Pandora’s Homeschool

“Mom, did you say eighty thousand people died in one moment?” asked my daughter.

This afternoon, my children and I sat under the Tree of Knowledge, and they accepted with trust the apple I offered them: I read to them about how our country dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all of the people living in those cities.

“Mom, have they ever dropped atomic bombs on any other country?” my daughter asked.

“No, not in war. Not except for tests,” I said.

“Good. Because that was an awful thing to do.”

Before I started today’s lesson, their world-view didn’t include atomic weapons used to intentionally annihilate two cities and hundreds of thousands of human lives. This knowledge has shifted their perception of the world.

“Mom, I can’t wait until we learn about the Ancients again because even though they did lots of bad things to people, they couldn’t kill nearly so many people at once as people can in modern times.”

And because we homeschool, I’m the one who gets to tell them about Stalin’s purges and the Holocaust and atomic weapons. It’s a mixed blessing. I’m glad they’re hearing these things from me and that I get to be there to see them process the information, and I’m also grateful for the opportunity to look more deeply into these issues myself, but it’s difficult to tell them about these things. It’s difficult enough just to confront them myself.

Maybe I’m less like Eve and more like Pandora. With each lesson, I open the box a little more and let out into their world one more evil. And now I’m wondering, do I leave Hope inside the box? Or do I let it fly free and trust that it can hold its own out in the world and—even more—in the hearts of my children?

5 comments

  1. nomidahomie · May 17, 2015

    That’s really beautiful, that you homeschool your children. How do you manage that? Do you work? If I have children, I’d like to consider homeschooling, but it seems very difficult to manage.

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    • Charity · May 17, 2015

      Thanks for your comment! I got it just as I was sitting down at the computer to do my annual paperwork for the school district.

      Homeschooling is a lot to manage, but parents who send their children to public or private schools do a lot of work, too. Not only do they pack lunches and have to work around the school timeline, but many parents spend hours helping their children with homework, volunteering in the classroom, attending PTA meetings, and taking their children to extracurricular activities, so it’s not like it’s a choice between nothing to manage and tons to manage.

      I wrote a series of posts a couple of years ago about our decision to homeschool and what it looks like in our house. You can find the first post in that series here. Things are a little different these days compared to how they were when I wrote those posts, but I think they’ll still give you an idea of how we do things. I’ve been considering putting together another group of posts about homeschooling, and in light of your questions, I might put that a little higher on my priorities list.

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      • nomidahomie · May 17, 2015

        It’s so great that you understand both sides of the story; both homeschooling and public/private schooling. I know some parents that think that homeschooling is much more work and that if a parent isn’t doing that, then they do nothing. But you’re right, either way, it is a lot of work. I meant more along the lines of: How do you go to work every day with your kids at home? Because if you have a 9-5 job, I imagine it would be difficult to take care of them at the same time. I’ll definitely look into your earlier posts about this. Thank you!

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      • Charity · May 17, 2015

        Ah, yes! I see what you’re asking now.

        I don’t currently have a 9-5 job. We’re a one-income family, and I’m able to devote most of my time to homeschool and other kid-related activities. I do know people in two-income families who homeschool, and it seems to involve a lot of juggling of schedules. I’ll get a tiny taste of that when I take a couple of graduate courses this summer and fall. I’ve got some plans in mind, but I’m really not sure how my own school plus schooling my kids is going to work. I do know it’s been done, though, so I feel hopeful that I can do it, too. Hopefully I’ll have time to blog about the experience.

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      • nomidahomie · May 18, 2015

        Well, good luck!

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