Every once in a while, my husband asks to guest post; addressing concerns which he feels are vital to both homeschooling and families. Today, he shares yet another reason we are thankful for the blessing of home education.
The Myth: Homeschoolers, conservatives, and people of faith are often on the receiving end of the superficial and thoughtless claim that “one ought not to shelter his child”. I say “superficial and thoughtless” because those who issue the claim have given it no serious reflection whatsoever. Instead, they parrot the statement because, like many social myths, it’s been repeated ad nauseam so as to condition many to embrace it as axiomatic.
The Hypocrisy: Those who insist that others “should not shelter their children” are doing so hypocritically. One can easily demonstrate this by simply asking them the following: Would you allow your children to watch pornography? Would you allow them to watch snuff films? Would you allow them to watch videos wherein muslims behead their enemies? Would you allow your children to walk alone anywhere, anytime they please? The point is, EVERYONE shelters their children. The only difference is that some draw the line earlier or later than others and/or they draw the line at different places.
What Does the Critic Mean By “Sheltering”?
Homeschooling: In the context of homeschooling, many critics hold the false belief that “homeschooling” means that a child hardly ever goes outside the home until he is an adult, or something that approximates that situation. Since this is a gross misrepresentation of homeschooling in general, such critics simply need to go outside their own home and familiarize themselves with the real world of homeschooling. Only then will they learn that many homeschooled children get to see more of the world than those children who never experience the world outside the public-school box.
Religion: In the context of a religious home, critics of “sheltering” usually believe that children raised in a conservative setting are not adequately exposed to the evils of the world so as to prepare them for what they will encounter as an adult. While children do need to learn about the evils of the world, this clearly needs to be done with adult supervision at an age-appropriate time. This is precisely why films have ratings, computers allow for parental controls, and polite adults do not speak or behave inappropriately around children.
Both Homeschooling and Religious Upbringing
With respect to both homeschooling and religious upbringing, the critics often hold to the view that children in both situations are not taught about different worldviews and are “sheltered” from beliefs outside that of the parent/teacher.
The fact is, most homeschooled children do learn about other ideas outside of that with which they are indoctrinated. However, what the critic really takes offense to is the fact that the child is taught those other ideas from the parent’s perspective. Note, however, that the critic hypocritically does the same thing with his own child/student. He indoctrinates his own worldview into his child/student, and anything he teaches outside of it is presented from his perspective as well.
Drawing the Line
So if everyone shelters their children, where exactly do we draw those safety lines? It will depend largely on your worldview. Those with a Biblical worldview have some direction with which to work. We view a child’s innocence as a good thing to be protected and maintained as long as reasonably feasible.
Secularists, relativists, “progressives”, and others on the ideological left have nothing other than their own arbitrary and vacillating predilections to consult. Such persons often draw the line much further out because there’s nothing objective to morally restrain them. More often than not, it is these persons with less moral restraint who often issue the claim that one ought not to shelter his child. In other words, they draw their own line so far out that it lies out of view behind the horizon and, consequently, they fail to observe that the imperceptible limits they place on their own children constitute a form of “sheltering” as well, poor and misguided as it may be.
In conclusion, I’d encourage good parents to continue sheltering your children from the evils and ugliness of the world until it’s absolutely necessary for them to finally learn about it. While that day must inevitably come, there’s no good reason at all to hasten it.