Saturday, May 18, 2013

Choosing The Light

I’m exhausted today because yesterday was full and long, though incredibly eye-opening and encouraging. Holly, the boys, and I attended the annual state home education convention, GHEA. We milled about, exploring, gathering information, and visiting the colorful exhibits that were selling everything from hands on teaching tools and  curriculum to T-shirts - “Homeschool Mom-Just Add Coffee”, “I Love My Kid’s Teacher”. 

What an experience, filled with abundant opportunity to network with seasoned homeschoolers, both parents and kids. The old perceptions of homeschoolers being pale-faced, narrow-minded, fundamentalist, isolationists are not only misconceived, they are ludicrous. In recent memory, I’ve not been exposed to a more intelligent, educated, well-rounded mass of individuals gathered in one place.

While the boys were being entertained in a high energy program put on by teens, we poured over a plethora of different curriculum sets. Given all the choices, Holly didn’t expect she would find one off the bat–but she did. Having been advised to cherry-pick and custom design for her boys’ particular learning styles, she bought the BJU math and language arts workbooks for 3rd and 6th grade. For all the other subjects, history, social studies and science we will create our own curriculum. And there are plenty of other options online that we can tap into as we go along, not to mention bookstores, libraries and home school consultants. The possibilities are staggering. 

Having gone in anxious with a million questions, we came out feeling incredibly liberated. There is so much out there to learn and the homeschool environment opens not only the door but time for abundant unfettered learning, by leaving out all the irrelevant chaff. No need to even mention the unspeakable negative influences we will kick to the curb as we embark on teaching not just information but, and more importantly, the love of learning which is like teaching the hungry to fish instead of shoving a fish down their throats and saying, “eat!” 

For a life-long lover of learning, such as I, this new paradigm, scrutinizing the dynamics of homeschooling, has added an unexpected dimension to what I thought was a nearly capped off capability to learn. But the real epiphany came for me as I took a coffee break and sat engaged in people watching. The convention was well-attended; whole families came, which meant every age group was represented. As I watched the individuals and groups move about, I noticed something seemed different from a run of the mill standard crowd, especially those with children. I finally realized that what I was witnessing could be defined as overall calm, civil, peaceful, intelligent, respectful, self-controlled, godly. 

Apparently God was in the house. 

Children were quiet, well-behaved, obedient. Parents were pleasant, gentle, yet in control. A family of four, mom, dad, two boys under age twelve met to chat. The parents left, probably to attend one of the many lectures offered, and their sons sat down, pulled out books and started reading. I didn’t see a single incident where a parent had to scold or fuss at a child. 

At the end of the day I remarked that it was something of a shock to my system to be in such a public place where no one seemed to be afraid of the words “God” “Christ” or “Jesus”. But it wasn’t like “church” where the focus is on all things Christian. It was more like a walk back in time to a period when basic Christian principles were the quiet underpinnings built into the behaviors and social interactions of hundreds of unrelated strangers. And what does this say about our anything-goes-culture when being in a crowd that is civil and well-behaved is an unexpected, pleasant and unique experience? What does this say about what one lecturer referred to as “how do we raise authentic children in a hypocritical age?” 

I don’t know what others might glean from this but it certainly confirmed for me that there is a genuine difference between good and evil. It is not a compromised gray area that darkness pushers constantly strive for us to meet in the middle. There is a defined line, not in the least blurred. I see more clearly now why there has always been a struggle to outlaw homeschooling. It’s not about the thousands of different combinations of things that children can learn in twelve years, or the methodologies of how to teach those things; 2+2 will always equal 4 no matter how many ways you can get to the answer. It’s not even really about the opposition to religion-based curriculum. 

I believe there is a battle raging between those who choose to live in the light and those who prefer the dark where nothing good can bloom or grow, where no one is held accountable for behavior that is counter to all things moral and/or civil. The opposition to homeschooling is about extinguishing the white light that exposes that which desires to eliminate everything that will not conform to the gray middle.  

Over-board dramatic, you say? If you sat and listened to the horror stories of what is happening in the gray middle where our precious children are being carefully conditioned to embrace and prefer the dark, you’d be looking into alternatives too.

For Christ,

What some think is the world becoming more Christian is just Christians becoming more worldly. We can have the word or the world but not both. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. We are strangers here. Don’t make yourself at home. ~ Vance Havner
(James 4:7) Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (4:8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.  

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