In an interview with DANGEROUS, Dawn Gregg explains why the current education system is a detriment to children, why homeschooling is superior, and the threats many children face in education.
Gregg, the mother of four children in their 20s and one younger child, is a Christian who grew up in Hollywood. As a child actor, she worked with several big names. Gregg advocates heavily for homeschooling and believes that empowering the family unit over the state is imperative to a child’s success.
DANGEROUS: Why did you choose to homeschool?
GREGG: We began this journey in 2000, bringing home our two sons for Grade 3 and Kindergarten. They had attended a private school known for its academic emphasis. The internal tug to home-educate had been growing in intensity. Two specific incidents were instrumental in taking us over the edge seventeen years ago.
During a conference with the teacher of our preschooler, we learned that our son “was behind” because he wasn’t already reading. The teacher was somewhat appalled because, along with that revelation not sending us into a panic, we made no space in the conversation for her dramatic predictions. That didn’t seem to sit well with her. She was stunned when during the same meeting, we thought his drawing of a tree was brilliant. Who doesn’t think an upside-down tree drawn by 4 and a half year old, red-headed boy with freckles is brilliant? I’m pretty sure she expected a response other than the excitement we shared regarding our plan to frame the drawing.
On another occasion, we took our preschooler out of class for the day so that he could join his 2nd Grade brother and me on a field trip. I was serving as a chaperone. After being aggressively confronted by the preschool teacher on campus about that choice, and her not responding well to my inquiring what color, number, and alphabet letter instruction he missed that day so I could catch him up during our 10 minute drive home, we decided that placing hysterics on power trips in charge of our children’s educations was not a fit for our family.
Since then, three children were added to our tribe and home-education became a way of life.
What has your experience been with homeschooling?
GREGG: There are absolutely challenges that come with submitting to the call to home-educate. There is nothing like living in close proximity with other human beings day in and day out to reveal the wickedness inside your own heart and the wickedness inside that of your spouse and those of your offspring!
Power struggles are real. Arrogance is real. Impatience is real. Laziness is real. Pride is real. Fears are real. Resentment is real. Apathy is real. Muck rises to the surface quickly. Idolatry is exposed and it’s not pretty. It’s painful. For us, the process is like the purposeful peeling away of an onion’s skin and intended for our good.
On the flip side, all the pleasant stuff of living life in this manner is real too. Home education is a gift to us that has provided a rhythm that leaves room for little joys and nuanced beauty, that might otherwise go unnoticed, to be caught rather than missed.
Oftentimes, when dealing with the issue of education, heart issues are ignored as behavior modification and academic achievement is worshipped. This is true in the home-education world as well. Sadly, even in the Christian home-education world, for instance.
I think it’s pretty obvious to many that we have a bunch of “knowledgeable,” “educated” little beasts running around nowadays. (See all the prideful little Bible scholars and antifa fools.) When home-education is placed in its proper place, seen as a gift, a blessing, a tool, an act of stewardship and when it is embraced in humility, it is a lovely thing.
There are ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and changing seasons…all teaching lessons to attentive students. Home-educators who understand that they too are students on the journey have tapped into the heart of home-education.
What advice would you give to parents that are thinking of homeschooling?
GREGG: It honestly depends on why you are choosing to home-educate. For us, being Christians, home-educating is an obedient act of stewardship. We were not convinced that educating like Caesar would give us results other than Caesar –like ones. Ultimately we aren’t in control of the outcome of our obedience as all this plays out. However, we have attempted and are attempting still to sow into the lives of our five kids the things that we value and treasure.
What advice would you give to parents to protect their kids if they aren’t homeschooled, or do go to college?
GREGG: How worldviews reveal themselves through art and politics are of special interest to me. We talk a lot in our home. Even so, our kids are slammed on a daily basis by an ideology embraced by the culture at large.
My advice is to keep talking, even during seasons when your kids are annoyed by you doing so. Election 2016 and the aftermath was a game changer in our home. If you chose to be anywhere near mom…you were choosing to put up with current events discussions. Almost everyone else and their uncle are attempting to fill our kids with garbage.
Our job as parents is to train our children in how we believe they should go and, when appropriate, remind them of what they already know, drawing out truths to combat the lies being thrown at them left and right.
Do you dispute the myth that homeschooled children do not receive enough social interaction?
Over the years we have chosen to have our kids participate in activities in our communities. They were signed up for things like baseball, karate, art lessons, music lessons, theater productions, gymnastics, dance class, archery, pottery classes, fishing, hunting, sewing classes, and volleyball.
Exposing them to many areas of potential interest to see what might stick was and is something we value and make a priority. We have also chosen to participate in home-educating co-ops. There are various sorts to be found, ones that fit the needs and desires individual families may have.
We place a high value on relationships in our family, choosing to live life cross-generationally alongside all sorts of people from varying backgrounds. Personally, I find the idea of isolating people into groups by age, for eight-plus hours a day, five days a week for 12-plus years is odd. One of the things I love most about the community dance classes our girls participate in is the fact that they are dancing alongside 60-year-olds, even an 80-year-old, some men, younger children, and boys and girls their age.
What’s it like being a Christian in Hollywood?
GREGG: My Hollywood upbringing has actually given me confidence on this home-education journey. Having been raised on film & television sets with set tutors as educators much of the time, I feel all has fallen into place. The life experiences we have are never wasted if we are willing to see them as intentional and embrace them in that light.
What needs to change in the education system in general?
GREGG: All education is religious in nature. Whatever worldview a teacher holds is what gets imparted to their student. The religion of Secular Humanism is inoffensive to the masses. Marxism is alive and well in the world of academia. free thinking parents, be sure to prepare your students for this. Alert them. Don’t send them out into the culture without the proper training and tools required for battle.
All while keeping in mind that the cliché is absolutely true. You can lead horses to water but you cannot make them drink. Knowing this, it is my sincere belief that we, in our role as parents, would do well to pursue a lifestyle of learning ourselves so that we can pass that mindset down to our children whom we are ultimately responsible for.
Pulling weeds, tending soil, planting seeds, watering them, and pruning whatever growth springs up on the vines which hold the possibility of providing a bounty of future good fruit is part of the job.
Images via Dawn Gregg
*responses have been slightly edited for clarity.