Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Salt of the Earth

This is a comment I get tired of hearing from other christian families when it comes to my choice to homeschool (whether directly or from reading what they say about schooling, and why I should send my children to school).

Here is an article that does a great job articulating this idea: Homeschooling and Christian Duty

Check this out:

A child in the grammar stage, a third-grader, say, is developmentally geared toward the acquisition of basic facts, memorizing Bible verses or the Corporal Works of Mercy. Even a bright third-grader lacks the powers of higher reasoning necessary to discern the truth amid conflicting messages.

Middle-schoolers, in the dialectical stage, are ready to learn to
argue—learn to argue. As anyone with a middle-schooler knows, this dovetails
nicely with certain natural inclinations of the age, but the average eighth-grader is hardly prepared to play C.S. Lewis in social studies class.

Even high-schoolers are still in the process of acquiring the rhetorical sophistication they will need in college to defend their faith to others and to themselves. Consider how many college freshmen allow themselves to be talked out of Christianity during the fall semester, in the course of Intro to World Religions. If college freshmen can’t cope, it seems unrealistic to expect third-graders to bear the burden of evangelizing their schools. What seems far more likely is that, to one degree or another, the schools will end up evangelizing these children.

The idea of sending a child daily into a hostile environment—if not actively hostile, as in bullying, then certainly philosophically hostile—expecting him not only to withstand assaults on everything his parents have told him is true but also to transform the entire system by his presence, seems sadly misguided to me. There may be many valid arguments for sending a child to school, but that one doesn’t wash.

Common sense, people! Here is something else she points out in the article that I totally agree with:
If we urge our children to integrate into the secular mainstream, and it turns out instead that the secular mainstream is integrated into them, then what we end up with is, well, what we largely have: a generation that believes that Christianity is only about not being judgmental.

That's not what Christianity is about at all! I, of course have to add this quote... seeings how this has in fact happened:
People often say to me that bringing up children is a thankless job. They intimate that there’s something wrong—saintly, maybe, but wrong—with somebody who chooses to bring up children in the 24/7 style that my husband and I have chosen. While there are plenty of days when I wonder what else I might be doing other than saying “Don’t lick your sister” for the four-hundred-and-seventy-third time, I can’t believe that this project is any more thankless than that of trying to nurture the local public schools.

So you see, it is not my duty or my children's duty to fix the system or be the so called salt!


underthewillow said...

What an eye-opening article. The bit about freshmen losing their faith in college hits home. I, myself, was faced with that. I agree with the article. At the same time I recognize my weaknesses, especially my short temper and so hubby and I have agreed to send our kids to Catholic school. But if that were not an option then I would be at a loss because we do not want to send our kids to public school. Thanks for sharing this! :)

underthewillow said...

p.s. I finally did the 8 Things Meme! :)

littlebit said...

Good article. I hear that arguement quite often from people who just automatically assumed their kids would go to public school without prayerfully weighing their options. I'm not saying that because we've chosen to homeschool that I'm holier than parents who choose to send their kids to public school. There's too many couples within our aquaintance that are striving to lead holy lives who have their kids in public school, for me to make that claim. My hope, is that ALL parents, especially Catholics, would prayerfully consider all options and that parents who send their children to public school be proactive within the classroom yes, but also strive to create loving, faith-filled domestic churches to counteract the Anti-Catholic, anti-family messages they WILL be receiving from school and at their peers homes. Parents who send their kids away to school need to remember that children will continue to catch your faith by your actions. Weaknessess must be conquered through discipline regardless of wether or not you homeschool. In other words, whatever decision you and your spouse make, the goal of that decision is to become saints, not to hang on to our weaknessess.

Daddio said...

Littlebit, you've inspired me! I'll write a new post later.