Double Vision

         Double Vision

My Grandma’s spectacles are queer
It’s almost like a game,
She says she has two pair of them,
Although they look the same.

One pair makes tiny thngs seem big,
“Enlarged,” she says it’s called;
The other makes big things seem small­—
I s’pose they are “ensmalled”.

I never see her change them,
But she always seem to know
Just when to see things pretty small
And when to make ‘em grow!

Some days folks think I’m ‘quisitive
And bother ‘round a lot;
Her specs just twinkle as she ‘splains
“She’s such a little tot!”

But when she gives me gingerbread
Or cookies or a treat,
She says, “A great big girl like you
Needs lots and lots to eat.”

I saved some choc’lates for her once—
Some teeny little ones—
She said I was “an angel” an’
They looked “as big as buns”!

But when I dropped my mug,
And made a big spot on the mat
She said, “It won’t be seen at all,
A little thing like that!”

I’m saving all my pennies
And I’m going to buy two pairs
Of spectacles for father­—
The kind that Grandma wears.

 

 

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Family Acceptance

archeskidsQuestion:

I’ve been homeschooling my children, now four of them, for 10 years, yet I still struggle with the non-acceptance of my family who are very involved with the public school system. We never seem to see eye to eye on many issues, even though my sisters and I are all Christians. We don’t even speak of it any more, yet homeschooling is such a defining part of our lives. I’m not sure how to describe the frustration and sometimes downright depression that inevitably follows any family gathering. Is there any encouragement you can give or suggestions you could share with me or others that struggle with these issues?

Answer:

Friends: is this a familiar story? Can anyone relate? All homeschoolers who have lived with this stand up and say “YES!” Did you hear that? I think it was a loud wave that passed through the nation!

Why the non-acceptance? I have often pondered that and I live with it myself. There are some homeschool moms who seem to be warmly accepted by their family, neighbors and church congregations—but often, this is not the case. I think homeschooling must seem to people like a threat to God, family, country and all other sacred institutions. I know I have had comments made to me by well meaning neighbors and acquaintances that by homeschooling, I am somehow undermining the public school system (and hence the foundations of American way of life and the Constitution, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, it appears!). Isn’t it amazing, though, that homeschooled children tend to be the most patriotic, conservative and law-abiding young adults?

I think a couple of factors are operating here. One is the feeling that all people must do the same thing to be accepted. If everyone wears jeans and you wear a skirt, there is going to be backlash. If everyone eats Snickers and you choose an apple, it is going to cause comment. I think the non-acceptance others express is a mixture of guilt, self-incrimination, fear that perhaps one might have to consider it for their own children and frustration that you won’t fit into the mold that their mind has settled on as “acceptable” behavior. Well-meaning persons may worry that by doing something different, you may be doing something wrong and they don’t want you to be unhappy. Traditions incorporate ancestral wisdom, and going against tradition, even if it is a change for the better, comes with the fear that wisdom may be neglected and the consequences will follow. Some homeschoolers invite persecution by isolating themselves from others socially, or putting on airs that they are better than others. I don’t think this is the case for most homeschoolers though. I think the problem lies with the attitude of our culture towards homeschooling. I see Christians getting the same kind of persecution in Hollywood movies. So please know that you are not alone.

A few experiences that have happened to me illustrated that misunderstanding is great indeed!

  • *my neighbor expressed worry that my son would be able to survive when leaving home at age 19, fearing that I had held him “so close that he won’t be able to function without you”. The truth is that my son waved goodbye and went off on his grand adventure smiling from ear to ear (even if my heartstrings were pulling miserably!)
  • *an acquaintance introduced me to her mother as “one of the few homeschoolers who really DO homeschooling!”… (ouch!)
  • *conversations are friendly at church until I slip and mention the word “homeschooling” or any indication of it, such as: “my kids and I went yesterday morning and hiked in the autumn leaves”. Then suddenly it becomes quiet and strained. I sometimes think they would feel more comfortable if I had said, “I went out yesterday morning and shoplifted at Walmart”!

I know most homeschoolers could add their own stories of feeling so very misunderstood!

My advice? Be YOU. You choose to homeschool. Having your children at home and learning with you is part of your happy, chosen lifestyle. Speak of it, and if others are not comfortable, so be it. I am not advocating bragging, being preachy or making those who choose differently feel judged, but I am talking about being yourself, open and honest. It is more true to yourself and the cause of homeschooling to be up front and not try to secret it away. Time will change acceptance. Homeschooling is a rapidly growing movement and in time, it will be viewed more acceptably. Already, in some big cities, it is a very “yuppy” thing to do!

Being Christians should be a unifying factor, but I know from my own experience that differences in media standards, for example, is enough to make a Christian feel more comfortable with unbelievers (that don’t know any better) than with her sisters in Christ. The depression that follows family gatherings comes because our spirit yearns for love and unity. Somehow we refuse to accept the idea that it won’t be present in a family gathering. Family means loving acceptance, and when it is not there, it hurts doubly so.

If it is any consolation to you, “the proof is in the pudding”. Meaning, that time will prove to your relatives that your children benefitted from homeschooling. I was highly criticized by friends and family about 20 years ago for choosing to homeschool. It was so painful! And I felt depressed about it at times. But as the years have flown by and my children have grown up into remarkable people with college degrees, those who were my critics have quieted down considerably. Some have even come asking advice on how I was able to keep such a close knit family, how my teens stayed on the straight path in such turbulent times, or how I can find such satisfaction in motherhood. All I can really say is, “homeschooling has been a blessing to our family”.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

(John 16:33)

 

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Husband Won’t Let Me Homeschool

Daniel

Daniel

Question:

I am desperate to homeschool my child. I really think it is something God is telling me to do but my husband will not give me his permission. I just know that I could do a good job homeschooling if he would just give me a chance.

Answer:

Oh, I sure sympathize! It is so difficult when you know something would be best for your child, and your husband doesn’t see eye to eye.

Is he a reader? There is lots of great info out there on the negative effects of public school. John Taylor Gatto wrote a paper called “The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher”. Do a search and you’ll find it on the internet. It is very descriptive of the reasons why it does not work well. I also like the book  None Dare Call it Education. Here is the description:

Even if you are homeschooling your children, the large majority of all American children will receive a public school education. That means our future communities and nation will be made up of doctors, teachers, businessmen and politicians who have been trained by the public school system. Considering the current unpopularity of Christian values, this is a frightening thing to ponder! This thought provoking book has been thoroughly researched and overflows with quotes and documented information from textbooks, from the media, from the schools themselves concerning an evil agenda for our children. None Dare Call it Education explains why our once great public school system now graduates students who cannot read, write or calculate. “It is must reading for all parents” says Phyllis Schafley of Eagle Forum. If you need a reason to homeschool or want to help your spouse or relatives understand, take a good look at this book. Paperback pocket book, 266 pages, adult reading.

Have you tried the “as if” principle? Acting “as if” things are just the way you want them to be? One gal wanted to homeschool and she just came and introduced herself and began coming to all the activities and got to know us all well and even got permission to take her child out of school for some of the best field trips. Her husband came to our homeschool choir performance to hear his child sing, and he met other fathers and saw the families and saw that the children were good and respectful and different from the normal public school performances he’d attended. Pretty soon, we were her friends and support system and she was very involved with the homeschoolers and when the first hiccup in school came, the husband allowed her to take her child out and homeschool for that year. He wasn’t highly supportive, but he did allow it and she enjoyed homeschooling very much! And taught us all a lesson in appreciation!

Prayer helps too, a lot. One of my friends, years ago, wanted to homeschool so much! She had a large family and lived in a liberal state, and did not like the effects of public school that she was seeing on her older children. She was a religious person and wanted her children to pick up her values. She was such a good wife, that I was amazed! She never talked poorly of her husband, stubborn as he was. She talked to me about what she could do to persuade him. She tried giving him reading material, to no avail. She tried most everything. Finally she decided to pray consistently on the subject. Months went by when she came to me and asked what I thought. She came up with the idea of fasting regularly for him to change his mind, convinced that if she added fasting to her praying, how could God not hear her and soften his heart?! So I agreed to fast with her on that day, regularly, as it came round. Only a few of these fasting days had past when she phoned me excitedly. Her husband had been sitting quietly in the living room reading the newspaper when suddenly he stood up, stomped into the kitchen, and announced, “Okay, then, just homeschool if you want to so bad!”. Ha! We laughed (and cried) a bit. Apparently, the promptings from God to this husband in behalf of his wife’s heartfelt desires became too “loud” to resist! She was able to enjoy homeschooling for a brief period, but it did remind us both that God can do what we cannot.

What doesn’t help is crying, nagging, frowning, arguing . . . . although we all wish it would!

I hope and pray your husband will have a change of heart. Homeschooling is a delight that I wouldn’t want anyone to miss!

 

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Shouldn’t You Be in School?

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Question:

What do I say to people who ask my kids, “Shouldn’t you be in school?” What do I answer my neighbors, friends, and my own mother? I’m ill-prepared for the confrontation or even accusations that may come from some people, thinking me negligent for not sending my children to public school. How do I answer a stranger or a neighbor who might not really understand…or care? Or do I even bother trying?

Answer:

The question will certainly come to you as you are out and about with kids during the school day. Know that your children will soak up your attitude. I try never to conceal the fact that I homeschool from anyone if I am asked, from the librarian to the store clerk. I answer questions and follow it up with how blessed we feel! I am on my own one-person campaign to change the world’s perspective of homeschoolers!

When someone asks my kids why they aren’t in school, I jump in and answer for them (as I think it is unfair for others to impose their prejudice on my children) and I say, “We are so lucky because we homeschool, and have so much fun together! We love it and are learning so much!” and the kids look up and smile. Or, I say, “We homeschool and I feel so happy to be with my best friends learning—they are so smart! And they teach me so much!” As my children have grown, I hear them answering in a similar way to those awkward questions, and expressing their enjoyment of being homeschooled. It is really hard for people to have a hurtful comeback to that kind of confidence and enthusiasm. Attitude really is everything! Best success!

 

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