Family Matters

I'm just re-reading a great book by David Guterson called Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. Written in 1992, Guterson was a public high school teacher, while his three boys were being homeschooled. One of the comments on the back of the book reads, "An unflinching presentation of the pros and cons of both schools and homeschooling from someone with a stake in both worlds."

Here's a quip from page 70, a chapter called Homeschoolers Among Others:

"The forces of socialization are complex and subtle, and we should be wary of attributing too much that is good or bad to either homeshooling or public schools. But what about your children's socialization? is a question that takes in a variety of forces, including family, school, community, television, the cinema, even magazines and newspapers. Nevertheless, my students' parents have often expressed, in our conferences together, dismay at how school has shaped their children, and this dismay needs close examining. It is part of the growing alienation they feel from their children, who gradually become estranged from them as they become ever more deeply immersed in the universe of their school peers — an alienation parents erroneously conclude is a "natural" part of their children's growing up, a necessary prerequisite to their independent adulthood. This distance, though, is far from natural, and the dismay parents feel about it ought not to be repressed. There is nothing natural about children obsessed with their peers and acutely attuned to a preadult commercial culture that usurps their attention (MTV, Nintendo, fashion magazines, teen cinema) — a world to which they become acutely attuned in part via their peer relationships. Many parents react by trying to stem the tide, but this is a sea that will not be turned back and that has behind it the force of years. It begins at least as early as kindergarten, when the child is introduced into an institutional life among peers and uprooted from family and community.
"What about your children's socialization is a question homeschooling parents are often asked as if surely they can have no decent answer. Perhaps it is time for parents of school-children to begin to ask themselves the same question in tones of equal concern."

I am so thankful for the "extra" time we have with with our boys. I am so thankful that they still like us and think we are cool. I am so thankful that they are not yet obsessed with trends and peers. I am thankful that my tall, lanky 7 year old still likes to cuddle on my lap (as much of him as can fit) and play chess or watch football with his dad.

I have met many homeschooled teens who actually ENJOY being with their parents! Coming fresh from my own youth culture to years of involvement in teen ministry, this has been a real eye-opener for me. I know it takes more than simply "schooling at home" to achieve this…but I also know that I WANT a piece of this!

I pray that God would help us to keep our children's hearts.

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