So Proud

March 14, 2012 § 12 Comments

Above photo taken by Penny (as are most on this blog), just after the boys and I had finished processing our lambs.

This morning, Fin, who is 10, was reading on the couch. “Papa,” he called to me (I was in the kitchen, making some sort of mess), “what’s a Big Mac?”

This reminded me of a experience Penny had, back when Fin was 5. I’ve mentioned it before, but it was a long time ago, back when there were about 3 people reading this blog. She’d taken the boys to a water sports store to purchase a used kayak. At the store, they had a TV playing kayaking videos. Fin was transfixed, and called out to Penny: “Mama, come over here. Look at this box! It has pictures and sound!”

One of the beauties of homeschooling your kids in a rural community is that you have a tremendous degree of choice regarding what and what not to expose them to. Once in a while (although thankfully, not as often as you might think), someone will hear that we homeschool and say something brilliant like: “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” To which I can only answer: “Damn straight. That’s why we keep them at home.”

It’s a bit snarky (but then, I’ve been accused of worse), to be sure. Still, it’s the truth, or at least part of the truth. Because if, at the age of 5, my kid doesn’t know what a TV looks like, that’s just fine with me. If, at the age of 10, the words “Big Mac” are meaningless to him, I’m downright ecstatic. It could be said that this ignorance will all but ensure that my boys remain out-of-step with contemporary American society. Perhaps, perhaps.

But then I think about all the things they do know: How to identify practically every species of tree, bird, and bush in our forest. How to build a fire, to milk a cow, to field dress a deer. How to plant a garden, handle a splitting maul, use the chop saw. And I can’t help but think that it’s contemporary American society that’s out of step with them.

§ 12 Responses to So Proud

  • kate maclean says:

    Hi Ben! New reader here. I’m about to move up to Vermont to start a small micro dairy with my partner and I am very much enamored with your blog (and we have “the town that food saved”). Just wanted to say that this post put a big smile on my face as we constantly face doubters when we mention we want to homeschool our *future* kids.

  • Rebecca says:

    Loved your last blog! I so admire your principals for your boys and wish more of us could follow your lead. Your boys bring hope to all of us!

  • ncfarmchick says:

    This post speaks to my heart (as does all of your writing, as a matter of fact.) We plan on homeschooling both of our children (one almost 8 months old and the other due in May!) and are so grateful we will be able to do so on our farm where they can run through the woods, eat straight from the garden and actually know where an egg comes from. Thank you for the constant inspiration!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Great, now I have an answer for that oh-so-ignorant/ridiculous question! Thanks. (Seriously, what is so great about the way public-school children are “socialized”, that everyone thinks we’re missing out on?!)

    Wish mine didn’t know what a tv was sometimes. We don’t have it hooked up for the actual television, but we do use it for videos. Which has good points and bad points; our library has lots of really good educational videos. I’m never certain it’s been the right decision though. If we ever manage to move out of town, it will definitely be up for more serious review. Your boys are lucky!

  • Jennifer Fisk says:

    You are so right in your choice.

  • Pat Cavanaugh, hi Ben we met at Marlboro College says:

    Just sent this note with the link to my 27 yr old daughter who’s out in CO:
    “”I may have sent you this guy before, I dunno. I just love him. The thing is, they’ll know how to do all that and then some. Lucky kids. Sounds like you :)”

  • Dawn says:

    Great post, as always…Joel Salatin has spoken and written many times on much the same issue – one of the reasons he and his wife homeschooled their kids was to avoid “socializing” them in the sense most people think of it. He believes there is a difference between raising kids to be social, and socializing them. I am thrilled your 10 yr old had to ask about Big Macs, as thrilled as when my 16 yr old girl asked me who the Kardashians were and why everyone talked about them. There are some moment when you know you got the parenting thing right.

  • Dirk says:

    So, what did you tell him? You answered the question, right?

  • Jean says:

    Once again, you speak to my heart. All I can say is GOOD ON YA MATE!! It gives me hope for our future. Thanks Ben. ~J

  • All I can say to this is that more and more I find myself wishing that I had more of this upbringing. Mine was good – very little fast food, lots of time outside, little tv, lots of reading, and so on – but this sounds really, really wonderful.

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