Summer Reading for Parents with Teens
Is homeschooling the right thing to be doing? Are we doing the best for our teens by having them learn at home? These are some of the questions you may be asking yourself as the year comes to a close, especially if there are courses your student fell behind in or it is looking like a fourth year in high school might be needed.
Parenting teens can be a challenge. Home educating them even more so. This is one reason why a community such as HCOS can be a support during seasons of questions over direction. Currently there are numerous hot topics in our culture that you will undoubtedly come across with your teens. Having an understanding and perspective is such a valuable tool in our conversations with our kids. In light of that, I’d like to suggest some not-so-light summer reading. Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality is a book by the Christian apologist Nancy Pearcey. This book was mentioned by Phil Hills, one of the conference speakers at the HCOS RenewED conference in August 2018, and I searched it out on Amazon. It is a book that deals with heavy ideas and subject matter but is a page-turner nonetheless. I stayed up late reading it. This short (268 pg) read has chapters on political, cultural, and ethical touch-points including abortion, euthanasia, the hookup culture, homosexuality, transgenderism, and social contract theory.
Pearcey posits that the secular ideas that drive the moral revolution that we live in has its roots in some essential divisions or dichotomies. She explains how the concept of truth has been divided into:
- Theology or morality, which is private, subjective and relativistic, and
- Science, which is believed to be public, objective and valid for everyone.
Another dualism that drives the moral trends we see is the body/mind division where the body is seen as completely unimportant and the mind as all-important.1 Does any of this sound familiar? These are the gnostic, “vain babblings” that Paul was warning Christians about in the first century, still alive and well.
Questions about life and sexuality scare many Christians. Sometimes we bury our heads in the sand and hope it all just goes away or we react with disproportionate outrage. Neither method is loving or constructive in furthering the gospel. 2 Timothy 4:2 exhorts us to “be ready in season and out of season.”.
Pearcey’s book makes sense out of the emerging philosophies driving fundamental changes we see in society. It gives us loving and compassionate ways of understanding and dialoguing with people struggling with issues like promiscuity, homosexuality and transgenderism. It gives us words to communicate hope and light in a dark season.
What does all of this have to do with homeschooling next year? As I read the book, I began to understand how important it is that children have a grounding in the truth where morality rubs shoulders with science and social studies. I understood more deeply how critical it is to prepare students for the false philosophies they will encounter, so that they can compassionately respond with truth. I encourage you to search out Biblical worldview curriculum in Science and Social Studies. Assign extra reading. Read it with your kids. Talk, argue, discuss often! Repeat! This summer a great way to start is with Nancy Pearcey’s Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality.
1Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2018), 12-19