Friday, September 11, 2009

The "Real World"

"What will happen when your kids (meaning, my homeschooled kids) 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.

Originally posted 9-11-07


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