Wednesday, November 4, 2009
7:25 AM | Edit Post
- In the state of Wisconsin (and probably your state, too), children now have to be in car seats until they are 8 years old,
- On playgrounds across America, games such as tag and dodge-ball are being banned because "someone might get hurt",
- Several days ago, I received a phone call from my insurance company, telling me that it was time to bring my one-year-old in for his "well baby" appointment, so that he could receive a flu shot. Let me get this straight--I'm supposed to bring my healthy baby to the doctor's office in the middle of flu season so that he can get a flu shot? What sense does that make?
As home educators, we are often accused of "over-sheltering" our children. Might I suggest that it is the rest of the world that has their priorities backwards?
Not long ago, a friend of mine made the decision to remove her child from public preschool. Her daughter was clearly not doing well in this environment. The class size was huge, she claimed to have no friends, and came home upset nearly every day. The bus ride was one hour long. For a four year old? Seriously? Who is supervising those kids for a full hour on the bus?...and what happens when one of those little ones needs to use a bathroom?
Anyway, her mother made the wise decision to take her out of that school. Any "preschooling" her daughter needs she will receive at home. For most reasonable people, this would seem to be a no-brainer. But you should have heard some of the comments she received from "friends"! Comments like:
- "She'll get used to it," (really? that's a good thing?)
- "She needs socialization," (don't get me started...)
- "You can't shelter her forever!"
Come on people! No one is talking about sheltering her "forever"! She's four years old! There was a time when mothers wouldn't dream of NOT sheltering their little ones. The human spirit was considered sacred and precious, and the heart of a child was to be kept pure and undefiled by the world.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
The way I see it, the reason that the "Safety Nazis" have gained such a profound foothold in American culture is because we, as a society, are utterly failing at guarding our children's hearts.
And we know it.
- It begins when we ship our tiny babies off to day care when they are just 6-8 weeks old,
- Continues year after year as we abdicate our responsibilities as parents and hand them off to an endless stream of teachers and babysitters (who spend more time with our own children than we do),
- And ends when our teenagers completely ignore everything we say, cut us off from their lives, and we wonder why we have no relationship with them.
Since we are totally unwilling to alter our lifestyles, live on one income, and accept responsibility for our own kids, we take all of the legitimate parent guilt we feel and warp it into a psychologically unhealthy mixture of worry and irrational overprotection.
I mean, think about it! What's wrong with this picture?
- Parents freak out when their kids climb trees or hang upside down from the monkey bars, but they have no problem with using cable TV or video games as a babysitter,
- We provide our 12 year olds with cell phones "to use in case of an emergency", but we don't monitor their text messages or which websites they are accessing on the internet,
- Parents who wouldn't dream of teaching their teenagers the appropriate handling and use of a firearm seem to have no problem allowing the school system to teach them how to use a...oh, wait, this is a family friendly blog, but you know exactly what I mean...
- Mothers weep and lament when their 19 year old daughters decide to get married and have babies, but have no qualms about sending their daughters off to college with a Gardasil shot and the phone number for the nearest Planned Parenthood office...just in case.
No wonder our kids are confused! We refuse to protect them from the things that can cause them real harm, while coddling them into an existence that consists of nothing more constant, mindless entertainment and self-indulgence. They learn how to regurgitate the right answers when it comes to test taking time, but they have no idea how to work hard, get their hands dirty, or accept responsibility. When they graduate from high school, they know how to psychoanalyze their parents, but they don't know how to balance a check book. They know how to rephrase their speech so that it is "politically correct", but they don't know how to think for themselves.
We must face reality. The government-run public education system is not preparing our children for real life. Isn't it ironic that we, as home educators, are so often accused of "sheltering" our children from real life?
The opposite is true!
The public school system is an artificial social construction at best. At no other time in your children's lives will they be surrounded by a large group consisting solely of their peers...
Unless they decide to become cogs in the industrial machine--and anyone who has spent any time working in a factory will tell you that many of the people who work in factories have never outgrown the high school social mentality!
Home-schooled children, on the other hand, have all sorts of opportunity to experience real life. They have the world as their classroom. They aren't just taught what to think (although, we surely must impart our values to our children), but also how to think. They have plenty of opportunities to socialize with people of all ages--peers, older children, babies, grown-ups, and grandparents. The have free time where they can learn autonomy. They can be given responsibilities in the home, at a job outside the home, or in a family run business.
As someone who went to public school from Kindergarten through 12th grade, I can assure you that there are a lot of things that I "learned" in school that I wish I hadn't...and a great many that I wish I had.
So, yes, I do shelter my children. But no, I do not over-protect them. There is a difference.
A BIG difference.
- I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.
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- ► 2010 (67)
Our Curriculum 2010-2011
Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Literature--Ambleside Online Year 0 Recommended Books
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Science--Apologia Exploring Creation With Astronomy
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*