Tonight I thought a lot about my children and their social needs. We homeschool and my kids do not have peer based relationships. I am not only aware of this fact, but I have orchestrated it intentionally. My kids are very precious (obviously) and I am not going to send them to learn socialization in a forced, unhealthy for them, environment.
John Holt writes in “Teaching Your Own”, “In all but a very few of the schools I have taught in, visited, or know anything about, the social life of children is mean-spirited, competitive, exclusive, status-seeking, snobbish, full of talk about who went to whose birthday party and who got what Christmas presents and who got how many valentines cards and who is talking to so-and-so and who is not. Even in the first grade, classes soon divide up into leaders (energetic and- often deservedly popular kids), their band of followers, and other outsiders who are pointedly excluded from these groups.”
I have found this to be true in my own experience. Sure, I made friends, but school was very harmful to my soul. With a lot of thought my husband and myself decided a few years back that our children are very young. We would like them to become good friends with each other. We would like them to learn social graces, manners, and to know how to be young gentlemen. We would like them to have a firm foundation and understanding of who they are. We would like them to know the joy of have a few very close friendships based on mutual respect and shared interests. We would like them to learn and stand firm in all these things before send them into peer-based groups. We are not the norm and I don’t care. I’ve seen the “norm” and don’t want any part of it for my family.
Family is the best social role model children can have. If there are no drugs or illegal activities going on and the unit is fairly and relatively healthy, family is the best place for a kid to learn security and acceptance. Most of my time is spent with my family.
I gave up a promised date with one of my children tonight in order to talk on the phone. It’s okay and he knows that we will make it up this weekend, but I don’t like to make it a habit. I homeschool, then I spend time with my children simply enjoying them and not doing school work, then I have laundry and cooking, and then I have a husband who needs my love and attention as much as I need his. I hope my children see this and know that they will come first. I get flack for not talking on the phone more, but it’s just more time invested in my family. When I became a homeschooling mom, the only phone time I had left went out the window. I can make appointments and short calls, but I don’t like to stand my children up too often. Sometimes I wonder where these parents of children get all their phone time, but I try not to judge back. A wise man once said that when we judge another, we are revealing what’s in our own hearts.
There is a real issue in our country in which sports heroes and actresses and reality stars are lifted up and given seats of honor. If I should send my kids to school, they may actually buy into this garbage. There are true heroes in the world and many great lessons to be learned from their brilliant lives. I want my kids to know those heroes. I have little science and engineering geeks as children. They are not gifted in physical strength and they are not gifted with the popularity gene. They are completely obsesses with science, history, art, building things, and the Lord. They have an understanding that Christ lives in their hearts and that they are the church.
If my children went to school and won awards for sitting the still-est and quiet-est in class and for finishing their busy work and taking great tests, I would be kind of proud. If they got over their shy-ness and became great athletes and did well in sports and got invited to all the great parties the athletes have (only, they didn’t do the drugs with them), I would be a little happy for them. If my kids went to school and became popular and they had great flattering skills and had a bubbling leadership personality needed to be popular, I guess I would be happy. But my children are none of those things. Instead they are Christian boys who ask questions because they want to know that they are not believing in a false Lord. My kids are extremely in tune with right and wrong and they know when they need to make amends. With those qualities, I am extremely proud.
Because we are holding off on introducing them to certain intense and mature situations, we are an extremely tight-knit family. We value each other above all things, including technology. Chris and I have decided to share our faith with them in hopes that they would see Christ too. Our days are not wasted. We have spiritual values and live very differently from how both Chris and myself were raised. The thing is, we are not all that rare. There is a generation of parents in the same leg of the journey as us and they are living the same way. I have met many of them. Some of them are reading this right now.
Christ once said that it is an honor to be persecuted in His name. Everything we do is in Him, for Him, and with Him as our forward focus. We will be misunderstood, but not by the One who matters.
Have a good weekend and enjoy your family!