Monday, March 14, 2011

How do we protect our kids?

Have you seen this news story? Apparently a psychology teacher at a high school decided to give students a sexually suggestive quiz, supposedly to prove that words that are seemingly innocent to children are considered sexual innuendo to adults. Ugh.

Who gets to decide what our children are exposed to each day? This is a tough question for any parent who has their children in a traditional school setting – trust me, I have BTDT. When children cross the threshold of the school, parents do not always know what they will encounter as they go about their day. Hopefully, it’s a day of learning and innocent fun – creative experiments in science, interesting stories in reading, and friendships on the playground.

 This isn’t always the case, though. Actually, more often than not, children will be exposed to adult themes far sooner than we are ready for. Sometimes it’s from their friends, whose families might not share the same morals as your family. That can be a hard blow to a parent, to find out at dinner that little Suzy knows about topics usually reserved for late-night television.

What if it’s not only other children sharing such grown-up thoughts? Some teachers, for some reason, think that it is their duty to expose children to ideas that might not line up with parents beliefs. Is that their right? Is it their duty, to “enlighten” children? Should sex ed be taught by the parent, or by the school? Should schools be allowed topass out condoms at will, without a parent knowing what’s going on? What if they are passing out those same condoms to 1st and 2nd graders? Is that “looking out” for the kids? They grow up fast enough without it being encouraged by the teachers, you know?

Most anyone who knows me knows that my children have been homeschooled, unschooled, charter schooled, and public schooled. I am not against traditional school settings – I think each choice is another chance for a parent to make an informed educational decision for their child, and not every option will work for every family. With that said, my personal preference is for homeschooling (most who know me, know that, also). I think that protecting the innocence of our children is becoming a losing battle these days – they are exposed to so much more than we were as kids, at very early ages. 

When we send our kids to school, teachers and classmates are getting their attention for most of their waking hours. How much time do parents really spend talking to their kids? Up and out the door by 7:15 for school to start at 7:45 – no time to talk. After-school activities last until 4:00 or later, then they head home, grab some food, do homework, play video games/watch tv/text with their friends, get a bath and go to bed. How do we combat the negative messages they are bombarded with every day? 

Personally, I have found it much easier to do when mine are homeschooled. It seems that my kids have better attitudes, their thoughts are more innocent, and they are better behaved when they do not have the constant influence of 20-30 same-aged peers. What has your experience been? Do you notice a change when school has been out for the summer, and you have more time with your kids – away from the influences at school?  Not only away from the constant influence of their peers, but being able to spend more time with their parents. What are your opinions on the best ways to protect our kids from growing up too fast?


  1. One of the main reasons we started homeschooling was the day I had to start an argument with the principal that my 5th grade child was NOT participating in Sex ed for a semester. He had to take a zero for that class. Only zero I was ever proud of.

    The next year we switched to private school which was not much better and the year following we started homeschooling.

    I have just never understood the audacity of the PS wanting to educate the kids where it is the parents job to educate them in that area.

    So glad you are blogging again!

  2. I absolutely agree with everything you said. And I don't think it's sheltering a child to keep them away from those influences. They are CHILDREN! It is our job to protect them and to know what is going into their mind.

    Even at three and four when they started playing with a neighbor boy (and still now at four and five) I see a tremendous difference in their attitude and behavior when they've been around him. Around one other child who has different family values than we do. But at least this is in my own home where I know everything being said and can have some sort of guidance in the situation.