Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Is Homeschooling Sheltering Our Children?

I have heard many people shout that homeschooling is sheltering your children.  I disagree and agree with this thinking.  I will agree that I am sheltering my children.  But I disagree that the “sheltering” I am doing of my children is causing them any harm.   If anything, I see it paving the way for them to become kinder and more social individuals.

While our children were in school, they were picking up very bad habits.  Rudeness that was unlike them.  They were imitating what they were seeing and hearing from others.  Our oldest had a continuous fight in his mind about whether or not it was ok to repeat something he had heard or saw being done.  If he chose to say something, he learned very quickly that it was not a good thing to say.  So then he would ask us why it was ok for the student he overheard saying it, but not ok for him.  Thus the struggle continued.  With autism, there is no gray area….it is black and white.  It’s right or wrong.  What a world we would live in if we all could live in this world!!  How many misunderstandings could be avoided?

I have to say after a few months from him not being in this setting, he wasn’t struggling with the same things.  We had to make other adjustments, including what he watched on TV.  We were inviting that extra influence into our home.   After these changes, he wasn’t having as many problems with the struggle anymore.  He knew what was right and wrong, and if he wasn’t sure he also asked. 

We allowed him to think freely and this allowed him to be a kid.  We were still in the background gently reminding him about how to be a better person and how to be kind.  But he didn’t have anyone picking on him about what he was wearing or what television show he enjoyed watching.  Many of the kids that he met up with at co-ops and clubs were enjoying this same freedom of being a kid.  They were not worried about texting on a cell phone, they were playing with LEGOs and Transformers….Star Wars….and video games. 

I have noticed that my now 15 year old has grown into a wholly sympathetic and caring young man.  He worries about others and if they are ok.  He can talk to adults and toddlers like they were his best friends.  He doesn’t mind getting down on the floor and playing with a little one.  He doesn’t mind sitting with an elderly individual in a museum and will even carry on a conversation and hold open a door for them. 

He is not perfect, and we have many more large hurdles to overcome when his autism rears its ugly side, but I am very proud of the young man he is becoming.  I was watching him hold open a door the other day, and thought to myself, “What if we hadn’t sheltered him from nasty influences?  Would he have been allowed to be the person he is today?”

I am not saying every kid in public school is a bad influence.  There are so many shining examples there and the educators doing their best to be good influences.  Joey just happened to be most affected by the negative influences that were around him.  I am grateful that we made the decision that allows him to think clearly in his right and wrong world and not struggle as horribly. 

So I do disagree that Homeschooling is Sheltering our Children.  I see it as allowing them to grow to be the people they want to be and not be forced to be someone they are not. 

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