Related to the Friday Heart of the Matter meme on sheltering our children, I've been thinking about inappropriate sheltering. There are a few things I wish homeschooling parents would not shelter their children from: religions, mythology, evolution, creation.
- "You read to your kids about Buddha? Why do they need to know anything about Buddhism?" Really, I have been asked that question. My kids did not become Buddhists. Nor have they converted to any of the other major religions we've talked or read about.
- Some parents don't want their kids exposed to any mythology. I can't imagine forbidding the Greek and Roman myths. We have read and re-read, and listened and re-listened to the D'Aulaire's Greek myths. My kids don't pray to Zeus. They do love the stories and they love knowing the allusions to them in literature. But then, I have also heard of homeschooling parents who don't expose their kids to literature other than the Bible, because "it's a waste of time" and "all trash." I am very thankful that my mother didn't feel that way.
- I know parents who expect their kids to grow up without ever hearing the basics about evolution. Imagine going to college or into your first job and hearing about evolution for the first time. Regardless of the parents' beliefs, the children should have a working knowledge of these basic concepts. Why do parents want to hinder their children and make them look ignorant? Rebecca at The Upside Down World put down some interesting thoughts on that topic recently. I don't really agree that parents should not teach Creation Science or Intelligent Design if that is what they believe, but I do think parents put their kids at risk if they don't expose them to different ideas. I think kids who suddenly have these "secrets" exposed to them when they hit college age are at great risk for losing their faith, and for losing trust in their parents.
Sheltering is good, hiding is not. Kids have to know the world they live in. Yes, we are not to be conformed to this world, but we are to live in it effectively. Our children won't be effective if they are ignorant.