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Our years of experience in home education have seen a lot of very positive results and, unfortunately, a few wrecks and failures as well. It is hard to pin point a single reason for parents giving up on home education as each situation is as unique as the family involved.
However, there are some things that can be identified as fairly common reasons for doing so. This series will be addressing a few of these reasons.
The objective of talking about home education failures is obviously not to celebrate them, but to discuss why this happens, in order to avoid following the pattern. Everyone should pay attention to this as there are none who are 100% immune to falling into one or more of these traps.
Most quitters do so under pressure. Most of this pressure comes from the outside, but it comes from the inside as well. Either way, there is a common reason for succumbing to pressure, which I will show you once we have addressed how this pressure takes form.
Pressure from schools is a common one that can quickly be addressed. The main reason a school would pressure parents to continue to enroll their students is that the student is viewed as a source of income and/or the school sees itself as better qualified to educate.
This is especially the case when the student is coded as special needs. Considering that the greater the need, the greater the corresponding associated funding, it is easy to see why parents of special needs children wanting to escape the system are subjected to much pressure to remain with or return to the school.
Pressure from family members is fairly common. This is especially true of family members who are teachers. Teachers have been trained to unquestioningly see school as the only legitimate way to educate a child. These people will always find ways to challenge home educators, often specializing in guilting non-conforming parents.
Whether it is parents, grandparents, siblings or friends, there are two reasons why family members would apply pressure to conform to the status quo training of children. The main reason is simply ignorance of what home education is, or entails, and why it is a superior option. This means that often, relatives will be sincere in their concerns and corresponding pressure, even if sincerely wrong.
The second reason is simply a result of what I call a reverse guilt. That is, others are often well aware that your home educating sheds light on the fact that they are not. These folks know in their heart of hearts that teaching one’s own children at home is what makes the most sense, regardless of their faith perspective.
However, having determined to go against their “gut feelings,” they find your unwelcome testimony too convicting and so will often determine to shoot the messenger. Remember that not a word needs to be spoken by you in order for this to take place. In this case your actions speak loud enough to cause them concern.
Familial pressure to quit home education can be relentless. Many families simply get tired of it and either move further away or give in and take the path of least resistance by sending the children back to school.
Another, very common source of pressure to conform to the status quo comes from a place that should actually be directing parents to home educate. I am, of course, talking about church, especially if the institution is connected to a private school.
It is truly incredible that what should be the very source of greatest encouragement is often a source of discouragement. It is truly sad to see that those supposedly there to advance the freedom that is found in faith would so easily be entangled by the secular ideologies that lead to bondage. How this secular thinking has come about is another topic for another day.
So, there you have it. Pressure from three sources designed to frustrate your home education and push you to give up on doing what God and common sense have clearly shown you that you should do. Government, family and church, these three, but the greatest of them is church.
The pressure to quit will always be there. The common problem is that the people who are encouraged to quit home education lack what is needed to resist this pressure to conform to the image of man. That is, parents who lack conviction can be easily swayed.
In fact, that is what I referred to earlier when I mentioned that pressure comes from both outside and inside. Actually, all the pressure comes from the inside when parents lack the conviction of why it is important to home educate in the first place. Lacking conviction will make you an easy push-over.
Without conviction, government can convince you that it has a better idea about what constitutes a good education. This is especially true when parents choose to finish their home education program by sending their children to high school in order to get government accreditation.
Without conviction, family members can coerce you to stop making them look bad or feel guilty about not doing the right thing.
Without conviction, church members or bureaucracy can convince you of their greater understanding respecting spirituality, even if it contravenes the very scripture they purport to be following.
Without conviction, there is no purpose. Without purpose parents end up sending their children back to school where purpose is determined by those who know nothing of the family or student.
There must have been good reasons for you having decided to home educate in the first place. What were they? Take the time to write down the three main reasons that led you to that decision, then ask yourself what has changed. What you are likely to find is not that you so much lacked conviction, but that you allowed the world to cause you to lose it.
Return to why you determined to home educate in the first place and tell those who would have you do otherwise to go to … the Bible and learn for themselves why it is that loving parents teach their children within a familial structure, which can only take place at home.
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