[Note: This piece was originally posted at "Enlightened Life."]
Five years ago, we commenced our homeschooling journey. We were moderate christians, active in church and we believed in our faith wholeheartedly. My 2 oldest were very interested in the solar system and dinosaurs and we spent a great part of that year learning about those subjects. Our approach was purely scientific and secular. I had a few moments of doubt (as a christian) about what we were learning but felt confident that “exposing” them to secular science was a good thing.
As the years progressed and we traveled deeper into the homeschooling world, I was faced with some tough decisions. None of the families we knew were teaching their kids about evolution. When I questioned the literal interpretation of the bible (quietly and discreetly) I was told that we HAD to believe in creationism. We had to study the “facts” and get in line with the bible. So in my quest to belong and fit in, I did just that.
Let’s take a look at how I devolved while I languished in the christian homeschooling world.
Year One, my goals were academic excellence. I identified with the Classical educational approach and I pushed my daughter to do her best (probably too hard but that’s another post). Although I was unsure what I believed, as far as evolution was concerned, I found it perfectly acceptable to “expose” my children to all the ideas and review the facts with them. I had occasional bible verses for the children to memorize and we narrated a bible story or two throughout the first year. As far as culture and “worldliness” we were in the middle. I’d rate us as low on ”legalism”. Spongebob, Timmy Turner, spaghetti straps, bikinis and pop music were all fine with me.
Year two, we joined our local homeschool co-op. During our first year, we met other christian homeschoolers. This was an eye opening experience for me. I was introduced to the extremes of biblical fundamentalism. I honestly didn’t know what to think. On the one hand, I was glad to meet other homeschoolers and glad for my children to meet other wholesome kids but on the other hand, I was horrified at the attitude of these women and the oppressive nature of our meetings and conversations. Examples include, submission to husbands, ”managing” their homes, the evils of yellow cheese, the evils of public school children, and the general unsuitableness of just about anything you can think of and modesty, modesty, modesty.