People have called her "older than her years" and I've heard "mature" used as an adjective. But when I look at this particular student, I don't see a person who has reached full development. She's insecure as all get-out, though you'd never guess from how she hides it in public. She struggles to communicate, though she has developed the skills needed to redirect attention if someone gets too close to topics of depth. And her worldview has been warped by horrific experiences she's buried with the other casualties of life in the backyard. Don't get me wrong: She is a lovely, love-able, engaging individual who could go far in life, if she lets herself. She's spent her years in public school where she learned most of her evasion techniques and runs isolated through life.
Another girl has been labeled "naive" and "clueless as to the harsh realities of life." But when I look at this young lady, I see someone who is ready for the world. She's confident, though you wouldn't peg her as stuck-up. She communicates clearly and well, though she may be less pushy than me when it comes to offering her opinion. And her worldview has been shaped by a loving family, a supportive community, and a desire to help bind up the wounds of those injured in the war-zone of life. She is a lovely, love-able, engaging individual who could go far in life, if that's where God takes her. She's spent her years homeschooled where she learned most of her communication techniques and formed the relationships she will carry through life.
This post is not about how all homeschoolers are fantastic kids. That goes without saying <grin>. Homeschoolers can be awkward and have strange priorities. But really, are homeschoolers all that different? We may, at times, be a well-behaved bunch, but we're human and have our own strengths and weaknesses. So I'm not writing to say that homeschoolers are simply better prepared for life (though, we may be <smile>).
This post is about maturity.
It seems people who promote public schools as an important part of growing up tend to talk about "maturity" in an "adult entertainment" sense. It's like you become "mature" if you end up in really dark places. The more messed up your past, the more "mature" you are today. That does not make any sense to me. In fact, the ones who have been through unbloggable horrors are often so scarred that they are in desperate need of help and grace before they can become well-functioning people again.
So, for me, maturity comes when we are able to walk into dark places and share love and grace with those who are there. Whether we've had a rough past or not, I believe we are mature when redemption is at work in and through us by the grace of God. And we have amazing opportunities to practice and develop forgiveness and grace in our own households as homeschoolers. So are all homeschoolers mature? Of course not! But the benefit of homeschooling is that we can focus on building a true, deep maturity in our kids. We can do so without getting sidetracked with the odd, pop-culture view of sin exposure.
And really, anyone who complains that a family that just reads the Bible doesn't know about sin clearly has not read the Bible.
I got on this topic today because of Cindy's fantastic post Public Schools and Naive Kids. I highly recommend you swing by her blog and give it a read.
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian