Thursday, June 08, 2006

Nice People: Thoughts On the Homeschool Counter-Culture

There is nothing quite like being surrounded by six hundred or so homeschool families and their newly graduated college students. It reminds me that we who were homeschooled are part of something bigger than ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a graduation at a very unusual institution. My sister Becky graduated from Verity Education in 2005 (I wrote this article about the ceremony and the program itself). She spent another year on staff, building excellent relationships with the people there, so when graduation rolled around this year, Mom and I went to see some of our new friends-by-osmosis receive their honours.

Verity is, in its essence, a study center where homeschool graduates come to study and earn fully accredited college degrees by taking CLEP tests. They have the highest passing average of any testing center in the U.S., and they provide an atmosphere of excellence and spiritual discipline that is a joy to see.

After the ceremony everyone adjourned to the amphitheatre out back, to take pictures and shake hands and cry tears and everything else that goes with graduations. I feasted my eyes on all of the love and sweetness, on little children who look, act, and dress like little children; on young men who look, act, and dress like young men; on young women who... well, you get the idea. In these circles most families really are families. Most parents had far more to do with the education of their children than dropping them off at school every day. Most fathers are respected. Most mothers are honoured. It's a different world.

I grinned and told Mom, "It's so great to be surrounded by nice people." Out in the world, and very often in the church, nice people are a rarity. It's difficult to find people whose mouths aren't full of irreverance, disrespect, complaining, or vulgarity.

Of course, homeschoolers are not perfect. Nor are they "better" Christians just because they don't send their children to school. They are, however, doing something of extreme importance. They are building a new and different culture in the midst of a culture that has cut most of its ties with God and thus with everything that makes humanity decent. They are building a culture of respect, intelligence, godliness, family.

I think they are doing it because it's something God wants done. Homeschoolers are not just "pulling out" of the world. They are building a new one. I pray they will continue to do it, and the influence of this "other" culture will impact the church and the world.

It reminds me of the charge Pastor Woody Shoemaker, director of Verity, gave to his students from the podium. He told them to go, and be "loving and humble reformers of the church and of the world."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise The Lord Sister Rachel, I am Blessed as usaual to read what the Lord has given you. Daily as we think of all the Lord has done for us, we sometimes neglect to share those tidbits that make up a life. As I reflect, I think and thank God for Spirit filled people like you, who the Lord blesses me to meet. Your thanking article is a furthur reminder of His love for me. I thank God for you, and may He forever bless you. Pastor D. Hall

11:36 a.m.  

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