Actor Matt Walton had a few, less than savory things to say about the recent school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The homeschool movement, it would seem, benefits from school shootings.
No, I don’t. I see a desparate attempt to villify homeschooling which really only succeeds at revealing Walton’s own stereotypes and disgust toward those he disagrees with.
And the homeschool movement most assuredly is not benefitted by school shootings. We are not better for another person’s suffering. These are our communities, too. Nothing gets easier about homeschooling when our communities are in shock, grieving and wrestling with how best to protect our children. We are far better off with safe communities than a few extra members who really would rather not be homeschooling.
Children benefit by having empowered and engaged parents.
Parents benefit by having options and realizing the significance they have in their children’s lives.
Communities benefit by having concerned citizens invested in education.
Our very republic benefits by having an engaged citizenry — even when we don’t agree.
But nobody benefits by the terror associated with random and fatal attacks against children just going to school. That sick feeling in the pit of your stomach does not expand our liberties or broaden the choices available to our children after they leave home.
That sick feeling makes us look at our children the same way other parents look at their children as they get them ready for school after reading about yet another shooting. The thin veil providing us the illusion of control lifts from our eyes as well. We look at our children and realize that no place is safe. We cannot protect them. We can only do our best, pray and somewhat guiltily hope that these kinds of random acts do not touch our family.
We may say, “Thank God we homeschool.” But that is only because it helps us maintain some distance from the tragedy. We do not have to pack a back pack and see our children off, reminding ourselves that lightning is more likely to strike them than a tragedy like this, even as images pop up on the television, on the computer and on our phones. But we aren’t that distant. Because these are our communities, too. And we know that another school shooting is just a symptom of deeper problems.
And homeschooling is not an escape from the problems in our communities. It is merely our best effort to prepare our children for an uncertain world.