But…Are They Happy?

A few months ago someone asked me that very question as regards our family’s decision to homeschool.

There are a few ways I could have answered:

One — “No.  We enjoy making our children miserable.  That’s why we had them.  We like to make people sad, and we were running out of friends so we decided to make some people to make sad.” (sarcastic)

Two — “No, but we really don’t care about their happiness.”  (partly true)

Three — “Yes.  But we don’t care about their happiness as much as other things.”  (more true)

Four — “Yes.  They don’t know any different, and they really enjoy our days.  It has been a wonderful decision for our family.”  (what I said)

First, go here and read Ann’s post about getting her room ready for a year of school.  I think her children are very happy.

Then, head to Beth’s and watch the lovely tribute video her friend Mary’s children made for their mother.  More happiness.

Then let’s talk more about happiness and homeschooling.  ‘Cause there seems to be a population of people who think my kids are miserable but just don’t know it yet.  And that makes ME sad.

Edited to add…I posted this earlier today but after some feedback from people I love, I chose to reword some of it.  I think it came off rather snotty, which was not my intention.  My love for sarcasm sometimes makes people read sarcasm in where there isn’t any.  I was trying to write with an open hand and heart, but I wasn’t careful enough and for that I am sorry.  I believe that there is liberty for Christian parents on schooling decisions as there is no Scriptural prescription for a method of education.  We should never absolutely condemn one approach or another.

5 thoughts on “But…Are They Happy?

  1. Being happy, hmmm………and then homeschooling. It is about education whether in a school or at home. Ann's blog was inspiring but somewhere is a mess. Messes come and you can read that in her words.Beth's house is emptying like mine is. It is the way the Lord has made families. Fledglings to fly off. I am spending much of my observation this coming year on Callings. Maybe being right in the will of God with that is what brings happiness. Just out from the hospital I saw so many drs and nurses in love with their callings. I see my daughter-in-law longing to get her classroom for public school middle schoolers back in order! Who loves middles schoolers?!! She does. More than I do. I found that I had to have more interests than my kids through the years. More than their education. And that in the end relationship was most important. Sometimes that was the lesson of the day.Thanks for a good post!

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  2. Ah yes, the "happiness" ploy. I laughed when I thought about the idea of kids' happiness being a deciding factor in their schooling. If it was, two-thirds of all school-aged children in any school should just be allowed to run around and play all day!!!Unfortunately, in my experience, there are some people who will be bound and determined to pound the gavel and declare your children "not happy" in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary (do they even see all the sweet pictures on your blog??). Just appeal to a different Judge. :)FWIW, here in the backwoods bunker of the Reformed community in Northern Cal, I'm in an even tinier minority. I'm transferring all three of the girls to a private Christian school this year. I get the (only implied, never said out loud) question: "But are you godly?". Delegating my authority and all that.And also for FWIW, amazing women like you and Ann are the reason I know I'm not ready for homeschooling yet. You both have the vision for what an education ought to be and the obvious calling to carry it out. I have a similar vision, but, at this point, not the gifts or the calling. I'm sometimes okay with that, and other times, like at the start of every school year, kind of sad about it.

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  3. Are they happy? Yes and no. Would they be happy in another school setting? Yes and No. We do want them to be content with whatever God has in store for them. Would they learn better in another setting? Probably not, because they wouldn't be free to learn in their own way. They wouldn't be free to slow down or speed up. They wouldn't be able to spend the day working to fix a computer as part of their formal education.Happiness is over rated. Not that I frown on being happy, instead I must remember that emotions are tricky and can blind you to the truth. Overall Deuteronpmy 6 is our families guideline for our childrens education. And for our family the only way to follow Deut. 6 is to homeschool.I do believe that hs'ing is the very best way to educate anyone. But I have had to change my attitude towads those who don't agree instead of condemning them in my heart.Keep up the good work. Kelly!

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  4. Happiness is finding joy where you are – being content. Contentment is a discipline, especially when you live with five or more children in a house on less than an acre of land in Charlotte Augusts and your home also includes your school. I like to read Chaim Potok, and I think you get a very good view of what an education is from his books. Even though his characters go to school, their education is often outside of school, conversations with fathers and other members of the community. The community expects the child to work outside of school in order to educate themselves. It is a spiritual responsibility. Even though I went to school my parents held me accountable for my education and they expected it to be done outside of school. They gave me a whole education outside of my days away while they worked using both their gifts and callings. That is what being a parent is no matter where or how we do it. And Bonnie, thanks for the reminder that in those pictures of Ann's there is a mess somewhere!

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