We (meaning my husband and I) are Roman Catholic, but we do not homeschool primarily for reasons of faith. In fact, if a Catholic education was my sole desire, I’d probably send my kids to the Catholic school down the street (ok, money might be an issue, but still).
I mention this because I think there’s this common misconception that all Christian homeschoolers choose home education for the same reason. And that that reason centers around their faith.
I prefer to think of everybody as an individual with their own individual needs and desires, with their own individual reasons for choosing to educate their kids they way they do.
Unfortunately that uniqueness is a bit hard to capture in a survey. And stereotypical views of both homeschoolers and parents who send their kids to school abound.
We teach, here in our home, what we believe as what we believe. We do not teach our beliefs as something our children must accept for themselves.
In fact, I fully expect that at some point down the road, all of these developing thinkers will come to question our beliefs, will wrestle with all the philosophical and theological implications, and will decide for themselves what they truly believe. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.
I don’t want them to accept something as truth just because someone told them so. I want them to look beyond that. God gifted them with reason, knowing full well they would use it, and use it they do. To that end, we do study the Bible and we do teach what Catechism of the Catholic Church says. We try to follow Christ in all things. And we share our personal beliefs.
But we don’t marinate our children in our world-view. I don’t think it’s necessary. It is enough for me to live as I believe and to share those beliefs with them.
This is an important point, because it’s one of the reasons why we don’t stick to Catholic curricula and will often (quite often) use secular curricula. I have no desire or need to only use curricula that supports my personal world-view.
My own understanding of Truth is flawed. My knowledge is limited. My kids are smart enough to recognize this and pretending that I have all the answers, or that my personal beliefs are absolute truth closes the dialog.
You’ve seen this between different religious denominations. It’s all well and good to share what you believe with others, but if each person believes that their own belief is the Truth, it becomes a case of one side trying to win over the other side and ignoring what the other side has to say.
Someone is shaking their head at me saying: “But there is absolute Truth!”
I agree. I’m not trying to argue that point here. There is absolute Truth.
But to say that my personal ability to know that Truth, in all my human weakness, with absolute certainty, to exclusion of all other possibilities…well, I can’t. And even if I could, there’s a bigger issue: true belief cannot be spoonfed to someone. I cannot give my faith to my children.
Share it with them, yes.
But not give it to them. They must discover their own faith.
I can create an environment that supports that, but I can’t force them to believe what I believe.