Merry Christmas, My Friends!

And the rest of you, too!

He left the comfort of Heaven to come to a place where His body would be vulnerable to the same ailments as ours. He endured the same discomforts. When it was cold, He shivered. When it was hot, He sweated. He subjected himself to every temptation that we must endure. And yet with all physical and spiritual temptations visited upon Him, He sinned not, and then became the propitiation for our sins, who have failed in a million ways.

We should absolutely enjoy the Feast of Christmas, without turning up our noses at the “materialism” in the gifts and decorations, or the “gluttony” of meals and drinks shared with loved ones. There is a time for feasting and enjoying the bounty of His provision. The times for fasting and mourning won’t be denied, and they are coming. They are inevitable.

One day there will be an eternal feast, with no more fasting when we are finally with our Bridegroom. Let us look forward to that by celebrating our Salvation’s coming on this day.

Merry Christmas, all!

The Fix Still Isn’t In

This one’s for muh normies.

Normies (n.): people who have been so virtuously busy building and maintaining their lives and livelihoods that they haven’t had hours to spend reading and researching the political edifice that rules us all. Normies are often found on social media, whinging and cringing about whatever “news” finally manages to bubble to the surface in spite of media suppression, but without any understanding of how deep the rot really goes. The world could not function without normies, but we are in a time when the world will cease to function if they don’t wake up.

The trouble with people who mind their day-to-day life, and little else, is that they apply just as much emotional energy to politics as they have left after the bills are paid and the children are in bed, and not one drop more. It is, after all, all they have left. When called upon to exercise some intestinal fortitude in nearly any contest, they quickly give in and “deal” with whatever injustice has been foisted upon them this time, so they can get back to the more pressing needs of their immediate lives. The State–the one that operates regardless of which party is nominally in charge–has gotten away with much worse than murder for God-only-knows how long only because normies are honest, busy people.

And these good people are starting to do that thing they do again, far too early. With the media incessantly droning outright lies, and social media intruding on every conversation with an ominous reminder that Joe Biden has won, Trump is done for, they are beginning already to resign themselves to at least four more years of our pre-Trump status quo.

And then? Well, they’ll vote again!

This is adorably naive, friends. I hate to break it to you, but if Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, there will never be another legitimate election again. For that matter, we haven’t had legitimate elections in our national races for a very long time. The governor’s race in my home state of North Carolina was also, I am certain, stolen in 2016 and again this year. I haven’t looked into senators and congressmen as closely, but there’s really no accounting for the longevity of a number of unpopular senators. There has been a lot of chicanery in our elections for a very long time.

And why wouldn’t there be? We are, despite our spiraling around the financial drain, the richest and most powerful nation on the Earth. There’s still a lot of pickins on this carcass. But let’s pretend that the nation will somehow survive this insult. We do, after all, have to be back to work at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

With cheating so rampant, and for so long, the only reason we’ve had Donald J. Trump these last four years is that those whom I like to call Core America voted for him in 2016 in such overwhelming numbers that their normal means of cheating couldn’t overcome his popularity. The last four years of acrimony have not been merely hatred of a man for winning against them, or for implementing popular policies, or for his contemptible appeal to “deplorables”. They have been because an honest man in power can see everything they’ve been doing and put a stop to it.

They are panicked. At the end of this, somebody is going to prison. A whole lot of somebodies. If justice is done, Trump will be able to finally deliver on his promise to Hillary Clinton (and dozens or hundreds of others) that “you’d be in jail”.

And that is why he literally can’t leave the White House. If he gives in to their home-soil version of a color revolution, they’ll kill him or imprison him and destroy everyone he loves out of sheer spite. They’ll take down every public supporter he ever had. And then they’ll turn their sights back on the nation that, in their skeezy little minds, is theirs to buy and sell as they please. But they won’t just pick back up the rape of our country where they left off, as my less vigilant friends seem to believe. They will no longer even pretend to abide by the rules. Why should they? We’ve already proven that we’ll do any stupid thing they say, whether it makes sense or not.

They will punish us for not being the obsequious grunts they believe they deserve. They will flood our borders with hordes of immigrants, take everything we own and give it to them with a generous cut for themselves, restart their lucrative wars from which we’ve finally extracted ourselves, limit our ability to feed our families, and inflict a thousand other delightful surprises on our national body. They’ll literally starve us out.

There will be no more America if a Biden-Harris administration enters the White House, I promise. 

Fortunately, there has been another, better promise made to us by a man who has to date always delivered on his promises. (Well, we’re still waiting for Hillary’s perp-walk, but I’m still waiting for Jesus to come back, too. The promises aren’t void just because both Trump and God are exercising patience in getting us there.)

While it is true that there are enough electors to install Biden on the day the certificates go to congress, it is also true that there are enough alternate electors to elect Trump on that day. Even if there weren’t, there would still be opportunity for the Vice President to reject those electors from fraudulent states. After that, each state gets a vote, and we hold that majority. The media don’t want to tell you that part, because it scares them when people know the truth. People who know the truth know how to pray.

The more aware we are, the more they panic, and the more stupidly they behave. Why is that? It’s because they know they haven’t won yet, and they’re not at all certain that they have the physical manpower to pull it off if it comes to shooting. They’re trying to convince you so you won’t be ready to support Trump in the event that he has to use the Insurrection Act to save the country. But they are also trying very hard to convince themselves, because they–the media–are complicit. They’re rightly terrified.

There is an electoral path to victory, and you should be praying hard for that to be the way things go down. But if we find that either Congress, or Mike Pence, who has squished with great squishiness in the past, don’t have the spine (or the cleanness of heart) to stop the steal, we are left with one final option. The truth is, there is so much evidence of fraud that it is a slam dunk case by now, and there are both criminal and martial remedies available.

Hang in there and pray, normal people. Do go about your lives minding your own business, as you’ve always done, but for now, please be ready to put down the normalcy and fight for what is rightfully yours.

If the Congress doesn’t do its job, it will mean war, and Trump’s got an army.

 

Homeschooling in the Christmas Season

How did Christmas get to be a month-long thing, anyway? 

Christmas has become quite the to-do in our home, even though I never really got into the spirit of things for the first several years of our marriage. If I could put the tree up on the 23rd, then take it down on the 26th, that would have been quite enough for me, thank you very much. I guess motherhood is the Grinch-buster, because the longer I have little ones in the house, the more excited I get about all the baubles and lights. Christmas has become a treasured season in our lives, and not just a day. And that’s the way it should be!

Growing up in Appalachian mountain evangelical churches, I don’t think I ever even heard the word “advent” until I was in my twenties. Most people will find that amusing, I’m sure. Dumb hillbillies. Regardless, once I heard about it, I adopted the Advent calendar as a tradition in our home. When we only had a couple of kids in the house, I just put small candies or toys into a paper bag calendar I’d made. I’m not crafty, so you won’t see this one on Pinterest. I can’t believe this was 10 years ago.

As the family grew I couldn’t fit individual things into the bags anymore. Besides, doing things is way more fun.

Now, sometime in November I sit down and think of 24 Christmassy things to do (or eat!) leading up to the Day. I write the ideas on strips of paper and put them in the little drawers of our Advent Calendar.

Advent Calendar

 

Each year is a little bit different, depending on my mood and how much of a mess I think I’ll be up for. There is a lazy side of me that wishes I hadn’t taught the children to expect so much every year, but the quality time is always worth the effort. There are a few things that we do every year without fail. Of course, there is always the Reason for the Season, reading the Christmas story and singing hymns. There are some less pious things, as well, like gingerbread houses made with graham crackers and royal icing. I’ll post a how-to later on for those interested. Yesterday we put together a Christmas puzzle. We’ll use some peel-and-stick sheets to stick it together and frame it. Other things we do are making and taking gifts to neighbors, singing Christmas carols, and drinking hot chocolate.

So how do we keep on schooling when it’s just one big party? Well, to tell the truth, I called the puzzle geometry and art (it’s shapes and colors!) yesterday, and when the time comes for gingerbread houses, I’m going to call that “handicrafts”. We do our morning meeting with prayer and Bible reading, a few together things like Shakespeare or Plutarch, then a little bit of copywork and math. After that we’re as flexible as we need to be, depending on how time-consuming the day’s activity is. Sometimes it’s just an extra story or song. Sometimes it’s an all-morning event.

The kids can still fit their lessons in around the edges while we center our lives around the Truth that Christ was born for us. If we skip some academic things, I can still rest easy knowing that January is coming. We can grind it out then. We have so much going on in December that I’ve learned to look forward to January as a time to accomplish much. Perhaps I’ll even accomplish a few more blog posts! Sorry it’s been sparse so far, but as long as I’m raising these kids, it’s going to be like that. You know how it is.

What are your Christmas traditions? Do you have an advent calendar? Let me know in the comments what you do so I can fill out my calendar with new ideas next year! 

Friday Link-about

Just a few things to think about over the weekend. I’m going to start keeping a better list. I know there was more that I wanted to post than this:

I was so tickled to see that my friend Dawn has a podcast now. She is truly a font of wisdom. She hasn’t had time to post new ones lately, so there’s time to catch up on everything I’ve missed! Find her at One Faithful Mom.

Watch, as Nancy Pelosi explains that a Chinese spy sleeping with a congressman is no concern to her at all, and certainly we shouldn’t be looking into the backgrounds of people who work for elected representatives. The infiltration of American patriots into Trump’s government, though, is horrifying. “They’ve got Q!”

China says private ownership of guns in the U.S. is a serious problem. Well, yes. If you want to invade a nation, it helps if there isn’t a rifle behind every blade of grass.

The L. A. Times says masks don’t work, so the mask-wearing needs to intensify. It is imperative that we remain terrified of each other at all times.

Do you read The Donald? Lots of fun over there.

I’ve been sleeping and exercising with my mouth taped shut. How my family must wish I’d commit to a 24-hour regimen! Breath, by James Nestor is another life-changer of a book.

Finally, a request. I don’t have any public-facing social media at the moment, and may not ever start back down that road, but if anybody wanted to share this blog with friends and family, I wouldn’t complain at all. Unless you shared it with people you know wouldn’t like it, which would make them and me a little bit cranky.

Leave links to anything you find interesting in the comments. You can leave your own stuff, too!

Basic Keto Layer Cake

If you’re trying to avoid carbs for the holidays, and need some cheats to get past the dessert trap, here’s a nice way to fool your brain into thinking it’s getting sugar. This Basic Keto Layer Cake recipe has zero blood sugar impact for me. It has never knocked me out of ketosis (NTTAWWT). Everybody is a little bit different with sweeteners, so I recommend using one you know is good for you. The erythritol/stevia blends are the best options I’ve found.

Like most of the things we eat around here, this cake is very specific to our family’s allergy needs. This recipe is made without nuts, grains, or dairy.

chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake

You get no professional-looking photos on this blog. 😉

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To Cover, or Not to Cover

I spend a good portion of my life bewildered.  

It seems like no matter where I go, I’m never quite up to speed on what other people are doing, let alone what they’re thinking. Bring up any topic, and you can just about count on my punk brain coming up with a completely different angle than everyone else around me. This is extremely uncomfortable.

I don’t want to to call this quality that I’m lacking “conformity”It’s not a willingness to conform that I lack. Believe me, as a shy person, I think it would be lovely to just do it, whatever “it” happens to be at the moment. It would be cool to, for once in my fringey little life, jump right in and blend with the crowd. I’d like to be respectable for a change. It’s not the desire, but the ability to conform that seems to have been left out of the warp of my soul.

So let’s just call it alienation. I am continually alienated from the people around me by my (apparently uncommon) convictions. Whether others have felt the pull of similar convictions and ignored them, or they just don’t have the same convictions is entirely between them and God. I wouldn’t even want to know. None of my business. Since we’re all reading from the same Bible, though, it really is a wonder to me that I can be so predictably orthogonal to the rest of society. Every. Single. Time. I am clearly broken.

I’ve worn a hair-covering while praying and studying the Word for several years now, even though no one else I know does this. I don’t believe it’s strictly mandated, but it is a symbol whose meaning everyone can discern. It’s a mark of submission of a woman’s own (meager, in my case) physical beauty, her glory, to the headship of her husband, who is in turn a symbol to her of Christ as He heads the Church.  There’s also that whole mysterious thing about “because of the angels” which I don’t need to fully understand in order to recognize that it is a concern. In addition to the positive reasons for it, I can’t think of any reason hair-covering would be inappropriate, so I do it.

The apostle Paul thought the covering was a good idea, and fitting in its symbolism, but “if anyone seems to be contentious about it, we have no such custom.” Let them do what they think best, in other words.

But, I note, they are being contentious.

Symbolism matters, except when it doesn’t. 

Some time ago, our pastor made a joke in passing about how we wouldn’t “be having a burka sale in the lobby” later on. I can’t remember for sure, but I think he was talking about ecumenism and that weird beast called Chrislam. Certainly he was not preaching from 1 Corinthians 11 that day, so the joke was an aside, not an attack. The fact that covering one’s hair as a gesture of modesty isn’t anything like covering the full face and form because of the supposed shame of being female didn’t stop me from flinching a bit, though.

The symbolism of the hair covering means very little to this particular pastor. Fair enough, I guess. That’s pretty much all the pastors these days, after all. It bothered me enough that I still recall the sting of the joke, but not enough to ruin the rest of the message. I mostly got over it, and the joke in context was kind of funny. But there was that shameful feeling of being seen on the fringes, yet again.

I’ve continued to cover my hair because the social pressure is the only negative thing about it. There’s no biblical or practical reason not to do it.

And that brings me to my current problem: Masks. 

Actual photo from worship service. I guess it would be rude to give them mouths when we’re not allowed to have them ourselves.

It occurs to me that the same man who wouldn’t dream of telling women to cover their heads is fully on board with having everybody cover a large portion of their imago dei so they won’t spill their newly toxic breath all over each other. Granted, the Bible doesn’t say anything about surgical masks, but I do think on an intuitive level, this ought to give thoughtful Christians pause. If covering up the faces of God’s children, muffling their voices, and keeping them from greeting one another with a “holy kiss” doesn’t seem creepy and perverse to you, I just have nothing left to say.

I can’t get with the program. I’ve talked myself around in circles on this. “Just put on the mask. It won’t hurt you, you know. Not if it’s just for an hour, anyway. Everybody else is happy! It doesn’t seem to be bothering them. They look fine. They can still sing. I mean, it’s a little strangled, but they’re being absolute troopers about it. The governor and the town council say you have to! You don’t want to get other people in trouble, do you? You’re not affecting anything by sitting it out! You’re going to get fined!”

And you know what? God bless them for being able to let go and just do it, I reckon. I wish I could see it that way. But I cannot get past the thought that our breath is not just a mechanistic thing. It’s a spiritual thing. God breathed life into the first man, and we are all ensouled with that same breath. To stifle it invokes a symbolism that I can’t participate in during worship. (Or most any other time, though there are times I don’t mind masking up to keep the peace.)

Just as the only reason I can come up with to take off my hair-covering is to relieve the discomfort of being different, the only reason I can conjure to put on the mask is to relieve the social pressure. I would be wearing a mask just to make the pressure stop. That is a very bad reason to do anything.

Masks don’t do anything discernible to slow or stop the spread of a virus by healthy people. But there is something they do very well:

Masks separate us.

They remind us not to touch one another. They keep us from fully reading each other’s emotions. They prevent us from even recognizing people we don’t know very well. They give us something to hide our thoughts behind. They act as a constant reminder that nothing is allowed to be normal right now.

Possibly the worst thing they do is to leave a blank spot in the impressions our smallest children should be forming right now of interacting with other people, especially strangers. As we’ve learned from studying feral children there is a window of opportunity for children to learn certain things, and those formative years cannot be reclaimed. Who knows what social effects this unprecedented year-long mandate might have? Perhaps there will be no negative effect. I hope and pray that’s so. But would you want to be the guy that signed off on that experiment?

Human beings cannot live under this kind of stress without changing their relationships with one another. And they can’t do that without affecting their souls. 

And in spite of the purported benignity of the coverings, masks do make us breathe differently, whether too deeply or not deeply enough, because they bring the usually unconscious act of breathing to our constant attention, where it becomes less efficient. I know for a fact that many people get panic attacks from focusing on their breath this way. Asthmatics are very familiar with the phenomenon. We can have perfect oxygenation, and yet our very breathing is causing us to feel like we’re suffocating. There are ways to overcome these panic attacks in the short term, but it’s a powerful indicator that we should not be doing this all day long every day.

Even while failing to prevent viruses from riding out on our breath to reach others, masks can trap enough of our vapor to cause us to increase our own viral load. They definitely make us rebreathe bacteria, as well as collect it against the skin. It’s highly impractical to change or wash masks frequently enough to prevent this when we’re wearing them as an 8 hour clothing item for work. I doubt that more than a tiny percentage of mask-wearers are doing it in a sanitary way.

Breathing freely is important to human health–body and spirit! Because I know this, I am reluctant to join the rest of society in wearing a mask, even though after nine months of the madness, I am painfully aware that I’m offending some pretty strong social norms.

Here, strangely, symbolism becomes a valid argument.

Because, as you know, you have to wear the mask to show you care. The argument from science is scarcely ever even attempted, for good reason. There is very little science to support it! Instead, we’re socially shamed for even questioning the practice. Masks are there to make everybody around you feel like you care about them, even though nobody is in any greater danger without them. Comforting, ineffective symbolism is now the approved way to show you care. And don’t you dare try to hug your grandmother. ( Don’t click that link if you don’t want to cry. I had a mild confrontation with a nurse over this back in June. My grandmother was visibly upset, and I went around the table and gave her a big hug and a kiss, and I’m not sorry.)

We’re told that wearing a mask is to keep you from passing the virus on to others, not to keep you from getting it. Never mind the complete lack of understanding of such a simple thing as circulating air. Here’s a clue: if I can breathe, a virus can get out of my mask. There’s a demonic little trick in that tactic, in that the mask doesn’t show how much I care for myself, but how much I care for others. It doesn’t make me healthy. It makes me a good person. Nobody wants to go out in public and make everyone else think she’s a bad person.

I am downright allergic to that kind of manipulation, so I guess that’s my medical exemption from mask-wearing.

And that is the source of my bewilderment. After nine months of being told that good people wear masks, that breathing freely means you’re reckless or rebellious, and that you just don’t care if other people die, how is anybody ever going to be convinced by mere facts to go back to normal? And be treated like a pariah? They won’t. They’ll just wait until the powers that be tell them to take it off. I despair, because if people will fall for this–not just for a couple of weeks until they figure out the trick, but for as long as they’re commanded to by an illegitimate authority–what else will they fall for?

As someone who is used to feeling like an oddball no matter where I go, I seem nevertheless to be far more sensitive to the alienating effects of these face-coverings. Maybe it’s just the last straw after living so many years going against the flow. I’m tired. Maybe I will finally learn to love Big Brother, if this goes on long enough.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I’m sitting here waiting for the all-day cookathon to begin, why don’t we talk a little bit about food? I’ve taken some pride over the years in being a pretty good cook, and an extremely flexible eater. There was a time not that long ago when I would put pretty nearly any edible item in my mouth, and defy the gods of health to do anything about it. I loved making messes in the kitchen, and the more complicated the dish, the happier I was. I made very tasty food, no denying it! And thanks to my belief in the food pyramid, which I’ve come to understand was invented by Satan himself, I actually thought that I was doing something good for my family. Four hours a day in the kitchen, cranking out high-carb, low protein junk. What a great mom!

Sigh. It was a mistake made from a place of love, so I’m not beating myself up over past food follies. But I do hope I can forewarn some other moms who may be headed down the same path of spoiling their children–spoiling their health and their palate for truly good food, at least.

Nowadays, my cooking amounts to throwing a big hunk of meat in the oven and roasting some vegetables at the same time. I’ve become, honestly, a lazy cook. And you know what? The kids are more satisfied and healthier than they ever were when I was putting all that fuss into feeding them. Ain’t that a kick in the pants? Truly healthful food turns out to be easier to cook and consume, not harder.

Toward the end of my last pregnancy, even though I had passed the glucose challenge test, I started having symptoms of gestational diabetes. I’d never done that in the previous seven pregnancies, and I’d “passed” the test, so I was shocked a few weeks later at the doctor’s office when they found I was spilling sugar in my urine. I had been feeling profoundly tired, especially after meals, but I didn’t make any connection between my health and my sugar intake. Why should I? I’ve always followed a good diet! I had put my illness down to being an old mom, even though I was only 37. Thankfully, I had just begun spending my enforced time on the couch reading a book that now has a place of honor right next to my Bible, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes. So I had a problem, but I also had a solution!

What’s amazing to me is that, as fat as I was (160 lbs on a five-foot frame), I never thought that this was unhealthy. I would always come back down to about 135 or so after a pregnancy, and nobody even seemed to think of me as fat, so I wasn’t concerned. I ate what the Food Pyramid guidelines said to, and didn’t have any diagnosable eating disorders, so I thought I was doing ok.

I felt awful, my thyroid disease kept getting worse, and I couldn’t lose that last thirty pounds, but the culture around me, the doctors I saw, and the mainstream nutritional advice all said I was doing everything right, and this is just the way I have to be. Must be genetic. Everyone who has been healed by a ketogenic way of eating will surely join me in saying “Thank God for Gary Taubes!” His work started me off on a journey to health by turning my food-view–and my food pyramid–upside down.

Our Thanksgiving meal today will be fairly traditional. I will certainly include some whole food carbohydrates. I’m even going to put some little marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole. Since the kids never get to eat that stuff, it will be a treat. There will be no industrial seed oils. The “potatoes” will be made of cauliflower, and you almost wouldn’t know it. The cranberry sauce and desserts will be sugar-free.

A friend asked me yesterday if I wouldn’t have some of my favorite foods, like stuffing, just for the holiday. In my current state of health, I could certainly “get away” with eating any amount of carbs I want for just this one day, or for several days, honestly. On the rare occasion that I do eat carbs, my body clears the glucose very quickly and comfortably. My Hashimodos probably won’t flare up as long as I avoid gluten and dairy. Still, I probably won’t eat anything but meat today. Cranberry sauce and my safer version of pumpkin pie are a distinct possibility. Habit is, as Charlotte Mason homeschoolers know, a very powerful thing, so I will probably behave myself very well, even in the presence of all that temptation. The longer I go without carbs, the less drawn to them I am.

And that brings me to my real point here. A holiday meal is supposed to be a special, once-or-twice a year blowout. It’s not supposed to be just a bigger meal of all the kinds of foods you eat pretty much anytime you want to anyway. I’m going to make sure my family enjoys some crazy-delicious food. We’re going to have dessert with whipped cream and wine. We’re going to thank God for the bounty of the year, and pray His mercy on the next one. We’re going to do all of that with no guilt whatsoever!

But then we’re going to go right back to our daily, boring (to the average palate) low-carb, satiating, whole foods.

How about you, Reader? Have you found a way of eating that’s different from the SAD diet? Maybe you were raised already knowing this stuff. What’s eating like on a regular day for your family?

Permission to Be Ordinary

This is a repost from May 21, 2014. With the growth of homeschooling, and virtual schooling, and whatever else families have had to do to adapt during this ridiculous upheaval, I thought it might be a good time to remind ourselves that homeschooling isn’t really all that special. 

Homeschooling is going mainstream, and we’re about to lose one of our favorite arguments for it. 

Homeschooling is kind of an extraordinary thing to do, isn’t it? Even with the rapidly rising numbers of homeschooling families each year, we’re still in the minority (for now). Nearly every weekday outing I take with my kids requires me to explain to someone why my older children aren’t in school. People still don’t think of children staying with their mothers all day as a very normal thing. Parents just aren’t qualified to raise kids, you know.

When we think of homeschooling, we still think of violin-playing spelling bee champions with 140 IQ’s who were just too smart for normal school. And you know what? There really are a lot of home educated kids like that! It isn’t at all surprising that homeschoolers like to promote as much good press as we can for ourselves.

Stories in the news like this family with seven kids in college, all by the time they were twelve years old, and blog posts asserting that homeschooled kids are 120% more smarter than public schooled kids are constantly circulating the web, not because those are our best reasons for homeschooling, but because associating ourselves with such an outstanding group of people easily, if fallaciously, counters the arguments of which we grow so weary.

“You’re not qualified.”
“They’ll never get into college.”
“Homeschoolers are bad at math.”

Just a few weeks ago I had to listen to my neighbor explain to me that I can’t possibly teach my children math in the higher grades, so I’d better be ready to send them to school by eighth grade. (I’ve learned to just nod my head and pretend that I’m going to take that brand-new, brilliant idea into consideration. I really don’t care what the neighbors think.)

We homeschoolers love this kind of evidence that homeschooling “works” because pointing to other people’s results is a lot easier than explaining our core reasons for keeping our children at home. Our motives are good and wholesome and altogether defensible, but because we live in a society that scarcely even understands what education is for, those points also take longer to explain and upset people more often than the academic argument.

I have to wonder, though, if we’re not accidentally making the task of defending our choice harder by using these kinds of things to bolster our case. You see, our stellar statistics and outliers like the “Brainy Bunch” family set some unrealistic expectations for normal kids. The first generation of homeschoolers was almost certainly an unusual group of people. It seems to me that they required a unique set of characteristics–qualities that usually go hand-in-hand with high intelligence and academic achievement–to be able to boost the homeschooling movement from the gravitational pull  of traditional education. That first generation had, at the very least, enough imagination to dream it up, confidence to follow through, ingenuity to figure out how, resourcefulness to keep it going under pressure, and courage to fight the courts and social stigma.

As homeschooling becomes more mainstream, though, we are going to see some regression to the mean (though I doubt that we could ever regress to the abysmal performance of public schools). Because homeschooling really is a viable and superior alternative, and for reasons that have little to do with math, more and more parents who would never have considered such a thing before are going to jump on the bandwagon.

Those stellar statistics are going to level out, homeschoolers.  At some point, our neighbors are probably going to notice that some of us are pretty awful at math and science, and most of our children are going to trade schools or straight to the workforce instead of to Harvard. For that reason, it would be good if we kept our debating skills sharp, so that we can explain why homeschooling is well within our rights, regardless of our outcomes. If our best defense of home education is that other homeschoolers are really smart, we are sunk, because most of us are going to be graduating children who become ordinary people.

And that’s OK. Cashiers and plumbers, homemakers and factory workers are every bit as necessary to the functioning of society as engineers and political leaders. Homeschoolers, as much as we cheer for greatness and excellence, and hope to see our children attain the absolute pinnacle of their personal capabilities, we need to give ourselves permission to be  ordinary. The rightness of our choice to raise our own children isn’t predicated on our academic results or our children’s future earnings. It is based solely in our right and responsibility to raise our own children for the Glory of God. (Yes, I am aware that many people homeschool without any religious purpose, but they still have that right and responsibility, whether they know it or not.)

If we don’t keep our focus on that first principle, we’re going to make life mighty hard for our kids who are better at bricklaying than calculus. Not only that, but we might find our right to raise our own children, so hard won by the first generation of homeschoolers, diminished by our own focus on the wrong point. We need to speak the language of liberty when we defend our choices, rather than flashing the gaudy plumage of worldly success.

Test scores may temporarily dazzle our opponents into silence, but they will not stand the test of time like the simple truths of God-given rights and individual responsibility.