Yesterday’s Absurdity is Tomorrow’s Mandate

Whether it’s a picnic lunch along the shore, or muffins at the coffee table, you know best what to feed yourself and your children. Shore Leave, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

One of the perks of homeschooling is that the lunches you eat are generally hot, and they don’t taste like anything you remember from public school kitchens of your childhood.

This, and the good memories we made of family time around the table, represented my major thoughts on the matter, that is, until I read about the Canadian woman who sent her children to school/daycare/preschool (public or private, in areas like this they’re all starting to look the same) with what she thought was a good lunch of roast beef, carrots, potatoes, oranges, and milk.

According to the Canadian Food Guidelines, which the school followed, however, the meal was lacking in grains, and the children were given — without the parent’s prior knowledge or consent — Ritz crackers to supplement. As a bonus, the mother was charged $5 per child for this nutritional “service.”

The article goes on to quote the mother, Kirsten Bartkiw, saying that if she had sent the children to school with “microwave Kraft Dinner and a hot dog, a package of fruit twists, a Cheestring, and a juice box,” there would have been no problem.

No surprises here. The daily assault upon our basic rights as parents and human beings is so regular and pervasive that I read something like this and think, “What will tomorrow bring?” What seems absurd yesterday is normal today and mandatory tomorrow.

Deep inside of all of us is the spirit that can’t be quenched. Spirit of the Canyon, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

What is most interesting about this article, however, are the comments beneath it, which range the gamut from outrage to outright compliance, and a whole lot of apathy in between. Like this one:

“. . .if she dislikes the policy so much, she can find another school or she can try to educate and change the policy, but I don’t see a problem with this as long as they didn’t break a religious/dietary restriction that the kids had.”

I love this: it’s your problem lady. Find another school (that doesn’t conform to government policy? Those are increasingly rare); work through the administrative channels (oh, yes, we all know how well that works); don’t fuss — no religious or dietary restrictions were broken (how do you know? And what does it matter — is it the school’s business to be poking around in children’s lunches?)

The primary foundation for an excellent education is the ability, and desire, to read. Provincial Afternoon, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold.

What is the school’s business, anyway? The automatic response is, “to educate the children,” but even non-homeschooling people get the idea that this particular goal isn’t being well achieved. And as most people who homeschool know, one of the primary critiques they receive from people outside looking in at them is that their children won’t be “properly socialized,” which, apparently, is something the public school sees as its primary purpose. (See my article, The Properly Socialized Homeschooler.)

Poking through children’s brown bags is a natural continuation of probing through their lives.

But back to those comments. When you live a certain lifestyle — homeschooling, say, or eating healthily, or reading good books — you tend to find like-minded people, and it’s easy, after awhile, to think that most people think the way you do, or at the very least, don’t mind that you think the way you do.

But when you read through a string of comments on a story like this, you get this rude awakening that there are

1) a number of people who don’t value the concept of individual freedom and think that you are a troublemaker when you speak up

and

2) far too many people who are apathetic, unconcerned, or so overwhelmed about the problem that they don’t want to think about it, much less fight back.

As a homeschooler, are you unusual? Oh, yes, my friend, and that’s a good thing. She Danced by the Light of the Moon, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

“It’s just too much,” they sigh. “Just give in and hope that nothing too bad happens.”

Not you, my friends. By virtue of homeschooling you are standing up, speaking out, and fighting back, even if you’re quiet about it. You’re not only capable of teaching your child how to read and pointing him toward some fine, fine timeless literature, but you can also rummage through the refrigerator and find last night’s soup, serve it with a slice of toast and some apples, and feed your child’s body after a morning of feeding his mind.

Join me Thursdays for Homeschooling related articles. I homeschooled four children to successful adulthood over 20 years.

My book, Live Happily on Less, gives ideas on how to live with the limited income most homeschoolers enjoy. I am typing this from our home, which has no mortgage on it and never has, but we are a family that knows how to manage our money (that’s one of the things all my kids know how to do). Paperback $12.99 (but generally on sale for less), Kindle/digital $5.99, free to borrow on Amazon Prime.

My kids also know how to write, based upon principles I taught them from my book, Grammar Despair. You don’t need to know grammar to write well. Paperback $8.99Kindle/digital $5.99, free to borrow on Amazon Prime.

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, children, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Education, Encouragement, Family, Food, frugal living, Growth, home, homeschooling, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, media, Motherhood, News, Parenting, school, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Yesterday’s Absurdity is Tomorrow’s Mandate

  1. Chrissy says:

    As I walk further and further into homeschooling my oldest and soon my other two boys, I feel more at peace with my decision. I have had numerous experiences with public and private school that illustrate that the only one that is really paying attention to what is best for my kids is me and my husband. No one else. They aren’t actively hurting them and mean well…my younger boys have lovely teachers…but they just don’t have time to actually consider my children apart from the group very often. Consequently all kinds of odd things happen that no one but my husband and me care about. That is okay that they don’t share our values but it is no longer okay with me that I give them my children every day to influence. Besides, there are several bullies at their current school that none of us will miss.

    • Chrissy — good, thoughtful decisions. I agree — nobody cares about you and your family as much as you do, and because of this, you see things differently. I wish you and your family the best on your journey, and much precious time of being together, loving one another, and creating memories that will form a basis for your future together when you are all adults. Happy Thanksgiving, all year round — Carolyn

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