Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Homeschool "S" Word- Shelter

I was reading my print edition of TOS Magazine the other day, and in it Gena Suarez had written an article called "Am I Sheltering My Child Too Much?"  It is a really good article (actually the entire magazine is filled with good articles.)  I can remember the first time I read that article.  It came in on of the emails that TOS sends out if you sign up to be on their email lists and I got the email shortly after I had been being interrogated, I mean talked to, about continuing to keep Chelsea at home.  The article lifted me up and encouraged me at the exact moment I needed it.  I even emailed Gena and thanked her and she answered my email!  That really surprised me, that she read and took the time to answer my email.  I shouldn't be surprised that just two days after reading it again, I got sucked into a conversation about the fact that I am over sheltering my teenager.

I get this feeling that when many people think of homeschoolers , they think that we keep them stuck in a bubble (the house) their whole homeschooling life.  That is so far from the truth.  Our children while homeschooling are able to participate in a wide variety of experiences and activities and are not stuck indoors all the time.  In fact as I am writing this my oldest is on her way back from a trip to Kentucky to see the Creation Museum and the Mammoth Caves.  The week before she went to a Young Voters Workshop in Little Rock.  The week before that we were at the Science Museum and she judged a 4 H competition.  Trust me, we do not keep her in a bubble.

But, she is sheltered.  I believe down to the bottom of my heart that sheltering our children is one of our biggest jobs as parents.  My daughter is not exposed to the same things that most children her age are exposed to, I don't understand why people look at that as a negative thing.  I thank God everyday that my children are not in the world dealing with the things that most children deal with on a day to day basis: drugs, bullying, relationship pressure, self esteem issues, peer pressure, and more (that I will not mention specifically on my family friendly homeschool blog, but you get the idea.)

The whole argument that if I keep her sheltered as a teenager I will make her rebel as soon as she gets to leave home, therefore I should allow her to "learn about" these type of experiences now is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of.  First of all, when did everyone decide that allowing teenagers to do whatever they wanted was a good thing?  What is good about it?  Teenagers are just like little kids with more hormones.  They are not capable (most of the time) of making rational, adult decisions.  Why should they then get to do whatever they want, with whoever they want, wearing whatever they want, anytime they want.  How is this looked at as a good thing?

Second, why do people assume you need to let your teens run wild, and if you don't you will cause them to be even wilder when they reach college or are otherwise on their own?  It is almost like people are using this excuse to give their teens a license to do whatever they want.  This is what I was told, "It happens all the time.  These kids whose parents keep them at home and don't let them experience the things that normal teenagers do go to college and go completely wild!"

I don't think (aside from really keeping them locked in their rooms) that you can keep you children sheltered too much.  This is part of our job as parents.  What that looks like for every family may look different.  I pray daily for wisdom and guidance in this area so that I will know when an activity/trip/camp etc. . . is a good idea for that child or not.  Putting them in school so they can experience all of the things "normal" teenagers do is a crazy idea to me.  I don't want my children to be normal.

While we are keeping them sheltered (protected) from the world, we are also teaching them God's word and to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength", and "training them up in the way they should go."  When they are adults, and able to make their own decisions I pray that they will remember that and choose to live their lives in a way that will honor God.  And while you may hear about the occasional child that was over protected and "ran wild" as soon as they got out of their parent's house, you don't really know the circumstances behind it (just the juicy, gossipy parts), and there are that many more teens that grow and mature in the protection (shelter) of their parents' homes and go out into the world without ever going "completely wild."

Protect. Shelter. Teach.  Enjoy your time with your children.  We are only given a few short years to prepare them for eternity.
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