Monday, December 19, 2005

The Homeschooling Movement

Here's a well kept secret about me. I'm a strong proponent of home education. I know, I know it's a startling revelation but I have decided to stop hiding behind my monitor and tell all. And since I'm bearing my soul I have one more confession to make. I'm a Christian too. Calm down. You were bound to find out eventually. So this makes me a Christian homeschooler. Okay, so now you know the truth. I hope we can still be friends.

But having said that I don't feel an overwhelming burden to protect the Christian homeschooling movement. Nor do I feel the need to revolutionize education. Why do I bring all this up now?

Phil Johnson, at Pyromaniac had a quote that I've been pondering since he posted it a while back.
Christian homeschoolers need to guard diligently against allowing their movement to become just one more vehicle for the kind of ecumenism that surrenders vital distinctives of classic Christianity while making unholy alliances in the name of impacting the culture, upholding high moral standards, opposing secularism, or whatever.
Yes, Christians homeschool were probably some of the earliest pioneers but does that make this a "Christian movement?" Is it a movement belonging to only one group? And is it my responsiblity to make sure that it continues to thrive?

Micheal Smith, President of HSLDA, said in the Washington Times,

One of the most effective ways of growing the home-school movement is for home-school families to spread the word about what they have discovered. They should be equipped with facts and figures that support home-schooling. They should be able to point people to "getting-started resources" and local support groups. This is a challenge for all home-schoolers, because if we do not look for opportunities at our church or at work to make the case for home-schooling, then too many families will fail to understand that home-schooling is a viable option. Also, previously home-schooling families could be enticed back under the public system via ever-increasing subsidies, without existing home-school families who are willing to lend a hand.

There are millions of parents who would benefit from making this important choice. In order for home-schooling to fulfill its potential and revolutionize education in this country, home-schooling parents need to persuade other parents that the benefits of home-schooling outweigh the burdens. This is one of the most important challenges facing home-schooling today. I trust that the home-school movement will choose to go the extra mile and ensure that home-schooling continues to thrive.

I understand what both these men are saying. But one the one hand we have Micheal Smith telling us to go out and preach the good news of homeschooling. And on the other Phil Johnson is warning of the dangers of allowing just anyone into "our movement" to the point where we surrender the vital distinctives of classical Christianity.

My desire is not to change hearts toward homeschooling or keep a movement going Christian or otherwise. My zeal for the Lord. In Him I find the strength to educate my children.

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