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Watch Your Kid.

Sarita Holzmann made an offhand remark on extracurricular activities at a homeschooling convention. One listener felt freed.

"She explained that she had just come from another session where the speaker said she should never put her children in extracurricular activities. He had said that good homeschool moms keep their children with them at all times."

"I know that different approaches work for different families. And many do well with no outside activities. But when I had my kids at home, a select few extracurricular activities provided a great blessing to my family and those around us."

Umm... Sarita is too kind to the other speaker. Or maybe this is why *I* am not a speaker at these things. I'da said that barring some unusual circumstance, this whole idea of never letting your kid out of your sight is really wack after he turns about 3 or 4. "Good homeschool moms keep their children with them at all times??" Do those words jump off the page to anyone else but me? Nevermind the extracurricular activity thing a sec.

I'm not saying that leaving your kid in day care 50 hours a week when he turns six weeks old is a great idea if you can help it, either, but wow. This is not normal, folks. It almost sounds like someone is afraid the child will get away and start talking, really talking, about what is going on at home. I mean, read this. Imagine yourself as a child in a family where all the children have to be in the room with Mom and she spanks your siblings when they misbehave. You also get spanked when you are naughty right in front of everyone. Notice there is no time limit on this little session or guidelines on when to stop slapping. Well, let me correct that. I guess this torture session goes on and on until the kid learns to mind. (I hope not!)

And maybe the home discussed here is a very nice one and things never get truly awful. Maybe the people who write these things have generally more compliant children and things never got out of control. I don't know... I just think to myself that encouraging someone to 1. keep her children with her at all times, no matter how frustrated she is; and 2. administer corporal punishment for misbehaviour, is practically begging for someone, somewhere, to snap. I think having friends to call on to take your child when you're about to lose it is a good thing. I think having someone your child could build a relationship with outside your family is a good thing.

Not that our family has any of those things and I am speaking down to anyone else who can't find it. When Elf began public school, he was locked in a closet by staff. Don't tell me it's homeschool parents who are abusive; it can be anyone. I homeschooled Elf for several years and he is now attending a different school that we trust. I also stopped allowing my children to go to Sunday School not because I want to "tomato stake" or anything like that, but because the children's pastor restrained my son. This pastor then refused to sit down with me and make a plan about what to do or take any training whatsoever. People like that do not get my child and I don't care what spiritual title they have.

So, I do understand keeping your child with you always if you have to or if no one wants to have compassion on your family. I do. But like Sarita, I think it's a good idea to let your children out of your sight every now and then if you can reasonably trust the adult in charge. I would love for my children to have friends they can visit with or even activities that don't always involve *Mom.* Why not??


  1. [Good homeschool moms keep their children with them at all times...] From a mom who has an adult child living in addiction and homelessness, I hate when speakers say things like this. Do they not understand the power of their words? I could be binge eating for weeks after hearing that.

  2. People who make comments like this have some sort of problem. They either have no idea what others go through, OR they imagine they will somehow escape unscathed from life's problems by following a simple parenting technique.

    Good parenting is imporant, but eesh. Let's not make an idol out of godly living, mm?

    Recognizing the power of my words, I want to tell you AGAIN how much I admire your grace and compassion under severe stress. So many times you could have buckled, enabled, and allowed the trouble your adult child gets into to come into your home and your other children's lives. And yet without just saying well, the door is shut on you, you've worked doggedly to advocate for your big girl and ensure a good start for your grandbaby.

    The hard truth is, God doesn't promise GOOD RESULTS from good parenting. There are good biblical principles to follow in parenting our children, and a general idea that it will lead to long life and blessing. Sorta like wearing your seat belt helps keep you from injury in an accident... but... there are no promises YOU won't be the one dead by the side of the highway and the guy who car-surfs somehow never gets into a wreck, yk??

    Try not to let small-minded people who don't *feel* like seeing that get to you.

  3. Thanks for running with this, Mrs. C. Tomato Staking--much like Patriocentric Parenting or "To Train Up a Child" ideals--have a nugget of good in them. Of course we should model good living to our children! We should strive to mentor them. We should seek to call out bad behavior and encourage right living instead. We absolutely should love and cherish our kids! ...the trouble comes, I believe, when we go too far and embrace a single paradigm as "the" way to raise kids. When you get to the point where your children can no longer leave your side... you've missed something. When you slip into retaliation against your kid's defiance... you're doing it wrong. When the child's life becomes about you, then you've kinda lost sight of the point of parenting.

    Not sure what all this has to do with anything; just some thoughts you got rattling around between my ears.

    Thanks again for kicking this idea around!


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  5. I once blogged about this. At homeschool group a few years ago, I mentioned that the boys were all going to various camps and mission trips at various times during the upcoming summer and I got stricken looks from all sides. "MY kids aren't going anywhere I'm not going," said one mother. The others echoed her (this is the same group who gave me heat for letting our boys go to public high school). I don't doubt that their kids are going to be just fine (these are great families), but so are mine.

  6. The first part of the post was good, the ideal. When the poster started getting into the particulars is when I couldn't go on.

    Sometimes these kids raised with a tight rein go bonkers when they are finally let out on their own.

  7. Luke, IMO it contains a "nugget of good" in the same way that cults do. It's cultlike the way some of these parenting gurus are followed, yk?

    Mary, I am *very* much like that when my children are tiny tiny. Once they are able to tell me if something "bad" happens and/or listen to spoken directions, I start backing off a bit, though, depending on the child. Woodjie still needs an unusual level of protection due to his disability, but I do send him to preschool and the preschool has the sense to give him his own aide. It isn't just crazy mom thinking ohhh, my child doesn't "get" some things and this could lead to all kinds of injury.

    Every family is different but some of this philosophy is more than just normal variation amongst families, I think. Just talking about your usual child, he/she should be potty trained by four and have at least a few people he knows and talks with outside the family. (OK, our family is unusual as I discussed, but I would be happy to have more friends/go places if the danger [physical running away/recklessness and other autistic misunderstandings] were not there.)

    Brains, I don't know but that they are unprepared for the world in some important *emotional* ways generally. I think all teens go 'bonkers' at some point but it's more dangerous - differently dangerous perhaps? - when a child does not have any peer group at all or outside advisors outside the immediate family and/or church.

  8. Yikes, my kids love to do outside activities with other family, go to children's church, sunday school, play sports, or just visit a friend. I can't imagine suffocating them like that.

  9. So, I guess God was a bad parent for not being with Adam and Eve every waking moment. Joseph and Mary too. The major incident reported on Jesus is a boy: they lost him in Jerusalem. A good homeschooling parent would have never done that.

  10. Virginia, you prolly couldn't if you tried now that they are used to freedom and all that...

    Tammy, Mary would never cut it as a tomato-stakin' homeschooling momma. Jesus had a sassy mouth.

  11. I have read all about the tomato staking, and think it's a great idea most of the time. I do send my kids to lots of extracurricular stuff, but they know when they have really done something to lose my trust, they become "my very best friend." That means they join me for errands, join me in adult choir and Sunday School, generally get bored out of their minds until they have had time to rethink their behavior. I find that works very well, and I never have trouble with my kids being terrible when in the care of other adults. Too much free time is dangerous for teens, but too much smothering is also possible, and can cause emotional crippling of teens. Let 'em grow up, just don't let 'em grow wild!

    Christi S.

  12. Hello and welcome, Christi!

    Every child is different. My middle children have been unable to do social things very well until recently. Even now it is difficult for them, but it has never been a matter of my holding them back in order to make them overdependent and stunted. It doesn't sound like you are doing that, either.

    In my house if you act like a baby, you do get treated like a baby and that means no video game time and outside trips. The teens aren't right by my side any more, but the general principle is good. The walloping session as outlined in that link creeped me out, though. I'd like to say theoretically that I'm not against parents using physical discipline, but when I read stuff like this, I think some kid is gonna be dead esp. if he is disabled/unable to snap to it for a bit there...


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