A homeschooling friend posted this link to Facebook without comment. The gist of the article from the Atlantic is that more Christian homeschoolers are asking for “mainstream science in their children’s curricula”. Another friend shared the link but commented that she found the article scary. I respond thusly:
Well, there IS a diversity of beliefs among Christian homeschoolers as to how God created. It doesn’t prevent you from holding fast to what you believe, but I think intellectual freedom within the homeschooling world is important….I guess my question is, why is that scary?
Then I left for an all day church conference. When I came home there were over 50 comments (mostly explaining why young earth creationism is the only legitimate Christian view), and separate threads in which I think it was suggested that I’m a swine (as in, “cast not ye pearls before….”). Most of the comments were not directed at me, but as one of the very, very few “dissenting” voices it’s hard not feel a little sensitive after such a strong reaction.
That’s what I mean by kicking the hornet’s nest. There are certain subjects best left alone among homeschoolers, at least if you like to keep things comfortable. Here are a few of the hot buttons:
* Male headship
* Gun control
* Voting for a Democrat
* Family church
* Harry Potter
That’s a short list. I don’t have the moxie to keep going.
It’s easy to stay out of trouble. Speak up approvingly when you agree with the prevailing opinion, keep your mouth shut otherwise. I speak more than is wise – big surprise – but this isn’t just arguing on the internet. This is putting myself at risk with people I see every week.
Why do I do it? Do I just love controversy?
A little bit, yes. I do. I confess, I do enjoy a lively discussion.
But I think I also imagine that I can throw myself out there and take the bullet for the younger homeschool moms who have divergent opinions on one thing or another. I know they’re out there – I’ve met them. And I know that some of them are very wary of showing their true selves in homeschool world. Somehow I’ve got this idea that by being willing to take the flak myself, I’m helping to make the world safe for the next generation.
In other words, I have a bit of a messiah complex.
So I need to sort that out, because we already have a Messiah, thankyouverymuch.
Maybe I can be more like the big sister who wears the parents down by endlessly questioning the rules – and even breaking a few – so that by the time little sister is a teen the parents have mellowed. I will continue to press for more intellectual and spiritual open space in the homeschool community because, God knows, we’re already outsiders in the world at large. We don’t need to treat each other as outsiders as well. And maybe I will help the homeschooling establishment to see that big sis didn’t wind up living in the back room of a convenience store, selling cold medicine on the black market. She turned out okay. I hope.
Besides, Jesus was always questioning the religious authorities of his day, right? I know I’m not the Messiah, but I’d still like to follow His example.
Postscript: It’s just occurred to me that writing this post is another kick at the hornet’s nest. Do I post this to Facebook, or just let it sit here quietly at WordPress, unnoticed by most of my homeschool friends? What is prudent?