Today I had a meeting of the mom-minds… with some terribly wise ladies who have “been there done that” with this whole homeschooling high-school thing. Stepping past that milestone this fall is a big thing for me, knowing that I’m now going to be responsible for not only keeping track of school hours (Missouri thing!) but also that now my curriculum choices and class credits I award, etc. are going to be following Rocketboy around on his transcript until college, maybe beyond… it’s a big deal!
What really stuck with me today most of all though, was how blessed we are to actually be able to be homeschooling at all. There are so many countries in this world today who are unfriendly to the whole idea of homeschooling. Last year, a family of children in Germany were taken away from their parents who dared to think they might be able to teach better than the state. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Another incident happened back in 2013, children taken, parents jailed– and it makes me wonder how many others there are that don’t make the news. There are many states in our own country who have such strict regulation of homeschooling that it is enough to scare some would-be homeschooling parents into forgoing it entirely.
Now, I don’t want to get into the political ramifications of whether regulation of homeschooling is a positive or negative thing here, or whether homeschooling should or shouldn’t be a political issue at all. That’s not at all the purpose of this blog. But at the same time, I do know that to those of us who do homeschool, we love the time we have with our children. We love the chance to see that lightbulb flash on in those “ah-ha!” moments of clarity. We love seeing our kids who may be years apart in age loving each other, and taking care of each other, and being closer than they would’ve been had they been separated every day.
I am so thankful that I will never have to worry about whether that school “active shooter” situation is something that my children are facing. Heaven forbid. I am thankful that I will not have to argue with the school district about pulling my innocent-hearted elementary student out of an agenda-driven sex-ed class. I am so thankful that I will not have to console (or medicate) my child after they’d been bullied so badly they now have been diagnosed with PTSD and extreme anxiety disorders, like one of the now-homeschooling moms I met today. I am so thankful. There aren’t enough words.
Some will say that homeschoolers are raising children in bubbles. That we are being too overprotective. That by sheltering our children we are doing them a grave disservice someday when they have to get out there “in the real world.” Of course, I strongly disagree. My children will spend the majority of their lives out there in “the real world,” the most I can do right now is to lovingly protect them from it as long as I can while instilling a “wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove” mentality. A General does not send his newest recruits into battle. He trains them, drills them, equips them to understand the realities of war. Only then will he send them out.
An article I read recently spoke of the large numbers of families joining the ranks of homeschoolers after the horrible shootings in Florida and Texas this year. I am glad that more families are seeing the wisdom in homeschooling, but am disheartened that their hands were forced by such horrific circumstances. Several homeschooling bloggers reacted by putting out posts about how they’ve been homeschooling since the beginning for this reason or that reason, but the one reason they never homeschool from (and neither should you, they say!) is out of fear.
They say that pulling your child out of a dangerous public school environment, no matter whether it’s to keep them safe from potential shootings, abusive teachers, or excessive bullying, is homeschooling “out of fear.” That the “real” reasons you should homeschool, the “acceptable” reasons, are because you want to provide your children a better education than you think they’d get elsewhere, or religious/moral/values etc. reasons are okay, but “out of fear” isn’t. There’s a lot of putting down going on in some circles, and it’s pretty sad.
I am thankful for the new families in our country who have realized that homeschooling is a legitimate (and frankly, awesome!) way to educate children. I am thankful that as our numbers swell, our way of life will become more and more “mainstream.” I don’t think it matters how you got the point of homeschooling. The one thing we all have in common is that we’ve realized that our children are precious, and should be our top priority. And that’s a bold and beautiful thing.
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