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The Little School in the Living Room Grows Up
Nearly every spring for the past seven years, I have been one of thousands of pilgrims on a hajj to the cavernous Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The chap convention, sponsored by the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania, is one of the largest homeschooling conventions in the country, with more than 8,000 people attending this year. Devotees from every spectrum of the home education community come together for seminars, shopping, and a bit of Christian "star" gazing. The convention is a microcosm of the Christian homeschool movement. And for the church, that movement has enormous implications.
For one thing, these Christian women have redefined their contribution to the kingdom of God. Their intensive discipleship of their children rests on the hope that the influence on the world will multiply exponentially. In some circles, staying home with kids is no longer enough to qualify a woman as a "good mother." Moms are both subtly and overtly pressured to be a new kind of super mom, a mirror image of a career-driven feminist. In other quarters, homeschoolers are still misunderstood and sometimes treated with derision.
In addition, with the advent of homeschooling, where parents send their children to school has become an even greater source of tension among Christians. Twice this year, Focus on the Family's James Dobson raised the stakes even higher, telling his huge audience that in light of California's pro-homosexual mandates, "I would not place my child in public schools in that state or any other that moves in this direction—if any other alternatives were available." Engaging the world isn't a good enough reason to remain a part of public education under those circumstances, according to Dobson: ...1