Wow. So I lasted a whole year in homeschooling without acquiring my very own Homeschooling Pet Peeve.
No longer! I now have one. And here it is: Homeschooling is School.
At least, it is for our family. And I'm writing this partly so that I can understand the opposite point of view, because, well, it's always good to understand folks you disagree with, especially when they're obviously well-intentioned.
So, here it is: I've run into some other homeschooling moms whose big reason for homeschooling is so that they can develop the Christian character of their children. And here's my problem with that: that's not school; that's just parenting.
Character issues are not school. School is academic. I am not homeschooling in order to make my first-grader a Christian. By God’s grace, she is, and Adam and I are working hard to teach her and disciple her. But that’s PARENTING. That is not SCHOOLING.
Am I just compartmentalizing more than most people do? That's entirely possible. It's not that I see character growth and academics as totally divorced. Rather the opposite. First, what you study and learn can (and should) directly impact your actions. That's why Christians study the Bible and meditate on it. Secondly, all of our life - schooling included - can be dedicated to the Lord's service. All of it can be undertaken in such a way that it makes us more (or less) like Christ. In those two ways, I can clearly see how schooling and character issues are connected.
But neither of those are things that I'd write down in our lesson plan book, other than to mark off which chapters and verses of the Bible we've been studying. (The Bible is certainly a valid academic subject, and we study it more than secular folks would because we believe it's more important than they do. Fair enough.) And I certainly wouldn't mark down character issues I'm working on with my daughter. Why? Because that's not schooling. That's parenting. It's what we'd be doing if we were public schooling.
I suppose that's part of the problem: framing character issues as part of homeschooling seems to imply that raising Christian children is the job of homeschooling mothers. But it's not. It's the job of Christian parents (and note the plural*).
I just . . . I just clearly have all kinds of problems with this. I think it’s silly. Moreover, I think it’s mistaken. I agree with the basic premise that Character Is More Important Than Academics. Sure. Who would disagree with that? But school IS about academics. Character Is Also More Important Than Cooking Skills. But when I’m making dinner I should focus a little more on the rice and a little less on my honesty, yes? My honesty will bide while I make the curry. I don’t get points off my Good Christian Chart for thinking a bit more about the garam masala than about the gospels during the short time I’m toasting the spices. Same with school. During science, I don’t want my daughter pondering the Golden Rule. I want her thinking about the characteristics of a cat.
I just . . . I just . . . I just am discovering that this issue makes me stutter "I just" a lot. Heh. I just have huge issues with this. Workable issues, because I can just not pick that fight. (And in real life - not blog life, I'm not arguing.**) But issues. Huge.
Anyone else? Or am I missing something huge here? Is this one I can simply look at from another point of view and understand? Or am I just going to get a swollen tongue from all the biting it I'm going to have to do? ;)
Peace of Christ to you,
*This is not to say single Christian parents have not the same vocation. Just that if both parents are present, it is then a shared responsibility.
**Explaining my POV, maybe, but not arguing. :D