I've been working through two things that have been on my mind and heart for a while. In fact, this post has been written and sitting in draft mode for two weeks. At least.
It's required a bunch of mulling over, and even more prayer.
It's two things I've heard frequently since we started homeschooling.
"Aren't you over protecting your kids?"
and, the infamous:
"What about socialization? What do you do to ensure they're not under socialized?"
I'm getting on my soapbox and I'm not making any excuses or apologies for it.
Long, long, long story short, here is what I have come to believe is the only correct way (for me) to answer those two questions:
"Yes, I am over protecting my kids."
"Yes, I WANT them to be under socialized."
Because, you see, I feel that both of these questions stem from a world view.
If protecting my kids to a Biblical standard is OVER protecting them by a worldly standard, I'm okay with that. In fact, we are called to protect our children. Not just their physical protection, but their emotional and spiritual protection as well. I have been given the great task and blessing to raise these children. To raise them to be godly, moral, Truth seeking individuals who value hard work, honesty, responsibility and accountability. To be people of God who are more concerned with others than themselves. I am very, very convicted that in order to do that I must "over" protect them -- or more simply, I must protect them from living as the world would tell them to live.
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
And if UNDER socializing my kids means that they are socialized to a Biblical standard and not to a worldly standard, I'm okay with that. The "what about socialization" is one of the questions that really gets to me. Do I really even need to answer that one? I've seen what public school socialization does to kids. The biggest issues in high school in the 50's were things like tardiness, talking in class, not turning in homework, forgetting a pencil, etc. The biggest issues in the high schools now? Gang fights, rape, assault, battery, theft, etc. And the list goes on and on. Sickeningly so.
Even the "smaller" problems exist in abundance: disrespect, dishonesty, lack of perseverance, selfishness, irresponsibility, lack of accountability. Do I want that for my children? Absolutely not. What I do want is them to have a safe, healthy social experience.
When we decided to homeschool we decided to become recluses. No field trips, no outings to the grocery store. No park playdates. No trips to the library or zoo. No checking out the local history. It's home, home, home. And absolutely no talking or playing with other people and children that aren't in our nuclear family.
Do you see/hear/understand how asinine that is? But, when people ask me how we socialize our children, I want to have some smart aleck comment like the statement above. "Yeah, we never leave home, so they have a problem with socialization. I see your point." The truth is just the contrary. We are very, very busy homeschoolers. We interact with individuals not only at our own age levels, but those in differing ages, abilities, and environments. I believe that it makes all of us better people.
So, do I over protect and under socialize? Depends on who's asking.
To the world, my answer would be yes.
To God, my answer would be no. I'm protecting and socializing as He would have me do.
The world may think I'm over protecting and under socializing, but that doesn't really bother me. If you know me, you know that I don't generally care what others think of me.
But I do care what God thinks of me.
I take the gift of raising these children very, very seriously. I might not have all the right answers, or know the right thing to say when asked a frustrating question by those who'd rather judge than respect, but I do know one thing.
God called me to mothering. He called me to be the momma and the teacher of these two precious littles.
And God does not call the equipped.
He equips the called.
"These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6: 1-9