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Being “Stuck” at Home with the Kids

Why did you have them in the first place?

I tend to think that most parents have their children’s best interest at heart. Despite the horror stories we hear about parents who murdered their own children, or the millions of youth on the streets due to abuse, I think that most parents really do want what is best for their kids and act out of love for the most part.

But then again, I could be wrong. It sure wouldn’t be the first time.

We are finally having our first snow days in my little Midwestern community after some very uncharacteristically warm weeks. When I was a kid, we had snow days early in December, sometimes even in November; but now, it seems, we are lucky to get them before spring break. And while many of the parents of these kids who will be home during these snow days seem to enjoy the break with them, some are whining and complaining about being “stuck” at home with their own children! Others, while they seem excited about the prospect, wonder what they will do with their own kids, seemingly at a loss when faced with entertaining—or, Heaven forbid, interacting—with them.

What has this world come to when schools become daycare centers for parents who don’t know what to do with their own children—or worse, don’t want to be with them in the first place? I get being upset about losing work, if that is the case; you can lose your job if you miss a day these days, and most families cannot afford that. But I am talking about moms who are already at home during the day doing—well, I am not sure what they are doing if their kids are not there. I know it’s a full time job to cook, clean, manage a house and several peoples’ appointments, doctors, activities, and so forth, but I also know what it feels like to have a day without children in the mix and it is considerably lighter.

To people against the compulsory school system like John Taylor Gatto and John Holt, this is one of the big things that schools have stolen from us—the family as the central unit. You can blame parents for this if you want, but most of them think that school is 100% mandatory, that they have no alternatives; in fact, most of them have been schooled, just as their parents before them, to believe that only schools can properly teach (and perhaps raise) their children, and they should just leave it to the “experts.”

Gatto’s must-read book, Dumbing Us Down, is now available to read online. I highly recommend it to every parent, teacher, and any person who interacts with children regularly. It’s time that we knew what to do with our own children again.