The 9 Pitfalls of Homeschooling

Show Outline with Links

Introduction

Before getting into this, please allow me to say that there will be a follow-up and parallel post on the pitfalls of traditional classroom instruction. This is a post of pastoral cautions for parents, not an exercise in pedagogical partisanship.

I have been involved in the work of education for almost forty years. And while I have seen many do it right, I have also seen not a few unfortunate disasters. I do know that there are many situations where homeschooling is the best option for concerned parents, and nothing said here should take away from that reality. I have also done a great deal of work seeking to equip parents who have chosen that option. I am one of the editors of the widely-used Omnibus series, and I am gladly associated with Logos Online. I am a great fan of homeschooling done right.

So these nine pitfalls are not predictions for each and every homeschooling family. Rather they should be considered as a checklist of things to watch for, things to be cautious about. When you see a pilot walking around the tarmac, checking out the plane you are on, looking at particular things, this does not unsettle you, but rather should reassure you.

I should also say that this is just an initial sketch. I believe that we need to have a serious conversation about these things, and this list is offered simply as an initial comment. I know that I will have to explain and qualify further on some of the points, and am happy to do so. I am trying to initiate a responsible discussion; I am not trying to initiate a giant fireball. And I would also ask everyone to hold their fire until I can assemble the comparable list for traditional classroom instruction.

That said, what are the nine pitfalls of homeschooling? If things start to go wrong, where might they start to go wrong?

Artificial Holiness

First, Christians are supposed to live separated and holy lives. But the only thing capable of actually separating us is the gospel, presented with clarity and received with evangelical faith. And it is affirmed that parents are supposed to shelter their children from the corruptions of the world. So a holy life is a separated life, but the separation needs to be gospel separation. Mere physical separation (although sometimes necessary) can easily be confused with gospel separation. This is the old monastic temptation—putting physical distance between your family and the sinful world can sometimes seem like you successfully put spiritual distance when you have not. When putting merely physical distance between your family and the sinful world “works,” the end result of this confusion is spiritual pride. As my bemused children were once told by a much younger child, “Those who homeschool are better than those who do not.”

“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:9–10).

The World’s Allure

Second, what happens when that separation doesn’t work so well? When parents make such a decision for the family, it is a decision that the children need at some point to buy into. If they do not buy into it, and are growing up in “monastic” isolation, this can make the glow of Vanity Fair on the horizon powerfully attractive. Our job as parents is not to get kids to conform to the standard, but rather bring them up to love the standard. I have seen homeschooled kids who were ravenously hungry to be accepted as “cool,” while simultaneously being radically handicapped by their position. This is related to the next issue.

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7).

The FOMO Blues

The third issue is that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) really is a thing among young people. When kids come to the conclusion that their educational upbringing is causing certain opportunities to pass them by, the end result can be anxiety, panic or resentment. The opportunities missed might be entirely imaginary, or they might be educational, or they might be cultural.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).

Unearned and Precocious Maturity

Fourth, sometimes homeschooling families throw their children into situations that they are not actually ready for, but because everyone is polite about it, to make up a random example, nobody tells the junior high kid that he is not really up to the challenges of walking into a group of college kids and functioning as a peer. But because everyone is polite, the wrong message is sent and received, which is that the child in question is “advanced.” This is an unearned and therefore precocious maturity, which is of course another name for immaturity. This can really dog someone later on, when he discovers the corporation culture is not nearly so polite about such blind spots. This can be made much worse if the child has been subsisting on a regular diet of people liking his every expressed notion on Facebook.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).

Boys and Girls are Different

Fifth, the teleology of education differs with boys and girls. While the subject matter of education does not vary according to sex in most subjects (math, geography, etc.), the point of education does vary according to sex. Assuming homeschooling all the way through, the girls are being educated in an environment suited to them, and natural to them. The boys, past a certain age, are not. They either adjust to it, which is not to be desired, or they rebel against it, which is not to be desired either.

“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11:8–9).

Sexual Pathologies

Sixth, we live in a sinful and fallen world, and we always bring our own corruptions with us. Temptations come at us from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and falling back to a physically isolated preserve does not touch two of these, and only ameliorates the effects of one of them, and that only sometimes. The flesh brings the old Adam along with it no matter who you are, and the devil even has a proverb spoken about his facility in putting idle hands to work in his workshop. And the world is still glowing on that horizon, and the house has an Internet connection.

“For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies” (2 Thess. 3:11, ESV).

Division of Labor

The seventh concern is logistical and academic, and concerns the value of the division of labor. Let us say there are five children. Teaching the first and second one to read is well within the scope of most parents, but every year the challenges get greater. This means that mom has to work as a first-year teacher every year in the subjects being taken by the oldest child—or is forced by the academic pressure to have that child become an autodidact or to receive a really thin education in that area. In a complicated task like education, there are many things that have to be covered, and limited access to the division of labor means that it is easy for some of them not to be covered.

“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?” (1 Cor. 12:17).

Experimenting on Children

Eighth, there are times when very dogmatic parents have very settled ideas about what will work in the education of their children. The (necessary) truce between parents who choose different forms of education will sometimes mean that some parents are closed off from valuable input from others. There is a built-in barrier to the likelihood of someone else noticing and being able to communicate danger signs. When hard dogmatism is bound up with homeschooling, there is frequently an inability to receive critical feedback—or rather an inability to receive it until after it is too late.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).

Counting the Cost

And last, I have seen more than a few instances of an all-or-nothing approach to education. A family was all-in when it came to homeschooling, but the commitment was ideological, which is a very different thing from homeschooling as a matter of obedient Christian discipleship. Then when something goes wrong (e.g. one of the kids embarrasses the family somehow), there is a complete reversal. Instead of humbly correcting the problem in how they homeschool, or enrolling their child in a Christian school, they lurch to the other extreme. They put their kids in the government school, and accuse the parents who did not make their particular mistake of foisting that mistake upon them.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28).

As I said above, there is much more to say about all of this. And I trust that God will give us an opportunity for some constructive interaction.

107
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
21 Comment threads
86 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
39 Comment authors
Jill SmithThe Commenter Formerly Known As fpJaneGinny YeagerJudith Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
JDF
Guest
JDF

Good points all, when read in the spirit given, I think. One question I would have as a homeschooled kid until 10th grade, with a younger brother educated at home until college; what are your specifics on males concerning their natural educational setting after a certain age?

Silas
Guest
Silas

I am always open to hearing of potential pitfalls with homeschooling. We have 5 children and want to raise them to not just adhere to the standard but love the standard.

Tyrone
Guest
Tyrone

I need some elaboration on the “Boys and Girls are different” section. Are you saying boys need to not be sitting for long stretches of time after a certain age? Or the boy just needs to be going another place like he would go to work as an adult?

Shell
Member
Shell

I really do not believe he means that boys should be sitting longer or doing more school work than girls. His point is that while being homeschooled there are ample opportunities for the girls to learn domestics while at home, Titus 2:5 explains that woman should be keepers at home, (an education is so very important as well), while boys are being raised to men..not having a sole focus at home, but in the world, working and providing. Men were given broad shoulders in order to carry a load. Doug is not implying that work a boy should learn cannot… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

More dadness for more boys.
I would have done much better by my boy if I’d taken up the slack from about Jr. High on.
And this goes for any & all schooling types, I bet — but at least in a private school you may have more male input than just at home with mom.

Ian Miller
Member

As you say, more fatherly involvement isn’t related to any particular type of school. And given the current philosophy of maleness in many public schools that I’ve encountered, I’m not sure how much that would help.

Jane
Member

More fatherly involvement as such isn’t the issue of any type of school, no.

But homeschooling has the unique issue of nearly adult boys spending most of their days under the direct supervision and instruction of their own mothers, in their own homes. This is a historically unique phenomenon (or close to it) and is probably a bit more of a pitfall than simply “Dad needs to be involved.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Getting the work done surely doesn’t take as long at home as in a classroom, does it? Perhaps the answer for teenaged boys is informal apprenticeship-type work for a few hours a day with skilled men in the congregation. I have a young friend who is severely learning disabled, and he has done wonderfully helping a family friend who is a plumber.

Jane
Member

Yes, I think this is the kind of thing that works. Again, I don’t think Doug’s point is that these pitfalls are insurmountable but that you have to be aware of them in order to do something about them.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Well said.

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I think the pitfalls of boys and school can be equally said about the school setting. Having a boy sit in a classroom for 8 hours a day when he is young and even when he is older and is more of a hands-on learner can be equally troublesome. I, too, am wondering what Doug means by this.

Jane
Member

I don’t think he’s meaning it as a binary choice — pitfall of homeschooling, therefore no problem with traditional schools.

I think he means, be aware that homeschooling doesn’t have exactly the same problems as traditional schooling, but that there are things to be aware of and guard against.

James
Guest
James

My guess is that boys get older, it becomes harder and harder for them to learn primarily under mom. I have seen this in older Homeschool boys several times. They would benefit from sitting under a man.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Girls too often do better with someone other than mom once they are in their mid teens. When I was a high school teacher, parents would ask me my secret for getting along with their difficult teen. There is no secret–the kid is willing to get along with anyone but mom!

Leslie Sneddon
Member

Are Logos Online students called “homeschoolers?”

cjs
Guest
cjs

I chose not to homeschool when I married and had children because I had observed a sweet homeschooled girl, her first few days as a college freshman, cut her long braids off immediately, buy rather suggestive clothing, paint her face with gobs of makeup and park herself in front of the TV in the lounge every spare second, maybe skipping class to do so as well. She did a total pendulum swing, leap frogging over the rest of us girls completely, who cared not a whit about trendy clothes, makeup and TV. Granted, this was in 1974 but we were… Read more »

Jane
Member

IMO that was an overly reactionary basis on which to make the decision, though it might have been the right decision for your family otherwise. Homeschooling, as with anything else, is what you put into it. Plenty of people manage to homeschool their daughters (and sons) in ways that don’t make them feel the need to escape and rebel against whatever strictures they were held to.

JP Stewart
Member

Who was homeschooling in 1974? A few hippies and Amish?

Keith from Kansas
Guest
Keith from Kansas

The original McGuffey reader was published in 1836/1837. It was used in both one room community school houses, and for those in isolated locations, in the homes. It was of a Calvinistic Christian nature. In my family it is taught that his wife Harriet Spinning McGuffey was the primary compiler of this reader. I do not doubt that he was the editor. DISCLOSURE: I am a direct descendant of Harriet’s sister. This nor the revised McGuffey reader, is a complete resource for modern use, but have been in continuous use since publishing. (I believe the original is out of print.)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think you should insist on royalties!

Keith from Kansas
Guest
Keith from Kansas

Ha, Ha! If there were royalties, I don’t think they’d come to me. I should have probably given at least a brief intro as above was my first post here. I found this site while searching “Jenny Geddes” two to four years ago. Have followed it ever since. Two of my three sisters did home schooling in the 1990s and the 200Xs. I didn’t home school but did supplement with the revised McGuffey reader. Both my boy and girl are now in their 20s.
Blessings

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Blessings to you too. Nice to meet you!

Ian Miller
Member

As a boy who was homeschooled all the way until college, I also think that your point on boys and girls being better suited to different types of education rather pointedly needs more elaboration. You probably would say I adjusted to the educational model, but I firmly believe that I would not have fared well at all in a traditional classroom setting, either early on or later. When I was in my last two years of high school, I did take courses at local colleges, which I think were vital for preparing me for university, but I don’t think that… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Hi Ian — what kind of manish influences & contact did you have growing up?

Ian Miller
Member

My father, my godfather, my siblings’ godfathers, my children’s ministry teachers, my piano teachers, my oboe teacher, my orchestra conductor, my French professor, and hundreds of authors.

M J
Guest
M J

I’m with you Ian. Homeschooled all the way until the last two years of high school, in which I attended junior college, which helped a ton in getting familiar with the traditional classroom. I will say that my education was generally overseen by my mom but my dad was involved a decent amount too, esp in subjects such as math. I too am interested in more elaboration on this boys and girls thing. And for what it’s worth, I had a good number of leaders in my life that were men that I looked up to. If fathers are mentoring… Read more »

Ian Miller
Member

My dad also taught the bulk of my math and sciences. And helped us in sports. For me, who was much less interested in sports, he spent a sacrificial amount of time reading the books I wanted to read so he could talk to me about them and make sure they were appropriate. And since I read extremely fast, it was quite a sacrifice.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Ian, it is interesting to talk to a veteran of home schooling. I have always thought that, as with experimental schools, no one would really know the story until the kids were grown up and could tell us what it was like. Did your parents use a formalized curriculum? Were you enough of an autodidact that any weaknesses in their academic training weren’t important? Did you ever feel you were missing out? Did you have brothers and sisters for company? One of the main reasons we ended up not homeschooling our daughter (although I had looked forward to it… Read more »

Ian Miller
Member

My parents mixed and matched curricula – I was, as usual, the testing kid. I was also, fortunately or unfortunately, very, very good at learning (not necessarily an autodidact, but I was very good at absorbing information and doing tasks set for me), so the curricula I could use didn’t work for my siblings as well. But my parents worked hard to find the ones that did for each of us. I never really felt like I was missing out because of homeschooling. I had several close friends who we were in co-op with, and they were a great support… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ian, did you ever use K12? We used it for a brief period when our daughter was acting a lot and needed a packaged curriculum (teachers on film sets only supervise while children do the work they bring with them), and I found it excellent.

Ian Miller
Member

No, we didn’t. We used Apologia for science, Saxon for math, and Worldviews by David Quine for my high school (I strongly do not recommend that last. The reading list is excellent, but the curriculum itself is terrible.)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ian, I am finally seeing Hamilton tomorrow night. I am excited, but wondering how my moth-like attention span is going to handle a three hour production. I think I had better start mainlining coffee at 3 pm!

Katecho
Member

Wilson has touched on it elsewhere, but homeschool (and private school) can be a trap for some parents who want to compete vicariously through their children. They may set really high objectives in education as a means of boasting in relative comparison. But, as Christians, our primary goal is not to raise show poodles, but to raise worshipers of God, who are approved by Him, and so education is a form of mental discipline toward that end. Even if government schools were dominating the standardized test scene, cranking out a steady stream of top-scoring over-achievers (…pause for howls of laughter… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I had this problem, Katecho, even with my child in public school. It took some brutally explicit interventions from friends and family for me to understand what I was doing, and to knock it off. Fortunately, this happened early and I was able to undo some of the damage. I made a point of not even looking at report cards until the deadline for returning them, even though it nearly killed me. I think this might be even more problematic when an academic mom leaves the workplace and focuses all her intelligence on producing a prodigy. It’s as if I… Read more »

Sam Moehring
Guest
Sam Moehring

The points under “Division of Labor” are most salient to me. My experience has been that often homeschoolers miss out on the subjects that the parents aren’t experts in. This has led to (again, IME) a big gap in the church, among homeschoolers, in the subjects of math and science especially. And it’s a generational gap. Grandpa didn’t know his physics, so mom didn’t, and so Junior doesn’t either.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree with you, Sam. That was also an issue with girls in Catholic school where the staff were mostly nuns. Teaching sisters excelled at most subjects but tended to be weaker in math and science. I was not much help to my daughter past the Algebra II level, and that is a reason I would have been hesitant to home school her.

In our theory, my ex-husband was to handle the math and science, but dads are frequently too busy to give hands on instruction daily.

insanitybytes22
Member

“I am not trying to initiate a giant fireball. And I would also ask everyone to hold their fire…”

Well that pretty much disqualifies me from commenting. :)

I wish you said something about the dangers of isolation and the need to provide socialization.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Hi Meme — wow — I took the whole blogulate about just those.

While one can probably make a decent case about how many many homeschoolers tend to be way better socialized, this lack of male input (as one section concentrates upon) definitely warps many boys, for sure.

adad0
Member

AKA, the issue of home schooling and the resulting really small football teams!????

Jane
Member

In my experience, that’s more of a potential danger than a likely pitfall. The homeschooling families that don’t provide their kids lots of opportunity for socialization and allow them to be isolated, are few and far between at least in my neck of the woods. I think Doug is commenting on the kinds of things that actually happen in generally sensible homeschooling families, not the theoretical dangers that most people by now, know how to avoid.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

As the child of a Catholic mom and a Jewish dad, my daughter had a pretty eclectic introduction to Christianity. Her father was okay with everything except Catholic, and had no objection to the fundamentalist church across the street (as long as they didn’t teach her science). This was a very nice mega-church with excellent programs for preschoolers. Until we finally settled on public school and the Episcopal Church, my daughter went to Bible school and Mommy and Me there. This was up until about the age of four. The problem I had, funnily enough, was not with our religious… Read more »

Jane
Member

I wouldn’t rule it out as something that can happen. It wasn’t my experience, though. Most of my homeschooling community experience has either been in my own small church, which is remarkably good about generally letting people find their own way with the understanding that we’re all earnestly striving to do it God’s way, and a large and diverse community co-op group that could not have functioned if it did not allow for diversity in those things (though it required a basic statement of orthodoxy. There were no Catholics, but I think it’s because around here they have their “own… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Jane, I was completely unimpressed by the packaged Catholic homeschool curricula I have reviewed. They seem to want to believe that Vatican II never happened, and the “literary” selections for the younger years would have been rejected as maudlin and unsuitable by any teaching nun I have ever known. “Mary went to the tavern to implore her drunken brute of a father to come home. Alas, she fell to her death as she walked along a cliff path in the dark. But her father never touched another drop, and Mary now smiles down on him from heaven. Where she went… Read more »

Jane
Member

Well, I don’t know anything about that, but by “own stuff” I didn’t in this case mean their own curricula, but there is a local “Catholic homeschoolers” association distinct from the broader homeschool community. “Own stuff” in the sense of “own activities.”

As you may surmise, there’s equally bad evangelical stuff out there, in a parallel, albeit somewhat different, vein.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I would love to develop curriculum for homeschooling. One of my happiest work experiences was developing literature courses. But I think it is a hard market to break into.

Jane
Member

I have often wished I had the know-how to write good history courses. There’s some not-too-bad stuff out there but nothing is exactly what I would have wanted it to be. I really had to patch and piece like a granny square quilt to get through 8 years of history, and a lot of it was still not very suited to my teaching style and/or full of gaps. And there’s some horrible stuff out there that’s mindlessly jingoistic in the American realm, and abominably shallow when it comes to the rest of the world.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The joy of homeschooling must be the liberty to teach history as it should be taught. In my ideal world, history and literature would be taught in conjunction, and history would be presented through primary sources, not textbooks. I think that gaps in historical knowledge are unimportant. If you have to choose, always go deep rather than wide. We have produced far too many graduates who think that knowing the names of Henry’s six wives means they have “done” Tudor England. The hard thing is to get kids to think historically. And this is impossible until they have learned basic… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jilly, you said: I have a bit of sympathy with his nasty remark about the Trump administration: “It is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria with Australia.” I think your animosity toward Trump is prompting you to make connections that aren’t there. From the Independent: Vladimir Putin has mocked the state of US politics by joking that it is “difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia”. “There is nothing to do about it. Apparently that’s the level of political culture of a certain part of the American establishment,” the Russian President… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Oh dear, I had no idea! That is the second time I have been guilty of unfairness by not properly checking out a story.

As you know, I do not like Trump. But my feelings toward him should not go as far as animosity. I need to work on that.

adad0
Member

Hey Jilly, can you clue me in on what you mean be “Gentle Christian Mothering”?

The link below was the first link I found, that properly exposed Lundy Bancroft as a charlatan, but the woman who ran the site was speaking out, quite correctly I think, about “Gentle Christian Mothers”. (?)

Do any dots connect for you on this?

https://exposegcm.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/why-does-he-do-that-by-lundy-bancroft/

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi adadO, that is really interesting. It sounds as if what started off as a sensible website went off the rails and became as cultish as some of the movements they were opposing. When I used to read it (20 years ago), it was articles on how to raise a disciplined, well behaved child without using physical force. It also was very concerned about problems with Babywise (part of the Ezzos’ GKGW) and with Mike and Debi Pearl’s To Train Up a Child. I had seen some things with the mothers who used GKGW at the playgroup that really concerned… Read more »

adad0
Member

Gosh Jilly! Thanks for the “Gal in the street” background!
My child rearing “web site” was two old Irish spinster sisters. They would watch me and my two boys out their window. One day the younger boy ate a mouthful of sand. I said “oh no Johnny don’t eat sand!” The Irish ladies called out their window and said “ You know Adad, you have to eat a peck of dirt in your life!” (Aka, lighten up Adad!). Man those ladies were great!????

Katecho
Member

Jill Smith wrote:

… it was articles on how to raise a disciplined, well behaved child without using physical force.

That’s a bit of a head scratcher. Did they also have articles on how to have a happy, fulfilled marriage without any headship or submission? How about articles on how to do mercy ministry without love?

I wonder what they did with the passage that says:

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” — Proverbs 13:24

Perhaps they dismissed it as Old Testament? But there is also Hebrews 12:6-11.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, Katecho, I can tell you that because last night, after reading the link AdadO sent me, I went to the GCM website and read their articles. I remember that when I was new on this board, corporal punishment was the subject of one of my first interactions with you. I told you then that I am not rigidly doctrinaire about it, and I am not critical of parents who use it nonabusively (as the vast majority of parents do). Their interpretation of Proverbs is that the rod is symbolic and not literal. The shepherd does not use his rod… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jill Smith’s attempt to exegete the word “rod” is nearly irrelevant to my point, as are her personal anecdotes. For my purposes, we can simply concede that she and her daughter were exceptions to key tenets of God’s instruction on the matter. Jill’s quibbles about particular methodologies is also a distraction. Rather my point had to do with the preconceived agenda of the articles Jill had referred to. Jill had written: … it was articles on how to raise a disciplined, well behaved child without using physical force. I was responding to the idea that Christian parents would set out… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Sorry, Katecho, I seem to have misunderstood your prior post as, alas, I so often do. I really do need to brush up my comprehension skills. I thought you were asking me how the women at GCM exegeted the passages in Proverbs, and I replied with a summary of their exegesis, not my own. I also noted that I found much of their efforts to be pretty dubious. I did understand that you were also asking why women who presumably take scripture literally would decide, a priori, that they would disregard the instructions in Proverbs. I have no information on… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

MeMe numerous studies by both home school advocates and those who wish to destroy home school show that home school children are better at socialization with children younger then they are, of the same age, older than they are, adults and old folks. Of course, there are those on either end of the standard study, but most do extremely well interacting with others. Also, home school has matured over the centuries and now you can find various home school groups that get together all the time for activities, sports and other competition. In Colorado, the museums, the planetarium and such… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

I actually have four homeschooled kids Dave, the two oldest girls now being biology grads. Two are still at home and finding their way in the world. Our grandkids are actually 3 rd generation home schoolers now.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

How did you do it, MeMe? Did you use packaged curriculum, or were you more of an unschooler? Did the kids find the transition to college difficult? Did you find it exhausting?

mys
Guest
mys

Dave-
You are correct on the socialization issue, yet, even in this current year that lie will not go away. It has been corrected so often

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This is so obvious, Dave, that I wonder why people still question it. Public school children are not being socialized to deal with anyone except their chosen friends who happen to be their age and usually in the same class. Generally, they come from similar backgrounds as well.

What the average child learns in a public middle school is that the most self-confident kid will select stooges to annihilate the unworthy at her bidding. Has nobody seen “Mean Girls”?

Katecho
Member

Jill Smith wrote:

What the average child learns in a public middle school is that the most self-confident kid will select stooges to annihilate the unworthy at their bidding. Has nobody seen “Mean Girls”?

Regarding the absence of public school peer interaction, one homeschooling father confidently responded that his kids are missing out on none of the real-world, social interaction lessons. Each morning, before other instruction begins, he punches his kids in the face, calls them names, and steals their lunch money. Lesson complete.

Jane
Member

Hopefully at random intervals, Mom asks them to carry a pile of books from one place to another and then sneaks up behind them and pushes the books to the floor, sometimes kicking some of the books across the room as the child tries to retrieve them, for added spice. That was the cool thing to do in my high school days — I guess the ubiquity of backpacks has all but eliminated that particular charming activity.

However, I still hear reports of high schoolers snatching books from the short kids and then putting them on top of the lockers.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

To make this more realistic for his daughters, he needs to ridicule their looks, send them vicious texts, spread rumors about them on Facebook, pull their collars down to reveal, and then laugh at, the Wal-Mart label on their sweaters,and send them notes purporting to be from boys who like them, then laugh when the ruse is revealed.

Jane
Member

I never had the label one done to me, but you left out bra-snapping in middle school.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

That one is new to me. Do you mean they grab the straps and give them a tug? Or do they grab from the back? I am always happy to hear how the world is becoming more gracious with the march of the generations.

Jane
Member

At the age at which girls generally being to wear training bras, they will prove to the world that you are wearing one by grabbing the elastic back and pulling it out so that it “snaps” into your back. But as for the labels, we didn’t have Walmart in our part of the country when I was growing up, and my mom did prefer to shop at more “middle class” stores for my clothing. I think she compensated by being tightfisted about purchasing clothing at all. What I got teased for was not the quality of my clothing, but the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The Snowflake’s performing arts high school had a dress code mandating black dance pants and any kind of black top. You would have thought that this would be an inexpensive outfit to provide, and you would be wrong. The competition for best dressed girl in head to toe black was intense. I think I might have mentioned before that a classmate dressed up her uniform by wearing cat ears and a tail for the whole four years. Even in my kinder, gentler day, this would have resulted in some amount of peer retaliation for being so weird. But, she was… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

MeMe, you said:

I wish you said something about the dangers of isolation and the need to provide socialization.

Doug already said something about it. Read the sections entitled Artifical Holiness, The World’s Allure, and The FOMO Blues.

Perrin
Guest
Perrin

I would say isolation is more locking your child in a basement than homeschooling them. And socialization you could argue for the homeschool child is more diverse than a conventional student. They are often times surrounded by children of much different ages where they learn to socialize with people of all ages, races, ect. Instead of 8 hours a day of the same age peer.

buckyinky
Guest
buckyinky

@MeMe

I wish you said something about the dangers of isolation and the need to provide socialization.

See, there’s this thing called your own blog…

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

#2 needs to be written in all caps . The allure of the World System is overpowering, and no matter how hard to work to keep it out, it gets all over you anyhow. Living as a Christian in America like going swimming without getting wet. And the concept of exactly what the World System is, is devilishly difficult for most Christians to grasp.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

An issue I wish Doug had mentioned is one I have encountered on some websites. Where there are enormous families, the education of the older girls is sometimes halted in the early teens as they are needed to cook, clean, and babysit for the younger kids. I can understand why, if you have 15 children, you need to press your teenagers into service as surrogate moms, but it should not be at the expense of the girls’ education.

Joe Blow
Guest
Joe Blow

Ms. Smith, why not at the expense of the girls’ education? From what I’ve gathered from a goodly number of commenters on this site, the end goal for women is to breed and feed. There are some exceptions, but that only proves the rule. Just the other day there was a hew and cry from a few of the true believers for revocation of women’s suffrage. And lord knows, we can’t have women contributing to the church beyond keeping the nursery and working in the kitchen, oh and writing books that support patriarchy. You can’t this stuff up. Ask Doug… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Yeah, I don’t see what the problem is either. The only scripture girls ever need to know is “wives submit,” as as long as she can read the instructions on a box of Bisquick, who really cares if she’s educated or not?

Leslie Sneddon
Member

Being sarcastic are we?

insanitybytes22
Member

I should very much like to be sarcastic. The problem being my satire always seems to come to life and start walking around in the flesh. Not that anyone will care, but isolation and a lack of socialization can be a real problem and there are parents who project and dump their own issues on their children. I don’t want girls being falsely taught that they shouldn’t vote, and have no worth and value beyond wives submit and biscuit making. If you need to see another side to that equation, the gender bended kid being home schooled by his lesbian… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Mr. Blow, I don’t know that the thinking you describe is typical of everyone on this board. Certainly at least one person here has a daughter in medical school! Doug Wilson’s own daughters attended college. The women on this board whom I know anything about are all intelligent and educated (as you might deduce from their posts) whether they attended college or learned on their own. I think that many people here think it is important that a woman be a good homemaker. This certainly doesn’t rule out an academic or professional career, as I know from my own… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Joe, happy that you could come by with a refreshing attitude and a great point. Too bad that it was completely off target. Better luck next time!

In life, one must exercise discernment as to which commenters are actually advocating a position based on scripture and which are advocating a position using scripture to make fun of Christians and those who believe that the Bible places the husband at the head of the family.

insanitybytes22
Member

Those guys are real enough. They aren’t making fun of Christians, they believe they ARE Christians. They aren’t mocking headship, that IS their perception of headship. So, that is why I wished Wilson had written more about the dangers of isolation and the need to provide socialization.

CHer
Guest
CHer

And clueless rogue bloggers who throw out anything from the Bible that disturbs their misandrist narrative.

adad0
Member

“Breed and feed”? C’mon Joe, you forgot laundry, cleaning, adoration,knitting and croquet!

Pfff! And you thought you were a troll?

Dude.

Ian Miller
Member

For my family, all of the older siblings, boys and girl (the order was me, a boy, then sister, then two brothers) were pressed into babysitting and childminding tasks. I’m quite proud of my baby diapering skills, and very disappointed that prudence dictates I not serve in children’s ministry in that capacity. :)

Emily
Guest
Emily

As a home school mom of 6 I really appreciate you pointing out some of the pit falls of home schooling. But how do I change it? How do I teach and prepare my son to leave the home when they’re always home?

MKK Johnson
Guest
MKK Johnson

We homeschooled 3 children: the now-32 year old from 5th to 12th grade, the 30 year old from 7th through 12th, and my 23 year old son never saw a classroom until he started college (at 15). None of my children went worldly. In fact my son, who could have gotten into any college in the world, went to Cal Baptist. When I asked him why he didn’t go to Yale or Berkeley, he said “Why would I want to go to a university that hates me and everything I stand for?”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I know this isn’t a prayer line, but could I implore my loved ones on this board for special prayers for the Snowflake? She is having surgery for a suspicious lump, and the minute her boyfriend found out, he dumped her. She is a basket case and we both need all the help we can get. Thank you!!

Ian Miller
Member

Indeed.

My Portion Forever
Member

praying!

adad0
Member

Praying right now Jilly, and for your cats too! ; – )

Jane
Member

Sounds like she’s well rid of Prince Charming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. :-(

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

I’ll pray it all goes well. (and I’ll second Jane’s condolence thought)

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Praying for her and her mama :)

MKK Johnson
Guest
MKK Johnson

My son went to the writer’s conference at New Saint Andrews, and is sorry he went to Cal Baptist instead of NSA. There is apparently a coffee/pub to die for on or near campus..

Andrew Viersen
Guest
Andrew Viersen

Very good points I think we know this all too well. I still feel most of the pressure we feel as parents is from a church community that would like to see you fail for the simple reason it would proove it can’t be done.And still I believe it is a necessary struggle for our time . Parental rights must be exercised or they are lost , This is a battle homeschoolers have waged for the liberty of all.As a Dad who has his irons in all sorts of fires I can tell you we are in an economic shake… Read more »

Kay
Guest
Kay

Total bullshit….homeschoolers I know are involved in soccer, football, baseball clubs etc. Usually their school days are more interesting and hold their attention longer. They are not being raised in the liberal, common core world.

Jane
Member

To what are you responding?

Ryan Patterson
Guest
Ryan Patterson

Hi Doug, I’m a long-time reader, first time poster. I discovered you through “Letter From a Christian Citizen” and I’ve been working my way through your back catalogue. I was really challenged by Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning and I made an internal affirmation that I would do my best to somehow ensure that if God gives me children I’d find a way to give them the Trivium. Collective Homeschools don’t really exist in Northern Ireland and the Christian schools here fall into most of the pitfalls that you describe in your book. As you said in the book,… Read more »

Giddy Feathertop
Guest
Giddy Feathertop

It seems to me that if this discussion is to be truly balanced, there will need to be a piece on the pitfalls of Classical education as well. Otherwise it will be just another “Hurray for my side” deal. I don’t mean that as a slam, but there are tons of these types of articles championing homeschooling, unschooling, public school, and everything else under the sun.

Jane
Member

Did you read the first paragraph carefully?

Giddy Feathertop
Guest
Giddy Feathertop

Yes, and sorry, I suppose I mistook “traditional” for public school, which is what the average Joe would surely consider traditional.

Jane
Member

Yes, that makes sense. I think he simply means “home” vs. “classroom,” though.

Jamie Garcia
Guest
Jamie Garcia

This was a very good list. I rarely take offense and look at those that do with pity. How do we learn and grow if we cant be open to challenges? Thanks for posting!

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

May I offer a critique? Not on the content but the outline. I would have started with an exhortation about government schools first. I realize you have published mucho on this topic but for the uninitiated here, perhaps that groundwork has not been laid down. Being “in the trenches” as it were in homeschooling now for 12+ years, I am noticing a large rate of attrition among my fellow homeschoolers, as well as many young moms being week in the knees just contemplating it. Rightly so–it is a tremendous amount of work and commitment. Why would we expect the “everyone… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

“week in the knees” must be an idiom for gardening :)

Judith
Guest
Judith

As in “in the trenches” homeschooling mom of six (first grade through eleventh grade, and mostly boys), I appreciate reminders such as these for me to hold up against our current choices and practices. I especially found the last three points to be the most relevant and likely pitfalls. Division of Labor is a Thing. There will only ever be one of me and six of them, and, try as I might, high school Physics will always be beyond my God-given abilities (three cheers for accessible – and high-quality – co-op options!). Experimenting on Children in the area of their… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’m with you on the physics. I think physics was invented by scientists for the primary purpose of making me feel stupid.

Jane
Member

I think the sexual pathologies point is just that we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking our kids aren’t going in sexually unhealthy directions of heart and mind just because they’re not around other kids to “lead them into it.” I don’t think he’s saying that homeschooled kids are any more susceptible, but that homeschooling parents might be tempted to think they’re less so, which can be a dangerous way of thinking. It’s a pitfall not of the homeschooling itself in the sense that homeschooling causes it, but it is a pitfall of homeschooling families who may be susceptible… Read more »