Homeschooling Blindspots

Posted: September 16, 2011 in education, family, humility, obedience, sanctification

Josh Harris recently reposted an insightful article by Reb Bradley entitled, “Exposing Major Blindspots of Homeschoolers.”  In the article, Bradley lists nine specific “blindspots” that he argues pose a particular danger to kids brought up in a homeschool environment.

Here’s a summary (but make sure you read the article in it’s entirety, lest Bradley’s careful nuance be lost):

1. Having Self-Centered Dreams

The reason that our dreams for our children are so vulnerable to crashing is because they are our dreams, imposed on our own children. As homeschool parents we make great sacrifices and invest a great deal to influence how our children turn out. The problem is that love for children can be lost in love for personal success as a parent. Our concern for ourselves ends up overshadowing our love for our children…

2. Raising Family as an Idol

When we allow the success of our family to determine our security or sense of wellbeing we are seeking from it something God intends us to receive from Him. I am describing idolatry. If homeschoolers are not careful, family can easily become an idol…

3. Emphasizing Outward Form

Preoccupation with results often leads to emphasis on outward form. When we are preoccupied with achieving results it is natural to admire the results others seem to have achieved with their children…

In the homeschool community I have observed that there can be a great emphasis on outward appearance, whether it is dressing for excellence, modesty, grooming, respectful manners, music style, or an attitude of sober reverence in worship…

4. Tending to Judge

In setting standards for our family, each of us must work through a process of evaluation and analysis to decide what is safe, wise, or permissible. Once we become convinced of our personal standards, not uncommonly, it follows that we believe they should apply to others as well…

5. Depending on Formulas

Homeschool parents often take a formulaic approach to parenting. Committed to achieving results with our children, we look for formulas and principles to ensure our success. Knowing the Bible is full of the wisdom and promises of God, we look to it for its self-working principles and promised methods. Yet, there’s a problem with that. We are commanded to trust in God, not in formulas (John 14:1; Ps 37:5; 62:8). There is a monumental difference…

6. Over-Dependence on Authority and Control. 
Fruitful training of children and roses require a goal, a plan, and diligence in labor. However, the difference is that roses have no mind of their own and only grow as they are allowed. Children are people–self-determining individuals–and they ultimately choose how they will respond to parental influence…

7. Over-Reliance Upon Sheltering

An over-dependence on control in a family is often accompanied by an over-reliance on sheltering of children. It is not uncommon for homeschool parents to feel that since they filter whatever their children see and hear, they will control the results in their lives…

However, we are imbalanced when sheltering from harm is the predominant expression of our parenting. Sheltering is a critical part of parenting, but if parents keep it their primary focus, the children will grow up ill equipped to handle the temptations in the world…

8. Not Passing On a Pure Faith

We’ve all heard it said that faith is caught and not taught. The Galatian church polluted their faith by seeking to make themselves acceptable to God with what they did or didn’t do” (Gal 3:3). In the same way, we may have started off years ago with a simple, undefiled faith, but the more we got caught up in all the “works” of intense parenting, the more we moved away from a simple faith contagious to our children. It is critical for our sake, let alone for our children, that we enjoy a life-giving faith in Christ with no religious trappings added to it…

9. Not Cultivating a Loving Relationship With Our Children

Relationships between parents and teens are weakest in control-oriented homes. Bev and I treated our children as if they were “projects.” The more they became projects, the less we had significant relationship. The less we had relationship, the more we lost their hearts. Without their hearts, the less we were able to influence them or their values…

If you were homeschooled or are currently homeschooling your children, what do you think of these cautions?

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