Another day, another shooting. Too many kids lost, too many lives wiped out. I’m not here to debate gun regulations or place blame, I’m just sad. And like last time, many people are joining the homeschool groups I’m in and asking for help to start homeschooling. They don’t want their kids to live in fear.
Not everyone is happy with the exodus to homeschool. A recent article from a local news source in Alabama interviewed parents and teachers about this exodus, and the teacher, Takisha Durm, did not agree. She stated that parents who chose to homeschool their kids are “teaching them to run from reality.”
I understand that this teacher does not represent all teachers. I even understand that her comment comes from a place of concern and love for her students. But she’s wrong. So very, very wrong. Homeschooling does not shelter kids from reality. And even if it does, why is that such a bad thing?
Reality is no fun
As a kid, I used books to escape from reality. Reality sucked. Reality was harsh and horrible and stressful. No one really liked reality, and most people I knew used something to escape reality too. Sports, alcohol, church, movies – they all had a way to disconnect and de-stress because reality wasn’t fun. Sure, we knew it was real and it was the fabric of our lives, but we didn’t like it very much.
Fast forward to now, and guess what? I still want to escape reality. In reality, I have 3 lovely kids with various issues that can make life really tough for all of us. In reality, I worry about raising them in a harsh, hateful, uncaring world. In reality, I worry about the state of our nation, environment, social/economics, wars, world hunger, and so much more ugliness that exists in our world. Reality sucks. It always will.
The teacher went on to state:
“Even though it seems we may be protecting them (by homeschooling) we may be sheltering them instead of teaching them to work and find a solution for the issues and not necessarily running away from them, because these things are going to happen.”
Takisha Durm, Interview with WAAY 31/ABC Scottie Kay
Wait, what? We need to expect kids to figure out how to keep people from SHOOTING them? And “these things are going to happen?” Really? School shootings are just a normal thing to expect now? I don’t think so.
My children shouldn’t be expected to find the answers to this national crisis when the policy wonks can’t even agree on how to fix it. My kids are bystanders – innocent targets who have no say in what happens to them. If pulling them to homeschool is “escaping reality,” then by golly, we’re leaving reality in the rear-view mirror.
Everyone deserves a safe learning environment
What I believe for my kids applies to every other kid out there. It is not the responsibility of the kids to fix this. It’s ours. OURS. The parents, politicians, first responders – all of us. Not the kids. Former secretary of education Arne Duncan believes this too, and he’s hoping for a massive school walkout orchestrated by parents.
“What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?”
Arne Duncan, tweet in response to Peter Cunningham’s call to boycott schools until they’re safe
Duncan’s call for a boycott is unrealistic for many families who rely on public education – and those families are the ones most at risk for issues with schools because they have nowhere to turn when things go bad. I’m highly cognizant of the fact that our choice – our sacrifice – to homeschool is still a choice of privilege. Not everyone can homeschool. Not everyone can boycott schools.
We didn’t choose to homeschool because of school shootings. That wasn’t even on our radar. Today, I’m glad we’re homeschooling because I don’t have to worry about getting that call, or forcing my kids to endure active shooter drills. Kids shouldn’t have to live in fear. They cannot learn if they’re in fear. And if opting out of that fear is “escaping reality,” then we’re just going to live sheltered lives for now.
Perhaps Ms. Durm should reconsider her harsh words. I hope so. Homeschoolers aren’t escaping reality – we’re escaping a flawed, broken system.
Note: Ms. Durm also says that despite everything, she believes public education is full of great teachers and wonderful schools. She supports public education – as do I. I simply disagree that homeschooling is opting out. We choose to homeschool, but we still support the need for an educated public and the public schools that fill that need. Despite homeschooling, I’m a vocal advocate for true, helpful school reform.