It’s hard for me to recall my life before I became a mom. I remember when I first held my tiny preemie twin girls in my arms eleven years ago, I was overwhelmed by how small and vulnerable they were. I was terrified, tired, and in pain. Still, I was ready to face any hardship or challenge, to do absolutely anything in order to protect them. As they grew older, that mama bear instinct evolved but my heart still beat with an almost audible desire to, above all else, keep my babies safe from any harm. Two of a mother’s greatest roles are that of teacher and protector. Eventually, when it came time to choose a path for their education, I chose to homeschool primarily because I had significant concerns about school safety, especially in public schools. I couldn’t imagine anyone else taking on that responsibility for my family.
Homeschooling and School Safety
After six years on this course, I have adopted a number of reasons to homeschool (as well as a few reasons not to, to be honest). Maintaining a close relationship with my children and teaching them in the ways I believe are right are of paramount importance as well as enjoying more flexibility and freedom in our lives. I know scores of homeschoolers, and we all have different reasons that brought us here. We all bring different views, goals, and concerns to the table. Many of them are discussed in this blog series, but most of us have some things in common as well; such as safety. I feel fairly confident that wanting our children to be safe is a high priority for all parents! I think we have all felt that burden even more heavily over the last few years as school violence, bullying, and sex scandals seem to be ever more prevalent. More and more parents are now considering homeschooling for the reason of safety.
Going Against the Culture
I’m going to be honest; there have been times I have questioned that motive. Homeschooling for safety reasons doesn’t feel very glamorous. I mean, it’s not like we’re homeschooling because we’re going to travel Europe together, or because we’re a bilingual home, or because I’m the best possible teacher in the world (oh, far from it!). Sometimes it feels like a character flaw to be so concerned about safety that you would go against the culture so dramatically. And yet, when I think about where my kids would be, what they would be exposed to, and the potential risks involved with public school . . . that risk just hasn’t seemed worth it for us.
I won’t be able to turn back time, after all. I can’t take my 20 year old college student out of classes and bring them back to sit at my kitchen table and color. I likely can’t ask my high school senior to skip school and sit by the lake and read aloud with me. I won’t be able to steal my adult child away from their 9-to-5 in order to lazily walk the local zoo, pointing out interesting facts about each animal, with nothing to distract us. I can’t go back. But I do have now, with these three precious elementary aged children. I can keep them close and loved and safe. And for us, that means homeschooling. And for better or worse, I’ve come to accept that my children’s safety is a valid reason for walking this path.
The Ultimate Calling
Of course, I understand that homeschooling doesn’t guarantee safety. Life is a risky proposition and none of us have the promise of tomorrow. I have to be careful that I don’t allow fear to overcome me and keep me from parenting with open hands. I want my children to experience life and not be held back or overly sheltered (at the same time, I’m happy that my three have been blissfully ignorant of so many burdens that their peers are bearing way too young). So I have to parent with prayer, and intentionality. I have to push my own limits of “safe” living in order that these little ones can be testing their wings and learning to fly. I have to trust God with everything.
As it turns out, that’s my ultimate calling as a Mom: to teach, to protect, and to trust God with all of the rest.
Leah Prescott questions her choice of career frequently as she homeschools her 11-year-old identical twin daughters and rambunctious 5-year-old son. She has been married for almost 15 years to her college sweetheart, Craig who supports and loves her beyond reason. When she feels ill-equipped to fill all the roles she’s been given, she turns to the Lord and very strong coffee to find the energy to share her story at ChasingSantee.com.
This article is part of the I Homeschool Because . . . series. Click here to read other articles in this series, download the free eBook, You Can Do It, Too: 25 homeschool families share their stories, and enter a giveaway from Kiwi Crate valued at more than $200.