Please know that this post is not a commentary on Josh Duggar, Josh Duggar’s history with molestation, TLC’s decisions about its programing, or anything remotely religious, political, or cultural. About those matters, I have no input.
This post is about homeschooling, more specifically the homeschooling haters who’ve linked homeschooling as an isolation-based catalyst for pedophilia, incest, and other acts of criminal behavior inside the home.
Let’s start with the obvious: Homeschooling looks different in every household. Some families are lax, some are rigid. Some are religiously motivated, some aren’t. Some boast educational superiority, some don’t. And there are a thousand variations in between.
To the outsider, homeschooling is a natural curiosity. I can’t count the times I’ve been told, “I could never do that! I’d go nuts!” To which I usually reply, “Some days I feel nuts, other days not so much.”
People wonder what we do all day, how I interact with my boys regarding their school work, if they have to take standardized tests (because how else could I measure their intellect?), and whether or not they are socialized (that one makes me beat my head against a brick wall). Those who know us personally don’t ask these questions because they know my boys, they understand the boys’ educational challenges, they understand our family dynamic and know the normalcy we live out each day.
For the record, my kids play Minecraft, they argue, get dirty, ask hard questions, use their manners, resist vegetables, love the beach, get in trouble, ask for forgiveness, are friends with the neighborhood kids, play sports, love LEGOs, et cetera. Chuck and I watch R-rated movies, love all types of music, have tattoos, prefer the outdoors, read books, enjoy traveling, and we are doing this parenting thing the best way we know how. We have pets, we love football, we take pride in a well-groomed yard.
So yeah, we’re totally normal. Just like you. I also hate the word normal because what does that mean anyway?
Most of the time, I’m not bothered by nonsense on social media. I used to get rattled by blanket statements and political rants, but I censor my eyes now. It’s not worth the blood pressure medicine.
But when the Duggar story broke, all kinds of crazy exploded about homeschooling on Twitter and I felt my skin get hot. Within a few days, I was hyper-checking social media to see who was offending me. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in that crazy camp.
Okay, so I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t making it up that homeschoolers – as a whole – were catching flack. I didn’t respond to a single Tweet because I didn’t want to start something that would never really finish amicably. People have their ideas and their love for labeling is just too strong.
But this space is mine, this blog, this cathartic place where I document bits of our life, like a journal. Some of you read because we’re related or acquainted, some of you because you’re just curious. My interaction with you is mostly minimal, which is totally fine because I don’t write for reaction. I write to unload.
We aren’t the Duggars. We’re not even close. We aren’t the hippie commune people either. Not even close. We’re in the middle, on another plane, in a different area altogether. We homeschool because I like addressing both boys’ specific needs. I like our discussions and the freedom we have to decide whether we want to study weather patterns or the food chain. I like that we can take longer with fractions if we need to. I really like keeping our own calendar.
So much of this feels like common sense, but I can totally see where some people are uneasy with the idea of not going to traditional school. On the surface, it feels rebellious. It feels alternative and restrictive. Homeschooling sounds like the perfect breeding ground for creating incompetent, gullible adults from impressionable, vulnerable children. By homeschooling, we indoctrinate, right? By homeschooling, we control.
Let me say – I wish I had better control in this house. Did I mention my oldest is nearing puberty? Whoa boy.
Unless there are credible statistics to prove the point, I fail to believe that homeschooling is directly correlated to crimes inside the home. Children don’t need to be kept at home for educational purposes to be molested, beaten, starved, or abused. That happens everywhere, in all sorts of family dynamics, in every kind of setting. Everywhere. Homeschooling does not incite crime. Sickness does.
You know what I’m saying here, right? Psychological imbalance, distorted and irrational thinking, impulsivity and a lack of empathy. That kind of sick. People molest and abuse because they are sick. Some can be helped, but I swear that some can’t. Where Josh Duggar falls on that spectrum, I have no clue. I sorta don’t care.
Even if you want to draw that line from the Duggar’s conservative curriculum to say, “See? Josh was taught that women’s bodies are meant for men and sin can be prayed away” or whatever, that still doesn’t allow for the lumping together of homeschoolers as captive audience for home-based crimes. Even if your home state doesn’t have strict homeschooling laws, that line just can’t be drawn. Crazy happens everywhere.
All of this being said, I’m completely curious to know what the Duggars will say Wednesday night during their first public interview. SO CURIOUS. No doubt people will pounce on them all over again and say whatever stings the most. I’ll have my eye on the anti-homeschooling Tweets. I might even send out this link, if only to cauterize the hate.
Okay. I’m feeling better now. This post was more cathartic than I thought it would be.