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!