Thursday, May 12, 2011

Homeschooling VI (of VII)

So here is where we are:

Socialization
Over-Sheltering
Mom’s Issues
Retreating Robs World of Good Influence
Close-Mindedness
Summary--next and final post

Are home school parents making their children close-minded by teaching them their religious, moral, and political views in conjunction with their academic pursuits?

Well, I think the only reason this accusation is made is because people tend to think that schools somehow do not teach religious, moral, and political ideologies—or that if they do teach it, that they are being “balanced” and therefore giving the child the choice of what to believe. Now, I don't believe there is any such thing as not teaching religious, moral, or political ideologies during the process of educating our children (after all Atheism is a religion too). I also do not believe there is any such thing as "balance" because everyone's opinion of what "balance" is differs widely. But, as it stands, the argument goes that if parents instill one set of values as being more correct than another, or one way of voting better than another, they are charged with being “not balanced” or as making their children “close minded.”

I can understand, to a degree, why it would be dangerous to create a sort of mini-cult within a family. But let’s examine this argument more fully.

Let’s say, for example, I have a math question. Is it close minded to teach our children that there is a right answer (and infinite wrong answers) to any given math question?

Maybe you think this isn’t a fair example because “everybody knows math has one right answer but morals are more complicated.” But don’t be fooled. Many proponents of Relativism and “New (sometimes called "Fuzzy") Math” actually would say there is no right answer—neither to moral questions, NOR to mathematical questions. They say that only “thinking” and “context” matter.

I realize these radicals are a minority. But they are a VOCAL and INFLUENTIAL minority. These same radicals are in influential positions for all levels of Government Education (namely John Dewey and Bill Ayers who have deeply influenced my own local schools). If you think that this small minority won’t have an effect on you or your kids’ education, I encourage and challenge you to read, Stand for the Family by Sharon Slater. I feel strongly enough about this book that I will personally buy you a copy if you promise to read it.

Anyway, I must say that I stand squarely on the assertion that—as in math—some moral decisions are always wrong, regardless of the beloved philosophies held by some.

But what about the virtue of tolerance so quickly wielded by those who do not share my moral values? Well, I believe in tolerance and respect. I have dear friends who neither share my religious or my political views. I have never supported their choices on those matters but we still get along quite well. A large majority of those dear friends tolerate me teaching my children my values, just as I tolerate them teaching their children theirs.

But I’ve noticed, as a general rule, those few who speak the loudest about tolerance are also the people with the least amount of it. I know many people (my own sister is one) who have actually received death threats and hate mail for standing up for her beliefs—all the while being chastised by these same accusers for “intolerance.”

Although teaching hatred for people who don’t share your belief in morals is most certainly close-minded (I would never do this), teaching truth is not. Teaching adherence to moral law is the only thing that leads to the kind of tolerance I believe God Himself possesses.

So yes, mathematical truths exist; but so do moral truths. And just as disobedience to mathematical laws could lead a person to overspending, debt, and financial bondage (eh hem, that's you, Congress); likewise disobedience to moral law leads to overindulgence, sorrow, and spiritual bondage. On the other hand, obedience to law—mathematical, moral, and all others—has the greatest potential for creating peace and happiness in this life and the life to come.

Is giving your child the essential tools for genuine happiness the same as being close-minded?

2011Res: To Matt: I love your analytical skills. To my girls: today I savored our long walk in the sunshine. Dear Mr H: today I will massage your hard-working typing muscles when you get home.

3 comments:

Kecia said...

Natalie,
I'm loving your research and insights. I would promise to read Sharon Slater's book! I wanted to take you up on the offer the first time you presented it, but I wasn't sure how serious you were. Good thing you offered again!

Natalie said...

Hey, Kecia! I'd love to send you one. Just send your mailing address to natalie (dot) hunsaker (at) gmail (dot) com. You'll LOVE the book!

Anna said...

Another great post! I'm sad this homeschooling series is coming to an end!