Women, Self-fulfillment and Roles
The homeschooling mother-of-five who prepares home-cooked meals for her family is often seen as a slave to patriarchal society by feminist today. The feminist career woman, with children in daycare (or a husband who stays home with the children) is often seen as the woman who has it all.
Perhaps this is the great lie. Western society says women can be great mothers and great career women. However, what society ends up with is plenty of half-baked mothers and half-baked career women. Feminism teaches women that they can 'juggle it all and have it all' because they are strong and independent. They say motherhood is important, but 'self-fulfillment' is more important.
In my experience, the women chasing 'self-fulfillment' are the least self-fulfilled women I know. Those who chase the fulfillment of others are, in contrast, the most fulfilled women I know. The latter group are often mothers, who put their children first and are content with this role. I believe motherhood is one of a woman's most important roles. If a woman were to accept this role she would not have to run around stressed to the max, trying to prove she can have the best of both worlds (career and family). I don’t mean to say mothers have no importance besides being a caregiver, but if a woman is a mother, motherhood is pretty much her primary role.
The Gospel, Motherhood and Submission
Christian women should embrace motherhood. Like Jesus, we will give up our own desires to fulfill the desires of those around us. Jesus did not see equality with the Father as something to be grasped but made Himself a little lower than the angels.
Unlike Jesus, women today often try to wrest power from their husband’s, by acting like them in many ways. They see equality as something to be grasped. Moreover, feminism pits women against men. It likes to imply that men regard women as less worthy and forces them into the position of the enemy. Helen Reddy’s song, ‘I am Woman’ suggests as much in verse two:
You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
Women should not have to fight men for equality. Instead, they should realise they are made differently to males and are equal to them. They should also seek to make themselves their husband’s helpers. Women should enjoy being women. If embraced, ‘womanism’ is an excellent and fulfilling role.
So, in short, I don't believe the feminist career woman has it all. From what I've seen, there is more to be said for the stay-at-home mother who works at home quietly, with little glory from her fellow women. This life is an exciting and self-fulfilling role.
How I Realised Career Isn't Everything
‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.’ This has been the blessed story of my life. Ever since I was a teenager, God has used pain to reign in my pride.' (Psalm 119:71)
This has been the blessed story of my life. Ever since I was a teenager, God has used pain to reign in my pride.
I always knew I wanted to be a Christian stay-at-home mother because I loved my homeschooling education. But, career beckoned and I listened to its call for some time before I woke up to myself. When I was 17, God afflicted me with a thorn in my side. I injured myself while doing my hospital nursing traineeship. I took a month off for two bulging disks. My doctor told me it would get better in three weeks. At the time, I was drugged up with painkillers. Nine years later, I’m still on them.
However, the pain did not keep me from my ambition. I was going to conquer the world. After I had finished my nurse training, I went to study a Bachelor of Medical Science. I was a keen student and got good marks. At first I wanted to study physiotherapy or pharmacy. I never dreamed of medicine. That was for smart people. But, as my degree progressed, people began to talk more about postgraduate options. Medicine was the option with the most money and prestige. People who got the marks went on to do medicine. Medicine was a challenge – and I was ambitious.
Throughout this time, I was unsociable. I was a veritable hermit at times. I enjoyed being alone and found other people, especially strangers, irritating. I didn’t feel like spending time getting to know others. After all, I’d grown up in a wonderful Christian family and felt I was equipped far more than the average Christian at University.
However, at the end of my degree – while waiting to find out if I’d succeeded in my bid to enter medicine – I went through an explosive growth in my Christianity. After reading Confessions by Saint Augustine, for the first time in my life, I was convicted of my sin. I remember telling my father how guilty I felt. I figured God should not save me. I was too sinful. My Dad said to me, “You know Beccy, God took our guilt on the cross too, so you shouldn’t feel guilty.”
I began reading my ESV Study Bible like a drug. It was like a drug because I spent every spare moment praying, reading the Bible and listening to sermons. I could talk about nothing else. I began to question my life. Was I living the way God wanted me to live? I read the gospels. I found Jesus socialised extensively. He was rarely alone – except when he was praying. I realised being by myself all the time was not glorifying God. Proverbs 18:1 says ‘Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.’ That was me. I decided I would seek out other people.
Soon I heard back from Wollongong Medical School. After a nerve-racking four-month wait, I learned that I’d been accepted! I was overjoyed and rang my parents, my hands shaking, to tell them the news.
The preparation to move to Wollongong began. After settling into a Christian home with three other girls, my intense study began. During our first lesson, the teacher looked at us and said, “Well done! You are the cream of the crop! Out of 2,000 applicants, only 87 succeeded in getting in. And that’s you.” If the students in that room were not full of pride before the lecture, they were after it. I found most of my colleague’s nice people – but many of them were arrogant and I felt they wouldn’t care much for their patients. However, I couldn’t say I wasn’t one of them. Indeed, I got a tremendous boost from just telling people I was studying medicine.
We usually studied for 70 hour weeks. Every few weeks I would have a day off. Most other days I would start my day with a Pilates session by the beach at 6 am. At 7, I would be showered, dressed and at Uni. I usually studied until 11 pm and then went home. Often I would come home to rest my back for half an hour at lunch time. Medical school was tough going…and competitive! Everyone compared scores like we were in kindergarten again. We soon knew who the smart ones were. I was an average student.
Two months into the course, I began attending my housemates Bible study in an old weatherboard house in East Wollongong. When I walked into the living room for our first study, I noticed a surfie boy. He wore dorky skater shoes and sat on a stool with terrible posture! I was fascinated by him immediately because he was gorgeous! He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfie boy. Soon we began to bond over the Bible at Bible Study. Then we started bonding through godly conversations outside Bible study…
But, my plan for life didn’t include a boyfriend because boyfriends, as thoroughly exciting as they were, didn’t help me get where I was going. Or so I foolishly thought. For four months, I deliberated about whether I wanted a boyfriend. I came treacherously close to throwing away one of the biggest blessing God had given me, for my career. I knew boyfriends meant commitment and commitment meant marriage and marriage meant children. But I couldn’t do the nine remaining years of study I’d signed on to do with a husband!
Time was an issue. During the day, I had limited time. I thought I only had enough time to read my Bible quickly and utter a 2-minute prayer (besides the times I was begging God to pass me in a practical). My course demanded so much from me so that I had little time to invest in others around me. This included Tristan and this included God. I put myself before both, because ‘I had to.’
Eventually though, I decided to make a commitment to my boyfriend and at this point that I began loving him. He had always loved me and decided on our first date he wanted to marry me. And he kept praying for it.
As my commitment to Tristan and a future family became stronger, my commitment to my course became weaker. I soon went from a 70-hours week to a 60-hour week. Rather than spending my weekends trawling through textbooks, I started spending more hours with Tristan. After good advice from my parents, I decided Tristan should be first in my life and my studies would just have to be second. But how could I fit everything in? What if I had a family…where were they going to fit into my plan?
About 9 months into the course, my back became almost unbearably sore. My whole frame began hurting. Although I’d always had a backache sitting in chairs, the stress of doing so continually made the pain even worse. I started taking more painkillers. Soon I was unable to sit in a chair for more than five minutes.
This was a problem, because, although I could skip lectures and listen to the audio at home, we had to sit in practicals and tutorials. Soon I had to stand up in everything. My final tutorial was the last straw. After spending a week in tears because of the pain and worry, I remember looking at the board as my peers scribbled something about how the renal system interacted with the endocrine system. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m so behind…and I’m not going to catch up.”
I’d had enough, so I spoke to the people in charge and they were incredibly sympathetic. They said to take a few months off and find out what was wrong. After that, I could come back and repeat the year. At the time, this sounded good. Tristan was incredibly understanding and helped me with perspective around everything.
During this time, I spoke with my auntie and mother, who were both homeschool mothers. I knew I couldn’t have everything. I couldn’t be a full-time stay-at-home Mum and still be a doctor. So I asked my Mum, saying, “Did you like being a stay-at-home Mum?” My mother (who wanted me to continue my Medical degree at the time), said with a sigh, “I didn’t want to tell you this, but I think you’ll have far more fun being a stay-at-home Mum.” That was it. I was going to quit.
But it was easier said than done. After years of idolising the life of a career woman, I had to let go of the respect and admiration I was receiving. Now I had to live the life of a ‘dropout’ and a ‘failure’ – at least that’s how I saw it.
Even so, my health didn’t recover and my pain increased. Soon I was experiencing 8 out of 10 pain every day. The one saving grace was Tristan. Through the ups and downs, Tristan was there. I felt God had placed him in my life to be the help I desperately needed – though I didn’t always appreciate or realise it. I was an independent woman after all.
Soon, I was largely drugged out on painkillers again and had to live life day-by-day. I could do very little and had to have others constantly help me. Night times were stressful, as I often lay awake with the pain. Daytimes were spent in bed, as chairs were still unbearably painful to sit in for more than a few minutes. Walking was incredibly stressful and the muscles in my legs began to weaken dramatically. My ambition had been reduced from a doctor-to-be full of hubris to a failed and humbled woman with disabilities. ‘Success’ looked far away.
But, God was changing me. He began changing my ideas about what success looked like. Success was a good relationship with God and my family. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)
Thereafter, I began to re-evaluate my life. I started realising I was chasing the wrong thing. The pull of the world had been stronger than the pull of God’s Word.
Soon, Tristan and I married. We had a lovely ceremony, which my mother and mother-in-law mostly organised (I was too sick to care much). God and Tristan have been my constant help these last few years and I’ve had the opportunity to think about what success looks like. The struggle for recognition has been hard to overcome. The world says success is fame and fortune. God says it’s a meek spirit. These are opposites. For a woman, I’m convinced there is no higher honour than that of being a mother.
As for me, I’ve now almost fully recovered. It’s been five years since the pain began (then diagnosed as Fibromyalgia then Central Sensitisation). But I’m happier than I’ve ever been. God has given me contentment, despite my pain. He has given me an excellent relationship with my husband. My relationship with God is also going along in leaps and bounds, as God speaks – nay, shouts to me through my pain. Pain has been a gift. I can honestly say, ‘It’s good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.’ (Psalm 119:71
Today I visited the Illawarra homeschoolers in a local park in Corrimal after I was invited to the gathering by one of the ladies running the Illawarra homeschoolers Facebook page.
I walked into the gate and scanned the area. Soon I saw about five or six ladies, mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, gathered around a table with lots of junk food everyone shared with the group. This food was periodically being eaten by their offspring who ran up to the table between bouts of climbed through the brightly coloured train and other play equipment.
The ladies were thoroughly welcoming and lovely - especially as this was a group I'd never attendedf. I asked them all why they chose to homeschool. They said their reasons included the following:
- I got bullied at school myself
- I wasn't ready for him to go to school
- homeschooling reflects real life more closely
- I don't think school should start as early as it does...and I'm a teacher!
- you can work towards your future more effectively and start a career or tertiary education sooner as a homeschooler.
In addition, they said:
- I know what school is like because I'm a teacher
- I was confident to homeschool because I have relatives who homeschooled
The topic of socialisation came up (as it frequently does!). Parents seemed frustrated that homeschoolers were often labelled as socially awkward, yet the same label was not routinely applied to an awkward public school child. Many of these parents insisted this was grossly unfair.
After I revealed that I, myself, was homeschooled, the mothers said the proof was in the pudding because I was homeschooled, yet I had introduced myself and was socialising with them! They also said it was nice to meet a graduate homeschooler as many didn't know any adult homeschoolers.
Although we were interrupted frequently (especially by a cute five-year-old who thought I owned the chocolate), we all managed to have an informative and interesting conversion. I am very keen to go back and get to know these lovely women better.
If you're thinking about coming to these meetings, all I can say is I thoroughly recommend them. Come and meet the lovely homeschooling families of the Illawarrra!
What We Do When There is a Lack of Government Support and Guidance for Homeschooling Parents
Sometimes it might be easy to think homeschooling will be too difficult without the help of the government or a large organized institution. After all, don’t most children need a teacher, coach, principal, secretary and government to organise bureaucracy, as well as a school psychologist, nurse, gardener, maintenance man and so on?
Not necessarily. Many homeschooling parents fulfill these roles themselves. But, if education is so easy that just one parent can do it, why haven’t more people cottoned on? In reality, homeschooling is this easy. It’s just that most people propagate the false view that these trained educators (most of whom have 3-year degrees) are indispensable. Indeed, when everyone is telling you that you’ll fail, homeschooling well seems so much more difficult as parents must swim against the current telling them they can't do it. It certainly does take a brave parent to defy the majority (including the government itself at times) and forego government support.
Even though the government is not outwardly antagonistic to homeschoolers, they often over-regulate, and deny some concessions to homeschool families (only now is the NSW government giving homeschoolers travel concession cards).
For governments, the cost of homeschooling is quite small, as the parents invest so much time and money in their children, the government needs to pay very little. Indeed, to send one’s child to public school costs the government far more! Consequently, many homeschooling parents feel the government should support homeschooling financially. However, where there is government funding, there is almost always government regulation.
In America, homeschooling a special needs child is subsidized by some states - although, in this situation, government control is not immediately apparent, as soon as parents disagree with a ‘recommendation’, government’s will suggest a different ‘education approach’.
Did you ever feel there was a problem as you lacked homeschooling resources which most schools have?
Finding resources WITHOUT government support
With the internet’s rise, the wealth of educational resources available is mind boggling. No longer is finding homeschool material a problem. Rather, choosing between the stacks of resources poses the bigger challenge. If one book doesn’t work, another will do the trick. Australia offers the Home Education Association Magazine which will answer many questions parents have regarding homeschooling in Australia.
Many Australian organisations run conferences where whole homeschool families can attend and take part at relatively low prices. Many of these events (called inclusive events) mix Christian and secular homeschoolers. They offer great opportunities for parents to find answers to questions such as, “How do I teach mathematics” or “How do I start thinking about getting my child into university or TAFE.”
Parents can have their questions answered in a personal environment which considers personal circumstances without government input. This can be the upside of not having the support of big bureaucracy.
By Rebbecca Devitt (14/10/2016)
Rousas John Rushdoony is one of the most well known theological advocates of homeschooling in recent history. Rushdoony is, perhaps, most well known for his preference of private schooling institutes (such as homeschools) over public institutes. His own schooling was spent in public school.
Rushdoony began promoting homeschooling in the 1960s. He was antagonistic towards educational progressives, such as Horace Mann and John Dewey. Dewey and Mann were humanists and social reformers of public schools.
Rushdoony said these men were doing no good. He proposed regeneration was needed in the form of homeschooling. Soon Rushdooney was instrumental in having homeschooling legalized in American states. He spent endless hours defending homeschooling and spent a lot of time during the 1970s and 80s travelling around America, testifying to the success of homeschools .
Chris Smith, a writer on Rushdoony, called him a particularly effective witness because he was one of the few men who were able to destroy the, usually, steely-nerves of the examining attorney. During a 1987 court case, Leeper v Arlington (I.S.D. No. 17-88761-85), Rushdoony was especially dazzling. During the case a positive homeschooling precedent was made.
In the case, the attorney Shelby Sharp, acting for a few homeschooling families and their curriculum suppliers, filed a lawsuit against all public school districts in Texas (of which there were more than a thousand). Leeper v Arlington was a lawsuit designed to end many class actions against homeschooling families in Texas. Freedom was up for grabs!
The judge had to decide whether homeschooling was an illegal operation or a legal private school. The case, reaffirmed on appeal in 1991, was decided in the affirmative. The appeal landed the homeschoolers with a 9-0 decision in their favor, as Shelby got the Supreme Court to uphold old laws in favor of homeschooling. Rushdooney became a hero as his expert testimony was the difference between defeat and success.
But Rushdooney’s didn't just want public schools off the homeschooling case. He bravely fought for the abolishment of public schools entirely. Rushdoony wished to change the public institutions into Christian places. He said control of the future required control of education and of the child.
Rushdoony thought the toleration of state education meant those who tolerated these eucational institutions were renouncing their power and children in society. This, he thought, was equal to the denial of Christ's Lordship over all of life.
Rushdooney, as well as all homeschooling advocates, have certainly made an impact on culture. in today's American culture many Republican senators and congressmen favor of homeschooling. It is now more socially acceptable to homeschool and homeschooling numbers continue to skyrocket. Homeschooling numbers are now more than ten times what they were a generation ago.
Probaby the best thing for homeschooling has been the formation of the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which was established to defend homeschooling rights across America.
“We are very much in need now of Christian pioneers. This means a people who are zealous to grow and to exercise dominion in Christ.”
Rushdoony wrote extensively on homeschooling and founded the Chalcedon Foundation which published the Chalcedon Report. His homeschooling books include Intellectual Schizophrenia, The Messianic Character of American Education and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.
Aside from authoring his books, Rushdoony was an amazing man. He was a passionate disciple of Cornelius Van Til, another great theologian specializing in reformed apologetics and philosophy. Rushdoony furthered Van Til's works on total depravity, one of the five points of Calvinism.
Rushdoony read at least one book a day, six days a week for fifty years of his life, often refuting secular thinkers of theday. While Rushdoony died in 2001, his writings on total depravity still influence many.
In their time, these writings were in major contrast to secular thinkers of the day, like John Dewey, who held children were essentially good or neutral morally. Rushdooney would appear appear as a witness in courtrooms to defend the right of homeschoolers because he believed homeschooling had the ability to bring about moral change in secularly educated American schools.
Chris Smith ‘His Truth is Marching On’ 2012 California Magazine . Lee Duigon ‘Homeschooling's Greatest Courtroom Victory’ Chalcedon .
William Edgar ‘First Things’ (2014) . ‘Rousas John Rushdoony’ Theopedia . ‘Rousas John Rushdoony’ Wikipedia . Texas Home School Coalition Association ‘Leeper Case Decisions’ .
A Quora participant recently posted this question on the forum.“For the homeschooled individuals on Quora, do you wish you hadn't been homeschooled?” Of the 14 people on Quora who answered this question to date (24 May 2017), most answered no.
No (I am happy I was homeschooled)
Those who answered No received 421 upvotes (93% of upvotes), while those who answered Yes received 31 upvotes (7% of upvotes). While this mini-study is not the most effective way to determine the question, I feel it gives some indication as to the feelings on homeschooling many homeschool graduates have.
My answer to this question is no (although I’m not included in the above numbers). That is, I am thoroughly glad I was homeschooled. See some videos of my homeschooling experience, along with other girls who were homeschooled
Pros of Homeschooling identified
Many people commented on how little work they had to do when they were homeschooled. Some had to do none (and were none too pleased about it in hindsight), while others did around 2-4 hours of formal homework. Even so, many said they believed homeschooling allowed them to peruse academics with more vigour than schools allowed for. This, in turn, allowed for greater success in college/university upon homeschool graduation.
Homeschooling allowed time for low-stress, interest-based learning and was flexible enough to let students pick their own subjects, within reason. Students found they could also tailor their education, a situation that was helpful for those with special needs or disabilities. Extra-curricular activities could also be pursued with more enthusiasm and time.
Homeschooling allowed children to develop their personality more than a school would where children would be following others through sheer peer pressure. In addition, homeschooling avoided the bullying issue many encounter at school (as one formerly homeschooled respondent found out!). A home education allowed respondents to talk to others, especially older individuals with more maturity and poise.
Cons of Homeschooling identified
Most people who didn’t enjoy homeschooling objected to the way their parents didn’t involve them in socialisation opportunities enough. Others objected to the level of education they were given and said their parents didn’t seem to value or care about a formal education (this was a situation they found frustrating as they tried to enter the world on graduation).
Others, who no longer sound like they are Christians, found their home schools overly religious and believed their parents subsequently homeschooled for the wrong reasons (that is sheltering and isolation). Comments surrounding religiosity were the most vitriolic and passionate reasons given against Christian homeschooling in particular. (I find it a shame that the gospel seemed to figure so little, yet religiosity and rule-following were so prominent in answers like these).
Over-sheltering from other viewpoints, such as other religious worldviews were also a cause for regret in many homeschool graduates. Some children regretted that they were not allowed to play with other non-Christian children as their parents were afraid of the non-Christian children’s influence over their Christian homeschooled kids. They were only allowed to be friends with children from other Christian families.
Some homeschool graduates also felt like outcasts on homeschool graduation because they were homeschooled. They felt they could not socialise easily with others at work as a result of being homeschooled.
While there are many more pros and cons of homeschooling, I believe this croud-sourced answer gives light to the most prominent ways to make a home school succeed or fail. If you’re a parent thinking about homeschooling your children, researching ways to make a home school successful may just make you avoid mistakes (and dissatisfied homeschoolers) in the future.
If you would like to know more about homeschooling, I highly recommend doing some reading on the subject and familiarizing yourself with the issues. I believe the cons of homeschooling are easily circumnavigated with prayer and education on the topic.
If you would like to answer the question yourself, click here or answer the question by commenting below.
Homeschooling is generally considered a non-mainstream form of schooling. It makes up about 5% of children’s education in America and about 3–4% in Australia. In other countries, homeschooling is banned as illegal or laws are made so difficult is effectively banned.
I think homeschooling is becoming more common these days (compared to 20 years ago) because many parents see public schools (and to a lesser degree private and Christian schools) as decreasing in moral and intellectual value.
This accounts for the massive increase in Christians leaving public schools in America (and Australia). With programs such as ‘Safe Schools’ (Australian) and Californian laws where boys can use girls bathrooms, homeschooling is seen as a safe haven for kids to grow up with their parents Christian values.
New age thinkers, or hippies, don’t like the boring aspects in school (such as Common Core) and would prefer their children are brought up as being interested in the study they do (instead of bored out of their brains so much of the time).
Outside appearances have me as a good child, brought up in a Christian family, able to influence others to do good things. However, outside appearances cannot hide a wicked heart for long. And I was wicked when I was growing up.
I, to my shame, never remember thinking of God much when I was at school, despite coming from a Christian family. School was a slog I hated. Perhaps this is not everyone’s experience, but most children, whether they enjoy school or not forget God more than they would at home with Godly parents.
Sadly, were your children in my company when I was five, they would have been influenced to their harm. I found out how to steal Barbie dolls when I was six, so I could have the nice things other girls had that my poor parents couldn’t give me. I realize they may have had other reasons to avoid buying Barbie dolls with me, such as avoidance of the over-sexualisation happening in our culture.
One day, my parents saw me playing with the dolls I had stolen. They asked me where I got them from and I lied and told them someone had given them to me.
At six-years-old I was disobeying the eighth and ninth commandment flagrantly, unbeknown to my parents. They didn’t know about it and they couldn’t help me with my problems.
Those who know me now would, perhaps, be surprised I was this wicked so young (but, then again, perhaps some would not be surprised). Even though it happened when I was five, I still cringe and know that but for God’s grace, I would perish in the flames of hell for this.
When I was eight-years-old my parent homeschooled me. It was for my benefit, but getting me out of my peer's company probably benefitted them as I was a bad influence.
Under the tutelage of my parents, my character improved. I stopped stealing and begun to hate lying to my parents. My parents became my best friends and my siblings were my second best friends. However, I still harboured many dark thoughts (thoughts that I remember forming from the lonely hours at school, where I wanted to be alone, yet felt lonely).
In short, I improved dramatically at home. But, I was not perfect and even my homeschool friends were poisoned by my dark character at times. I would occasionally swear. Perhaps not 'bad' swearing by the world's standards, but they were outbreaks, like pimples on a forehead, against God. ‘Damn’ I would say. Then later I would say, ‘crap’ repeatedly. (Ironically this latter one I picked up from a homeschooling friend and made my own. So, no, sin is present among Christian homeschoolers too!)
I was a girl who loved God, but I was still immature and needed my parent’s time and attention so they could teach me maturity in Christ. Only lately, having nearly reached the age of 28, would I think I would be a fit peer to influence in the way of the Lord.
Ask yourself this question: If I, Rebbecca Devitt, who came from a Christian family, was a bad influence, what are non-Christian children likely to look like? How much worse is their influence going to be?
The door rattled as he knocked on it.
“Hurry up – we gotta go soon, Beccy.”
“Okay, okay…but, is Josh out of the shower yet?”
My younger brother, Neville, replied in the affirmative as I struggled out of bed and trundled into the shower. Sleep still clung to my eyes. Another day brought another fight. At seven years old, I was sick of my ‘Christian’ school – tired of the kids, the bullies and the constant effort of trying to fit in. I was the second of three siblings. Rather than waking up on my own, we were awakened bright and early and hustled into the shower. We learned how to knot our ties and tie our shoes, before filing into the car and driving to school. At school, assembly would start and we would listen to the headmaster and whoever else decided they wanted a turn at the microphone before heading off to our first class. After two classes recess, eventually lunch came.
I really didn't like recess and lunch either. During these times, I felt lonely and rejected. While I didn’t feel like I wanted to be part of the popular group, I wasn’t keen on being in the Christian girls group. I thought the Christian girls were so boring because they never did anything exciting. I would hang out on the fringes of the cool group, or spend time with Neville and his friends at recess. I liked spending time with Neville. However, I couldn’t spend too much time with him or the other children would brand me as ‘uncool,’ for spending too much time with the ‘little kids’.
So I’d wander off down the newly mown school yard by myself. Joshua, my older brother, was mad about soccer and at lunchtime he was always trying to kick the leather off the ball. But, he was a year older and always too busy to hang out with the ‘little kids’. I understood. But then I was still lonely. Sometimes, I would catch a glimpse of my father who would volunteer to mow the school lawns. My heart leaped when I saw who it was and I’d run over and give him a hug. Seeing my father was the highlight of my day. My father! Here at my school! However, he would soon send me back to the classroom, afraid of interfering with my education.
I didn't like my lessons either. I was at the bottom of my class and I struggled with feeling stupid as I was usually one of the last ones to finish the tasks they set for us. It seemed like everyone else understand, but me. Was it just me who was always waiting for the teacher’s help? Having my hand up constantly was so humiliating. I had to ask for help all the time. The girl sitting at the next desk from me would always put up her hand first to signal she had finished. I was only half way through. Soon I was embarrassed as everyone seemed to be waiting for me to finish and I was holding the class up.
At the end of the day, we filed up for the bus in multiple lines. The teacher shouted to quiet everyone down and get their attention, something she did all the time. “The best-behaved line gets onto the buses first.” Everything was a contest. That was the only way they could control us. Everybody didn't like waiting in line...unsurprising, I know. So we tried to behave as best we could. In the end, the oldest line of Year 4 students always got picked anyway... I don’t know why I tried. Things seemed a bit futile!
When we were on the bus, my younger brother, Neville, usually sat with me in the front row because it was a bit rowdy at the back. Neville and I always sat together. I didn’t mind that part. I listened to him chatter away about his day. I loved hearing my little brother talk. It was almost relaxing. We enjoyed each other’s company. However, this day we got on the bus and the big kids hadn’t taken the back seats. Neville looked at me with excitement and ran to the back seat. What an opportunity to sit where the ‘cool’ people sat, he must have thought. I watched him running up the back of the bus, his oversized school bag bobbing up and down on his back. He signaled to me to sit next to him. I declined the offer but sat a few rows up to keep an eye on him.
Something told me the back seat was a dangerous place to be. As the bus filled up, the oldest children sat next to Neville, either side of his small body like towering pillars. But, where was Jordan? He was the biggest and coolest of them all. He was the pack leader, the show-off, and the bully. Neville was oblivious to the danger. As the bus was set to pull out, Jordan jumped on the bus last and sauntered toward the back seat, making jokes with the children and throwing insults as he went. Eventually, he reached the back and saw Neville. His eyes narrowed as he saw the little boy on the seat, a big grin displayed; Neville was enjoying himself immensely.
“What are you doing in my seat?” Jordan bellowed.
“It’s not your…”
But before Neville got further, Jordan caught him by the hair of his head, lifted him out of the seat and dumped him unceremoniously on the floor. Neville started to cry, his face going red with fear and embarrassment. He picked himself up and shuffled over to the spare seat beside me. I got out of my seat, furious at what I had just witnessed and exploded. “I can’t believe you just did that, Jordan! You big bully! You’re horrible and that was a nasty, nasty thing to do to a little boy.” Jordan looked shamefaced and mumbled something about being sorry. I got in my seat next to Neville, who was still sobbing quietly. We were hoping the day would end soon…
While I only spent three years at school, I’d already discovered so much wrong there. My Christian school was supposed to provide a good Christian education. While the school’s theory and curriculum looked Christian, what was modeled by my classmates (and sometimes even teachers), was not. Our Christian school was often a lonely and ruthless place. My early school experience felt like doggy paddling in a vast, deep ocean with no land in sight. Here we fought for survival.
About the Author
Rebbecca Devitt is an Australian Christian homeschooling author, writer and blogger at whyonearthhomeschool.com. She is a homeschool graduate, dementia nurse, wife and mother who lives in Wollongong, Australia. If you would like to contact her with questions, please contact her on the CONTACT page.
How can you get to university if you're a homeschooler? You have no HSC or ATAR. You don't have any school contacts. Are you just setting yourself up for failure?
Keep reading, as we present four ways to get to university after homeschooling, \\. As a bonus, these entry pathways are remarkably stress-free compared to a HSC or ATAR score.
Ways to get from homeschool to University in Australia include:
As a homeschooler, I'm often questioned about how I managed to go to university (let alone study medicine for a year) with ‘only a homeschooling background’. Many people with school backgrounds find it hard to comprehend alternative pathways to university besides the grueling academic slog called high school.
I was blessed to enter university on the back of my extra-curricular activities (nursing portfolio) and work experience, none of which was outstanding. It was a cruisy pathway compared to high school.
Because I had no chemistry, biology or anatomy training, I began a medical sciences degree and immediately became terrified at the thought of failing the unit. Fear propelled me to work steadily.
But, I didn’t fail – rather, I ended up ranking in the top 10 percent of students in that class (most of which had studied these subjects at high school). In my other classes, I worked hard and continued to score well.
My brothers, and many of my homeschooled friends, also had no problem at University. This has more to do with our drive to study than any inherent intelligence on our part. Indeed, because homeschoolers have had to self-motivate themselves in the past, tertiary education motivation is easy.
Despite being of normal intelligence, I've been able to do all the things I've always wanted to do.
About the Author.
Rebbecca Devitt is an Australian Christian homeschooling author, writer and blogger at whyonearthhomeschool.com. She is a homeschool graduate, dementia nurse, wife and mother who lives in Wollongong, Australia. If you would like to contact her with questions, please contact her on the CONTACT page.