I'm not much for network TV. In fact, I avoid it at all opportunities. However, recently I overheard a segment of a "lawyer show." In it a "well-meaning" aunt was trying to get legal custody of her two nieces who, in her opinion, were not being raised and reared properly. The major problem was that the children were homeschooled and very much influenced by their parents' prejudicial views.
Interestingly enough, the show was not unwilling to extol the academic benefits and opportunities available to homeschooled children. One portion had one of the two girls pointing out how academically challenging her course work was. She was adamant that she loved being taught by her folks, and appreciated being able to move at an accelerated pace. But, by making this unsympathetic, white-supremist family the representative of all those who homeschool, they were in effect nullifying these well-documented benefits, by demonstrating the heinous cost of allowing parents to make educational decisions without government supervision. The audience was to conclude that there is a huge cost to a society that allows parents to have such a major input into their children's lives.
In the end, the parents retained custody of their children. However, not unlike the skewed account of the Scopes Trial in the movie Inherit the Wind, the audience was supposed to be repulsed by the fact that homeschooled children were systematically prevented from learning tolerance and an acceptance of all people -- attitudes that would be cultivated under the auspices of state-controlled education.
How should be respond to such a smear campaign masquerading as drama? Should we protest? Boycott sponsors? No, I submit that we should keep doing what we have been doing and are commanded to do: Train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. That is what has got these folks bothered in the first place -- the fact that our children are learning the Word of God and applying it to all aspects of their lives, emulating the Savior Jesus Christ. Recall that He has always been the most offensive part of Christianity! But, those that hate Christ know they cannot accomplish their desired ends by launching a blatant, frontal attack. So, instead, they malign thousands of homeschooling families by associating them with white supremists -- clearly a propaganda ploy -- setting up convenient straw men of Hollywood's fabrication.
Taking a look at the big picture, it tells me that our enemies are scared. After all, as my husband likes to say, No one kicks a dead dog. I guess the life that is exuding out of the homeschooling movement alarms them. We must take comfort in the words of Scripture which tell us that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! And, as we go about living our lives and interacting with the culture around us -- shining our light before men and pointing them to our Father in heaven -- we will be able to convey an accurate picture of what Christian homeschooling is all about, and the good citizens it produces.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].