Every time we go to a school event, I’m struck by parents glued to their phones.
The other day, I watched a parent sitting in front of me flip through their cell phone’s menu screen. Aimlessly. No doubt with a delightful internal monologue:
“Which app do I choose? I haven’t played Clash Royale in ages. Ah, don’t make eye contact! They might want to talk!!”
The introvert side of me gets it. The phone provides a safety blanket against scary “stranger” conversations. As a parent, as a dad, I wonder what the kids see though. Do they see parents:
Distracted/not present in the moment?
Displaying the same electronic habits at home?
The screen is so magical!
I know that being in a crowd of people we don’t know can be intimidating. I know that it is easier to escape into a phone, look important, and ignore those around us. But at what cost does our escape come at? What are we modeling for our children when we can’t even put down our phones for a moment?
I’m not trying to sound judgmental nor make others feel guilty. I’ve used my phone to ignore people many times. The thing is, I want my son to know that he is important. That I can be present in the moment. No matter how hard or uncomfortable that might be.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from the fourth grade all the way through high school. I had been falling behind both academically and socially. Public school was failing me by passing me on from one teacher to the next. I had trouble with reading, math, etc. My parents realized what was going on and brought me home. I’m thankful.
Tabitha and I have always said that our children would attend public school. As long as the teachers and the overall district were willing to work with us, we’d stick with it. Our children would be good examples for others to follow. Salt and light.
Enter our son:
Helped teach his fellow students in kindergarten
Excelled through first grade
Has continued in second grade to consistently earn high grades
Reads on a middle school grade level
(I can brag as a dad, right?)
The boy wants to be pushed. He wants to learn multiplication and how to write in cursive. Our fear is that his enthusiasm for learning is going to be snuffed out unless he is challenged. We realize that public school can only do so much for him. A teacher has to teach so that all students are on the same middle ground. That means that the higher students in the class are often ignored. Not the teacher’s fault at all. Teaching is hard.
So how do you make the decision to homeschool?
Throw some dice?
Spin a bottle?
I know the challenges that are involved with it. I have seen them firsthand. I know the impact it has on a family and on a marriage.
Social outlets are essential. Support in the form of a homeschool group help a bunch. The kids never leave the house… ever. Mental fortitude is a requirement.