The Real World

A homeschooling mom recently wrote about the reaction of a relative upon learning she would be homeschooling:

She told me that [my daughter] is going to get a real shock when she finally finds out what the real world is like.

This concept of the real world bothers me.  What exactly is the real world? Is it the inner-city with windowsill gardens, street gangs, and risqué women on each corner? Is it the suburbs with cookie-cutter houses, fenced yards, and block parties in the summer? Is it the small town with corner stores, farms, and roads where no one drives over 40 miles-an-hour? 

The real world for today’s traditionally schooled child usually involves after school care until one or both parents get off work. For teenagers, it involves hanging out with friends at a shopping mall, in a parking lot, or at someone’s house where no parent is home. Is this the real world in which I should desire my child to live? Is this the kind of lifestyle that really prepares them for life after high school?

The truth is that I do not want my children in the real world anymore than I want to be in it! The greed, selfishness, materialism, and other sin in it remind me constantly that this world is not our home—our home is in heaven. Our time here on earth is to glorify God and His Son, Jesus. In order to do that, my children need to know Jesus, so they are immersed in the Bible, in church functions, and yes, in a Christian homeschool.

Does this mean that my children are completely sheltered from the realities of life? No. In fact, I feel my children have a better understanding of the human mind than I did at their ages. They know how others think and act because they come into contact with people of all ages on a regular basis: the postman, store clerks, sales people, relatives, neighbors, and church members. They understand teasing and standing up for what’s right. They know that a sinful nature by any other name is still a sinful nature!

So, the next time people mention the real world to you, challenge them. Ask them to define the real world. At what age did they feel ready to handle the real world? Ask them how often they, or their children, interact with people of various ages and compare it to how often your children do the same. You might be surprised at how the conversation goes.


Kelly Huckaby is a Christian/Wife/Mother living in Oklahoma with her husband and five homeschooled children. Visit her at for more homeschooling support.

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