Is homeschooling the solution for your family?
Homeschooling is considered by many as a structure to protect their children. It reduces risks related to travel, bullying, and classroom sickness. However, most consider it because we have a changed culture. The non-biblical proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” only works if the village’s morality, worldview, and social health is acceptable to the parents. Some feel this proverb’s theme is still needed regardless of the village’s condition, but one does not have to look far to see their motives. Read some of the reasons why homeschooling is a priority today.
A 2011 National Center for Juvenile Justice report clearly shows an increase in juvenile court caseloads from where we were in 1960. A CDC.gov 2010 survey stated that almost 1/3 of high school students were in a physical fight in the previous 12 months with 1/3 of those fights on school property. There were 17.5% that claimed to have carried a weapon in the previous 30 days with 5.6% carrying on school property. Approximately 6% claimed to have carried a gun in the previous 30 days. There were 7.7% that reported being threatened by a weapon on school property in the last 12 months. The FBI’s UCR database shows in 2009 that 41% of all arrests are people 24 years old and under. Statistics for youth across all areas are going the wrong way. Youth crime is increasing and adult crime is decreasing.
Negative juvenile behavior has been a matter of the ages, however many feel we are in uncharted waters and heading to disastrous results. Several changes in our world have taken place recently, many for the first time in man’s history.
Education practices have changed drastically in relationship to history. With the introduction of public education, all children are placed in a system where academics must be their strength, whether they are naturally good at it or not. A young person that might have excelled in a non-academic area is less likely to experience that today. With traditional education, children that have to work harder for academics have been placed in classrooms with identical age levels for thirteen years. All the struggling student learns is that he is stupid, a failure, and a disappointment by comparing himself to others his exact age. This causes many children to act out or get into trouble.
The United States has seen a decline in church involvement. Other than a grandparent’s example, a church has been one of the main sources for parent training through recent history. Children are able to hear from someone else, besides their parents, how they should honor their parents. Young parents are able to learn parenting skills from both the church and the older parents attending the church. Parents also learn how to be better examples to their children. There is also some built-in accountability for parents by being a member of a church.
In 1962, school prayer was banned in the United States. The next year, all religious activities were prohibited. In less than ten years, the theory of evolution replaced almost all references to a “Created” universe, which many believe undermined the belief in God. The posting of the “Ten Commandments” in the classroom was also prohibited. Without consistent religious training, children’s morality can be affected. Sunday has a hard time competing with the rest of the week. Character then becomes more relative than absolute. For many, eternal accountability is an encouragement to do right.
The “Quiet Revolution” of women working outside the home began in the 1970′s. In 1900, 15% of women worked outside of the home. Today, it is 75% and growing. Also due to the increase in daycares and preschools, we can see parents are giving up a substantial amount of caregiver time for their early adolescent children. For busy parents, it also means older children are not supervised as much after school and during school holidays. Both parents working have also impacted the traditional family dinner table. Statistics show teens that frequently have dinner with their families are at a lower risk for substance abuse.
Only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents. That is the lowest figure in the Western world. The United States has the highest rate of divorce in the world. Each year, about half of all marriages occur between couples where one or both have been previously married. This indicates a large number of children are in a single parent home for at least some part of their life.
There is a truth from Moses that still stands today. “Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be set apart for destruction just like them.” Deuteronomy 7:26. A person would think that parents would not allow their child to be exposed to detestable objects right in their home. However, in the last generation, technology has created several ways for this to happen. Even if the parents stay on top of this at their home, other homes the child might visit may not think that way and be impacted there.
Cable television and video devices have become a natural babysitter in the home for most families. In the last ten years, TV programming and movies have become available with Internet devices as well. Along with all this access, the ratings for movies have changed with our culture. Movies in 1969 that were rated “X” are now rated “R”. Movies that were rated “R” are now rated “PG-13″. The exposure to violence and adult themes has been cited as affecting behavior in several well-known crimes.
Video games entered the world for the first time in history. In 1972, Atari began selling video game consoles. In 1980, IBM’s personal computer became available. The video game industry took off. Once again, another tempting babysitter is allowed. Although there are several educational games today, most are not. Many of the more popular games are violent, disrespectful, and offer the player to be the “bad guy”. The content is not the only bad influence. The addiction to playing games robs from important child responsibilities.
Rarely if ever in history has there ever been a time where parents knew less about technology than their children, until recently. Beginning in the late 1980′s, a growing percentage of young people became more knowledgeable about computers than one or both parents. This trend seems to be staying with new technologies. This keeps the parents at a disadvantage for implementing family rules until after the fact, which can create attitudes.
In 1991, the Internet became available. Along with it, came chat and email. Chat has evolved into services such as Facebook and Twitter, but the historical change is that children can communicate with people the busy parent does not see or know. A concern is how young people will associate openly with a friend of a friend so quickly via the Internet. A recent news release from Facebook states they found the “Six Degrees of Separation on the Earth” is now 4.37 people to know anyone in the world. A teen’s circle of relationships can easily develop without the parent’s knowledge! With many Internet services such as virtual worlds, it does not even take a friend’s introduction to meet a stranger. The ability for a parent to monitor a child’s acquaintances is diminishing with technology.
Just in this last decade, cell phones have become so popular that even pre-teenagers have them. The ability for parents to communicate with their child has encouraged the practice. Texting and accessing the Internet can be hard to monitor if parents let their guard down. Young cell phone users can even access these communication tools while around parents, because the screens are small.
It seems overwhelming, but there is hope. Homeschooling is not going to be the single answer, but can be a major platform for success. Homeschooling can keep children from comparing themselves to others their age in academics. When education for children is competitive, there has to be losers. With homeschooling, gifted students are not held up with the pace of a class. Homeschooling can protect the child from the random influences of a campus-based school. Some say that homeschooling is sheltering too much, but come on, just think about it. Homeschooling can prevent the undermining of faith that takes place in public school curricula. Homeschooling creates the stability of a stay at home parent. If a person isn’t just trying to keep up with the Joneses, and really needs the income, a person can look for a home-based job. Before homeschooling is going to really help, the parents need to get their act together and make parenting a priority.
For the parents of young children, parents need training, self-discipline, parent networking, and sometimes a financial sacrifice. For the parents of older children, it is a much greater challenge to turn things around. You have to make it a priority. Keep reading our posts for detailed help.
Many of these recent changes that can cause behavioral problems have a common thread of solutions. Love and involvement will greatly help in behavior problems. Consistency must be a priority, even over tiredness. It is important to implement rules or “understandings” long before they are needed. It is important to encourage associations with families or groups that have similar values. Parental control must be established when children are very young. Children want a leader more than a buddy. Forgiveness must be asked from time to time to keep a good parent-child relationship, especially when implementing rules after the fact. With technology and culture changes, we are bound to see many more practices that can affect juvenile behavior negatively. We should always be thinking ahead.
CDC Youth Violence Facts at a Glance 2010:
National Center for Juvenile Justice clearly shows delinquency is increasing:
2009 crime type statistics showing 24 years old and younger:
Seculare changes in U.S. schools from 1962-1972:
Statistics about marriage and effects on children:
Quiet Revolution – Women going to work:
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse – Family Dinner and Substance Abuse:
Effects of Violent Video Games:
Example of addiction recovery service including video game addiction:
Study that included academic impact from overuse of video games: