Sam Sorbo on Home Education: Don’t Let Schools Undermine Parental Authority
By Movieguide® Staff
Actress Sam Sorbo, an advocate for home education, encouraged parents to continue raising their children on a foundation of faith and discernment, despite the challenges of schooling during COVID-19.
Sorbo wrote two books on homeschooling and parenting—They’re Your Kids and Teach From Love—which offer helpful ways for parents and teachers to instill godly qualities in children.
In an interview from August 2020, Sorbo shared the importance of the parent’s role in a child’s development and learning.
“School forms a wedge between the child and the parent,” Sorbo told The Christian Post. “But when the parent chooses to home educate, the parent becomes the lead teacher/learner for the child, which strengthens the relationship in a way that the school necessarily destroys.
“When a parent drops his child off at kindergarten, he is tacitly telling the child, ‘I am incapable and the school now has authority over you.’ When the child returns home with a permission slip and says, ‘Daddy, you have to sign this!’ or ‘Mommy, the teacher says you need to sign this,’ the parents’ authority in their own home is undermined,” Sorbo continued. “Then, when teenagers rebel against their parents’ strict rules, we roll our eyes and claim, ‘It’s just what teenagers do.’ I refute that. It’s what they are taught to do by a system that denigrates parents and undermines their authority.”
Sorbo added that there needs to be a biblical balance of love and authority to protect and encourage children.
“How can you learn without love? Love opens the heart, and the heart opens the mind. That is, in part, why Jesus showed love to the world. If He showed anything else, what would we possibly have learned from Him?” Sorbo said. “But you also want to show your students a love for learning because that is the value that you ultimately are trying to inspire within them … Finally, we must love our children. That’s why it is so important to cultivate a strong relationship with them and not allow external institutions to interfere with that relationship.”
Sorbo often claims that the best way to build up children’s morals and values is through home education.
“Another reason I think homeschooling is imperative is because of morals and values,” Sorbo said. “We have ceased to teach those things in public schools. We teach the very opposite: Evolution and survival of the fittest. It means that our children are accidents of nature, and there is no good higher than the personal good. That necessarily devolves into bullying, and people wonder why we have a bullying problem! It’s all we teach!
“On a fundamental level, the child will never trust any authority,” Sorbo continued. “Not the school’s, because clearly they lie with that contradiction, and not the parent who has subjected the child to that authority. And we wonder why there is looting and rioting in our streets today. It’s what they’ve been taught.”
As prominent streamers like Netflix continue to add content that blurs the lines of morality and revels in immorality, teaching children discernment is essential.
Movieguide® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr says parents fail to teach their children discernment for a variety of reasons. He writes:
Teaching children discernment is difficult for many parents because they:
WERE NOT taught discernment themselves;
DO NOT grasp the full magnitude of a solid Christian worldview themselves;
DO NOT watch the movies, hear the music, go to the websites, or play the games that engage their children;
DO NOT understand the cognitive, psychological and spiritual impact of the mass media on their children;
DO NOT understand that their children view the media “syntactically” in terms of the visual, aural and emotional elements of the media (such as the action and adventure in movies and rhythm and beat in music), while parents usually see the media “semantically” in terms of meaning, message and moral implications (such as the sex, violence, foul language, and message in a movie and the obscene lyrics of a rap song), while reviewers critique it “aesthetically” in terms of their artistic elements, and very few of them understand the other person’s perspective;
DO NOT understand how the mass media of entertainment influences their children differently at various different stages of cognitive development;
DO NOT comprehend the principles behind teaching discernment and media awareness other than discussing (or complaining about) a form of media or locking media devices in a closet, and then playing board games or going for walks.
For Sorbo, many of these principles extend to education.
“We need to be teaching children that there is good and evil, right and wrong, and that they should aspire to things outside themselves,” Sorbo said.
Sorbo said she understands the fear of being inadequate to homeschool but pointed to God’s Word and the gift of raising a child to encourage those on the fence.
“I am here to tell you, you are perfectly qualified to teach your child. Children are a gift from God. Why would you send a gift away for someone else to open?” Sorbo said. “If you personally struggle with math, then this is an opportunity for you to overcome that while relearning it with your child… But don’t subjugate your authority to anyone else’s where your children are concerned.”