Homeschoolers by nature tend to be a class of people who have something to say…at least on the personal level or they would never bother keeping their kids at home. Homeschooling mothers and fathers, by job definition, have to do a lot of instruction….in reality they have to be able to speak well and clearly if they are ever going to hold their children’s interest, much less their respect, in the duel role of parent and teacher. And usually what they have to say as parents, as well as instructors, contrasts sharply with what the culture at large has to say…hence the desire to keep the kids at home.
But I find that while homeschooling families are doing a fantastic job of holding their moral ground…they tend to be losing their larger cultural voice. Perhaps most homeschooling families are naturally shy, introverts, or more likely they are just busy taking care of the home stead. But I suspect that part of their “quietness” is their desire to stay out of public view so that they won’t be targeted for some kind of abuse or legal action on the part of some overzealous citizen board. But as Thomas Moor learned – silence is rarely good protection when the world is going all to hell. The term moral as defined by Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is this: “of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : Ethical – judgments.” How refreshing to find a source that actually uses words like “right” and “wrong”! And the word voice is defined by that same reputable institution as: “a wish, choice or opinion openly or formally expressed…right of expression…influential power…”
The fact is - homeschooling families have a duty not only to live their values but also to bravely proclaim their values in a world that confuses a moral compass with a straightjacket. Anyone who dares to proclaim that there is a right and a wrong in this culture (except in the extreme cases of mass murder) is often taken as some kind of separatist who want to isolate themselves from mainstream society so that they can bring up unenlightened offspring. Ironically that is quite the opposite mission of most homeschooling families. (There are off balance homeschooling families in the world…the possibility does exist…but when compared to the public venue at the moment most homeschooling families are models of good citizenship, generous stewardship and high intellectual prowess)
My point here is not to downgrade the public domain…the public has been doing a stupendous job of that for years…but rather to encourage the homeschooling movement to use its moral voice in the larger culture to transform the degrading fare media and public informational systems which have been feeding our children poison for years and seem hell bent on doing so for as long as there is anyone who will listen, watch or play with them .
Several weeks ago my family and I went to visit my brother in Milwaukee and we had to spend a couple nights in a hotel. Out of 20+ TV stations there was nothing worth watching. The history channel would have been alright except it was focused on some rather dark subject matter that would have depressed someone on death row. The “nature” station was something about “Billy Bob and his cousin hunt’en gators.” I firmly believe that watching stupid makes a person stupid. Other than that….nothing. Don’t let me get started about the magazines in newsstands, the movies available in huge box stands in every Wal-Mart, the video games populating every video store shelf, or the various other forms of entertainment and communication available to the next generation of voters.
What humanity does now…will effect the future of humanity for generations to come. We have the possibility of passing down a curse of illogical moral chaos or perhaps…just perhaps…we can call forth the decent, the good and the beautiful in humanity to inform, reform, and eventually transform our culture from a selfish depressed reality towards a holy joy.