A Homeschool Tempest in a Teapot

So the press has found some dissatisfied homeschooled adults. This must make them so happy. Nothing like a little controversy to boost your website traffic.

It makes sense that there will be some homeschooled adults who are dissatisfied with how they were raised. Just looking at the populace at large, what percentage are unhappy with the way they were raised? Probably a good portion, judging from the number of self-help titles published over the years for readers trying to get past their problematic childhoods. Why should homeschoolers be any different?

In this particular case the focus is on a certain type of homeschooling family, known collectively as Quiverfull, according to the article. (That name stems from a book very popular among Christian homeschoolers in the 1990s.) This has been a trainwreck in the making for some time. I knew several families like those described in the article; given their strict beliefs, particularly as they applied them to their daughters, rebellion was inevitable. After all, once your girls get out into the world and discover that there are options in addition to marriage and motherhood, some of them are going to want more choices.

When my first book (Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers) was published, I had trouble getting a booth at a certain homeschool conference to sell it. I couldn’t even get a response from those running the conference. I was later told by someone in the know that the problem with my book is that it encourages girls as well as boys to become independent adults. The families running the conference didn’t want their girls to get any ideas, I guess.

Now, I don’t agree with their mindset and my husband doesn’t either. We homeschooled all our children, daughters and sons, with the intent of helping them be all that they could be. Personally I think we can trust God to lead each child to the right career; those that think all girls should be trained only to be wives and mothers ought to give some thought to how God used Corrie ten Boom and Amy Carmichael.

But just because I disagree with families who raise their daughters to be only wives and mothers doesn’t mean I think they shouldn’t be able to do what they’re doing. There is no agenda-free schooling anywhere. There’s an agenda in public school and private school just as there is in any homeschool. Parents are free to choose how to educate their children, and children are free to embrace or reject their upbringing when they become adults. The article I cited at the start of this post is merely an attempt to foment controversy, so don’t let it bother you too much.

The irony in all this is that many of the young women quoted in the article will someday change their minds. They’ll end up being stricter than their folks. I’ve seen it happen before. Some of the biggest rebels eventually turn into the strictest parents. People are funny, aren’t they?

Women Who Had It All

Twenty years ago, British journalist Valerie Grove decided to interview women who “had it all” for at least 25 years. She defined having it all as:

“…they had to have been married for more than 25 years and have had three or more children, as well as a brilliant career.”

She turned her findings into a book, The Compleat Woman: Marriage, Motherhood, Career – Can She Have It All? Her conclusion was that it was very rare for a woman to be able to successfully juggle a husband, children and successful career.

Now, a British newspaper has marked the twentieth anniversary of the book’s publication by going back and interviewing some of the women whose lives were chronicled in it to see if they think it’s gotten any easier to “have it all.” The very interesting (and lengthy) article is worth reading, but if you’re pressed for time, I’d like to share a couple of key points these women now make, as they look back on their lives from the vantage point of old age. Continue reading

Thirty Years and Counting….

 

Today my husband and I celebrate 30 years of marriage  :)

I don’t know where that time went, or how we got old enough to be married 30 years, because when I look at him, he still looks like my boyfriend. But numbers don’t lie.

For me, it’s been a remarkable time, full of fun and challenges and all sorts of things I never expected. Soon after we began dating, I told him I didn’t want to get serious with a guy because I had big plans to be a reporter in New York City, with my own apartment and a baby blue Chevy Camaro (17-year-olds are nothing if not dreamers!) Instead, I’ve spent the bulk of our marriage as a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. I’m grateful that it worked out this way.

The odds were against us from the beginning. Firstborns aren’t supposed to marry each other because of their perfectionist tendencies, and supposedly people who marry young don’t have good odds for lasting marriages either. I’ve also read that there’s a pretty high divorce rate among parents of special needs kids.

But statistics mean nothing when it comes to God. He brought us together, and kept us together. There’s really no other explanation.

The past 30 years haven’t always been easy, but there have been far more good times than hard times: watching our kids grow and develop, learn to ride bikes, read and write, dance and play basketball, and later, learn to drive, get jobs, and become independent. Over the course of a few exciting weeks we saw our son graduate from college with honors and marry a nice girl from a Christian family. We pray for happy Christian marriages (if God intends for them to marry) and blessed futures for our daughters, one of whom begins college in a few weeks. And we’re enjoying each sometimes-slow-moving stage of development of our youngest son, who did indeed have Down syndrome and who has brought more joy to our lives than we could ever have imagined.

We look forward to watching our family expand with new family members in the future. Maybe someday someone will call us Grandpa and Grandma. Maybe we’ll even call each other Grandpa and Grandma (grandparents tend to do that, I’ve noticed). But no matter how old we’re allowed to become together, my husband will always be the calm, quiet, stable person in this marriage, my beloved best friend and yes, still my boyfriend.

Thanks, God!

An Inspiring Story

I used to be a grief support volunteer at our church. It wasn’t a job I sought out, but one I was asked to do; I only agreed to it after praying about it and feeling prompted to say yes.

Like so many service opportunities, it turned out to be a good experience. I met some awesome people who, despite suffering great emotional pain, taught me an awful lot, even as I sought to help them.

One of the things I learned about grief is that it’s important for the grieving person to keep busy. Grief can be so overwhelming, even for Christians, that it can knock you down. It’s important to get back up and keep moving so you can keep living.

Rosie was one of those people knocked down by grief. Her beloved husband died, and she didn’t know how to live without him. But she did know that she wanted to call attention to prostate cancer, the cause of his death, and she decided that instead of letting her grief knock her down, she would get up and run, literally, to bring attention to the need for a cure for prostate cancer.

She decided to run around the world. It took her five years; she covered 20,000 miles. During the course of her travels, she would be stalked by wolves, meet up with two murderers, be hit by a bus and nearly freeze to death. Oh, did I mention that Rosie was a 57-year-old grandmother when she set out on her journey?

I just have to share her fascinating and uplifting story.