January 9, 2013

Small Rant: Shielding Your Children From the World

I was just surfing the internet reading up on the latest homeschool news.  Always a mistake.  Yes, I should be in bed but I'm trying to recover from a not-the-greatest day by spending some quality alone time.  I'll regret it tomorrow.

Homeschool news always prompts comments.  My hubby forbid me from reading those comments several years ago as they usually make my head explode (red-heads are known for their even-keel personalities after all) but every once in awhile I can't help myself.  I keep thinking that the general public will stop making uneducated, ill-informed comments about socialization and lack of accountability.

They haven't.  

Here's my biggest pet-peeve comment from anti-homeschooler commenters: "Homeschoolers just want to protect their children from the world.  Their children will never be able to handle real life."  (That wasn't a direct quote; I was using the quote marks improperly--just in case you were wondering.)

Isn't it my right to protect my children as much as possible from the harsh things of the world?  Shouldn't every responsible parent protect their children from the worst parts of growing up if at all possible?  Wouldn't the world be a kinder, lovelier place if that protection was in place?  The logic of allowing your children to experience awful things is very questionable.  If a child endures bullying does that make the child better?  Stronger?  More bitter?  More angry?  More unsure of himself?  Is there any research to back up the theory that it will make the child stronger and a more competent adult?  If so, why do we spend so much time passing bullying legislation and trying to remove it from our schools?  If it makes children stronger and more capable of "handling life" we should encourage bullying and reward bullies for all the good they do our society.  

What about sexual harassment?  That's a good one.  If a girl doesn't hear 3-10 nasty sexual innuendoes or crass comments a week she'll probably grow up to be completely unable to handle the workplace where that sort of thing is absolutely not tolerated.  At least, not in any of the workplaces I've experienced.  

What other lovely things must our children experience to truly "handle life"?  Drugs?  Loneliness?  Isolation?  I know--how about the vicious meanness my sister dealt with because she refused to allow other students to use her answers?  Excellent.  Can't manage life at all until you've experienced all that great stuff.  Because I deal with it every single day as an adult.  Right?  Don't you?  

And the next question is when should our children experience all this stuff to turn out the optimal adult? Pre-school?  Kindergarten?  Surely if your child can't handle basic bullying by age 8 he's going to be an utter failure in life.  You should make sure he's getting his fair share of bullying right away.  You don't want him to get behind.  Definitely if your daughter can't handle a reference to her pubic hair (I'm a red-head, there's special criteria for harassing us) by the time she's 12 you might as well give up on her now.  She'll be a complete failure in the "real" world.  

Heavens, why not throw them in daycare at birth so they learn to compete for attention, feed themselves, change their own diapers, and comfort themselves when they get fussy?  Wouldn't want to pamper them.  Babies, after all, are only a few short years younger than the kindergarteners who absolutely must be in school to turn out as decent citizens.

My point is that our world is a harsh, harsh place and whatever I can do to allow my children to remain innocent of that fact, I will do.  For as long as I can do it.  The reality is that we can't protect our children nearly as much or as long as we would wish--regardless of how we educate them.  While I understand people being wary of homeschooling (I certainly was before I tried it) the "bubble" argument is stupid.  No two ways about it.  


  1. Agreed. On all points. :)

  2. You expressed it perfectly! I have never understood the logic that they have to experience all of these negative things in order to be a 'real' person. Thank you for taking time to share this!! :D

  3. Totally! I cringe when I hear people say things like, "Well, you can't keep your kids in a bubble!". I need to say, "Why not??!!". Loved all you had to say!

  4. This is great! Thank you!

  5. AMEN. You said it so beautifully. We started homeschooling one year ago when my kids were 18, 15, 12, 9 and 9. My oldest had graduated from public high school and was in college. In her three years of high school, she went from never seeing any homosexuality, to seeing it openly in the halls from multiple couples. Our neighbor girl even got "hit on" by a lesbian in the bathroom. I've done a lot of public speaking about the ills of mainstream media, so I had to note that this perfectly aligned with a very popular song that even our ward young women sang in the car (cringe). It's by Katy Parry called, I kissed a girl and I liked it." Do I want to protect my kids from stuff like that? You bet I do.

  6. Thank you! This is exactly what I have been trying to say (with less success than you) for years! I loved one friend's response when people ask her about socialization: she tells them, "Don't worry, we try to make our kids' experience as close to the public school experience as possible, so once a week we call them names, steal their money, and lock them in a closet!"

  7. "Homeschoolers just want to protect their children from the world. Their children will never be able to handle real life."

    My husband still comes at me with similar comments. Even after seeing out teens and how good they are turning out- even comparing them to other teens who aren't ... well let's just say they aren't turning out so good.

    But what if they have a roommate who hangs a hanger on the door. "She won't know what it means!" Really? I wouldn't have either and I went to Public School in CA. I just avoided that crowd. It is like the mindset that Kindergarteners need tons of homework to prepare them for 1st grade... to prepare them for 4th grade... to prepare them for middle school etc. etc. In the end I think that when they are faced with something -if I have prepared them, if I have taught them what is right and true- they will be able to stand strong and face whatever comes their way.