Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homeschooling Soap-Box

Yesterday became a source of affirmation for me.  A close friend, actually, my adopted Dad, the kids and I went to a park in the closest town near us.  The kids were able to play on the play set and swings while Dad and I caught up on life stories.  While the kids played and we talked, here comes a couple of older boys.  They were too old for a play ground.  Turns out they were examples of being poorly prepared for the world.  They used foul language and were disrespectful.  An old school teacher was there watching her own child and at the same time was enduring their foul behavior.  She finally left and so did they.

My kids told me what they saw and how those boys were treating the grown up, telling her to be quiet (not exactly the words they used), along with their foul language.  It was a golden opportunity.  It was a chance to use what they witnessed to flesh-out what I've been teaching them all along.  It was a real life example of how someone feels around that sort of inappropriate behavior, how those boys are affecting themselves, and what sort of life and opportunities they thought those boys might have available to them once they grew up.  It was a thing of beauty listening to my boys' responses!

Then, as chance would have it, Ralph came home that night with his own example of children unfortunate enough not to be homeschooled, or at least unfortunate enough to have a civil experience of public school and its buses.  One lady Ralph knows told him of her friend who is a public school teacher who teaches first grade.  This teacher came to her in tears because her hands are completely tied.  What she has endured in a first grade class is foul language and foul behavior, including chairs being thrown at her.  The school won't do a thing to back her up or even protect her.  First grade!  It seems so ludicrous I can hardly believe it.

Her second example was her own experience on her son's school bus.  Her son had a hat stolen from him while on the bus.  No one would return it.  She got on the school bus herself and asked the crowd of kids who has the hat?  No one answered of course, and the bus driver was not engaging the situation.  What is so amazing is that the bus driver told her she was bullying the kids!!!  She confronted the bus driver twice as he was persisting in telling her she was acting inappropriately.  She finally said that she was going home to call the police and that tomorrow morning they will be at the school asking everyone what they knew of the stolen hat and who took it.  Immediately the hat was thrown up in the air and landed by one little boy who brought it up to her.

My point for relaying this undesirable information is that it affirms what so many home-schoolers are thankful for, which is the right of parents to educate their children in safety.  In my humble opinion, no child deserves growing up in such commonly hostile environments while trying to

a.) grow up
b.) learn to believe in themselves

Apparently there is a rash of bullying which has culminated in suicides.  Is it any wonder?  My first and foremost question is this - "Where are the parents in all this?"  It is ultimately the parents who must demand unwavering standards in civility, accountability, and judiciousness, not only in children but in the administrators all the way down to the bus driver.  Then the administrators and teachers wouldn't be afraid of keeping their jobs if they were backed up by standards expected from parents and society.  If we want or need someone to blame and expect to change the tide, we must look to ourselves as parents and as members of society.  Everything we see is a reflection of what we as a society accepts, endorses, or rejects.

Home-schoolers are on the front lines taking a stand against such violence and incivility.  It is a colder, crueler world than it was in pre-WWII; again, my opinion.  Ever since then, honor, a hand shake, a man's name, are no longer valuable.  Instead intolerance is the name of the game under the guise of 'tolerance.'  This is the world our homeschooled children will face.  They will be the ones to change it if anyone can.  I hope we don't wait that long.

We do not live a typical life.  Who does anyway?  Nothing worth having comes for free.  It comes from hard dedicated work shedding blood, sweat, and lots of tears.  No one will give us a civil society unless we make it that way.  The 'lowly' family is the source of good or evil in our society.  The family determines what sort of nation we will be today and tomorrow!  We get what we work for, or else we reap something worse than nothing, since indifference multiplies all our ills.

I believe in the hope of my kids and all other homeschoolers!  I also believe in the hope of the kids whose parents do engage, teach and discipline their children despite their attendance of public schools.  They are all providing the leadership of tomorrow.  They are going to be the next source of any hope for peace, civility, and freedom.

Responsibility to your parents, to your children, to your God.  This really binds us together in a way that nothing else does.  If you accept freedom, you've got to have principles about the responsibility.  You can't do this without a biblical foundation.

Margaret Thatcher

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