by Hope Mucklow July 10, 2021
Provocative title eh? It rings with a promise of solution to what baffles most parents in 2021. The question is whether this answer is the best choice for you and your family. Only you can figure that out. But in this blog I will share with you insights I have gained.
I had returned to middle school public teaching at the time of my pregnancy. My colleagues all had bets that I wouldn’t make it to the end of the school year before that baby came, but I did. In fact, she came just in time for me to have to return to the classroom without missing a day for pregnancy leave. Thankfully, my mother came to stay with her that first week back to school because she was too young for daycare.
For the next 4 years, I dropped my precious bundle off at “teacher day care” then headed to school. But, I was disturbed that numerous tweens and teenagers were getting the best of my energy only for me to lose it on my daughter at the end of the day. While it led to some creative song writing inspired by Mary Poppins (you can read the blog posted below) it really was troubling. It’s a bit more complicated with health issues, but the bottom line was I had a choice, save the world at the expense of my family and health or save my health and family and go out on disability retirement. It was a tough decision, but out I went.
Off I entered into the world of homeschool pre-school. I thought I would lose my mind even with my motivational songs that I seemed to sing 24/7. The isolation was so lonely. I barely made it through the week to church services on Sundays of where they expected me to teach the Pre-School Kindergarten class (as if I didn’t have enough of this all week long.) There was a local MOPS program that I happened to join just as it was ending. The best I had were foreign nannies at the park who talked amongst themselves and my daughter had to play with babies since all pre-school age children in the greater DC area went to formal Pre-schools. The depression was so great along with a strong community of parents who heralded the local elementary school. So when the time came, we enrolled in kindergarten.
I walked her to the bus each day. I volunteered in her class of 24 children where one solo teacher attempted to teach. It was interesting to watch these brilliant children, one in particular, rule the classroom. Oh this little five year old guy was so smart and talented. He knew all the buttons to push to ensure that he was the center of attention at all times. The teacher was ok, but how could she ensure that 24 children learned how to hold their pencils properly and that the letter D works best if the line is initiated from the top? How in the world does a school like this get great reviews? I believe it’s because the parents all cared. They read to their children each night, took them to museums, played with them, and made the difference.
However, doing just this one day, my husband broke terrible news to me. On a weekend, he had taken my daughter to spend time with a caring retired occupational therapist of whom he did home upgrades for who alarmed him that she didn’t hold the pencil or crayons properly.
I spent the remainder of the year constantly correcting my daughter’s pencil hold. I sent special grips to school and email requests to the teacher emphasizing her need for guidance. The result was an ensuing three years of declined interest to pick up any crayon, coloring pencil, pen, and even paintbrush. We had ushered in a battle of hating writing.
Since my health wasn’t doing well with the climate up north we relocated to Miami. There I was excited that she would be eligible for bi-lingual public education and signed her up for 1st Grade. Fortunately, she had the best teacher, who was so talented she got promoted towards the end of the school year. Thankfully, her long-term substitute teacher was wonderful as well as the principal. However, my daughter hated the school cafeteria mayhem, the disruptive students, and poorly funded library. She begged to be home schooled. Ironically, her teacher encouraged it.
So the next year we entered the world of home school co-ops. Thankfully, one of the moms there was a more modernly trained occupational therapist who pointed out that it really doesn’t matter how my daughter holds the pencil. So we began to work towards healing the distain for writing and coloring since I finally back off with the constant corrections. Support from the co-op was mixed. We made some friends, but it was tough. Families were spread out too far across Miami Dade County and supporting one another through out the week wasn’t feasible.
Here lies the problem. We keep thinking we can play god. This rugged individualism, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and DIY (Do It Yourself) American values are only setting people for unrealistic expectations of self and others.
I recall concluding as a public school teacher that it was never the students fault for anything, nor the parents, nor the administration. The buck always stopped at the teacher. The teacher was to be the perfect administrator, technology expert, parent, counselor, nurse, pastor/priest, and of course content specialist. But at least I was given a planning period. There’s no break during the day as a home school mom. The children even follow you into the bathroom. Now of course one can teach the child not to do that, but enforcing it without another adult at home isn’t as easy as you think. This is why Todd Wilson, The Familyman, has a huge home school support ministry and comic book to help bring some relief.
We are not gods. But too many women happily volunteer and try to be it. Think about it. Every year a day is set aside to gather around and call your mother blessed. Books, gifts, cards, and other paraphernalia adorn slogans on how great mothers are and how they forever hold our hearts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Proverbs 31. But, if there is anything I’ve taught my daughter it is that I am not her perfect mother nor should I be. She has a perfect Heavenly Father, her Creator to parent her flawlessly instead.
But there is a major problem, many have been mislead, blame, and do not know who this perfect Heavenly Father is. They are angry and have exchanged His role for a people led organization called world wide government. The other problem is there are numerous individuals who claim that they know God who only know Him on an immature literal level. I believe these individuals are perpetuating the first group I described. My daughter’s experience this week at a prominent Christian college’s summer camp proves this point.
Thankfully the camp content, nursing, was top rate, she liked her roommate, and made a great group of friends. But the rules, the dress code for girls in particularly, the lack of sufficient sleep (11 PM- 6 AM isn’t enough), and artificial Christian atmosphere came across as religious abuse not encouragement. My daughter described the featured speaker/preacher as a self-aggrandizing fake who failed to minister to one of her friends who was willing to give Christianity a second chance. But, her friend’s issues were too messy, uncontrollable, and inconvenient for the speaker/pastor to listen to. Thankfully, my daughter and her new group of friends provided the support this young lady needed.
To me, the answer lies in getting the roles straight. But the first step in this process is finding out who the God of the Holy Bible really is. He is not some cosmic kill joy, power hungry ogre, or distant clock maker. Nor is He an easy pushover who loves and accepts every ridiculous and childish attitude, belief, and behavior. Why do you think Jesus had such harsh words for the religious leaders of the day? It was because they misrepresented YHWY time and time again. And they lorded their power over the little people.
Parenting and teaching our children is one of the greatest opportunities to be like God. Personally, I think that YHWY uses fatherly language in order to redeem those hurt by their earthly fathers. Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is described by feminine pronouns. Wisdom is God too. In fact, that’s Jesus who was very much a man. Stop letting your bad experience with a certain parent or gender give you the excuse to continue in ignorance as to who the real true living God really is.
Then, after you have your own personal identity as a redeemed child of the King of Kings who repents because you are so overwhelmed with this new found inheritance grow up. Leave the childish understanding and simplified ways to think, believe, and act behind. Then listen to your children regardless of their age. Guide and raise them appropriately according to their individual needs, not according to assembly line robots. It’s YOU the parent who can make the difference not the school choice. Listen to your son or daughter. Guide and direct them. Most importantly point them to their perfect Heavenly Father when you inevitable fail them.
#homeschool #privateschool #religiousabuse #christianevangelism #churchcamp #parenting