Thursday, December 25, 2003

We prefer not to 'shelter' our kids...

That is a statement homeschoolers often hear after they've mentioned to a friend or stranger that they homeschool their children. My cousin also heard it after she told an acquaintance that she sent her children to a church-based private school. I've found it to be mildly amusing for two reasons: 1) the fact that those making the statement have made an unwarranted generalization and, 2) the usual inconsistency with the assertion that their kids are not 'sheltered.' In all honesty, I cannot fault someone for making a generalized statement about homeschooling if they have not been around homeschoolers. Their idea of what homeschooling is, and what homeschooled children will look and act like is, more than likely, based on negative stereotypes. Yet their assertion that they intend to not shelter their kids is typically inconsistent. The reason for this is that, by nature of being a parent, they are sheltering their kids. If they have any sense of parental responsibilities they will agree that the expectations they have from their 5 year old will differ from those they have from their 17 year old. The issues I discuss with my 8 year old now will not be exactly like those I discuss with her when she is 16. If we are doing our jobs as parents, then we are preparing our children to become adults. Suffice it to say that, if someone truly believed that they should not shelter their kids, then they would have no issue with enrolling their children in the local public school that has the highest rate of violence... after all, you said you weren't sheltering your kids, right?

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