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Homeschoolers: A Lifestyle of Opting Out Part 2

Read Part 1 of Homeschoolers: A Lifestyle of Opting Out

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both Examiner.com and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity. In addition to reading her posts at TheHomeSchoolMom, you can follow her search for truth (and blunders along the way) in family, faith and culture by visiting her blog, seeluminosity.com.

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Comments

  1. Julie Scott

    Along with the homebirths (which we actually didn’t do, altho we had 4 natural births (no epidurals, inductions, etc) in the hospital), you could have also included breastfeeding for longer than the “norm.” Mine all nursed to at least age 3, and the latter 3 tandem nursed with their next older sibling…. so precious. 🙂

  2. Sasha

    I would like to know if there are statistics on family size when it comes to homeschooling. We are a family with 8 children. We truly believe children are an heritage of the Lord. So we have had as many as we could and we school them at home considering it to be a responsibility placed upon us. (besides, we like having them around!) We have many homeschooling friends and family with 5 or more children.
    I think the “opting out” personality comes before the homeschooling and all of the other life choices. Our family follows all of the choices you have mentioned in your article. I think our combined life exprience led us to make these choices as we continue to learn at home.

  3. Williams Family

    This article touches our family right to the core. We relate heavily on each point. I agree on the nursing as well mentioned above:) so much to say and relate on but I will leave it there…excellent article;)

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