Declaring His Power to the Next Generation Part 3
- Friday, November 17, 2006
[Editor's Note: This is the third part in a three part series. Click Here to read Part 2.]
There is a common thread among descriptions of homeschooled adults, whether from officials in higher education, employers or community organizations. It is not that homeschooled adults necessarily possess superior knowledge or skill in their chosen field. The edge they show in average SAT scores is not mentioned. In fact, other than noting increased time for internships, this aspect of homeschooling was rarely addressed. Instead, the distinguishing features most recognized in homeschoolers were issues of character. When describing homeschoolers to prospective employers, Dr. Ray responds, Self-starters, reliable and creative, intellectually prepared, better than average, read voraciously, watch TV less. (Grossman, Robert J. Home is Where the School Is. Society for Human Resource Management, December 3, 2001) Kim Coughlin, who was homeschooled since the fifth grade and currently homeschools her eight children, shares her perspective on how homeschooling helped her in the formation of her character.
My parents were unarguably the greatest influences upon my worldview. This was certainly not the case in the years in which I attended public schools. I clearly recognized this in myself at the tender age of 10.
These issues of character and worldview touch on the heart of why many Christians choose to homeschool, and why many did so in the face of legal difficulties and pressure from friends and family members. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36) This desire to pass the faith of the fathers down to the children, although central to many parents’ decision to homeschool, has never been researched and measured objectively. For at least two decades, homeschool parents have clung to Proverbs 22:6, (Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it) as encouragement that the faithful discipling of our children through homeschooling would produce faithful adults. But how was it playing out in the real world of sincere but imperfect parents? It was this question that inspired Sandra Anderson, who homeschools her own children for religious reasons, to design a research study to begin to assess these issues.
Many proponents of home education have stated that what they value is their religion. They want to pass on their principles. I, in fact, have spent the last six years doing just that. I want my children to adopt my faith and my morals, not those of society around me.
Her study, Home Education: Declaring His Power to the Next Generation?, completed in February 2006, consists of an online survey of 1693 homeschooled adults and parents of homeschooled adults, asking questions to determine how effective homeschooling had been in passing the faith commitments of parents to their children. The results are very encouraging. Anderson began by asking general background questions, including how long they had homeschooled, along with several questions to assist the respondents in focusing on what their faith values were. A full 75% of parents responded that they had homeschooled their children nine to thirteen years, providing good insight into the benefits of homeschooling over a longer period.
When asked about whether they felt their child had adopted their religious views, 90% of the parents responding believed they had. The longer the children were homeschooled, the more likely they were to adopt their parents’ values. This finding was in contrast to common misconceptions that long-term, intense exposure might lead to rebellion. This is especially significant when compared to statistics gathered from children in the public schools. According to Consideringhomeschooling.org, . . a shocking 75% to 85% of Christian children sent to public school drop out of church, and do not hold a Christian worldview after high school graduation.
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