Saturday, March 7, 2009

My husband's response

Ok, as Melissa’s husband and the head of our household, I have been sitting on the sideline today watching and reading the commentary between parties. To shed a little more light on who Matt is, he was my roommate in college. I have a lot of respect for Matt as a Christian leader in his household and as a true friend of mine. Knowing that he has a true relationship with our Savior gives me a lot of respect for his opinion.

As far as homeschooling goes, I would like to give a little perspective from our journey that we have traveled to get to the place we are today.

When our oldest was nearing school age I started to become convicted to homeschool. My wife and I talked about it, but being in a small community and having her dad on school board for years made it very awkward to come to the decision to do so. Melissa started teaching music in the school where our two oldest were attending and immediately found it helpful to be at school along with two of our kids. However, as the year went on it became absolutely clear to Melissa that the intent of school was no longer being accomplished. We believe that a vast majority of school administrators and teachers have the child’s best interest at heart.

But seeing kindergartners coming to school talking about sex, talking about pornography, talking about R rated movies greatly disturbed us. You see, as Christians we talk about being salt and light, but there is no reason we should expect our six year old to combat Satan in an arena where the teachers are not allowed to say that there is right and wrong.

The next year our family began to teach from our house.

Sometimes we hear that we are sheltering our kids. I ask, as parents, is that not our responsibility? Do we allow our kids to run into a busy intersection without trying to stop them? We know that no matter where our kids are there are influences also. We need to be the number one influence in their lives under the authority of Jesus Christ. The government school makes it very clear that we as parents are not the number one influence. The government school system has given up on families. There is no way for us to be number one when our kids are in school for eight hours, on the bus for another half hour, winding down at home after school for another half hour, doing homework for another hour, (why do kids have homework when they were just in school for eight hours?). I do not see the common sense in this approach.

I have the greatest wife I could have imagined having; there is no one who is harder on herself to make sure our children have the best education possible, but education is so much more than school work. Our kids know how to take care of a family. Isn’t that what it’s about, knowing how to raise a family? One thing I noticed from the discussion today is that sometimes we give opinions on things even though we actually have not experienced both worlds. We sent our kids to public school for four years – my wife taught as a pubic school for a year, a number of teachers and the superintendent told us that we were making the right choice to home educate. Our observations are not without merit.

As home educators we get comments all the time that we are going to ruin our kids, so why does everyone comment on how good our kids are? As home educators we face a lot of negativity; it was interesting to read one of the person’s blog today to learn that she felt attacked for doing what she loves to do. We know what that is like.

I know this was long, but I felt I needed to share my thoughts.



  1. Well, Dennis, it is hard to follow that up. It is difficult to explain to those who do not homeschool why you do what you do. In many ways we simply don't speak the same language. We are often caught explaining ourselves, "Yes, the kids socialize at church and the library," or "Yes, we use curriculum for math. I most certainly do not make it up myself," or, my personal favorite, "Yes, I do think I can handle my children's education." At times we almost end up apologizing so as to not make others feel bad. "We live out in the country, you see, and the bus ride was just too long." But we shouldn't apologize for homeschooling or have to defend our choice.

    How do you share your heart for homeschooling in a way that others can understand and not be offended? I don't know. Often I think people don't realize the enormous cost. We, as the parents, take on the responsibility of everything, and we think about it all the time. Does Mary really know her math facts well enough to move on? Is Elizabeth reading well enough to be on her own? Should I have started Thomas in kindergarten so soon? I wonder if David saw the moon tonight?

    At times we forget the real reason we homeschool. We desire with everything in us to raise our kids to love and honor the Lord, and we are willing to pay the cost whatever it is. I don't say this to criticize those who don't homeschool but to share the calling that God has laid on us. It isn't because we think we are better than anyone else or that we think teachers are bad. It is that we, as parents, want to be the teacher. We want to raise our children in a way that is compatible with our beliefs. We want to be there to help them understand the world, to know how to respond to sadness, unkindness, and goodness too. Yes, we think homeschooling is the best choice. If we didn't, we wouldn't do it. Trust me, it isn't easy. But it is fulfilling to follow God's call on your life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Diane Grotberg

  2. Just like Diane said " But we shouldn't apologize for homeschooling, or have to defend our choice." Only insert public school.

    There are days where our kids have heard things that are inapripriate for such a young age. And, the teachers have done wonderfully in the situation. Our teachers do teach what is right and wrong. And, to be honest, the majority of the not so great things our kids have heard or learned are from kids in the neighborhood who have older siblings.

    Both our kids come to us if they hear something or have a question about things. They are on the right track. They know God and have a wonderful and growing relationship with him. For us, our family has found a balance that works for us.

    I think that the decision is up to each and every individual family on how their children are schooled. And, that no one else has the right to judge or criticize that choice.

    Tami ( and Dennis, I love how you have such support for Melissa. I think that is awesome!)

  3. Dennis and Missy are true friends. When I first met these two I was very much on the other end of the christian movement. These two could have very easily have blocked me out of their lives, but instead they are a huge part of me coming to the lord and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I thank you both for that! Some say the system of education is the problem? When did that start? I would say it was when religion was taken out of schools. From that day there have been increasing problems. To say the pledge to the flag is to say ...One nation under God indevisible... I ask you, I challenge anyone, find out where all the words came from for the pledge to our frag. Then ask the children of this country what they think of those words, as they say they don't know and return to watching t.v. We, all adults are what stands between this situation getting worse or getting better.
    Have a great day.

    Matt Schweitzer

  4. I am glad you brought up the Pledge of Allegiance. I have heard in the past that schools may take out the One nation under God section. So, I just asked our kids to say the pledge for me as they say it at school. I was happy to find out that they do still have the One nation under God in it! I also asked them what the pledge means to them. They both said that to them it means that they are thankful to live in our country and thankful that God is watching over us and our country.

    I also feel sad that religion is no longer a part of the public schools, but also am thankful that each year our kids have had teachers that have let our kids talk about their belief. And, since religion isn't a part of their daily routine at school, we make it a part of our daily life at home. God has a huge pressence in our family. If He didn't we would be so lost. Maybe our kids will make the difference in someone elses life. Teach them what we are teaching them at home. If that happens than that is one great reason to send them out to public school. Kind of miniature missionaries.

    On a different note, I know Dennis and Melissa value their friendship with you too Matt! You have a great day too!

    Tami (Melissa's cousin)


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