A child hungers for caritas (God-like love) from parents, siblings, and other adults and peers in his community. In an earlier, healthier society, this included impromptu lessons, innocent affection (hugs and kisses) and even necessary correction, provided consistently by many adults, even strangers in public settings. Such a social milieu, once called Christendom, is the ideal foundation of true psychological health.

Today, in those fortunate countries that allow it, parents homeschool precisely because they have recognized the importance of re-creating Christendom at least within the ‘walled garden’ of their homes.

The child suffers when caritas fails in his world, when his sense of innocence and trust is consistently betrayed by one or more adults. Most homeschooling parents have recognized that they can no longer rely on the majority of adults in society (especially in schools) to be even minimally respectful of Catholic views and beliefs.

Homeschooling provides a much needed shelter from a dysfunctional ‘real world’ (not unlike protecting one’s child from exposure to contagious diseases). The homeschooled child senses that the adults in his life have taken a courageous and most difficult stand against the currents of neo-pagan culture, and that they are motivated by true caritas – love of neighbor (in this case one’s children) for the love of God. Statistics show that homeschooled children display the greatest leadership potential at college level, and are the most socially mature and adept (Robin Wallace ‘First Wave of Homeschoolers comes of age’, Fox News Channel Website) . This is because they have developed true self-respect, the psychological result of having been loved. The child whose parents have spent years homeschooling, as a living sacrifice, knows deeply that he is cherished.

Parents cannot provide absolute protection from harm for their children. Accidents, illnesses, and abuses of various kinds may come. But parents can strive heroically to provide the spiritually and psychologically healthy home atmosphere that will prepare a child to withstand the spiritual and physical assaults.

One prominent psychiatric textbook (Kaplan’s and Sadock’s ‘Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry) notes that most child abusers seek to approach a child gradually, by incremental invasions of the child’s intimate space, but that ‘healthy, protected, self-assured children rebuff the intrusions’. Children do need to be instructed (in private, one on one with a parent) that certain types of touching are wrong, and that the child should report these to his parent with the assurance that he will be believed, no matter who did the touching. The bond of trust forged in homeschooling, in which parents regularly participate with their children in the critique of various outside authority figures (e.g. people in the news, characters in books or movies,  public figures praising sexuality in the guise of fashion, priests in their homilies, etc.) can be wonderfully protective in this area. Abused children, by contrast, have often learned to follow a false logic, according to which they always follow authority figures even when such figures command them to do evil.

A very common question by homeschooling parents is:  “I know my children have learned at home, but I wonder if they would have learned more in school.”  Maybe, although personally I don’t think so.  Psalm 78 is a great one in relation to homeschooling.  Please read it in light of what God tells parents to do.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say for Rulers (the government) to train all the children.  Everywhere the Bible tells parents to teach, train, correct, etc.  It is a God given responsibility and authority.

Whether you teach them at home or send them away to school, the responsibility is yours. A ship’s captain can retire for the evening and pass control to the second or third in command.  But if the ship is wrecked, the captain is ultimately held accountable.  It is the same with parenting and training.  The weight of the responsibility and authority is solely on the parents.

Ps: did you know that there are many famous men and women from throughout history who were homeschooled as children? Read here.


17 Responses to “Homeschooling”

  1. 1 Beverly November 24, 2009 at 21:41

    Yours is an interesting post. I find that home schooled children I meet can converse with people of all ages because they actually get more chances for social interaction with many others. Most, but not all, publicly schooled children I meet seem to squirm uncomfortably when adults speak to them since they are used to being with peers of their same age group for most of their days. And, you might find this hard to believe, not all homeschooling families in the U.S. are homeschooling for religious reasons.

  2. 2 Rachel M November 24, 2009 at 22:27

    Unfortunately we are unable to have children but I had come to the conclusion that I would most likely home school them or send them to a Catholic school. Even if I sent them to Catholic school I would still take my own responsibility in being an active participant in their education on all levels.

    I enjoyed your post.

  3. 3 Mary Nicewarner November 25, 2009 at 00:19

    Yes, I believe homeschooling is best. Is Michaela homeschooled? No:) My husband is not a homeschooling fan and I have to work at this point in my life. Even if I didn’t, I don’t believe my husband would go for it. But, who knows? Maybe things will change. I enjoy reading homeschooling sites and blogs:)

  4. 4 Karin November 25, 2009 at 00:34

    You make some excellent points in this post. While there are pros and cons to both home and out of the home schooling, it is up to parents to discern what will work best for their family. I do believe however that children attending away from the home need to be more “on guard” against the amoral atmosphere that exists in many areas. I am not a parent, but as an educator who has taught in public schools and now in my capacity as a director of education in a learning center, what I see coming from the public schools is a little scary.
    I love the homeschooling vs. public school graphics!
    Thanks for sharing this.

  5. 5 Antonella November 25, 2009 at 07:43

    Although in principle it is a good idea to home school but not always possible. For example where I am, at a catholic school here in south africa, most of our families are single parent family and the mother goes to work to support her family…so home schooling would be totally impossible for these families. A lot of families are headed by an elder child (16/17 yrs old)who looks after younger siblings because their parents have died of aids and rely on welfare and neighbourly help. They themselves have sacrificed school and education to look after younger members of their families.
    We also have a lot of farm schools for the farmers childrens and workers etc.
    So I must conclude that home schooling is then for the privileged child !
    In state schools, education is free, where the majority of poor blacks go..I am sure they could not afford to buy books and study at home etc…
    Difficult one this post whichever way one looks at it!

  6. 6 churchmouse November 25, 2009 at 08:34

    Wow, Gabriella — this is the best pro-homeschooling post I’ve ever read. Love the illustrations, too. Beautifully done.

    I agree with Antonella: unfortunately, homeschooling is a middle-class, two-parent family option. And I can see where Mary’s husband is coming from — homeschooling 20 years ago had a reputation as being the province of religious cranks. Yet, because of the behavioural problems of students in state schools and government mandates on what will be taught, people’s views are changing rapidly.

    As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if laws were eventually put in place to restrict homeschooling or subject it to government regulation. It’s illegal in Germany. In the UK, there is already some government inspection of private homes (for conditions, curriculum) where parents are hometeachers. There was also a case recently in the US where a divorced father wanted to forbid his ex-wife from home schooling their child. He took it to the courts and won.

    Well, you know if something makes sense, governments will prohibit it.

    On a lighter note, happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans on the thread! Have a lovely day tomorrow! 🙂

  7. 7 Louisa November 25, 2009 at 10:15

    I was homeschooled up to College.
    My mother has always been a widow since I was three and had to work to maintain us so my brother and I were sent each morning to a lady’s house where she homeschooled us and her four children.
    We loved it! We loved learning with Arts and Crafts, going for walks in Spring and Autumn and discussing films, articles on newspapers, learning Maths and History and baking cookies and sharing our day with our mom in the evenings.
    There is no doubt about it, homeschooling does mean giving your child superior education and I now spend all my free time from work helping those families who homeschool their children or want to start doing so.

    God instructs us to teach children about his ways and to take this instruction seriously. The Bible defines the type of teaching for the children to be all-encompassing. God expects parents (and other adults in a child’s life) to teach their children about God on a regular basis. Teaching a child about God can result in a lifelong relationship between the child and God. In Proverbs 22:6, the Bible says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Training a child involves multiple lessons in which a person teaches a child all about God.

    What state school does this? What Catholic school does this?

  8. 8 Wendell November 25, 2009 at 19:44

    Home educators have a special debt of gratitude. In a very real sense, the Pilgrim vision is our vision. The Pilgrims sought to obey God according to the dictates of their consciences. So do we. The Pilgrims sought to educate their children in the fear of the Lord at home. We do the same. The Pilgrims believed in the sufficiency of Scripture for all of faith and practice. We must embrace the same doctrine. The Pilgrims hoped to shield their children from destructive peer influence. This is our hope. The Pilgrims sought to build a distinctively Christian family culture for their posterity. Here again, our aspirations coincide. The Pilgrims recognized that their greatest work would not be accomplished during their lifetime, but through their posterity. We recognize the same. Finally, the Pilgrims were willing to make unimaginable sacrifices for their children and the cause of Christ. Though we do not dare compare our feeble efforts with those of the Pilgrim Fathers, yet we aspire to be ready for even greater sacrifices, should God call us.
    Wise fathers will draw these comparisons for their children. They will point their children to the man who was perhaps the greatest multi-generational visionary in American history—William Bradford of Plymouth.
    Lastly (and which was not least), they had a great hope and inward zeal of laying some good foundation, or at least, in Bradford’s words, to make some way “hereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.”
    Since the early days of the great Apostolic commissions, no group has been more blessed or had a greater impact for their size than the 102 people who dreamed of being “stepping-stones unto others” in furtherance of a multi-generational family vision of victory for the Church of Jesus Christ. Though less than half of those men and women would make it through the first challenging winter in the New World, God would bless them with thirty million descendants and a spiritual heritage which served as the basis of freedom for the future United States of America.
    Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday when families all over the U.S. get together to give thanks to the Lord and celebrate their country in peace and joy.
    Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to all the American readers of this blessed blog.

  9. 10 Edward Carson November 25, 2009 at 23:16

    This is a great post. Wow!!!

  10. 11 Antonella November 27, 2009 at 07:28

    Thank you Wendell for this extra info. Tell me do the “Plymouth Brethren” christian religion stem from them ?

  11. 12 WalkerScott November 27, 2009 at 09:19

    Scrivo in Italiano perchè lo conosco meglio dell’Inglese.

    Al di là del lato legale di liceità o meno. Secondo me l’homeschooling è un po’ un rischio e non è sempre praticabile specialmente per quanto riguarda le materie scientifiche. L’amore e la pazienza di un genitore che educa il proprio figlio sono incalcolabili tutta via vi è un limite posto dalla cultura personale del genitore, questo limite può essere superato per quanto riguarda le regole morali e della convivenza civile che ogni genitore è tenuto ad insegnare ai propri figli, ma tutta la parte nozionistica che poi formerà la base culturale dei propri figli? Se un genitore non ha avuto la possibilità di studiare e non può permettersi un insegnante privato come può fare?

    • 13 Miranda November 27, 2009 at 15:15

      Walker, leggendo il post di Gabriella ho cominciato ad informarmi sul ‘homeschooling’ e ho scoperto che ci sono persone e scuole che insegnano ai bambini utilizzando i metodi Montessori e Steiner.
      Ho anche scoperto che la legge italiana dice che la scuola non è obbligatoria, mentre l’istruzione sì, che sono i genitori che hanno il compito di educare i figli, solo nel caso in cui quest’ultimi non fossero in grado di farlo, lo Stato interviene assicurando loro un’istruzione attraverso la scuola. Nella realtà, in Italia se non mandi tuo figlio alla ‘scuola dell’obbligo’ ti vedi arrivare i carabinieri in casa 😉
      Comunque, è un sistema molto diffuso nei paesi anglosassoni, e anche in crescita, con risultati strepitosi; basta leggere le statistiche riguardanti le scuole.
      L’homeschooling è sempre e solo al livello di asilo-scuola materna-scuola elementare e scuola media. Se un genitore non è in grado di farlo ma lo desidera, ci sono piccoli gruppi che si riuniscono e genitori che accettano anche i figli degli altri ma mai a pagamento ….. chissà se questo funzionerebbe qui in Italia? 😉

  12. 14 Wendell November 27, 2009 at 09:27

    Churchmouse, thank you very much.

    Antonella, nope –

  13. 15 pinkvintage December 16, 2009 at 15:18

    I completely agree! I went to government school until eighth grade. I had no innocence, spoke vile, and wanted to be “like everyone else” which meant trashing religion, and behaving immorally. Thank God I’m home schooled, now! My mother is a stay-at-home mom and she has been home schooling me since ninth grade (now in 11th). I completely encourage home school!! I tell you, I learned more from three years of being home schooled than I did in nine years of government school!

    God Bless you,
    Grace Marie

  14. 16 quotes about gratitude September 21, 2013 at 13:48

    Hi there colleagues, its enormous piece of writing concerning teaching and fully explained, keep it up all the time.

  15. 17 online homeschooling August 12, 2014 at 18:40

    If you wish for to improve your knowledge simply
    keep visiting this website and be updated with the most recent news posted here.

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