Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Homeschoolers are taking over

In the past I haven't talked much on this blog about being homeschooled. This is mostly because I have been out of homeschool for about 7 years(yes I know I'm old). Also I am a political and news junkie so that's what I write about here mostly. It's been many years since I've been to a homeschooler conference or met a homeschooler that wasn't trying to sell me something(I will blog about that some other time).

For the record I was not one of the more brilliant homeschoolers that seemed to be the norm when I was growing up. I had friends who would get 1500's on the SAT's....when they were 15 years old. I was not one of those types, I probably could have been but my work ethic was not what it should have been. Some things came naturally to me, like sports, and I would much rather spend my time doing those things as opposed to things I actually had to work on.

The homeschoolers that I knew were generally brilliant. But they were brilliant at "boring stuff" like science, economics, or business. And up until yesterday I hadn't even thought to look for homeschool bloggers. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a blog run by two teenaged homeschoolers whose brother I had met before. The older brother, Josh Harris wrote a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye which was making huge waves in the homeschool community right as I was graduating. The book itself didn't have much effect on me as I was focused pretty heavily on things besides dating or courting or kissing either one goodbye. But I did like the picture on the front, in fact that picture is at least partially responsible for the name of this blog. Anyway his two little brothers, Alex and Brett, write a blog called The Rebelution which is defined thusly: "a widespread teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture".

The blog itself is not a typical journal blog like this one. Rather it is a series of essays that the boys have written on having a Godly worldview in our culture today. Once I started reading their stuff I could not stop. Nowhere have I read my own worldview echoed as succinctly, simply, and powerfully as on The Rebelution. What strikes me most about these two and The Rebelution message is the lack of isolationist rejection of our culture. Instead of closing off from our culture and avoiding it's evils they are choosing to try and change it by inspiring others to have a Godly worldview as well. Below I will highlight some of their essays that I found inspiring.

Do hard things.
The prevailing attitude in our culture is to take the easy way out and do whatever makes you the most comfortable. Indeed many times we make deciscions not based on the correct or responsible thing to do but rather what will make it easiest for ust to get by. In the first of a series of 4 essays on this subject Brett admonishes
Here’s The Rebelution’s challenge: Do hard things. Learn a lesson from the Vikings. Do hard things and you will carry the battle every time. If you are willing to take on responsibilities that others delegate or neglect you will gain the benefits of that exertion.

Too often we delegate the responsibility for our education, our character, our future, etc. to others who hold far less of a stake in how things turn out. And more often than not a failure to perform in the areas of character and competence are due to a lack of past exertion.

Look around you. Many American young people are doing little more than “making it”—and this in a culture of unbelievably low standards. Few shoulder the burden of doing more than is required—yet that was the key to the Viking’s success!
All three are worth taking time to read.

The Rise Of The Kidult
I thank my parents every day that they raised me like they did. By the time I was 16 I was basically a mini-adult. My parents gave me the self-discipline, maturity, and motivation to do things like hold a steady job, budget for my own food, clothes, and car insurance, all this in addition to all the schoool work they threw at me. However it was a struggle to do all of this responsibly, once I had my own job I had the money for all kinds of fun things. And it didn't help that our culture promoted an attitude of "do whatever it takes to have fun". And I see the results of that cultural attitude every day. I work in the IT industry which is full of people who didn't grow up. They spend their money on the newest gadget or piece of software(if they can't hack it). My roommate plays video games(well it's really only one game) from the time he gets home at 5pm until the time he goes to bed at around 12:30. The current adult generation is full of "Kidults" who are only concerned about making enough money to "have fun". In part 3 of the Rebelution series Rise Of The Kidults Brett looks at how parents and the at large culture are ruining our kids with fun:
Granted, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but if it detracts from your development and preparation for the future it’s gone too far. Dr. Mel Levine, author of “Ready or Not, Here Life Comes,” advises parents: “Don’t overindulge kids with spectacular vacations, opulent material possessions and relentless tides of programmed activities after school and during the summers. Avoid creating hyper inflated egos living within protected spheres that will burst in early stages of a career when supervisors won’t care how gorgeous your kids are or what “cool dudes” they’ve become or what great ballplayers they were in high school.”

Dr. Levine’s message is clear: overindulgence in "just having fun” will not prepare you for life. You will reap no benefit from making childhood an impossible act to follow. Rather, you will find adult responsibility dull and unappealing. But guess what? Adult responsibility was originally intended to make up 70% of your life! What a waste to ruin the largest portion of your existence on earth by buzzing yourself numb during childhood!

If only we knew how our culture was shortchanging us by telling us to spend our teenage years just having fun! If only we knew the joys of committed marriage, of fatherhood & motherhood, of faithful stewardship and eventual leadership that are being gutted by the miscellaneous notion that life is about fun.
Now I can't lay this totally at the feet of the parents. In this great country of ours it is not difficult to obtain the affluence needed to spoil our kids. And what father or mother doesn't want to lavish fun things on their children? The problem is that kids, teenagers, college students etc don't have, or aren't given, the motivation to do the mature responsible thing. They only want to find ways to have fun, which is why Brett and Alex's work is so important.

They have many other great posts worth reading, I'm still not through with all of it but I won't stop until I am, it's great stuff. I'm also enjoying their blogroll, which is full of homeschool teen blogs. Some of them will probably get added to my blogroll very soon. Stay tuned as I will highlight and link the interesting things I find.

Linked to Don Surber, Basil's Blog, Joe's Cafe, and