I rarely mention that we homeschool our kids. This is primarily because I want you to like me and, let’s face it, home schoolers are one of the few groups it’s OK (and easy) to make fun of these days. Two words folks: Denim jumper.
I also don’t mention it much because I have my doubts about homeschooling for two reasons. You see, we homeschool mostly because if we didn’t, with my schedule, I’d never see my kids. We’re not anti any other kind of schooling. At all. And I sometimes wonder if homeschooling is worth the work if you’re not doing it to avoid something really scary. Like prom or organized sports.
Secondly, I have some very bright friends, excellent parents, who express their concern that by homeschooling I’m sheltering my kids. I’m sheltering them from “real life,” I’m told, from meeting people with an entirely different world view from them. I’m taking from them the opportunity to hear viewpoints that differ from those of their family and I’m robbing them of the opportunity to make the difficult but necessary decision to believe and behave differently from those around them.
And I buy this. I totally get it. And it’s worried me. Until yesterday.
My two oldest go to this co-op thing two days a week called an “academy.” It’s really just a place to be with other (homeschooled) kids, learn to take instruction from someone other than mom and dad, and do things you can only do in a group…like put on a Christmas musical.
Before the musical started yesterday, we were all told by the MC that its writers had no idea when they wrote it that “at the end of 2008 America’s political climate would change the way it has.” And then the lights dimmed and the heartwarming story of an “homogenous” and “politically correct” America celebrating “the holiday” in the year 2058 began.
In the story, only a few Christians knew anything about Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Christianity was illegal. These few had the tough job of convining the highest government official they could access – a mayor with a British accent – to “worship the Father” and make him “Lord” of his life. Which he did after a little finger pointing, pounding on his desk, and a protest in a city park involving a Christmas tree and a handful of kids gathering to take back the country for Jesus. Also, they got the biggest newspaper in town to cover the protest. Also, my kids sang two songs. Also, it was a very well written and acted little production. I even teared up a little once. Seriously.
Then the MC came out again and told us to say “Merry Christmas” to anyone who greets us with “Happy Holidays” this year and told us that America is becoming increasingly more European and increasingly more “evil” – two things that apparently go hand in hand. Then we were reminded to “speak out” and “stand up.” She said this is being a light in the darkness. If we don’t do this, she said, we could lose Christmas altogether.
It was at that moment I realized I’m doing something to my children as dangerous as exposing them to a bunch of public schoolers with cable in their bedrooms and swear words in their mouths. I’m exposing my children to American Constantinian Evangelicalism. And daily they have to choose what they believe, they have to remain calm and confident, while being taught by (some) folks who believe the sky is falling faster now that Barak Obama is heading for the Whitehouse. Living in the Bible belt, that’s about as real world as an education can get my friends.
Here’s hoping they remember the Christ born under Roman rule to the powerless and persecuted, and the Church throughout the world that has weathered darker days than these.