Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray: A Series on Home Schooling and Life-Long Learners Series I Episode II
Home school parents are a unique breed; they are similar to people who choose to be missionaries. It’s a strength of will, a vision for their children and the people they desire to influence; it’s a pioneer spirit.
The pioneer mindset means that these people are willing to start something new and blaze a trail across the plains where no one has gone before. It takes guts to start something new, to start a whole school system that educates children for life! From growing up in a home schooled family, and from other observations, many home school parents don’t have a huge strategy for education with benchmarks, objectives, and goals. (Having all this structure is an advantage of public and other established schools.) What home schools do have are parents who desire to deeply influence their children’s beliefs, passions, and hopes, and by teaching the kids at home, the parents have that chance.
People may say to these parents, “Doesn’t it seem a bit presumptuous to assume you know what your child needs to know to succeed in life?” Well, a parent WOULD (or at least should) know the most about that child and what is best for them, right? Yes, having other adults positively influencing their children is important, but if the parents are healthy, wise adults, they can teach their children much of what is needed to live a successful life.
Sceptics may think: Aren’t these parents arrogant in going against the established school systems and starting their own educational institution? Well, WHO started all those established schools? Schools are started by people with vision, strength, and a desire to mold children into who they are created to be. Home school parents have that same vision as the famous educational leaders, such as John Dewey, of imprinting beliefs and molding the hearts and lives of children. Home school parents are reformers who start the reforming in their own families; they desire change and influence and invest in the humans they are supposed to invest in the most: their children.
I had the advantage of being home schooled from Kindergarten through high school, and then I’ve been trained as a certified secondary English teacher and have worked in public and private schools for the last six years. I see the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling and traditional schooling; throughout this series I will be talking about both.
I received an adequate home school education from two pioneers: Anne and Rick Campbell. Recently I interviewed my parents to hear again why they chose to home school their four children. When asked, “Why did you home school your children?” my Mom answered: “We learned about the idea from Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. And then God told us to do it, so we did.”
My Dad’s answer to “Why did you home school your children?” was: “Because educators were withdrawing prayer and the Bible from public schools. It was important in my life, and I wanted it to be important in your life.” I had thought it was because they wanted to teach us the Bible as part of our education, and that was part of their reason (and out in the country there were no private schools nearby). I love the Bible, so my parents accomplished their main goal of Campbell Christian Academy.
Home school families are pioneers, especially back in the 1980s when home schooling was less common. I am glad my parents chose to home school me; my up-bringing had more of a pioneer-flavor than most with living on a farm with sheep to care for and vegetables to raise, but that’s another story for another time.
If you are on the fence about if you should home school your children, ask yourself, “What vision do I have for my children? Will teaching them at home help bring about that vision?” Only you know the answer, but if you have the guts to grab your straw hat and shot gun and head off toward the west, you are probably one of those gutsy pioneers that will greatly influence the world.
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014