Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The "Real World"

"What will happen when your kids (meaning, homeschoolers) have to encounter the 'real world' someday?"

That's a question I've heard often during my years of homeschooling. It's usually a sincere question, but one that indicates that the person asking it doesn't feel that being at home is being part of the "real world." It's actually a mindset that I, myself, had before I left the classroom to be a full time stay-at-home mom.

I remember very, very well what we were doing the morning of September 11, 2001. We were living in an apartment, having sold our house and in the process of building another one in a neighboring community. My husband traveled and was not home, and would be sitting in a board room in Corpus Christi, TX for most of the day. My children (kindergarten and 2nd grade at the time) and I were sitting at our little dining table in that small, third-floor apartment finishing breakfast and prayer time and beginning our schoolwork. The phone rang, and it was a friend who knew I wouldn't have the TV on, telling me I'd better turn it on. I watched in horror as I saw what had happened to the first tower. Then I saw it happen to the second tower. In the meantime the report came on about the Pentagon. It was horrific and surreal. But it was real. It was happening. It was something that would impact all of us, and it was unfolding at that very moment.

I remember being so glad my kids were there with me that day. We were able to discuss what was going on and to immediately go to our knees in prayer. I didn't have to wonder if I should go get them at school. (I know many who wanted their kids with them, and rightly so.) We were able to discuss that no, we were not in danger of a plane being flown into our apartment even though we were on the third floor (a very real concern to a 5 year old, who thought three flights of stairs was a skyscraper!) They were able to talk to their father on the phone, who was getting one of the last rental cars available in the city where he was, and to pray while he drove home. They processed what was going on in the way their minds could comprehend it, all the while being reminded that God is in control and being comforted by their mother. I remember that God gave me the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" that day. I tried to help the three of us keep our eyes on Jesus, especially given what was in front of our eyes on the news.

Meanwhile, the kids in the elementary school near us knew nothing about what was going on (not that they should've told them in that setting). Since it was not known if schools were a target, the administration made the (wise) decision not to allow them to go outside for recess, and they were told it was because of an "ozone warning." The horror-stricken teachers had to slip out of their classes and go down to the office or teacher's lounge to catch snippets of what had happened, all the while not letting on to their students that one of the most historic events to happen in our country in their lifetime was unfolding. The students continued doing their work as if everything was fine, and the teachers had to stay in their classrooms, largely uninformed.

Who was experiencing the "real world" that day? My kids or those kids? Those of us who knew what was going on or the ones who were sequestered away from it? I don't get into the "public school vs. homeschool" debates, and I don't think homeschooling is always superior for every child, but I do tire of the argument that homeschoolers aren't in the "real world."

It's days like this that remind me that yes, they are.


Lisa said...

Amen! I hear the same thing now and then and have to chuckle at how much more my kids do now that we homeschool compared to when they were in school. For our family homeschooling feels very much like the verse that tells us to be "in the world, but not of the world".

Blessings on your new year! I really enjoyed reading your post below about the start of school. Great idea with the flower pots!

lori said...

Another AMEN....having them in my world, I pray will prepare them, for that "other" world...this is our "real" world....
wonderful post...we all tire of that question, among others...it makes us stronger, I suppose:)

Sandy said...

Yes, I sometimes wonder if people think my family is a mirage when they comment about my kids not being in "the real world". Given the events of September 11 who is to say what the "real world" will look like when our kids are adults or what they need to prepare for it? God has them at home for a reason.

Tammy said...

Oh, my word! I love that post! I cannot believe how similar our 9-11 day was. I, too was homeschooling and got a call from a friend. My husband was out of town preaching somewhere for the week and I was able to walk my children through this tragic event all the while pointing them to our desperate need for Jesus! I Love homeschooling and often get that "bit" about them being in the real world. Believe it or not, I just got it recently from their peditrician's office. NUTS! Anyway, I try to stay off the soapbox of fighting that mentality and just do what I am called to do and let the results speak for themselves. Thanks for sharing such a great thought! I will be sharing this myself, if you don't mind! :)

Family O'Foxes said...

That day seems like yesterday to me sometimes...my hubby was doing his 2 weeks (military) in Pearl Harbor. I had the news on because I couldn't sleep (6:15 am) and I watched the whole thing in horror. I called Hawaii which was 3 hours earlier and work hubby up to tell him what was happening.


lori said...

I did not realize how much your "real world" post was going to stay with me....
It did..thank you..
I posted today about just how important it is that we raise them up right, in "our world" since the "real world" seems to be getting more and more challenging!
peace today.

Sherri said...

What a great post!
My daughter was in Kindergarten in the public school when it happened, and you are right. I was horrified and wanted her home with us so badly.


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