Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Facing an Unschooling Train Wreck, Part 2

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  
(Matt. 5: 9-11)

Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame."  (Isaiah 66:5)

To return to the issue of confidence in homeschooling and what drew me to the promise of empowerment in radical unschooling:  here I have to face some demons. A certain amount of the self-doubt that I have experienced was inflicted by others close to me who did not believe in me, who didn't think I was doing a great job of parenting and thought there was something wrong with my child. This has left deep scars. I had great confidence in the beginning of the journey, but I was criticized and attacked so many times that my joy in our lifestyle, and my ability to trust in others and myself, was eroded by people who I feel should have been supportive. Beezy's academic progress was judged as not good enough. Bringing these instances of injustice to light resulted in more of the same, in a widening circle. I try to understand that we are all wounded, and sometimes pain is manifest in the tearing down of others. Fear replaces faith. I must take responsibility for my own feelings and reactions in order to heal.

In June my family went to a Renaissance Faire, and a story teller/empathic healer looked into my eyes. She noted my dark-rimmed, blue-grey irises, what she called "sky eyes", which spoke of my strong core and the fact that I don't let anyone push me around. She also saw something else; that my soul had broken apart like the breaking up of a frozen lake. But the pieces were not the usual chunks of ice. They were like shards of glass. I knew it was true, because I started crying. The only thing I don't know for sure is exactly which pieces are still cutting me.

My hope that trust can be restored is consistently dashed each time I choose to believe again. In what universe is it okay to tell your sister that her beloved child will grow up to be a serial killer? People have chosen to think the worst of me and my family. Optimism is in my nature, but so is deep sensitivity. If I pull these shards out of my heart, will I bleed to death?

Maybe this is why I identify with the fallen guru, Dee. Something happened to shatter her too. Her problems are so much uglier than mine. My life is good, my husband and I are happy together, and our child is thriving. Yet in Dee's story I see magnified a darkness that I still have to face.

Perhaps women are especially vulnerable to doubting ourselves. We have been conditioned by society, family, and school to blend in. We should not be too loud or opinionated, should not call attention to ourselves or veer too far from the mainstream. We shouldn't make it too apparent how smart and talented we really are. We most especially should not have the audacity to think that we can educate our own children without certified experts. We are taught to feel guilty if we do not run with the other lemmings and drown in the sea. What's expected is a mass suicide of our spirits. And what's worse, it is often other women who cause us the most harm. We are conditioned to compete with one another and to soothe our jealousy by tearing each other down. Right and left we are silenced. I have so often been told that I am wrong in every way. Shit.

Radical unschooling was supposed to lift families out of the mire, but all they received instead was another oppressive, dictatorial dogma. Another cult of let's-all-think-the-same. A glossy cover with pseudo-intellectual twaddle inside. More insanity. I am so sensitive to beauty, and subsequently to ugliness. I didn't want to believe the RU train wreck I was seeing.

There is one, full-proof, saving grace. Karen DeBeus asserted in her ebook, Called Home, that if you are homeschooling, it is because you have been called to do it.  I was chosen, by God himself, for this vocation. I obediently have answered the call, and I have endured the persecution. I will not ignore my Lord. I will not stay on the sickening merry-go-round others invite me to play on. I will not continue to pound on closed doors, and I will not open my own to scorn and hate. God alone. God alone. God alone. 

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