“It is who you are, not just what you do.” –Reb Bradley

Josh Harris recently posted an article by Reb Bradley entitled “Homeschool Blindspots”. It has hit homeschool circles like wildfire. I was no exception to those that read it and reposted it.

I told my friend and Auntie Lisa that I felt empty after reading the article. I couldn’t explain it at first, but I felt drained, as if something was being pulled from me and I was desperately trying to hang on.

I realized that many of the things that Mr. Bradley was hitting on were things I had experienced in my own life. I was “sheltered” to an extent (no TV for a time, only listening to hymns, etc.). I related to the section on judging (I had quite the attitude against women who wore pants or anyone that wasn’t homeschooled during different seasons of my life). Several points he made hit me smack in the heart. He was making these things sound horrible and I was not ready to give them up. I lived some of that. That was a part of who I was and who I became. And when someone tries to tell me that that part of me was wrong, my defense goes up.

My childhood experience in the conservative homeschool world was near as severe as Reb Bradley described in his article. And I loved it. If I had to do it over again, I’d want to be raised exactly the same way. It molded me into the person I am today. And it’s a part of me that will always remain.

Homeschooling isn’t the problem. Being conservative isn’t the problem. Courtship isn’t the problem. The people are the problem! We get is stuck in our thick brains that one process or way of life is more holy than another and then can’t understand why someone in our family fall off the bandwagon.

It’s not the word that’s important. It’s the idea, the mindset. Nothing was ever wrong with wanting something better for our children. It only became wrong when we made idols of such words as homeschooling and courtship.

Let’s go back to why people first fought for the right to homeschool. They wanted to give their kids a better education, a better social life and a better opportunity to serve God than what they could find in the public or private schools.

Fast forward thirty years and that’s exactly what I want for my children, only I want for them a better homeschool experience than what I had. I don’t even know what that might be, maybe one without silly inside jokes or one with a different kind of social life. I don’t know, its just what I desire.

But that’s not important. The words matter little if God is not behind them. Arguing whether homeschooling is better or not, or if homeschoolers are damaged by sheltering or not, really is a waste of time.

I was glad that Reb Bradley ended his article with the answer to the “problems” be described: Win your child’s heart. Cultivate a relationship with each of them. Turn their hearts towards God, not toward a formula. Instill in them a love and desire for God’s word.

The rest is up to God. Give your children the tools they need and let them choose how to use them. Encourage, pray and leave the result up to him.

Hannah McMichael
September 14, 2011



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