Sunday, October 24, 2010

at home

I wrote this last week without intending to publish it but my husband thought differently, so with his encouragement, I am posting it here and on Facebook.

On days I'm feeling a bit militant about people who are critical of homeschooling or think it's a really bad idea, whether they claim to be Christians, secularists or anything in between, I feel like asking them to think about the following hypothetical situation. What follows is not particularly well written, but it's my attempt to ask people to think about other areas of life.

Did you provide your child with breakfast this morning before they went to school, to day care or to play in the living room? What about a lunch? Dinner? What about making sure they drink enough water? Did you plan or provide any of this today for your children? The obvious answer for all of these questions for the vast majority of loving and concerned parents is, yes, I feed my kid. One more question. And you did this alone, without the government (local, state or federal) helping you plan, shop, pack and administer these meals? Again, the probable answer is yes.

So what if the government stepped in and said, whoa, whoa, whoa! You can't do this on your own. Do you have a Registered Dietitian degree? Have you studied with Pediatric Nutritionists? No? Well, how can you possibly be qualified to feed your child without being trained in any of these fields? You clearly need supervision and accountability. You need the government.
So the government ever so careful about raising your children with your tax money sets up a federally funded, locally centralized Meal Center. All children ages five to sixteen must report to this Meal Center for all meals, Monday to Friday. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. You are allowed to feed them on Saturday and Sunday in your own home because cooks and servers need time away from your kid and perhaps you can't do too much damage in those two days. Of course, table manners and all other eating etiquette rules will be taught and practiced at the Meal Center so that all children will be able to eat and socialize properly when they are home on the weekends with family and friends. And if you choose not to send your child to your local Meal Center? Well why would you ask that?

Meal Centers are where the nutritionists, dietitians, food psychologists, gourmet chefs and extremely patient servers, not to mention the Miss Manners will all be employed by the government to adequately feed and train your child in a lifelong habit of healthy eating and social eating etiquette. Why on earth, would you want to keep them at home for their meals? We have all the money and resources and experts at the Meal Center. It's the only place for children to learn well in all areas of eating and nutrition. Oh, we realize that down through the centuries, parents have kept their children at home to feed them nourishing meals and help them learn to eat in a civilized manner, (whatever that is) but we are now enlightened and understand the basic needs of children much better. Oh yes, we secretly know that in the past, our Meal Centers have not always produced healthy, well-balanced and highly mannered eaters but we are confident that with more money and time and experts we can achieve better success rates than you can ever hope to get at home.

You admit you have no degree, few children in your home to socialize with, and your kitchen has not been checked for cleanliness standards. How could you possibly think you could do better than the government's Meal Centers? What about your child's food allergies? Don't worry, the Meal Center will test, label and feed them appropriately for you. Well, as well as they can with just one chef for twenty eaters. You can't expect every meal to fit your child's health requirements and needs. There may be some days where they won't like what's being served but they will have to eat it just like everyone else. Oh yes, the food psychologists will try to watch that your child is not bullied too much for not liking his tofu, but kids will be kids, you know. You're concerned that your child may pick up unwanted eating habits from the other children? Well of course we do discourage the children from sticking beans up their noses and from engaging in chubby-bunny contests, but frankly these things will occur.

Ahh, you actually believe it's wrong and unhealthy to kill animals for meat? To eat any animal products? How quaint and unscientific of you! Well, we do serve chicken every Thursday so I'm afraid your child will not be exempt. I'm sure you will understand that we do not want your child to be ignorant(even if you choose to be) of the value of poultry in one's diet. After all, if we don't include meat in your child's diet just because of your personal beliefs, they will miss out on what the other children are experiencing, as well as learn to be intolerant of those who do eat meat and most importantly they will most certainly be nutritionally deficient. All our experts all agree on that. Most of them. Well, the ones who want to get published do.

I'm sure you understand now why it's imperative that you send your child to your local Meal Center. Oh, you still don't want to send them. Would you like to have them removed from your home if you don't comply with the Meal Center program? We call it, Foster Meals. We do it really well in places like Germany and Quebec. Get the idea? We feed your kids or else. Oh some places are more lenient, we admit. You just have to submit a nutritional portfolio report every month of what you and how much and how often you fed your child based on our national requirements. If our Meal Center administrators examine your nutritional portfolio report and see deviations and substitutions they will be visiting your home to conduct an in-depth interview with you and your children. No, we won't be calling the media outlets but if a neighbor sees our van and calls them, well we hope you have time get a shower before they show up.

Now, just before we finish here, let me ask you another quick question, What is your child wearing today? Did you make sure they zipped up their coat? No coat? Do you know what the temperature was going to be today? Were they wearing clean underwear? You can't get them to wear underwear sometimes? Well, I'm very glad I asked. We have a program for that too.

Well, while I'm here I should ask this as well. Have you given your child any medication in the last two weeks? Oh, yes, some Tylenol? Was a doctor present? Did anyone check the expiration date on the box for you? Was it on a recent recall list? You're not sure? You'll need to come with me please. It appears that in many areas you are acting as a parent with no supervision, accountability or expertise. Who do you think you are, the government?


  1. I really love this Heather! Thanks for being brave enough to post :)


  2. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Very well written Heather and I'm glad you posted it. I hope you don't mind if I share it with a friend.

    - Stacy A.

  3. Thank you Vanessa! You have more experience than I do though since you were part of a homeschooling family.
    Stacy, thank you for your encouragement as well and of course anyone you like is free to read it. Thanks for you interest.


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