“You Can’t Shelter Your Children!”

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.

-FG

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23 thoughts on ““You Can’t Shelter Your Children!”

  1. Great thoughts! Unfortunately there is such a stigma placed upon homeschooled people. Even as an adult, while people would never guess I was homeschooled, when they find out it automatically places certain ideas in their heads about what I believe and how I was schooled. Every homeschool is different. Every family prioritizes different learning. The difference between us and those in a more traditional setting if I truly believe homeschoolers have a much broader world view because they are actually exposed to much more of the world. While I don’t think most homeschoolers are sheltered I do think they get to experience childhood in a much healthier way that is free from so many of the pressure of the traditional school environment.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. People also don’t seem to see the difference between “sheltering” and “educating”. A child who is intentionally kept away from the news, the internet and history books is sheltered from all aspects of war. A child who is homeschooled may be taught about war earlier, later, in a different way or about different matters than a public schooled child. Homeschooled children are not sheltered children.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a homeschool parent whose goal was to hide all dangers, worries and awkward conversation topics from their child. Rather, homeschool parents tend to have the opposite concern: they want to appropriately illustrate dangers, deal with worries and breach awkward conversations without a near-stranger doing it first. They may worry their kids aren’t being exposed to ENOUGH education (enough maths, enough history, enough real-life skills). Homeschooling isn’t a matter of sheltering. It’s the opposite.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post…the bible talks about the fact that a student becomes like their teacher. I guess the question is who do you want your child to be like? I homeschool and I am happy my daughter is experiencing her childhood, with much more freedom than kids do when they are restrained to a desk all day.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent post! Despite homeschooling becoming more mainstream, there’s still a large segment of the population that has little to no contact with homeschool families. They often seem to form their impressions based on what they’ve been fed via the media and Hollywood. Those I’ve met that had a poor opinion of homeschoolers in general, usually change their attitudes once they’ve taken the time to get to know “us.” I guess all we can do is be polite, thoughtful, intelligent and loving with those that disagree in the hopes they’ll change their mind when confronted with reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for addressing many of these faulty “straw man” arguments regarding education and the misperception of “sheltering” our children. I have lately been thinking not only about why we train our children, but also how we teach them as we would anyone else who is unfamiliar with the good news of Christ. I understand not every homeschooler is a Christian, but of course, as parents, we want to instill solid values in our children. If we are honest with ourselves, everyone has this as a goal. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great post. I feel the same way. You should want your kids to be protected as long as possible and explain the world to them in the safest and least damaging way possible. I am a parent and a Christian as well and sometimes find the task of raising a child in our world terrifying and difficult. Your child has perfect innocence and we don’t want the world to take that away. I think the idea of homeschooling is great as I was homeschooled until middle school myself. Great job and keep going, y’all!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I totally agree with your husband. Sometimes when people ask why I home school, I tell them it’s because I don’t want to shelter my children. Hey, sometimes you gotta make repetitious questions more interesting. : )

    When they express their surprise, its pretty easy to explain. What would happen if a child in class expressed his disapproval of an inappropriate sexual relationship? Or if he questioned the ethics of abortion? What if a child stated that all religions are not equal? Or questioned the validity of global warming or naturalistic evolution? Kids in public school are really only allowed one or two opinions on most topics. And I understand. Teachers always want to encourage kids to believe truth (or their perception of it) and shelter them from lies until they are old enough to think critically. We all do it, public, private and home. The difference is this: I tell my kids I’m coming from a certain point of view right up front. I’m honest. Then when they’re older I let them see everyone’s point of view. The public school pretends to be neutral and treats other points of view with scorn. I don’t want my kids to be sheltered in that way.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well, well, said everyone. When I am asked about the ‘sheltered’ ‘socialization’ issues (and mind you, it is an issue), I lower my voice and whisper, “Can I tell you a secret most homeschoolers are too polite to share, one of the reasons we home school is because of the ‘socialization’ issue.” This always gets me a look. And once they regroup, they head towards ‘sheltering’ them.

    I answer this very plainly. We are intentional about who we expose our children to and what we expose our children to. We are very intentional about that. Just as we are intentional about what we give our children to eat. And like Brandi above mentioned, we (as all parents) are raising our children from a specific view point. We want our values rooted deep in them before they are challenged by the world’s standards and values. Homeschooling affords more of an opportunity for us to accomplish this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hear this almost once a week. Thank you for the support. I am RADICAL in my family for home schooling my 2 children. It’s nice to see what I feel written so eloquently. I also want to say how amazing it is that both mother and father are passionate and involved with the raising and educating of their family.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very good point here. With my own homeschooler- I consider parenting a balance of guiding, teaching, and fun. I don’t see dumping harsh reality of death, crime, etc on a kid does anything but make them callous. Introducing those realities in small bits, help to serve to guide them in a better mental state, but also to balance with the beauty of the world. I’m just glad I homeschool where we can enjoy education and the ‘real world’ on our town terms. (and we get out into that world more than when he was in public school)

    Liked by 1 person

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