I've heard it time and time again, that people are attracted to homeschooling because of the children they meet who come from homeschooling families. Children who are confident, who can play with other children of all ages and engage in conversations with other adults.
But after reflecting on this a little, I realized something else. I don't believe for a moment that having children like this can only happen if they are home schooled. I have many friends whose children are entering their teenage years who are phenomenal kids. Truly, They've been schooled their whole lives, yet can hold intelligent conversations with adults, are confident, happy, incredibly talented kids, who are often involved in social situations where they entertain and engage with kids of all ages. (And sadly in the flip side, I have met, albeit a few, home schooled children who have yet to master the appropriate social skills for their age, and home schooled children who lack direction and motivation.)
So then, it begs the questions - is it really about school vs homeschool?
What is it that really makes a difference?
Surely it's us?
Whether we, as parents, have the hearts of our children, and whether we are prayerfully molding and shaping their characters, be they at home or at school?
You make a grave mistake if you conclude that child rearing is nothing more than providing the best possible shaping influences for your children. Many Christian parents adopt this "Christian determinism". They figure that if they can always be positive with him, if they can send him to Christian schools or if they can home school, if they can provide the best childhood experience, then their child will turn out okay.
These parents are sure that a proper environment will produce a proper child. They respond almost as if the child were inert. Such a posture is simply determinism dressed in Christian clothes.
I have a friend who is a potter. He told me that he can only create the type of pot the clay he is working with allows him to create. The clay is not merely passive in his hands. The clay responds to him. Some clay is elastic and supple. Some clay is crumbly and hard to shape.
His observation provides a good analogy: You must (emphasis mine) be concerned with providing the most stable shaping influences, but you may never suppose that you are merely molding passive clay. The clay responds to shaping; it either accepts or rejects molding. ... Your son or daughter responds according to the Godward focus of his or her life....
Determinism makes parents conclude that a good shaping influence will automatically produce good children. This often bears bitter fruit later in life. Parents who have an unruly and troublesome teenager or young adult conclude that the problem is the shaping influences they provided. They think if they had made a little better home, things would have turned out okay. They forget the child is never determined solely by the shaping influences of life....Your child's heart determines how he responds to your parenting.Food for thought huh?