns works, or if they even have a fundus. You think it can't happen to you? Do you have an ovary? Then yeah, it WILL happen to you.

  22. This entire conversation is a result of the effects of social engineering that has been going on for centuries but has been particularly strong since the 1960's. We also homeschool in Idaho. Our three older children are college grads and happily married. Sex education came from the barnyard but moral direction, discussion of the degradation of society, evaluation of observed behaviors of others (both good and bad) happened whenever the situation presented itself. This way, we weren't talking theories, we were simply noting historical changes and the effects on peoples lives today. Unwanted pregnancy is only a small part of this countries ills. How about no work ethic? How about no concern for anothers well being? How about narcissism and psychopathy? How about God is real and He knew what He was doing when He gave us rules to live by? Yeah, homeschooling is for those willing to invest their time, energy and love to teach the young to think.

    1. I was looking frantically for the "like" button on that post, Pam. :D