Pitfalls of Homeschooling

Looking back over my life I am some what of an anomaly. I was homeschooled and public schooled, I was a PK, not a PK, involved in sports through the public school, in choir through the school then went to a private Christian liberal arts college where I studied Biblical Literature and helped out at a church nearby. I like to say since I entered youth group in 7th grade, I haven’t left! One thing I’ve been reflecting on recently is the homeschool movement. I just read a great article recommended by Joshua Harris (who’s family have been big proponents of the homeschool movement) entitled ‘Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling: Exposing the 7 major blindspots of homeschoolers’ by Reb Bradley. It honestly took the words right out of my mouth in my experience with both being homeschooled and looking at other homeschoolers. My best friends to this day are the homeschool friends I had in high school, and we’ve all turned out ‘normal’ for the most part (we can at least blend in to a crowd 🙂 ) I’m really grateful for the way our parents raised us and took an interest in all of our lives. I knew when I’d go over to my friends’ houses that their parents would take time to talk to us and see how we (and I) were doing. When I go home today I’ll stop by their houses to talk to the parents and catch up. The weaknesses Reb identifies are:

1. Having Self-Centered Dreams

2. Raising Family as an Idol

3. Emphasizing Outward Form

4. Tending to Judge

5. Dependence on Formulas

6. Over-Dependence on Authority and Control

7. Over-Reliance Upon Sheltering

8. Not Passing On a Pure Faith

9. Not Cultivating a Loving Relationship With Our Children

He goes on to expound upon each of these points in great detail and it’s definitely worth the read. I’m not trying to say that homeschooling is all bad either! Public school isn’t always the best option either. I learned nothing new in academics through public school, but learned a lot about guys bodies and new words and how to make fun of the “uncool” people. So what is the answer? There isn’t one, which is hard to hear and think about. As Mark Driscoll says, it depends on age, stage and location. Ultimately parents are given the responsibility to guide and lead the learning of their children but this can be done through homeschool, private, or public school. The main thing to remember is that faith is caught, not taught. If the Christian faith is all about doing the right thing, dressing the right way and saying the right things then the children are going to look for every opportunity to get away from it. Being a parent takes so much work of investing and caring for your children and taking the time to live out a true Christian life as a model for them. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking the time to do that for me!

(Joshua Harris’ condensed version of the article can be found here.)

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  1. Mike, good reflection!
    I was not home-schooled but I am very much in favor of it. I like these articles that take a healthy critical look at the movement. I think it can only become strong from such constructive criticism. The thing that worries me is government intervention that will one day make homeschooling your children illegal due to standard testing requirements, accreditation, and the Dept of Education wanting to control the entire educational experience of all Americans. I believe homeschooling is a right reserved for parents to decide. But what if the parents aren’t capable/qualified to teach adequately and accurately? For example, I love my parents and they are smart, but they wouldn’t have been very good at homeschooling (my mom has a degree in Bible and my dad in music – both went to Moody). So in my case, I’m glad I went to public school because I got an awesome education in middle/high school. Do you think there should be a way to measure whether parents are qualified to teach their children, or should standard testing take care of that?

    • Thanks for your comments Ben! And I agree that it’s not always the best choice for parents to homeschool. My parents ended up sending me to public school because they wanted me to have the interaction with other boys my age (I only have sisters). I loved it! However, it wasn’t all great as I learned many things that weren’t good. I do think standardized tests are a good way to measure the students growth (however, I realize some people are terrible test takers). I’m not sure what the best method to implement in ensuring the proper education of children but am trying to prepare for the day (Lord willing) that I have kids and need to decide the best way for them to be educated. I’d love to hear your thoughts on a good way to “measure” the success of it.


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