Friday, November 09, 2007


It's two o'clock in the afternoon and something is nagging me. I've stopped everything and thought I should work it out here.

Why is it that when I choose to protect my kids from what I have deemed "dangerous" or "contrary" ideas, I am seen as an overprotective coward?

I found my experience public school to be difficult and unsatisfactory in the realm of education and personal development. So, I homeschool my children. And, as a result, I'm prejudged to be a christian alarmist who indoctrinates her children with all sorts of radical christian ideas... and likely to grow bunnies in the back yard.

Sigh.

Whereas the truth is: My kids learn their abc's just like in school... and their school days are filled with science (secular and faithbased for comparison), history, math, language arts and so on. There's no hidden extremist agenda classes in the basement. Nothing other than an open bible every morning... and a lot of discussion about what is right and what is wrong according to that bible. Not spooky, extremist or alarmist. Just what my husband and I thought would be best for our kids.

There's a few fiction stories that have come out in recent years. I'd heard from both sides of the aisle about what we "should or shouldn't do". I took them as suggestions not commands. And, I approached the books/movies cautiously... Eventually I found out that the kids did see the movie when they weren't under my supervision... and it provoked some discussion. Good discussion. My children haven't read all of the books, and as the movies progressed they became less and less interested in their dark nature. (It was already lost on me, so I was fine with the hoopla being over.) They won't likely see the last one... but it will be because their interested has waned.

There's a new movie based on a 12 year old book of fiction coming out. The kids and I were only vaguely aware of it. I came across a dear friend's blog where she writes about the controversy of it all. I did my research and responded. My response? I feel obligated - based on what I learned in my own research - to be cautious. I was also concerned that in an effort to be "openminded" christians may find themselves marching alongside a professed atheist who says he hopes to undermine the church.

Here's a portion of a response that was written right after mine:

"Was witchcraft around before J.K. Rowling brought up the idea of a school of witches and wizards? Uh, yeah. Were there anti-christian people before this author….and many others? Uh, yeah. I think that I agree with Niki on some things that there are ‘alarmists’ and that people often react like frightened sheep……a quick bleat and then turn as a group and run. Nevermind the thing that triggered it was a blowing pile of leaves, or a playful pair of kittens practicing their hunting skills.
I have taught my girls (7 and 14) that before you are afraid of something, try to understand it. Before you freak out and run, do take a good look at things and learn from it. This of course, does not apply to playing in traffic or running with scissors or other maternal must-haves. The point being that being educated and thinking for yourself is not just a good thing anymore, it’s MANDATORY to function in this world we live in now."

Sigh.

The idea of my kids becoming fascinated with witchcraft and atheism is a little more than a pair of playful kittens or leaves blowing in the wind. I am a Christian. Avoiding the very appearance of evil is what I'm learning to do... and I have unashamedly taught that principle to my children too. Though... discerning what appears to be evil and what is really harmless is where the heart of the discussion lies... and it will be a discussion that will never end. There are as many opinions as there are people.

I obviously have a different vantage point than this reader. I do not think that children our children's ages can or should learn from everything that's available to them. I as a parent have been given both the authority and the wisdom to guide their learning. It's as though we are building a home and I am deciding - depending on our surroundings - just how much insulation our home requires. And, in the secular viewpoints of witchcraft and atheism I have chosen to insulate our home just a little bit more than most. For now.

I think a lot of times parents can pride themselves in just how "informed" and "cutting edge" they've allowed their kids to become. As though it were some kind of strenuous feat. I find that my it takes great strength, attention and guts to stand up and say "here and no more".

There is a lot of learning that has to be done before I introduce my children to the very real world of witchcraft and atheism. And, they're not at the age of understanding yet. This doesn't make me an alarmist, extremist or even a stick in the mud.

I'm just a parent.

It's what I do.

That's my rant.

Now, back to the 200 word fiction papers my kids are writing... ironically.

-Jennifer-


1 comment:

Deb L said...

I home schooled my oldest for a year, and wow, the criticism and doubt people would speak at me! I wanted to ask them how they could actually think that I was less capable than the people at the school. The school with the secretary who would send out letters with mis-spelled words!! (helloooo, use spell check, moron!)

There are people teaching kids, even at the high school level, who never took advanced classes in k-12, who took only the bare minimum of basics on college, and then a handful of classes in their "field". And people think that such a person, in a room with 30 kids, can teach; but you, with a college education, in a pleasing environment with waaaay fewer than 30 kids, cannot??

I could rant on your behalf for ages. I read a great article recently, that you might get a chuckle out of.
The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

And I read a nice blog regularly called Larger Families It's weird to me how many people are rude to ME with our having only 3 kids. I don't feel like we have very many kids at all. LOL.