Earlier this week I wrote about the common, but mistaken, notion that homeschoolers are deprived of meeting people by not attending school. Similarly, another concern is usually partnered with it- the concern that homeschooled kids are being sheltered from learning about other worldviews.
While I do recognize that there may be some homeschoolers- and other families- who do this because, let’s face it, there are extremes in every group of people, every homeschooler, including our family, that I’ve ever met is more concerned with protecting their children, not sheltering them.
Does this mean that we don’t allow our kids out in the real world? Not at all. We have simply made it our priority to raise our children with the values we hold dear- something that just can’t be done in a public school setting. We’d have to live in a box to keep our children away from learning about the beliefs other people have, which brings me to the topic of this post.
How do homeschooled kids learn differing worldviews?
Assuming that people who ask this question are not talking about whether or not it is covered in our curriculum, which it usually is, these are the five most obvious ways children who learn at home can be exposed to worldly perspectives:
#1- Keeping up with current events.
Homeschooled families are usually very open with their children about world events, often discussing the news around the dinner table or even using the newspaper as a resource towards a civics credit. Even in families who do not do this, if you take a look around you, news is everywhere. On the headlines, on news tickers at the doctor’s office, on TV, and all over social media (which must be taken with a grain of salt). Within these news stories, there are bound to be people highlighted who have a very different way of thinking than a child may be used to. In fact, this presidential election is perfect for discussing worldviews because each candidate is so extreme in their beliefs.
#2- TV shows and movies
You just can’t watch something on TV without being bombarded by worldviews of all kinds. Even the commercials are obviously leaning towards one view or another. Some movies and shows are rather delicate in doing this- think Nickelodeon- yet others come right out with it. I’ll admit that some of these shows have gotten a bit too extreme for our taste, so we have been willingly without cable for a couple years now, yet I challenge you to find any theatrical production- TV or otherwise- that isn’t promoting one belief or another, even those that you approve of.
#3- Social Media
This is one of the biggest ways that worldviews are introduced to any kids- even public school children. I don’t believe this is always a good thing. Most adults realize that much of what you read on the internet is not accurate (ironic that I’m publishing this on the internet…), but many children, even teens, do not have the discernment to pick out fact from fiction. Moving beyond that, though, worldviews are all over Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc., and it is important that parents be there to guide their children through this and answer questions whenever possible. I am not, however, in the camp of cutting off social media because of this. When children are exposed to these things while still at home with the loving guidance of mom and dad, it will help prepare them for how to respond once they are out on their own.
#4- Time with extended family
This may come as a shock to some (not really), but not all families hold the same worldviews. I myself did not become a Christian until 9 years ago, so the vast majority of my family thinks and behaves differently than I do. It’s out of the question to keep these people out of our lives because we love them, so through the years we’ve had to develop understandings of how they see things and develop an appropriate way to react to things we don’t agree with.
#5- Being out in the real world
And now we’ve come full circle to the main idea from the post I mentioned earlier. Living in the real world seems to be the answer to almost every question I’ve ever had about homeschooling. You just can’t be out living your daily lives without running into people with differing beliefs all the time. America is such a diverse place that, unless you live way out in the boondocks, there is ample opportunity to meet and engage with people who think differently than we do.
Contrary to what so many people believe, homeschooling holds a great benefit in this area because our children are not being exposed to things while they are in school without our guidance, but they are learning them while we are with them and able to lead them in the right direction.
This is not sheltering.
This is protecting.
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