Spend some time around homeschoolers, and you’ll discover that there may be a lot of similarities about them that often go far beyond simply the way they choose to educate their children. Part 1 addressed some of the ways, other than education, that many homeschoolers choose to do life differently from the norm. Interestingly, the choice to teach children in a way that goes against the status quo often belies an approach that permeates into many other areas of homeschoolers’ lives – the approach of “opting out” of the culturally accepted way of doing things. From choices about socialization to vaccination, it’s not a surprise that parents who so conscientiously (often at great personal and familial challenge) choose a non-conventional way of educating would also question the societally “given” path in many other areas. By questioning what most of society takes for granted, and investigating each potential choice or avenue fully, homeschoolers are able to make individualized decisions for their families that best meet their own needs and support their own priorities, rather than the priorities of their culture.
Here are some additional areas in which many homeschool families take the narrow road; choices many home educators make that challenge the conventional way of doing life:
- Homebirths – Research has demonstrated that the mortality rate for infants born at home is no different, or less (a perinatal mortality rate of 20.2 deaths out of 1000 babies for those born in the hospital, as compared with 1.5 deaths out of 1,000 for those born at home, in one study) than that of infants born in the hospital. Many homeschoolers have chosen to “opt out” of the generally accepted norm that the hospital is the best place to have a child, and instead choose to labor and deliver at home, with the aid of a midwife. For information and research on the homebirth approach, visit gentlebirth.org, or read The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer.
- Courtship versus dating – Courtship is a decidedly different way of approaching opposite sex relationships that is primarily Christian in nature. Some Christian homeschoolers choose to forgo the modern approach to dating (which places emphasis on romantic connection), and instead seek to embark on a path that emphasizes purity and commitment. Courtship is the process of exploring the life and family of the opposite sex for the purpose of leading to marriage, and it involves parental guidance and advice. The courting couple commits to maintain physical purity until they are married. For more information about courtship, visit polynate.net, or read reformedonline.com.
- Extra-curricular activities – While sports and dance lessons are standard fare for most American children, some homeschoolers choose to minimize the number of extra-curricular activities in which their children participate. Particularly during the younger years, these parents choose instead to put emphasis on activities around the home, and around service to others. While homeschoolers are often involved in a variety of activities, many home educating families are particularly careful to make sure that those involvements do not take precedence over family life. For some research and information on “opting out” of overscheduling, visit familylife1st.org.
- Alternative medicine – While traditional medicine has provided tremendous gains in the health of society, some homeschoolers choose to integrate an alternative path to health and wellness. By utilizing more systemic or holistic approaches and investigating all possible avenues for wellness (instead of unquestioningly following a conventional medical path), many homeschoolers seek to investigate minimally invasive and more natural means for treating illness and maintaining health. Some examples include chiropractic care, acupuncture, herbal remedies (such as garlic for ear infections), traditional Chinese medicine, vitamins, naturopathy, and a focus on overall nutrition. For an “opting out” approach to health and wellness, check out mercola.com or Dr. Andrew Weil’s website.