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Matt Walsh: Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

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I was going to caveat that maybe these aren’t the absolute worst, but now that I think about it and in reading his replies, I think he’s right. Other criticisms address the mechanics or methods of homeschooling. These strike at the purpose and definition of parenting and education, and worse, the purpose — or, if you will, the chief end — of man. Theirs is the secular mindset that humans are all the same and without distinction in design and calling, rather than uniquely created by God for a purpose that begins and ends with glorifying and enjoying Him.

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Written by mrsdkmiller

April 26, 2014 at 8:46 am

Posted in Homeschooling

Tagged with ,

Homeschool Screwtape Letter

with 2 comments

(This was sent to me via one of my homeschooling lists. After 10+ years of educating my children at home, I can look back through the ups and downs, the hills and the valleys, and say, “So true!”  I don’t know who the original author is, although I’ve done a pretty decent online search. If you do, please comment here or send me a note and I’ll give proper attribution. Thanks.)

 

My Pitiable Muggleword,

I received your frantic message and have considered it fully. While your concern (bordering on paranoia) is understandable, you MUST CALM DOWN. Yes, I understand the threat is real. Your patient’s recent embarkment on this endeavor they call “homeschooling” may at first seem quite intimidating. Especially when she flanks her efforts with such gaudy words as “discipleship,” “nurture,” and “Christian Education.” But take it from me, our arsenal is fully supplied when it comes to dealing with “homeschoolers.”

Consider first the size of the task. So long as you keep the spectacle of institutionalized education ever before your patient, she will continually shrink back OR forge passionately ahead steamrolling all in her way. Keep her ignorant of the insidious fact we have spent years trying to bury . . that the Enemy created these pitiful creatures with both intellect AND appetite and, given a loving environment, their intellect will grow as naturally as their bodies. You must endeavor to quickly make a home for the idol of academia in her HOUSE as we have in schools. Faced with the fear of failure, it has been my experience that mothers will bow readily sacrificing relationships, faith, and that sickening sense of peace in a home which a mother who trusts the Enemy so easily creates.

Ganesha, god of knowledge

The weapons which serve these purposes are many. For instance comparison, which always leads the patient to weigh her weaknesses against another’s strengths resulting in despair OR her strengths against another’s weaknesses resulting in a false sense of pride. Strive to instill the sense of superiority so commonly found in homeschoolers, especially the novice. Follow this up quickly with inferiority when she inevitably encounters more experienced and superior homeschoolers. Superiority or inferiority . . either state will serve our purposes and render your patient harmless.

Oddly enough, curriculum is another useful weapon. As the patient spends hour upon hour seeking the course of study that will be “just right” for her children, her dependence upon her choice will grow steadily. Add to that the considerable monetary investment and this weapon becomes practically autonomous. For any human will defend and fight for that in which they are invested. As she comes to homeschooling with both time AND money invested in her curriculum and then experiences the inevitable resistance of her children, she will in turn fight for and defend BOOKS. The passion we’ve known to motivate the self-sacrificial love the Enemy instilled in mothers since time began, can easily be manipulated so that, instead of defending her children, she ATTACKS them when they impede the plan she has so carefully orchestrated late into the night while her precious ones slumbered.

Goals. Turn all her sincere desires, both spiritual and academic, into lofty goals. In so doing, you will move her from a position of humble hope and prayerful petition to aggressive ambition and demand. Cause her to assume responsibility not only for her chidren’s academics, but for their attitudes, character, obedience . . all of which, while forever under her influence, are completely outside her control. Thereby, you will entangle her with frustration, anger, and ultimately resentment.

Finally, fear. Fear, fear, fear. The Enemy himself knows how humans are given to fear. Over and over in His letter to them He placates them with the exhortation, “Do not fear.” So you must scream it louder! Fear has the potential to undermine the “noblest” of your patient’s efforts. Pervert the human instinct for self-preservation, and your patient will commit even heinous sin in the name of protection of her children. Fear is the fertile ground for every seed of destruction. Strife, screaming, abuse, even hatred will grow like weeds that choke the life out of a mother and a home.

But I must warn you, should your patient ever discover and with putrid humility embrace the truth that she is merely a vessel who has been chosen by the Enemy for a “noble” use . . to pour out knowledge with grace, THEN you are in great danger. For it is this position, humble, dependent, and even broken, in which the Enemy finds His most useful and influential vessels. You MUST keep your patient from this stance. Fill her with pride and ambition OR guilt and despair. Either will work. But do not let her believe that there is anything relevant beyond her own plans and efforts and the unfettered cooperation of her spouse and children with said plans. For if she does, she will discover the despicable provision and love of the Enemy who is forever working His fiendish will in the midst of our patient’s seeming successes and failures.

Be diligent, Muggleword. The influence of the patient upon her children is potent, due simply to the combination of being “mother” and the multitude of hours spent together. It is your duty to exploit this influence to the ruin of all involved.

Sincerely,
Acadamius

(The following was part of the original email message, so to give due to the author, I wanted to make sure this was included in my post. — LM)

My purpose in writing this letter was twofold:

1. to expose the strategy and devices of the enemy; to steal his “playbook.”

I know these strategies because in my 21 years of mothering and now going on 13 years of homeschooling, I have been deceived by them, have reaped the fruit of their lies, have seen the redemption of my savior in them, and, by His grace, am experiencing victory over them day by day

2. to reveal and help us appreciate the potential, eternal power of the opportunity that is ours through homeschooling

Homeschooling is a vehicle for discipleship. Discipleship is the responsibility of every Christian parent and must not be sacrificed for any other goal no matter how great.

What does it take to disciple?

A message
A relationship
A strength motivated by faith

MESSAGE

What is our message?
The greatest message ever sent or received. The love and grace of Jesus.

Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

How does this apply to my day to day life in homeschooling?
Put a mom in a house with any combination of female hormones, babies, toddlers, adolescent issues, boy/girl diversities, ants in the pants, teen drama, dog puke on the carpet, plugged toilets, throw in a few sports, extracurricular activities, lost pencils, books, shoes . .  shake well and tell her to teach them. Homeschooling is a veritable breeding ground for sin.

The good news is that the Good News is all about God’s daily grace in the face of our daily sin. We have the opportunity to respond with the Gospel of Jesus everyday all day long.

We are the messenger. The message is the power to transform. The seed holds within it the life.

Pray for “Gospelized Homeschooling”

RELATIONSHIP

You will protect (fight for) what you invest in, whether it is curriculum, activities, schedules/plans, OR relationships.

What am I fighting for? What angers me? Am I fighting for the souls of my children or something temporal? Flesh and blood or powers of the air?

When my fight becomes focused on the eternal and spiritual, my motives become pure. My behavior is marked with humility and dependence on the ONLY One who can win this fight.

If I assume responsibility for something that is out of my control (child’s attitude, faith, obedience), I will wrestle with frustration, anger, and resentment.

What is MY responsibility in the face of conflict? Humility, prayer, seeking God’s wisdom. If my response/discipline is not marked with humility, I am in sin. I cannot hope to achieve a righteous end with unrighteous means.

“Your gentleness made me great.” (Ps 18:35)

Jesus’ model was time spent WITH. Life. Not programs, ten steps to discipling success, or a curriculum.

The poet W.H. Auden said the human species is distinctive in at least three ways: we are the only animals that work, laugh, and pray. “A satisfactory human life, individually or collectively, is possible only if proper respect is paid to all three worlds. Without Prayer and Work, laughter turns ugly, the comic obscenities grubby, the mock aggression into real hatred and cruelty. Without Laughter and Work, Prayer turns Gnostic, cranky, Pharisaic, while those who try to live by Work alone, without Laughter or Prayer, turn into insane lovers of power, tyrants who would enslave Nature to their immediate desire – an attempt which can only end in utter catastrophe, shipwreck on the Isle of Sirens.” (Finding God In Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey, p. 261, 265)

STRENGTH

We need to consider the role of law (teacher) and grace (savior) in our homes. The law reveals our sin and hopelessness without a savior. Don’t teach your children to perfect themselves (or if they fail, to condemn themselves) with law.

Where does my strength come from?

Paul challenged the Galatians 3:1-4:
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again without the yoke of bondage.”

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV)

We must walk in the Spirit and His strength. As we do, we become free to embrace the uniqueness and individual strengths in ourselves and our children. This is how our homes and homeschool truly glorify God. Just as each creation brings glory to its maker in a way uniquely its own, so do we as we follow the particular path He has laid out for us and our children. And within each family there is blessed room for the diverse talents and gifts with which God has entrusted each member.

Written by mrsdkmiller

January 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

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