Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How do you like school?

How Do You Like School?
My sleeping herb garden out the back kitchen French doors.

Winter has settled into a routine. I’ve been ministering to my family. Dean’s mother went to be with Jesus. Some of the extended family gathered here for hugs, to remember Mom and to watch old family-movies taken by Dean’s grandfather in the 1950s. Sweet memories.

This post is a gentle warning.
Gentle, because I omit the list of terrible snares that young people are falling into today. But it is a warning, just-the-same.

Three days a week, I do physical therapy exercises, here at home, in my efforts to manage the chronic pain of peripheral neuropathy. Best of all, P.T. has enabled me to bend my back far enough sit on the floor and play with my littlest grandchild. And I'm able to keep our baseboards free of dust.

Morning sun gives the best light for dusting yards and yards of baseboards. 

While I exercise, I listen to Christian radio. Between songs is a two-minutes broadcast for parents and youth leaders. Like-it-or-not, I’ve been made aware of the multiplicity of problems that exist in teen culture today. I said to the Man-of-the-House, “How can I bear listening to yet another broadcast about youth culture? It's horrible. It's overwhelmingly sad.”

What makes it upsetting is that we know teens who are experiencing these dark attitudes and behaviors. Their parents have asked us to pray. I’ve done so with a heavy-heart this winter. I've also acted outside my comfort zone. Earlier this month, I typed a letter in the “Contact Us” window of CPYU Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, the ministry that provides the two-minute radio piece and a newsletter. I've never done anything like this before.

Here’s the gist of it.

Dear Sir
I've been hearing Walt Mueller's excellent short, informative pieces about youth culture, on the Christian radio, for nearly 2 years.

I'm old enough to have witnessed results of teens who attend public high school. Even teens who sit in youth-group every Sunday falter morally. The social engineering of the leftist-agenda/curriculum, as well as the peer-hierarchy-environment, along with hours spent with sensational entertainment/media, seem to be insurmountable influences. 

The little quilt is called "Cherry Baskets" and will one day be for a granddaughter.
Statistics claim 80% of children of Christian parents do not return to the church. Is it that they do not come to know our loving Savior in a personal way? Do they not see the need for Christ’s atonement for their sins while young? Or are they pulled in too many directions? Anyway, it's heart-breaking for parents. We know because some have shared their deep sorrow with us.

In the 1970s my husband was a youth group leader. He saw how little involved parents were with their teens. They didn’t seem to know them. Thus, they heavily depended on others for bringing up their children, and for leading them to Christ.

Forewarned, I decided to home teach ours. What have I observed over 30 years? I’ve noticed within my circle of friends, that the biggest problems of youth culture are happily absent in children home taught through high school.

1) High-school-age homeschool students have acquired the habit of self- education. They are not bored. 

2) They are well-read and express themselves with clarity, orally and in writing.

3) In humility their ears are open to the counsel of the Word of God.

4) Joy and reverence are attitudes that accompany their walk with God.

5) They maintain a close relationship with their parents and siblings.

6) They are comfortable relating to people of all ages.

7) They smile and have a sense of humor.

8) They understand the true meaning of "courtesy" found in the Golden Rule of Jesus. They practice purity in preparation for marriage.

9) They are patriotic and know their history.

10) They entertain wide and varied interests - (commercial and volunteer) - interests that have little to do with teen-fads – especially fads that are self-destructive, dark and dangerous. And they are not afraid of a little hard work. 

Home educating families do not live in isolation. Networking, support groups, conferences, co-ops, orchestra, field trips, etc., are accessible in many communities. Home-taught-teens have opportunities, too, to look outside themselves with acts of service, such as baby-sitting, singing or playing an instrument at a nursing home, etc. A short hop on-line will show what modern research reveals about homeschooling. One article (unintentionally) debunks the misleading stereotype of the homeschooler: "18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children" by Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D.

I enjoyed all the hand-quilting I stitched into it of a comfortable size. 
Won't you make homeschooling one of your helpful suggestions for Christian parents sometime? It has such immense advantages that I don't understand why it is ignored. Why keep homeschooling a secret? It is a wonderful alternative to the pressures and perversions of public school. Perhaps you have already addressed it somewhere at CPYU but I’ve missed it. We've seen that sending teens off to be immersed in the highly captivating youth culture of public school (of which you speak) is a situation greatly counter-productive to whatever little time a student and parent have left-over to discuss the Biblical worldview, etc.*1

What did our Lord Jesus say about the children (who are on loan to us)? "Hinder them not." Therefore, should we immerse them in a youth culture that is grounded in a godless-mindset that would be a stumbling block for them, while thinking: It won't happen to my child?

My dream was to knit a pinefore for Eloise. I saw this realized this January.
 Perhaps, some spiritually mature teens do survive. But my husband says, for every one that seems to come out okay, a hundred do not. I am so saddened to see how teen culture has found its way into the church, that I had to write CPYU. I've been listening to you. And the myriad of gruesome problems that parents are suppose to be aware of and/or talk about with their teens. Thanks, this time, for listening to me.     Karen Andreola

I like this in-the-round seam-free pattern. I went bananas over the cute ruffle. 
 [Addendum: I received a reply with the perspective of CPYU shortly after my letter was read.]

 Too Polite
“How are things,” I asked a mother several years ago. We stood in the church hallway. She looked nervous.
 “Oh, you haven’t heard? Barbara and Greg (not their real names) decided they wanted to attend public high school to be with their friends.”
 “No, I haven’t heard,” is all I said, trying to keep my smile-muscles from weakening. My private thoughts were, your children decide what’s best for them? And, this is placing a very high priority on friends.

I finished hand-quilting my Northern Star quilt in William Morris fabric. 
I had this same sort-of-conversation with another mother who told me her children decided they wanted to attend the big public high school. In both instances, I stood staring, dumbly until the subject was changed. After all, I thought, my opinion isn’t being called for. I was too polite. I bit my lip. And now I wish I hadn’t. I could at least have posed two questions. One about peer-pressure/counsel. The other about the atheist/socialist-curriculum/counsel. I wish I could report the years proved my forebodings incorrect about these children. What can be sadder for the parent who discovers his child is walking in the counsel of the ungodly? *1

The Man-of-the-House read what I've written here (before I posted it). He told me that if even the mighty among us (highly-educated pastors and leaders in ministry) fall. Why do we think our fragile, impressionable young people would be immune to temptation in an anti-Christian environment?

This bird I "fussy-cut" is my favorite of the stars. 

How do you like school?
 A modern survey reveals how students feel in public high school. The top 3 responses were:

and bored.*2

Charlotte Mason says that if children do like school, it is usually for the wrong reasons. They don’t like school because they find it interesting. Or because it satisfies their craving for knowledge.

 If children like school it is because:

 . . . they delight in the stimulus of school life, in the social stir of companionship. They are . . . eager for reward and praise. They enjoy the thousand lawful interests of school life, including the attractive personality of such-and-such a teacher. But it seems doubtful whether the love of knowledge (in itself and for itself) is usually a powerful motive with the young scholar. The matter is important. Because, of all the joyous motives of school life, the love of knowledge is the only [lasting] one; the only one which determines the [measure] . . . upon which the person will hereafter live.*3

 Miss Mason also recognizes that:

 “. . . by far, the most valuable part of education is carried on in the family . . .”*4

I pinned it to the wall in the upstairs hall landing. Stairs at left. Window, right.

I think this has been true, and will be true, in every century.

Two of our grandchildren (homeschool-kids) walking back from their mailbox. 

 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly . . .*5

Comments are Welcome,
Karen Andreola

 End Notes
*1 Mathew 7:13,14 is one of many reasons parents home-teach through high school.
*2 USA Today “Our High School Kids: Tired, Stressed and Bored.” Pub. Oct., 2015.
 *3 Charlotte Mason, School Education, pages 245-246,
 *4 Ibid, pg 94
 *5 Psalm One is another reason.