Chances are good that sometime in the last week you’ve interacted with at least one adult (perhaps more than one) who was educated at home. People in the workplace, teachers and professors, business owners … don’t be surprised to find some of them are products of home education.While schooling within the home and family has been a common practice for centuries, states began adopting compulsory attendance laws about 1852, ceding broader oversight of education to towns and local governments. Though precise figures are hard to nail down, as many as 2.2 million children are currently being taught in the home.
From about the 1970s (give or take), the home school movement has grown. That being the case, the earliest home schoolers are now in their early to mid-40s. Yes, there were home educated students before 1970. In fact, HuffPo provides a 2013 short article and pictorial of eighteen successful people who received their education at home. Long-time observers of home schooling could probably add to that list. Continue reading “Home.Edu”→
Children are known for acting foolishly. Teenagers are notorious offenders, sometimes showing reckless regard or on other occasions failing to weigh the risks. As one example, we’ve all read the tales of teens driving and texting. Not every teen ends up slamming into a tree because of his or her poor judgment, but some do. (The statistics are sufficiently troubling.) Because children (especially teens) believe they’re invincible, they rarely spend time considering possible unintended consequences.
Since children don’t always have the maturity necessary to make good decisions, we give them the benefit of the doubt. When a child has a run-in with the law, his or her records are usually sealed and sometimes expunged after a certain period of time. Today, I’ve mused several times how different the world would look if the records of all juvenile lawbreakers were unsealed and open to public scrutiny. The media frenzy surrounding Josh Duggar’s admission of “inexcusable” behavior in his early teens is a case in point. Continue reading “Imperfect Family-hood”→
We were pups, my brothers and I. At the time, I might have been five, my older brother seven and my younger brother three. (The picture below shows us celebrating my younger brother’s second birthday.) Certainly, none of us knew what conversations my parents had had with their friends, but results from those conversations had a definite impact on us.
Here’s what happened. Mom and Dad were friends with a couple, Bob L. and Dotty. (I think that was her name.) They had two small boys, Robby and Ricky, born two years apart. The family lived in a small apartment near our church.
I think my dad had been friends with Bob when they were both single men; Dad spent his life lending a hand to one or another of his buddies. In this case, Bob and his wife had a troubled marriage and things had gone from bad to worse even before Ricky arrived. Dad wanted to help this couple keep their marriage together (if possible) so they began spending more time with our family in our home. Eventually, the wife walked away, leaving for good, and Bob needed someone to take care of his boys while he worked. He called my dad and asked if, as a temporary measure, he could drop the boys at our house on his way to work Monday morning. Continue reading “Homing In On Rehoming”→
Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.
It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations? Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”→
About ten years ago, my elder daughter picked up her son from his junior high school and headed home. In the car with them was my daughter’s infant, swaddled within the confines of a federal- and state-mandated and approved infant car seat. A stop at the pharmacy was necessary and the infant was fast asleep in the relative security of her car seat.My daughter parked the car, leaving strict instructions with the twelve-year-old to stay in the car, doors locked, and finish his homework. He was seated next to his sister (in her rear-facing car seat) so he could see every move the baby made. Confident in her son’s ability, my daughter hurried into the pharmacy. Continue reading “DHS . . . Friend or Foe?”→
Adult children and the moms who love them … these relationships can be challenging, exasperating and beyond bewildering at times! Speaking as one who experiences life from both perspectives, I have come to understand no matter how old I am, I remain always my mother’s daughter. She does not know how to un-mother me just because I have attained adulthood.On the other hand, there are times when I’m inclined to mother my mother. As she gets older, she is ever more frail, so I tend to be solicitous – she hates that! She has this incredibly strong will that rejects offers of help, even when needed. For example, she has one of those Lifeline medical alerts (the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” people) but we had difficulty convincing her to actually wear it. (I think she may have believed wearing it was an admission of weakness.) Continue reading “The Curse of Super-Mommery”→
An article on the HuffPost blog earlier this week caught my eye. Entitled 11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids To Know, the author provides a list of observations … all but the first tip coming from the author’s friends who are already empty nesters. Apparently feeling the inevitable empty nest just around the corner, the author offers her own tip to start the list.In her opening paragraphs, the author notes with obvious frustration that she’s capable of remembering things, but some memories related to her children are harder to recall. Details of her children’s “firsts” are regrettably fuzzy memories, but the theme song from Gilligan’s Island is annoyingly memorable. (Perhaps she has forgotten the theme song probably played numerous times … searing the music into her brain, while her child’s first step only happened once.)
Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.
I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue reading “Certifiably Married”→
Today is a day for sober reflection. No matter how often I interact with people from all walks of life who are suffering through various challenges in life, the question invariably crops up: Why? and just as often, Why, God?
It’s an understandable question, almost as natural to our humanity as breathing. In some respects (no matter our age), we are like three-year-olds investigating a complex world we’d like to understand. Asking Why? is our common standard that (hopefully) leads us to understanding.
Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs let their tongues hang? Why do I need cash when you have a credit card? These are the kinds of questions children tend to ask, but in our own way, we adults express an identical inquisitiveness, though we often do so with guarded sophistication … for fear of being perceived as ignorant.
Nearly thirty years ago, we began educating our children in the home. This was an era when home-education was mostly embraced by people at the margin and those tended to be unconventional types. Our motivation related primarily to our eldest daughter who was about to begin junior high. We had reservations about the social aspects of junior high (and the prevailingly negative, precocious atmosphere we’d observed among her peers).
Once we’d made the decision to keep our oldest child home, the decision snowballed from there. When all was said and done, we launched our home school experience with all four children receiving their education at home. (I’ve posted here with more specifics about those days.)
Because that time was very different from today, we initially tried to keep a low profile. Although home education was legal in our state, many people (among them most professional educators) held a dim view of the nascent home-school movement, overall. When I informed the local principal (our neighborhood school was two blocks from our house), he told me sternly (rudely?): You’d better do a good job because if you mess up, I’ll have to pick up the pieces!Continue reading “Best Interests of the Children”→