Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homeschooling from a Homeschooler's Viewpoint, Part 2

Especially for parents :)

Last week we talked about homeschooling, some of the differences it’s made in my life, and some of the things that make homeschoolers so different from (seemingly) everybody else. I also touched briefly on what is many people’s main concern with homeschooling…“socialization.”

Socialization. Some come down on one side of the fence, some on another. In today’s post, I’m not claiming to have everyone’s answer—I’m only relating my experiences. So, on with the story.

Until about my freshman year in high school, I lived what most would term a very “sheltered” life. Our family did things together—sometimes with just the four of us, sometimes with other trusted families, but almost never just us kids on our own. I can’t remember ever feeling deprived, as my brother and I invented a whole world of imaginary friends and adventures for ourselves, but it probably helped that we (not even on purpose) ended up living some distance from friends for most of the early times I can remember.

When we moved to Tennessee at the end of my eighth-grade year, we suddenly found many more opportunities for socializing. In addition, my mother was led, by a series of unexpected events, to start allowing my brother and me to begin “spreading our wings” a little more without the in-person supervision of her and my father. We each got a short “debriefing” about some aspects of social life our parents hadn’t touched on before, and were encouraged to always share about anything we wanted to—then, more or less, we were free to “try our wings” while getting all the help, advice, and guidance we wanted from home.

Was it a brave move? You can be sure. Was it foolhardy? I know I’m biased, but I don’t think so. My parents did it with absolute trust in God’s care for my brother and me—knowing they could put us in His hands without worrying.

What happened? As far as I know, my brother, being the “good” kid, didn’t have many problems besides attracting attention from a large flock of girls while he was at summer camp. (No, he didn’t start going out with any of them!) :-)

As for me, I started hanging around a crowd of quite popular girls at church. For a while, everything looked fine; even our parents were friends. Then things started changing a bit in my friends’ attitudes; they started being less respectful, more rebellious, and I started “sliding” that way too, more and more.

But my parents’ trust in God’s care still succeeded. Just before they were planning to talk to me about my friendships, God graphically showed me what was going on with my friends and myself. And I pulled away. It wasn’t pleasant; it was a year of extreme loneliness and confusion for me. But it pulled me closer to God and my remaining best friend and family like nothing else could have.

So I know I'm only a rising college freshman and I'm no expert. But I know that if my parents had not relaxed their hold on me once God impressed them I was old enough to apply the lessons I'd learned, I would never have learned and grown like I have. This is a long post and I know it won't be everyone's choice. But it's what I've seen work amazingly well. I admire all you parents who are trying to raise your kids in God's way more than I can say. May God bless you!

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