So I just want to preface this post by saying that if your children are in public school, please do not take this post the wrong way. I have absolutely no issue with anyone who has made the choice to utilize public schools for their children. As parents we all make what we feel is the right choice for our children and there is nothing wrong with anyone choosing public over private, or public over homeschooling. In our case we have very specific reasons why we homeschool our children; as I explain some of these reasons, I just do not want anyone to take them to mean it is a universal expectation. I am not grouping all public school kids into a group and saying that they are all alike, but more taking from our own experiences (my husband and I’s) of being public and private school kids. So, please keep this in mind when reading.
We’ve chosen to homeschool our children for the number one reason that we believe that God has given us these children to train them up, and teach them the way of the Lord. We do not believe that by putting them in the care of the public school system for most of their lives will allow us to train them up the way that they should be trained. We feel that if they attended public school for most of their lives, we would be trying to “undo” what has been ingrained into them. The public schools of today are not what they used to be; there are governmental directives, ideological clashes, Naturalism indoctrination, and even some curriculum which attempts to rewrite history. Through homeschooling we can provide them with a safe learning environment where the world, not just a school room, is their classroom! We will also be able to have a better relationship with them as they grow into teenagers; they will be able to learn about important life-stage concepts from us rather than the wrong sources, such as friends and peers who may not always have great intentions. Some may think that this is being too overprotective of our children; maybe it is, however, I know that there will never come a day when I regret homeschooling them.
For years, homeschoolers have struggled to be removed from the misunderstanding eyes of the public and afforded the opportunity to train their children in peace. Every day I come across articles about children being taken away from their home because they are homeschoolers. It ends in legal battles, or the government trying to change laws so that homeschoolers must have home visits in order to make sure they are not being abused. I hate to break it to them, but there are public school kids who are seen daily by teachers, friends, guidance counselors, and bus drivers who are being abused and no one knows! Abuse can happen to children in public, private, or homeschool. Since when is it the government’s duty to invade your home and private life to make sure you are a good parent? All homeschoolers want is to be out of the spotlight and left alone by the government so they can teach their children the way they see fit. They do not ask for any special treatment; they spend more money each year on curriculum for their children to learn, on top of paying more public school taxes for their children, who do not attend, than what a public school student would pay in fees each year. We homeschool because we want to be able to instill our own morals and values in our children and not the world’s pseudomores and values. So yes, we have some strict standards.
As a homeschooler, you are not ENTITLED to a prom, or a graduation ceremony, or any of the special things that public school kids do. In many cases, even public school children must pay prom fees and meet other qualifications for prom attendance. HOWEVER, out of the goodness of their hearts, parents of homeschoolers have come together to throw “Homeschool Proms” and “Homeschool Graduations” in order to give their children a little fun, something to look forward to, and a memory to look back upon. These events, because they are homeschooling events, and because most homeschool families do adhere to stricter standards, are followed up by guidelines for dress and behavior for the event. Guidelines about trips and other events are not a new idea for most homeschoolers; they understand what they mean, and what the consequences are if they disregard them. Not all homeschool families are religious-based, however MOST homeschool families (religious or not) can find common ground on their standards they hold for their children. Homeschoolers usually have a great relationship with both mom and dad; through homeschooling, it allows both parents to be involved in activities and schooling. We, ourselves, do a lot of activities as a family and it is not just “mom” doing all the work. If my children ever go to a homeschool prom, both my husband and I will more than likely be chaperones; my children will not be allowed to wear a dress that is above KNEE length (especially if dancing), and dancing will be tasteful or else we will be going home!
Richmond, Virginia has had quite the media attention this week about a teen homeschooler who was kicked out of the “Homeschool prom.” ( you can read the article Here). First, I want to say, there were MANY, people who were kicked out of school dances and proms when I was in public school and not one of them was on the news! I don’t quite understand why this situation is making headlines nationwide, and I’m not sure why all the sudden the world believes anything a teenager says without proper corroboration. I know that when I was a teenager it took God moving a mountain for an adult to take me seriously, let alone broadcast my “story” nationwide! Since when did the tables turn to where teenagers do not have to follow the rules, and if they are reprimanded for not doing so or being disrespectful for it, they are praised with fame?!
The homeschool prom was held in a CHURCH! When you call up a church to try and plan a wedding they will tell you their policies on weddings. Some churches will not allow dancing or alcohol at weddings; some will allow dancing but only to Christian Music; some are just really lax about things like that. It all depends on that individual church’s beliefs and policies. I’m sure the church they were in held beliefs on that subject, and in order to hold the homeschool prom in their location, they were more than likely given stipulations that they as a homeschool group had to abide by. From what I’ve read these rules were given out before the prom and there were parents who made sure that they were obeyed- as there are at ANY PUBLIC SCHOOL dance, or prom. There are always rules; are they slightly different or very different- that doesn’t matter. All schools and school activities have policies and rules. Is this news to the media?
For three days, all I have been doing is reading, and re-reading blog posts about this night. I read Clare’s initial post about her experience at the homeschool prom, and to be honest my first impression was: “Here is a teenage girl, who is dressed up beautifully and completely full of herself! She believes that every doorway she walks through, every man from 16 to 50 is watching her every move and lusting after her! This is not a TYPICAL homeschooler!” How could she know that anyone is lusting after her? If there were any looks, maybe she took the looks of shock the wrong way? This is a girl who obviously is attention-starved, and is crying out for her parents attention! She gloats about flipping off the adults at the prom, and cursing at them when leaving, yet, she claims she did nothing wrong. Throughout all the media attention and the blog posts by other by-standards, I have not heard her parents mentioned ONE TIME! Where are her parents!? Every single time I have seen a child or teenager in the news the parents are always standing behind them and involved in the situation. Did the media ever consider there is a reason the parents didn’t want to go on the record? Are her parents standing behind her? I think their absence speaks for itself.
This media storm over a teenager’s failure to comply with rules (such as keeping her dress pulled down while dancing provocatively) has only fueled her ego and affirmed that rules do not apply to her. It has taken the homeschool community and disparaged everyone who is in it- religious and or non-religious. It has given the world the ridiculous view that homeschool dads are nothing but perverts when they really are probably some of the most involved, present, devoted fathers that this world has ever seen! In a room filled with beautifully dressed young women, how is it that every one of these dad’s could pick out JUST Clare and decide to lust after her (so she says)? Since when do chaperones close their eyes and not do their job watching to make sure the students are abiding by the rules? Obviously she was drawing some type of attention to herself in order to be asked to leave! If she were merely “swaying” as she says, and abiding by the rules, would that draw any attention? In order to be noticed in a room full of other students- what was she doing to draw attention to herself?! Dads of homeschoolers are protective of their children, and if they were looking at her because she was drawing attention to herself, it was because they probably didn’t want their own children seeing the way she was acting! I know if my husband was there, he would have been the FIRST person down on that floor telling her she needed to leave because he would not have wanted our children to look at her and think it was okay to dance or act that way (and thereby break the rules). How dare she claim that any of these dads wanted her, or were lusting after her! Yet again I ask, WHERE ARE HER PARENTS?! Also just to clarify, She was NOT the only person kicked out as she claimed, there were EIGHT other students who were also asked to leave that night! Proper journalism requires proper research; this fact alone should have made every respectable journalist and media outlet presented with the story think twice about believing or running her story.
From what I know about the situation, it seems to me Clare may not have been a true homeschooler. It seems like maybe she was homeschooled because she had some trouble in school and her parents took her out; maybe it was a decision she made that she wanted to be homeschooled? But whatever the reason- there is no possible way she was homeschooled her entire life. If so, she would have held a greater respect for the homeschool community, her homeschool peers, and their parents, because that is just what homeschoolers do! Not only is it a disappointment that Clare would go so far with this situation, it is also a great disappointment that the media has failed! They took a teenager’s rant of a blog post and never once did they search for others who were there to see if her story lined up! They took the word of her boyfriend and sister, and failed the public by not attempting to report both sides of the story!! Here is an analogy for the media’s reaction. Do you think a judge would listen to the character testimony (or any testimony of a criminal act) of the accomplices or co-conspirators of a person on trial? Would a jury accept it as corroboration that the person standing trial is telling the truth? Is there any motive to tell the truth, or more likely a motive to just “back up” your friend? …. Here are two blogs that I’ve come across that have another story to tell besides Clare’s side: Dad’s Are Not the Problem and Victimization or Twisted Narrative. I hope those of you who are reading this will take into consideration both sides of the story even though the media did not.
And to Clare, I say this: I have been your age wanting that attention! Wanting to feel as though the whole room is watching me and I am important. The problem is that this media storm you have created may seem like a great idea right now, but the ramifications it will have on you in the future with employers will not be pretty. No one wants to hire someone who thinks they are above the rules, who thinks that they know more than an authority figure, who gloats about cursing someone out and flipping them off. You will look back on this in a few years and you will feel ashamed at your actions because that is how life is. We all look back and see how silly we acted about things; we wish we could go back and fix it, but it’s too late. I just pray that you find an amazing husband who makes you feel beautiful, important, and wanted every day of your life so that you do not have to go on feeling as though you need to seek attention in this manner. Life is not always fair; in fact, life isn’t about being fair… life is about serving others, not others serving you!