Saturday, September 3, 2016

Homeschooling & Being Afraid of the Whole Entire World

I'm not super impressed with the people that our society is churning out. There. Said it. Off my chest. The expectation of what you should do and who you should become as a person in North America is just the absolute worst. And I'm not talking about the usual notion that people-are-terrible-because-they-want-lots-of-things-and-big-houses. That's neither here nor there. I'm talking about, many people are terrible because they are trained to be terrified, and they live their life based on it. Myself included. And it creates half-versions of ourselves, scared and shrivelled, and the result is terrible.

Many of us live in a squished-down fear bubble that won't pop and there's this undeniable truth that most of us kind of like it because it's safe to be scared of the whole world. If we live afraid of the world, at one point or another we can say, "See! I was right! The world is awful and we have reason to be scared of it!" and being right is a type of safety, I think.

So, when I tell people we've decided to homeschool our children - that we will start Kindergarten in our own home - the automatic belief is that we are homeschooling our children because we are terrified to send them to "regular school". We must homeschool because we must be afraid. Maybe we're afraid of violence. Maybe we're afraid of terrorism. Maybe we're afraid of the sex education system in Ontario. Maybe we're afraid they'll get pregnant or do drugs or be held down and forced to take an injection of Gardisil. Maybe we're afraid that they won't learn enough, that they won't fit into the confines of a grade system. Maybe we're afraid they'll be labelled with a disorder, that they'll be bullied, that they'll be changed. That they won't "turn out" Christians. Maybe we homeschool because we are scared to send them into the system.

Friends, our God is bigger than that.

And I can freely tell you, none of the above is true. We are homeschooling our children beginning this month because we aren't afraid. We aren't afraid that we will mess them up. We aren't afraid that they will lack opportunity. We aren't afraid of creating socially awkward creatures that lurk the skirts of the playground. We aren't afraid to let them learn in their own home.

We know many people who send their children to public school, many who homeschool and many who send their children to a faith-based school. Every person we know has their purposes for choosing a particular school system: some see their children as little missionaries, shining lights in dark places. Many see their children as precious metals, to be nurtured and protected. Some have schools that are nearby to their place of work. Some just simply need the break from needy voices and hands for six hours a day. None of these reasons are wrong.

But our reason is because we have confidence that it is families that are going to change the world and we have a rare opportunity to find out if that's true. We hope that by living out our days together - as a family - our impact in the world will be stronger than it would be apart. John and I are in an industry where we work many weekends and many evenings and daytime is our sacred resting place. We work together and we work from home. Daytime is when we do our creative work and our play, it's when we take walks, go to the gym and cook good food. Our days are our soft places to land, and our weekends and evenings are our work and community rhythm. So, by sending our children to a school system in the days, we would miss the evenings, miss the weekends, miss the soft and wide open spaces of play and rest and learning, and that's simply not worth it to us. We aren't afraid of what would happen if we sent our kids out to school; we instead are working to protect the intricate bonds of our little girls' little hands in ours, and be with them in our open spaces so they can have the very best of us, and we can teach them how to navigate the world.

We will homeschool because we are not afraid of family, we want to embrace it. We want to give our children the opportunity to find who they are in the sweet space of their own home, believing it will spill into the rest of the world with a wildness, a sense of freedom and a confidence that can change the future and maybe look a little different than the fear we have come so accustomed to knowing.

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