The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.
Somehow, Dan and I were lucky. He wasn’t interested in becoming famous, or even “successful” … he simply wanted a job that paid well so he could support his family in order for me to bless our children with my presence in their life every day, every hour. It was me who wanted fame, fortune and respect … that is until the day I held my first-born child in my arms. I looked at her and knew she was my reason for living. I poured my heart and soul into my children from that day onward. I’ve succeeded in some areas and royally effed up in others. I’ve done right by them and failed them as well.
Parenting young children is easy. You need stamina, and you need patience. You also need to have a fun spirit. Parenting teens to young adults is terrifying and heartbreaking and thrilling and rewarding. You have to have built trust and respect and a desire to do good in them as young kids in order to bring your child through this period unscathed. It may be impossible, I don’t know. What I do know is that what our schools are teaching our children, both directly and indirectly, is destructive.
We, unfortunately, went the way of school, starting out in Catholic School, ending up in Public School (because of one completely unacceptable teacher and the principle who was willing to lose 5 families, including ours, to support this dope of a man – he was later fired for God knows what).
Kerry went all the way through the school system, from Pre-K to 12th grade. Grady went through to 8th grade, I thank God he never stepped foot in High School, but even more, I thank God for opening my eyes and my heart and ensuring that Maddy, Rowdy, Emmy, Elly & Coby will never see the inside of a school … EVER!
Most people cite academics for the reasons they are homeschooling, for our family the reasons delve much deeper. Yes, I think my kids are getting much more out of their education by doing it the way we are. I think they are more independent thinkers, they have a strong drive to learn, and their minds are open to much more than books and test scores.
That said, the academic side is simply a wonderful side-effect of homeschooling. It is not why we finally had the epiphany and it’s not why I thank God for helping us see clearly. The reason I say school is destructive is because of the “socialization” doctrine that is taught.
Our children are forced to conform, and if they don’t conform to the societal norm they are “bullied”. They are bullied by adults because they hold fast to their religious beliefs or because they wear a shirt with a US flag to school, or they are playing too competitively, trying too hard, or because they are playing cops and robbers on the playground! They are bullied by their peers because they look different or because of the clothes they wear or whatever … we hear all the stories, we are well aware of the plight of the bullied.
But the result is children who grow to be adults who absolutely must be accepted at all costs. They either change who they are in order to find that sought after credence or they file lawsuits to force said acceptance.
But why? Why are we churning out people who absolutely must have the majority on their side, who need to be liked more than they need to be true to themselves? What is happening to our society that our whole being, the essence of who we are at the core is tied to being accepted – even by people we ourselves don’t like? It’s a question that needs to be answered. When I was a child I was taught that words could never hurt me. I was not rocked to the core because kids called me “Bucky” … I was not thrown into a depressive coma because I didn’t develop boobs until I was 15 or so and everyone pointed it out. And in college I wasn’t reduced to law suits because a Professor invited me up in front of 500 or so students as the “Apple Pie naive, oppressive Catholic conservative” that I was.
I think in all my years of parenting, I can wholeheartedly say the answer can be traced to the incredible push by our schools to seek friends above family. Schools encourage friends and significant others for comfort and acceptance and support and guidance and when those friends and significant others aren’t forthcoming, our little children, our babies are even more driven to be accepted, to change, to adapt. And if they fail? Well, then parents become enraged. And they angrily blame the schools. And when the schools become involved, it’s simply to further their agenda and their actions are determined by the who’s and the why’s.
What parents fail to realize is that schools have a doctrine that actually minimalizes the family. When children enter the school system, they are encouraged to make friends … an innoculous and seemingly positive initiative, no? But, unfortunately children are encouraged to replace their family with their friends. First they start by separating siblings on the playground. Next, they forbid siblings from visiting each other during the school day. Then in the highschool years they discourage (or forbid) parental chaperones on overnight athletic trips, stating “We believe it’s in the best interest of our athletes to bond with each other and begin to leave their family as they grow into adulthood.” Actually happened, and Dan ignored it, chaperoning Kerry on a Cross Country trip to Denver … she was 15 and it was a co-ed trip! Come on, please! But this was an easy test for us. One, our 15 year old daughter was going on no co-ed trip without a parent. And two, tell us no and we demand.
But what of those little things you either don’t see or refuse to see. This is just one example out of hundreds, but it’s a powerful one. The message, parents are not welcome, was loud and clear. Do you think those kids stayed in the rooms they were assigned to? Of course not. Do you think those kids even stayed in the hotel? Not a chance. But parents were discouraged from coming because this is what was considered more important. I find it disgraceful. I find those poor parents who blindly trusted a coach they hardly knew, his assistant and the school district so incredibly naive. But this is what it’s come down to. The diminishing of parents, of siblings, of families as a whole.
Back in the day, kids would return home to a loving family, if their days at school were harrowing, they knew home was a place of serenity, a place where regardless of their appearance, they were beautiful, a place where irrespective of their athleticism, they were all-stars in the eyes of their family. Home was a safe place, a place where everyone was loved and nurtured. But today, no-one’s home. Mom and Dad both work, siblings are practically separated at birth. There’s just no-one at home anymore when kids get home and for the troubled, for the ones that don’t fit it, they are in constant survival mode.
So naturally, kids turn to their classmates. The problem is that these kids are of the same age and have zero, a big fat ZERO invested in your child, and truth be told, they are in it for themselves. Does this friend care if your kid smokes a joint behind the school? Of course not, especially if it makes him feel alright for doing it himself. The problem with relying on peers to guide your children is that they are as clueless, if not more, than your own kid.
Families need to take back their children. Parents need to take charge and plot the course for their children’s future and not leave it to the administration at your kids school. Do you believe they have a vested interest in your precious child’s whole being? i maintain they are exhausted and overworked, underpaid and undervalued. ‘They are raising your children. They are instilling their values to the best of their ability. But are these values the same as what you hold dear? And if this is such a successful model why, oh why, do we have such defeated young people in our midst?
And to those parents who cry foul, why on earth are you allowing your children to be treated so poorly by everyone from teachers to staff to other kids? What seismic change occured that it’s now an acceptable practice to teach kids to be victims and not stand up for themselves and be OK with the fact that they are different? When in the world did it become the societal norm to force everyone to accept everyone else? Long gone are the days of behind the school fist fights and in it’s place is mediation between parents and teachers and kids and administrations and communities. We aren’t teaching kids a thing about perseverance. We are teaching them to cry out at the top of their lungs at their own injustice. We used to raise our boys to become soldiers, now we raise them to become anything but. Families were strong and indispensable. You messed with one sibling you messed with them all. It was perfectly ok for one sibling to talk smack about another, but it was not ever ok for anyone else to.
The fact is there is no-one who escapes this life unscathed. We all struggle at various times in our life. And hence, we all must be prepared to be scorned and ridiculed and lose out on promotions and lose jobs. We have to have both the skills and the people (family) in our life to help us get through the difficulties. We have to raise our children to be winners, to be hopeful and always overcome in mind, body and spirit! And it begins at home. The key to a happy and fulfilled life begins and ends with family.
And this is why we homeschool. This is why every night I thank God for showing me this vision for my family … we have finally arrived, albeit a little late to the party, but arrived, none-the-less!
I, too, had a public school-then private-then public school upbringing. I hated every day of school, especially the older I got. It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized just how little I learned academically and how the majority of it was really social/society geared. That was a time span of parts 3 decades and so much of the world in general was changing rapidly, as well.
Nothing, as far as I’ve experienced, has openly and blatantly tried to destroy the family system and undermine parental authority as much as the 1980s and the whole abuse witchhunt that began in the schools. The encouragement of telling if an adult did anything that the child didn’t like or feel uncomfortable with – quickly followed by the “report your parents if they break any laws” BS. Once those were successfully in place in all schools, it’s all been downhill since then.
In my lifetime homeschooling has gone from only being the option for those kids who didn’t fit in with other kids (for whatever reasons) to being accepted more and more for a better learning experience (and with great results); surviving in spite of the school system and some law systems trying to stop it.
I never would have imagined a parent vs society battle over their own kids. Unfortunately I have seen it happen practically in front of my face. For any parents (these days) I would say to them to keep their kids as close to them as possible for as long as possible, and to raise them the way they believe they should be raised. Parents maintaining the choices for their children.
I didn’t even know about homeschooling until a few years into our move to Colorado, when I had to pull my 8 year old out of school because a teacher harrassed him daily, slamming his hands on his desk, calling him names … for no reason other than he was incredibly bright but never did homework and was so unorganied — at 8!!! 🙂 So so glad I now homeschool, it’s the only option for us!! 🙂
You are lucky, because it’s only been in the most recent decade or so that homeschooling has become so much easier (as well as accepted). Better access to materials and lessons and support from more parents out there doing it.
I had the bad teacher experiences, my kids (in the 80s and 90s) not so much. The general environment overall is better with parents than in a “one size fits all” school model. Each child is different and therefore learns differently, and parents treasure that more than the system does.
Sorry it happened to your family, but I’m not surprised to hear that it did. You have made the best and wisest choice by going the homeschool way. 🙂
What a great article! I loved reading around on your blog when I stumbled on it today, but I think my favorite was the picture of mom reading to the little ones while holding the baby and the next sister up was holding the pacifier in the baby’s mouth. It was so adorable. Continue your family life just the way God has planned it for you.
Thank you so much!! :)))
Glad to read that someone else has articulated what I feel! Keep up the stellar blog. I’m hooked!
I stumbled on this blog via Youtube, and like many people here I’m fascinated by what you’ve decided to do with your family. I don’t disagree with the notion that schools can be incredibly toxic environments, and as a fervent supporter of individuality I can see where you’re coming from. I was often made fun of for being different by students and teachers both. I do however, believe that children (and adults for that matter) need exposure to people outside of the family to understand how other families and people function. I’m just curious as to how you balance that need while homeschooling and being on the road? I realize this question might come off as anti-home/roadschooling and I really don’t want it to, I’m honestly just curious. I think what you’re doing is really cool!
Oh, I’ve written so many blogs about this. :)) In short, we don’t live in our RV … we travel from place to place in the RV and live, really live, in the outdoors. The kids (and Dan and I) have friends in every location we stop, and if they don’t they soon make friends. Just this weekend Kenny and Dally met a friend from France. Despite the language barrier they hung out for 5 days straight kayaking, long boarding, scootering, bouldering … they now are hell bent on learning French. I’ve already purchased a program! Their horizons are broadened every single day by the people they meet and the experiences they have. I’m not sure how school compares. You are in a classroom 7.5 hours per day 5 days per week, everyone is from the same neighborhood, the same economic class, they have the same backgrounds, they are the same age … I don’t think you get much of how people different from you function. Children in school are much MUCH more sheltered from real socialization than children who experience life and meet people outside their block! 🙂 I think this is the problem our society has. No-one has a clue how other people live. No-one has a clue there are people different from them. We need globally minded people, or at the very least nationally minded people who have been outside their neighborhoods and enmeshed themselves in other cultures. That’s it in a nutshell…
I was hoping to enroll my kids on a summer theater camp program in my town. When I emailed the director and asked to sit in and watch the exercises and activities, he told me the only option to sit in was if I became an assistant during the program. NO parents are allowed to sit in! Why?? His excuse was that parents watching would be a distraction to the kids. Whatever! What is he trying to hide? Well, I can’t be an assistant. I got 2 more little ones that I got to take care of. It’s cultural – this desire to separate parents from their children. Somehow “professionals”, teachers and others included think they know more about our children than we do as parents. So yeah, I guess I will have to create my own drama workshop for my kids and their homeschooling friends. One that parents can sit in and watch. :/
If every parent would just not enroll their kids, these types of places wouldn’t have any power! From dentists to doctors to schools I interview everyone! If i’m not welcome, I say forget it!! 🙂 Your workshop will be so much more fun anyway!!
Wow, so about 6 weeks ago my husband told me about these people “the kellogg family” and said you have to check out there blog. I am very anti-bloggish, I don’t want to the the set-up faux highlights of someone’s life with great recipes, ugh. But thought the rabbit trail of the internet from the jackson kayak site to YouTube to your blog I stumbled onto you… And you are amazing! Reading this post (honestly it’s the only one read) I felt like I was reading a conversation I have had with an increasing number of people. I feel like you out our family’s feelings into this eloquent little note for the world to read. Thank you for that.
We have sold our house. Crashing in student housing till I finish grad school in December and hitting the road, destination -everywhere. We would love to meet up with you guys some time next year to paddle or just to meet – I am sure you have much experience and knowledge we could soak up. Our kiddos are 2 and 4 and backpack, paddle, and rock climb with us. They see the world as their playground and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’d love to hear back from you, email or call.
Oh heck yeah, we’d love to meet up!!!!!