"Hello gorgeous, whatcha doin'?"
His answer was NOT usual, however; He was irritated beyond belief.
"Shelly, what's the number to 97.1 FM?! Valenti and Foster are ripping on homeschoolers. I don't know the number, they are NOT SAYING the number! Can you find it and Call Them?!"
I was taken a bit off guard...while holding folded underwear in one hand and the phone in the other.
"Well. Honey. I'll look up their number on the computer, but I don't know what to say because I haven't been listening to them."
I began fumbling on the computer keys, holding the phone, throwing underwear in a pile, trying to turn on the radio...which was set the the CD mode and I couldn't figure out how to set it to the FM-Radio mode to listen to the show....all of this was happening as Brian was explaining what he understood from the show...
"A 13 year old boy is going to be attending a university this fall on campus...that tidbit turned into a commentary on how homeschoolers are pushing their kids to do too much, are not ready for society, are kept hidden from the world, don't know how to handle things when they get out on their own. Then some principal called in talking about how homeschooled kids can't handle bullying or whatever; how the homeschooled kids who get enrolled in his school have parents who call complaining about kids looking at their kids the wrong way..."
By that point I had the radio tuned in and could hear the remarks being made for myself. The point I understood at that juncture was, basically, that homeschoolers coop their kids up at home and wait too long to integrate them into society...or some such non-sense.
I found the number, hung up with Brian and immediately called 97.1 FM. The guy who answered the phone asked who I was and what I want to say. I was quite forceful...yet respectful in tone...as I said...
"I'm Shelly from (my town). I'm a homeschooling mother to 6 kids. I want to say that we do NOT wait to "integrate" our children into society! We RAISE our kids in the real world! Our son went to college at 14 and graduated at the age of 17 and he's just fine."
I could actually "hear" the smile on the phone guys' face. He said, "Turn your radio off please, hold on, you're next on the line." I think he knew they'd either rip me apart or I'd at least give them something to work with online.
|Michigan Homeschool Prom|
As the radio played commercials...I turned it off to hear an older man defending home education to the DJ's, in my ear. The older gentleman provided them with a great deal of excellent information about percentages of Homeschoolers vs. Public Schoolers who attend college, social development, safety and on and on. I was happy to know that I wouldn't have to cover that territory when my turn came to speak on the air. Then I heard commercials in my ear....
Now, let me pause here for a moment. I have to say that I was very thankful for the minutes that I waited on the line. It gave me time to breathe, stop shaking, jot a few notes and compose a small, to the point synopsis that could deal with their immediate misconceptions.
The I heard, "We have Sally on the line, Sally what do you want to say?" (or something like that)
I said, "Sally or Shelly?" (Because I honestly didn't know if they were speaking to me yet)
DJ: "Shelly then, if that's your name..." and off we went...
Me: "Guys, I'm a homeschooling mother to 6 children. Our oldest son started college at the age of 14 and he's just fine. He graduated with a 2 year degree when he was 17 and he's not harmed in any way. It was a great experience..." (Or that's what I tried to say but who knows how it came out during that time...)
DJ: "I've been waiting for a homeschooling parent to call in all day. Explain to us how you do this. EXPLAIN to us how you FORCE your child to perform and do this." (something snide like that...)
I ignored the jab. I explained how stress free life is for homeschoolers, that we have community sports, travel teams, Proms and how some Public Schooled kids take 7 classes during the day and then take a college class at night...which is more stressful....how we don't live in the horse and buggy days, that our kids are out in the community learning about the "real" world while other children are cooped up at school, how our kids are volunteering at DHS and other places because they can do this when the businesses are open, and usually learning more than their public schooled peers regarding life issues, how our children have public school/private school/homeschooling friends and are NOT held back by the school but are MORE mature and ready for society than many (not all) of those who have to spend those precious teen years of their lives indoors....
Well it went on like that...I got to talk for a long time...I felt like I was right back in my DJ seat at WKKS Radio in Kentucky! (Yes, I was a DJ for a short bit, on a Christian Radio program.)
|Kazz & Becca|
Then they asked what Kazz is doing now. I told them he's married, has his own home and happy and they about croaked that he was married by the age of 18....and that my husband was married at eighteen. That's when they cut me off the air.
I had to laugh. They listened and, hopefully, learned a bit about home education. That part went well. It was the getting married young that threw them for a loop...and that's a TOTALLY different topic than home education, so I was fine with being cut off there and felt as though I'd done an okay job of defending our way of life. I hope.
I turned my radio back on. There was stunned chattering.
DJ: "I...I...I can't even imagine being married at eighteen. I mean, maybe in the 1940's or something but now?"
I expected some harsh remarks but one of the DJ's said, "I'll give her credit for one thing. She definitely marches to the beat of her own drum."
I took that as a compliment...whether it was meant as one or not. LOL
I am happy to have been able to speak about homeschooling on a large, secular, radio station. I got to speak about it to an audience that may never have heard "the other side." Thank you 97.1 for taking my call and giving me a generous amount of time to speak. Thank you, Valenti and Foster for being respectful and providing me a stage for much longer than I had anticipated.
I feel that it is important to say, on my blog here, that the homeschooling issue is NOT about "Home School vs. Public School." Some kids thrive in schools while others thrive out of schools. The thing that we all need to keep in mind is that we have choices, and that's a good thing. Why fight about it? There is good and bad in ALL of it.
Can't we all just respect the decisions parents make for their OWN children and move on with life? A little balance on both sides would be nice.
Side Note to our children: At one point during my conversation on the radio, the DJ said that I could be partying at the clubs instead of waiting to be a grandma. I got the impression that he thought I should have spent my 20's and 30's partying, rather than married and raising children. I think he's in his 30's and not married, so I suppose that's all he knows...and THAT happens to be what your dad and I are trying to avoid with you.
Kids, Peter Pan, we are not. We only live so long...and no longer.
Fill your life with the BIG, important things first, and then throw in the smaller fringes. Partying until we puke and taking a walk of shame, from a one night stand, the next morning, is not a big need in life. If you miss out on that, you're okay...and smarter than most of the people in America. Family is Big. Family is a really big need. THAT family that God gives to you...your wife/husband and children...THEY come first....always...even before work...even before your dad and me. God, Family, Church...in that order.
Perpetual childhood being stretched by the partying scene, to the point that people end up waiting until they are in their 40's to build their family...that is NOT something we wish for you. We hope that you guys have a blissful marriage and if God blesses you with children, we hope you are able to see your grandchildren grow up and maybe see much of the life of your great-grandchildren; And if you don't have children, we pray that you are following the path God laid out for you before you were even born.
Follow your heart, your bliss, your joy. Pray for His guidance and please try very hard to resist the urge to delay your life just to dance at a club. The joy of your life, that thing that makes you better, brighter and happy..that thing...is not at any night club. I promise.