Will Second Generation homeschoolers continue with the vision given to them by their first-generation parents, or will they stagnate and decay?
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Second-Generation Homeschoolers: Will They Be Homeschool Dropouts?
Homeschool Dropouts is a documentary which features the children (Anna, Benjamin, David, Elizabeth and Isaac) of Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin. The Botkins have been long time leaders in the U.S. Homeschool Movement. This film was made in 2009 and the description of the film by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences says:
Five years ago, the Botkin siblings produced this documentary about the homeschooling movement after talking to their peers around the United States. In discussing the future of this movement, the film raised a number of controversial questions, examining the history of the movement and the character that would be required to sustain it into the second generation.
Today, many of the problems addressed in this film are even more apparent.
If you have 57 minutes of your precious time available, please watch. If not, I’ve done the work for you. Allow me to present my thoughts below.
Please know that even though I homeschooled my kids for 10 years, I am still fairly new to people within the Christian Homeschool Movement. Julie Anne (and if Hester is so kind to offer assistance) would be able to answer specific questions about the Botkins. I still feel like I’m a bit of an outsider on the Christian Homeschool Movement.
The Botkin children open this documentary by lamenting about how they are hard pressed to find anyone within their circle of friends who is willing to follow their parents’ example of Biblical homeschooling. As a result, the Homeschool Movement is in a crisis. According to the Botkin clan, the young adults of today lack direction, lack vision, are moving away from their parents’ principles, and are abandoning what their parents sacrificed so much for. Young adults need to stop blaming, take stock of their own sin and take action.
In other words, this is nothing more than a propaganda film for the parents and the soon-to-be-fading leaders of the Christian Homeschool Movement. The entire focus of this video is how young adults are abandoning their parents’ views, which leads me to wonder (and wander off topic for a minute) if any of the parents’ parents homeschooled them?
I would guess that the First Generation parents were not homeschooled. Wouldn’t that mean that the homeschooling parents rejected and abandoned their parents’ views of education? Why was it alright for them to move away from what their parents thought about education, but it’s not alright for their children to educate differently? When I think about our family, my children were not educated the same way I was. Was I rejecting what my parents thought was important for education? Absolutely not. My husband and I are not my parents and we have different life circumstances and decisions to make. I don’t expect that my kids will homeschool their kids. They need to make their own life decisions based upon what is best for them and their family.
Since this video is more about the parents, it is not surprising that the problem with the impending doom of the Christian Homeschool Movement is the Second Generation: it is the sins of the Second Generation, not the weaknesses of the families or leaders, that are the problem.
These sins are:
- The Second Generation doesn’t seek God for ourselves. The First Generation had a desperate need for God because they came out of non-Christian homes. The Second Generation doesn’t have this desperation and displays false piety and are not truly saved.
- Second Generation Adults don’t take their sins seriously. They are careless, lukewarm, and hostile to God.
- SGAs are proud. Kevin Swanson enters the fray here (Yay!) by stating that homeschoolers talk all the time about higher test scores, admittance into good colleges, etc. However, God isn’t interested in achievements, but is interested in how kids honor their mother and honor God. The problem with this line of thought is that K. Swan and other homeschool leaders are constantly bragging about how much better homeschooling is to public school or Christian private school. At the end of this, one Botkin child says that pride is the silent killer of the Homeschool Movement.
- Second Generation Adults don’t engage the world. They are called to take dominion of the world (judge it, disciple it, overcome it) and Second Generation Adults are not contending for the faith.
- Second Generation Adults are defined by laziness and complacency. The First Generation knew that life is a battleground and that they were fighting a battle. The Second Generation doesn’t care about the war. There is no room for being laid back or pursuing one’s own interests.
- Second Generation Adults are bitter instead of grateful. Ugh! – my least favorite word ever – bitter. SGAs who were homeschooled need to stop blaming and despising their Christian parents’ homeschooling because they are despising the plan of God. The right response is to be grateful for everything done for them. My favorite line is, “Some of us were not given a very big vision, but we can take whatever we have and grow it. Even if we don’t have perfect parents.”
What will become of the Christian Homeschool Movement if the Second Generation Adults don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps? Of course, the freedom to homeschool will be lost. Statism will take over every aspect of our lives. And, if Second Gens are not homeschooling, they are not honoring their parents. I do not agree with this at all, especially since we are seeing a rise in homeschooling across the United States, as more parents are displeased with the school environment or curriculum choices. Where I work, I talk to parents all the time who are thinking about, or are new to homeschooling. Homeschooling is not going away any time soon.
I think the Botkin’s concern is that if the Second Generation Adults who were homeschooled don’t homeschool exactly like they did, the chance of Christian dominion over the world fades. And, as the First Generation homeschool parents and leaders age, their influence over the second and third generation begins to fade. Growing old stinks, doesn’t it?
K. Swan offers these words at the end, “I am very optimistic of the future.” He’s only optimistic if you Second Gens follow in your parent’s footsteps though. You better get busy – leading your own lives and making your own decisions!