Internet can provide a wonderful window to the world.
Even a trip with Mom to the market
can provide youngsters with invaluable exposure into the real world. While
they’re there, a multitude of lessons can
be learned about math (pricing, fractions,
pints vs. gallons, addition, subtraction,
etc.), reading labels, and other academic
subjects. And without the strictures of
schedule and formal curricula, everything can all be considered part of the
educational process. That’s what I’d call
socialization at its best! To accuse home
educators of creating strange little people
in solitary confinement is nonsense.
Returning to what occurs in public
schools, doing the job at home can help
prevent the wrong kind of socialization.
When children interact in large groups,
the strongest and most aggressive kids
often intimidate the weak and vulnerable. These little victims learn to fear
their peers, and it changes their self-image. Some of them don’t have a clue about
life or how to cope with things that scare
them. It’s sink or swim, kid. It’s why some
boys and girls become peer dependent
because of the jostling at too early an age.
Again, research shows if they are kept at
home, they can learn to be more confident, independent, and often emerge as
leaders three or four years older.
TOS: What specific advice would you
give to fathers in homeschooling families? How can fathers best contribute to
the homeschooling effort?
Dr. Dobson: In a two-parent family,
educating children is typically a “team
effort,” with each partner contributing
whatever he or she brings to the process.
If the mother is a stay-at-home mom, she
probably carries the primary responsibil-
ity. If Dad is the sole supporter of the fam-
ily, he may play a lesser but still important
role. He may have instructional skills as
the children grow up that his wife lacks,
and they have to work together to handle
the curriculum. The most important re-
sponsibility he may carry is to support his
wife emotionally and physically. In their
zeal to meet the challenges of educating
their children, they must not neglect their
relationship with each other. Time must
be reserved for meaningful conversations,
for taking walks together, going out on
“date nights,” and yes—doing the dishes
now and then, as well.
I believe Christian dads also need to
be mindful of the four primary roles assigned to men in Scripture. They are to
provide financially for their families, to
protect them even at risk to their own
lives, to provide leadership for the family,
and most importantly, to establish spiritual direction and training for the children.
Their teaching should emphasize giving
to others, self-discipline, and love and fidelity between a husband and wife. This
masculine role, if it is handled properly,
provides a shield against addictions to alcohol, pornography, gambling, and other
behaviors that are damaging to families.
The relationship between children and
their fathers is vital. Most people seem
to recognize that boys need their dads to
model how Christian men think and act.
They are correct. I believe, however, that
girls need their dads just as much as do
boys. A girl’s self-esteem hangs precariously on how her father relates to her. He
is the first male to love, hold, kiss, and
guide her. He should be the first to tell
her she is pretty and valuable. If he does
his job properly, she may look for a man
like him to love and marry. If he fails in
this assignment, she may look for love in
the wrong places. She may give herself to
a boy or young man whose motives are
less than honorable.
A good homeschooling dad is far from
being a bystander in the education of
his children. He is critical to the entire
TOS: What do you envision is the future
for homeschooling in the U.S. in light of
the changing religious freedom landscape?
Dr. Dobson: We can only hope and
“If we had to do it over
pray that the homeschooling movement
will grow and prosper. As our culture
sinks farther into moral decline and
what can only be called “pagan” in char-
acter, Christian families will, I believe,
become more serious about the spiritual
welfare of their children. Their primary
again, Shirley and I
would probably teach
our children at home.”