Friday, August 10, 2007

The Great Failing Of Homeschooling

I am walking out on a limb to talk about this one and I know it. It is a limb upon which I will make my stand. Basically, I know a lot of my family and friends read my blog. I ask that you do not take what I am about to say to be anything more than constructive criticism.

In my mind there is one true failing in the area of homeschooling. I was homeschooled all through grade school and highschool. That is how I can identify this failing. I would add that it was less of a failing in my home than it was in those of some of my friends I have talked to. I would also add that it could be considered a general failing of our time when it comes to the parents of my own generation.

This failing concerns a simple enough part of human existence, one that we all must come to terms with eventually. That is sex. The way I understand it many homeschool parents keep their children out of schools so they will not receive the negative messages and poor education that is widespread today. When it comes to sex education I believe the most negative message is the notion that parents are not doing a good enough job telling kids about this so the schools have to step in and do it for them. Unfortunately, this negative message is true in many cases. I have had many friends -- schooled and homeschooled -- whose parents never told them a single thing about sex. Unless of course the kid was female then the parents told them one thing. The parents at some time or other suspected that the child was engaging in intercourse, thus projecting a feeling of insecurity and untrustworthiness upon that child and making the child desire to be rebellious. Come on parents, I think you can all do better than this.

I am lucky in that my parents at least explained the mechanics to me. I am unlucky in that they were not open about it once "the talk" was said and done. If I had questions I had to resort to the dictionary, the biology book or a friend with a dirty mind. But at least I had some direction in the beginning. Granted that direction did not teach me to defend myself against temptation, nor did it teach me to watch for predators. In those areas I have merely been lucky or perhaps God gave me a wisdom beyond my years. The short truth is that I think today's parents -- especially homeschooling parents -- are all too apt to view sexual intercourse in a completely negative light. They respond to this belief by allowing their children to learn sex education from negative institutions and from less innocent kids who are insecure enough to talk about their sexual experiences and non-experiences. The fact is, not telling kids about sex or giving them no positive information to replace or balance all the weird stuff they hear only makes kids angry, rebellious and willing to explore that which they do not understand. It gives them no feelings of reverence whatsoever for what is a very beautiful gift of God.

It is a sad position to be in really. Knowing and hearing all your life that sex is a horrible thing that you are "going to do anyway." Or hearing nothing until you are subjected to immature people talking about it by giving way too much information for your sensitive little ears. All kids want is direction, explanation and openness. But all they get is the negative. Thus, the only way to figure anything out is to do exactly what parents keep telling you not to do. No, I have no confessions to make. I simply want to say that the negative idea of sex is not helping our teens and young adults.

It does not make any sense to me why homeschooling parents allow these negative impressions to affect their children. This comes after the parents specifically decided to teach the children at home so they would avoid the problems in our destructive education system. A little openness and positivity about sex could go a long way to making a kid feel more secure as he or she grows up. Why does sex have to be a big, dirty secret when many of us know otherwise? Many of us know that it is a beautiful thing that only makes our marriages more wonderful. People always say that "sex is not everything." And I agree, but when you refuse to allow anything but the pessimistic views of sex into an adolescent's mind then you are telling them that sex is everything. Everything they are not allowed to understand and thereby the forbidden fruit that they will wonder about all the time. Then you teach them to feel guilty about sex and when they finally get to the age where they are out from under parental constraints you wonder why pregnancy occurred too soon. Wonder no more. Take a stand on the limb which I have walked out on and, like the anti-drug commercials always say, talk to your kids.


Xana Ender said...

the whole not hearing the positives about sex was not true in my home...sometimes I heard too much about sex:-) Or so I thought at the time. Later, I was so glad my parents taught me to look forward to it within the context of marriage. There was never a guilt thing associated with sex inside of marriage in my family. However, I think that maybe even worse than all the kids who end up rebelling because they feel their parents misled them about sex are the countless marriages that are unhappy or have broken up because one or both partners have never been able to enjoy sex. Teaching kids that sex is dirty, evil, sinful, or not quite right but necessary, even inside of marriage, is just as bad as teaching them it's okay anytime with anyone. Sex is good. That is why God put boundaries around it.

Esther said...

You said exactly what I was trying to with a lot less words and more meaning. Thanks! I completely agree.

Really, thanks. It was not that easy for me to write that post and I feel a lot more encouraged now.