The moral deterioration taking place in America is obvious. On the whole, the younger generation is far more immoral than prior generations. It is sad to say, but it seems a man’s word is no good anymore. Trustworthiness has indeed become a rare quality.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of marriage. Divorce rates are sky high. And regardless of the causes, divorce involves the forsaking of one’s word to his or her spouse. The husband and wife promised “till death do us part.” Yet many people today are willing to break this promise and sever this most sacred relationship.
But don’t think for one moment that this willingness to break one's covenant vows starts in adulthood. No way. People learn to keep or break promises at a much younger age.
Moral character is developed in one’s youth.
It is therefore of monumental importance how we train and develop the moral character of our children. And part of the how is where. It matters where we educate them.
But wherever that place be, it must still be recognized that all parents should be educating their children at home. Children can go off to a school for seven hours per day, but parents should still be teaching their children important lessons in the home. One of the best places for this is at the dinner table.
Unfortunately, moral education in the home does not happen for everyone. Many families are too busy or too distracted by the television. This leaves school as the primary place for moral instruction. This is a scary thought.
This is scary because even if parents seek to do their job at home, they will often be fighting against what is being taught in the schools. I am speaking mostly of public schools here, but this also includes many private schools and even Christian schools.
There are two problems for schools today when it comes to morality: (1) Most schools do not teach good morals; and (2) The students are a bad moral influence on one another. Let’s look at these separately.
(1) Most schools do not teach good morals. This should be obvious. Public schools today cannot legally teach religion, which means they have cut the foundation for moral education. This is because God and His Word are essential to morality. So instead of schools demanding Christian ethics and the keeping of the Ten Commandments, they are left with groundless commands to “be nice to others.” This nonsense has failed miserably. In fact, without Christian ethics, public schools have resorted to relativism and doing “whatever feels good.” This is behind public schools teaching immorality in sex education classes. (Why are schools even teaching this in the first place? It is the job of parents.). Sadly, this immoral instruction has very real outcomes, and public schools are laying the groundwork for illegitimate children and future divorce. Secular private schools, though usually better, have some of these same problems. Christian schools can and should be much better, as they claim to adhere to Christian morality. But it depends on the school.
(2) The students are a bad moral influence on one another. This point is accentuated because of the lack of good moral education in schools. However, this is a potential problem even in strong Christian schools. Parents must come to grips with the fact that there are many bad children out there, largely resulting from bad parenting by other families. Yet it only takes one or two problem children to bring down a class. But in schools today there is far more to worry about than one or two bad apples. The vast majority of children today have cell phones (with internet access and all) by the age of 12, if not much younger. This is quickly destroying any innocence children once had—and it is very sad. Children today are becoming sexualized at way too young an age. Many children also use bad language, listen to bad music, are obsessed with celebrities, and lack moral standards and respect for authority. Not all schools are the same, but the moral decline on average is worrisome.
There is also the concern that friends at school often replace parents as the most important people in a child’s life. Part of this is simply the fact that the amount of time spent in school is greater than the time spent with parents. This is one of the major problems with any type of school—it disconnects children from their family.
This is why homeschooling is so valuable today. Granted, homeschooling is not easy. It takes time and hard work. But there is a growing number of resources out there to help (which this site helps provide).
Homeschooling allows parents to have greater control over their children’s education, as well as gives them more time to teach good morals (problem #1). This point is key. All education is moral education. So it is not a question of whether morals will but taught, but rather which morals will be taught. To brush morality to the side in education is to train children in godlessness. But if parents want to teach good morals, they should ground all education in the Christian worldview.
Homeschooling also prevents many of the negative influences of schools today (problem #2). The point of homeschooling here is not simply to isolate children. (In fact, children should interact with other children and adults at church and in homeschool groups.) The point is to limit interaction with negative influences. “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), and this is even more true for children. Children are developing morally. They do not have the moral fiber and backbone developed to withstand bad influences like adults do (or should).
So yes, in a sense parents should "shelter" children. Children need protected from many evil influences in the world. That's all that is meant by "sheltering." The moral backbone needed to withstand bad influences comes with time. And in time, properly homeschooled children will be in a much better position to withstand immoral influences in higher education and in the workplace.
The world needs more people with moral principles—which means the world needs more children raised in a good moral environment. That’s why we need homeschooling.