"Do you realize what you are doing? You are going to ruin your child. She is going to grow up without any real view of what the world is like! She is going to be awkward and isolated because of what you are doing. She is going to have difficulty fitting in, being happy, being loved, loving others. She is going to grow up not knowing what all the other kids know. She is going to grow up not experiencing what all the other kids experience. How cruel. I can't believe you are going to subject her to that. My heart breaks for her."
Those comments I have heard more than once, by more than one person. Most don't bombard me with those things all at once but they do come. I am a Christian. I am also a Christian who has decided to homeschool. And to some one those things is bad enough but to add the other means I must be some radical racist who must be hiding in my bunker just waiting for the end of the world. I guess there is some tiny bit of truth mixed in that comment.
I am a Christian and I am radical... for the things of Christ, for my family, for people. Christ loves us with such a radical love that he went all the way to the cross. So I love Him regardless of the backlash I receive, even if it is from the very family I love so much. I love my daughter so much that after she suffered abuse at the hands of another student (you know, that thing called bullying) repeatedly and suffered physical injury, and I watched her get terrible migraines at school whiles suffering emotional injury, and I watched her learning creep to a stop because of mental injury I could do nothing but remove her from that situation.
I didn't make this decision lightly, I did as much research as I ever have for anything I have ever done. And if you know anything about me, then you know I tend to research something more than I probably need to. As I did my research all those comments listed above grew smaller and smaller and all the positive things that I found grew more an more. See I didn't look into homeschooling because I was a Christian, though many Christians do homeschool. I looked into it because I loved my daughter more than I love myself and though the thought of homeschooling terrified me and what that meant for the next who knows how many years I wanted what was best for her.
I saw the statistics and how most homeschoolers are much more well rounded relationally because they learn to talk to all walks of life and ages in everyday life. They are not stuck in a classroom with a bunch of kids who are only their age. They know how to deal with younger, same age and older people. They have no fear of another age population which is sometimes rapid among kids. I saw that their stress levels were much lower but their test scores were so much higher. Their suicide levels, teen pregnancy levels, drug abuse levels, as well as other risky behaviors were all much lower, because their families were a tighter unit, not because they didn't have the opportunity.
Since becoming a homeschooler I have seen that most are much more active in the community, in fun activities, in exciting opportunities most kids can't get because they are so busy with school and homework it leaves little time for anything else. Most excitedly I see that they are free to explore their passions, become what they hope, dream and desire to be without being forced into a direction they would never desire to go.
Just as Robert Frost did when he was homeschooled, he decided to follow the road less traveled and became an incredible poet, one of the countries most beloved. And it was his homeschooling family, particularly his mother, Isabelle that inspired him to be a poet because of the rich literature they read on a daily basis in their homeschool environment.
I will continue to follow the road less traveled because I love my God and my family. I am happy to hear those comments from others who don't understand and will always show them through actions that what they fear for my child, is what they will someday marvel at because they just did not understand the fruit that would come from the road less traveled.
(The above was written for Free Write Friday using what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just write!, [ Writing prompt ~ Talk about a time you took the road less traveled and the differences it made…] Please check out Kellie Elmore's blog for more information on Free Write Friday's, twitter hashtag #FWF and join the fun! Just write!)