Sex Ed for Homeschoolers, Part 1: Too Little, Too Late

HSBAPost_Fletch_SexEdRecently on the Homeschooling In Real Life podcast and blog, my wife and I discussed the topic of teaching our kids about sex. As you might imagine, we found that sex education continues to be a subject matter that parents struggle to discuss with their kids. Even as I typed and titled this blog post, I’m sure there are some readers who will choose to click right on past. Although “Sex Ed for Homeschoolers” continues to be a topic many of us don’t always want to talk about, I propose that it’s time we get serious and start talking with our kids about sex.
If you have read my previous articles here on The HSBA Post, you will know that I am not one to shy away from a good discussion. At HomeschoolingIRL, we chose to confront this topic head on and began the discussion out loud with our listeners calling it: “How Do I Talk To My Kids About Sex?”  A highlight of this episode was an informal interview I did with graduates from homeschool, private school and public school. I asked them a simple question: “How do you feel your parents did teaching  you about sex?”
The response to that question was overwhelming and revealed to us that we need more than one episode on this topic. As homeschoolers, there is more for us to learn and discuss about this subject. In the meantime, I’ve developed a few things to share with my readers and plan to do so here on the Homeschool Post in several parts.

Too little. Too late. 

First, most of the graduates I spoke with answered me loud and clear: They DO NOT believe their parents did a very good job teaching them about sex. I recognize I was speaking with younger, more recent graduates, and they have a tendency to be a bit more critical of their parents. That was to be expected.  My own sons are the first to critique my parenting skills. I did the same thing. At the same time, I did have a few young adults who reported positive experiences learning about sex from their parents.

However, whether positive or negative, nearly every single response from homeschooled, public schooled and private schooled graduates followed a simple theme: my parents shared too little information and it was given to me too late.

 

Following up on these discussions with some of the homeschooled graduates, I found three repeated patterns. The parents either said nothing, or they addressed the subject of sex from a strictly biological perspective or they used a canned purity curriculum without discussion. That left most of the students I interviewed to pick up the details about sex from either their friends, the internet or school (non-homeschoolers).

 

Tight Lipped Parents

In part two of this discussion, I plan on tackling the topic of transparency, but in the meantime we need to start talking about our silence on the subject of sex. That sentence sounds funny huh? My fellow homeschooling parents, we can no longer choose to be silent with our kids on the topic of sex. I’m not pointing fingers at you, I’m speaking from experience here.
In our past life, we decided to over-shelter our kids. We lived in a homeschool bubble of conservatism where we had limited discussions about tricky subjects like sex. Shaded in very good bible verses encouraging us to “not awaken love before it’s time” we didn’t want to give our children an appetite for sexuality. So we just ignored the discussions. Until when? I don’t know. I guess we were going to wait until we believed our kids were “old enough to handle the heavier subjects.” Regardless, let me be clear with you: We blew it! Our first two sons have been very honest with us. We showed up to the discussion too late and we were underprepared for what they wanted to discuss.
My encouragement to the reader is that we cannot afford to be silent on this topic. From advertising, to entertainment, to sports, to the workplace, the world has saturated our culture in the topic of sex. Our kids are going to be bombarded with images and phrases from a very young age. It is imperative that we show up and help them navigate through these things.

 

The Birds and The Bees

Regardless of their answer to my question, most of the homeschooled responses expressed dissatisfaction with the “biology only” education they were given. Most grads shared that their parents taught them the basics of anatomy and how the reproductive system worked. Some told me that their parents referenced farm animals or family pets to illustrate the actual mechanics of reproduction. Essentially, sex education in these homes boiled down to a unit study on reproduction. Although scientifically accurate, most of these kids said they were either confused or laughed it off and learned about human sexuality from friends or the internet. Friends and the internet? That was the better option? I don’t think so.
Again, as homeschooling parents we get to enjoy the daily interaction with our kids in every other subject. I think we are missing an opportunity to speak with our kids about the topic of sex. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting a “one and done” discussion, but a regular ongoing dialogue. A discussion that considers our children’s ages and then matures as our children mature and prepares them for the world they live in.

 

Purity Curriculum

Most of the graduates I interviewed spoke positively about their parents who used purity curriculum. Most said that their parents dedicated a special time or a weekend to discuss purity with them. We use a purity study in our home and I cannot say enough about the curriculum offered from Family Life Today that we have used with our daughters.
However, we had a few of these young adults mention that their parents still chose not to discuss anything with them. They were provided bible verses and studies about purity and then told to return if they had any questions. One response stated that the materials were implemented alongside their other subjects, but again without discussion.
As I mentioned earlier, we are either not showing up to the conversation or we are getting to the conversation too late and unprepared. For those parents that are having “the talk” with their kids, can I recommend one thing further? Instead of one conversation, would you consider making it a healthy ongoing dialogue? Along these lines, I had the opportunity to interview my friend Barret Johnson from I.N.F.O for Families. He has written a tremendous book called “The Talks: A Parent’s Guide to Critical Conversations about Sex, Dating and Other Unmentionables” where he puts together that very premise. These should be “talks” that start young and continue into adulthood. That is exactly what I am recommending.
Our kids are not stupid and in every other area of their life we hopefully encourage them to strengthen their curiosity. The same should be true about God-given sexuality and we should not be afraid to have the conversations with our kids. If you are struggling with this topic or lost in knowing how to go about it, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of “The Talks,” by Barret Johnson.
In part two, I plan on discussing transparency and the choice to be honest with your kids and the fear that may bring to some parents. In the meantime, what do you think? How has it worked in your house? I’d love to hear your comments.
From one dad to another,
Fletch (13 Posts)

Fletch has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog, theMangoTimes and every other Friday you can hear him on the HomeschoolingIRL podcast which he cohosts with his wife.


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The Parenting Road to Good Character

Teaching Character by Example

Parenting is like a road that begins before our children are born and carry on through the entire journey of a life.  I think most parents hope this for their children, that they will grow into productive honorable men and women. But when does good character training begin?

teaching good character

 

It’s not always easy, this thing called parenting. Some days you smile and laugh at your adorable child as they smile up at you and bring laughter into your heart and you think all is right with the world. Other days you feel like you are going to lose your mind when you repeat the same instructions, over and over and over again, and again. Yet, that is our job, to train up a child. The child’s job is to learn and this is most often accomplished by repetition.

So how do we train up a child to become adults that have honorable character?

I believe, like anything, the earlier we can begin to teach, train and lead our children in good character qualities the more grounded they will be when they reach adulthood. It begins by setting an example. Children learn best by the example that we live before them. {Tweet This} They see it, hear it, observe it and reflect it in their own life. We set the standard for them, from the earliest of ages.

As our children get older and we begin to set expectations for them and they begin to reflect the life we have lived before them from their earliest childhood. We will begin to see who they may become when they reach adulthood. They will reflect the example you have laid for them. This is where the do as I do becomes do as I say and the two better be aligned. If they do not, then you will be living a lie in front of your child.

Which Parenting Road are You On?

  • If we want our children to have a strong work ethic but we sit on the couch and watch TV all day, then they see that work isn’t very important to us.
  • If we want our children to be honest, yet we lie to cover our tracks, they learn that a “little lie” is preferable to honesty.
  • If we want our children to have strong marriages and we spend our time husband bashing, we fail to honor their father in their eyes and they learn that marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
  • If we want them to exhibit patience, kindness and love to others, yet they hear us grumble, complain and yell at them when they don’t get it right the first time, then they are learning that patience, love and kindness are not as important as the appearance of getting it right.

Parenting your way to good character

We can’t have it both ways. If we want our children to grow up to have good character then we need to walk our road exhibiting good character and we can not swerve from that path. It’s not easy. It requires us to live honestly. If you haven’t been setting the good character example then you can start today. Make changes to show you say what you mean and you mean what you say because you are living the example. Your parenting road should be a the example you want your children to grow into.

What do you believe contributes to children growing up into honorable adults who display good character?

Renée (15 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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What is So Great about a Homeschool Convention?

Homeschool Convention is Great for Continuing Education

A Homeschool Convention is a great place to feel encouraged, connected and re-energized for your role as a homeschooling parent. Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned homeschooler, there is always more to see and more to learn.

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 Homeschool Conventions

Children are not static beings, they grow, learn and change levels throughout their educational life. Unlike public school teachers who are trained to teach one age level,a homeschooling parent will need to learn, grow and adapt to meet the ever changing needs of their children.

There is no better place to do this than at a homeschool convention.  Think of it as your continuing education resource. {Tweet This}  Most offer more than just a sales floor to buy curriculum. Many offer a wide variety of seminars and conferences. It is at these conferences that you can learn and explore a wide variety of educational topics.

Possible Topics at a Convention

  • Homeschool Methods
  • Learning Styles
  • Special Needs
  • Organization
  • Marriage and Family Encouragement
  • Humor in Homeschool
  • Gifted Learning
  • Legalities & How To’s
  • Homeschooling with Preschoolers
  • Homeschooling through each level, elementary, middle, junior and high school.
  • Notebooking, Lapbooking and Unit Studies

Going to a convention can be extremely rewarding or extremely overwhelming. That is determined by what you expect to get out of it. If you go with the thought that the convention is the place where you will have all of your homeschooling questions answered, then you will most likely walk away disappointed. If you go with the mindset that you will have a chance to physically window shop for curriculum, ask specific questions about the curriculum, listen to speakers discuss curriculum and be encouraged by other homeschooling families and speakers you will walk away feeling encouraged and uplifted.

Great for Encouragement

There are other great things about a homeschool convention, but for me, the greatest thing is connecting with other homeschooling families. {Tweet This} Whether you meet a mom waiting in the hallway or in a seminar, you find yourself exchanging emails and/or facebooks and before you know it those connections become a thread in your woven homeschool community.

This year I’m excited to be going to Great Homeschool Convention for the 4th year. I’m looking forward to their wide variety of vendors, the 100′s of individual seminars and of course, at the Cincinnati location, the aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air. If you see me there, stop and say “Hi, Renée.”

GHC Registration

Renée (15 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


A Word From Our Sponsors

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 - http://www.seethelightshine.com/store/unit-studies/sunflowers-unit-study.html***