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What’s Missed Skipping Prom?

May 30, 2013

Many homeschooling groups all over the country end their school years with an upperclassmen Prom dance. Many groups also find a reason to hold Homecoming dances in the fall. What is it about this particular rite of passage in institutional schools that makes so many parents want to import it to homeschooling, when they have turned their back on most if not all of the other traditions? One homeschool graduate even gave this complaint that homeschool proms aren’t more like public school ones! Sadly this is emblematic of the secular worldview which has permeated even professing Christian homeschooling families…

I attended homeschool proms both my junior and senior years of high school. While it was fun, it was not the huge, momentous event that it was for my friends who attended school. They all had awesome dresses, got ready together, took a limo and had a post-prom party…or two or three. With homeschool prom, you first have to worry about the inevitable dress code. In my experience, anywhere that you find large groups of homeschoolers you are almost guaranteed to find a dress code being enforced. This has always bothered me. Not because I want to dress scandalously, but because while you may think that a strapless dress is the ultimate sin, I do not and I don’t enjoy having other people’s personal beliefs forced on me. In addition to the dress code, homeschool dances are never as well attended as public school dances and this makes it infinitely less fun. Also, they are chaperoned by parents, not teachers. It is much harder to dance and have a good time with either your own or your friend’s parent in the corner staring you down. And at the end of the night, we all went home to our own houses. No beach house getaway or Disney World senior trip for us.

The intimate couples’ dancing – as inappropriate as it is and as likely to arouse desires with no moral way to be fulfilled – isn’t even really the most serious risk. Sadly, for many of those in attendance, the dance is only the beginning of the night. Although some dance organizers invite parents to attend/volunteer to keep the focus on dancing and not “extraneous distractions” and after-dance mischief, in other cases the parents wave goodbye from the front door and the kids are on their own for the night – aside from a few chaperones at the dance venue itself.

These events are setup by our society as milestones for “coming of age”, creating temptation and huge peer pressure for teenagers “not to waste their special night”. This temptation leads to many mistakes in judgment in the limousines, after-parties and hotel rooms following the dance. After all, their parents and friends all think this dance is so important that they didn’t want to them to miss out on it, right? Movies always make it out to be an amazing event – it must be magical!

Even for “boring” homeschool proms like the ones bemoaned in the quote above, a striking question should be raised by all parents: Why send our kids to a prom of any kind? Why give attention and fuss and money to an event which becomes, at best, a limp shadow of the sin parties everyone knows public school proms to be – and at worst, indistinguishable from them?

Parents who have turned their back on the tradition of institutional school and been willing to reform and be purposeful in that critical area of life – pay attention to these decisions and to the way you talk about your own prom and homecoming experiences, if you had them. Let us hold Christian purity and maturity as higher ideals than an alignment with society around us! Stand strong outside the boundaries – and influence of schools – and help your children see what they truly are missing in skipping prom: nothing they should want anyway…

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