Let Them Be Little: The Crime of Vanishing Childhood

Why can't we just let children be CHILDREN? 

Why can't we just let them be little?

There are many ways in which our public schools fail to educate children. We are failing to cultivate wonder in children.

My heart sank this week as I read about a kindergarten gun control walkout in Connecticut. 

What has the world come to when we use five and six-year-old children as political pawns?

Have we become so SELFISH that we are willing to sacrifice our precious children on the altar of "making a point"? 

It appears so.


Let Them Be Little: The Crime of Vanishing Childhood

The irony in this is that the more we remove "childhood" from our children's lives, the less capable adults they will become. When we force our children to bypass childhood we fail to realize the detrimental effects this will have on them in later life.

Parents are fooling themselves if they believe schools are going to preserve and nurture childhood. 

I was once among a large number of trusting parents who believed the public schools had my children's best interest at heart - or maybe I should simply say the interests of the public schools are misguided. As I watched my kindergarten student participate in "Just Say No" week (the anti-drug campaign) - when she had no idea of what drugs even were, I wondered why political agendas were part of her school day.

I was so conditioned to just ACCEPT  these things as part of the public school's duty to children. I didn't question what the public schools did. They were the AUTHORITY on education. We just sent our children to school - the teachers had their job and I had mine.

Then one day I started getting an uneasy feeling about all of this. A friend loaned me some homeschooling books. The principal at my child's school didn't appreciate me asking so many questions about the WHYS of what they did. The idea of homeschooling began to take a foothold in my mind.

Finally, we abandoned the ideal of public school and decided to just let our children be LITTLE.


Three Ways Homeschooling Lets Our Children Be LITTLE


Homeschooling gives children time to discover the world.

Children learn best through DISCOVERY. 

Plopping them in a sterile environment with worksheets and prescribed activities leaves no time for a child to explore and wonder. 

If we are trying to teach our children about birds - and most of all, how to APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY of birds - setting up a bird feeder and observing beautiful birds is of much more value than reading about birds in a textbook. As small children are going about their daily work of PLAYING, they may stop at intervals to admire the birds at the feeder. They will ask their mother, "What bird is this?", which can lead to discovery, which makes a memory, which then cements that knowledge.

Of the evils of modern education few are worse than this - that the perpetual cackle of his elders leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherin to wonder - and grow.
— Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, p. 18

A no-twaddle bird study put together by the parent is of infinite value and allows our children to learn in an unrestricted environment. It challenges them to learn more, builds an appreciation of all things beautiful, and serves as a building block in a lifetime of knowledge of the natural world around them. 

Giving our children permission to indulge in these things is a gift. 


Homeschooling gives children time with their parents and siblings.

How very old-fashioned and un-evolved of me to suggest children should be home with their mother (or father) all day! 

It certainly isn't in vogue to suggest the family be the primary unit of socialization and support, is it?

I have seen first-hand how happy and healthy children are when they have the security and being with family all day. Time with family builds security, self-confidence, and happiness.  

This time at home with parents and siblings allows our children the space they need to PLAY, EXPLORE, and LEARN.

How much more valuable is a walk in the neighborhood with the family than sitting through a "Just Say No to Drugs" presentation? 

We love to use the buzz words "quality time", but I would argue that TIME with our children is important - not just set aside time we deem as "quality", but giving all of our time to our children in their youngest years.

I cannot measure the learning that took place on our walks (especially in the fall) when my children were young. I look back on this now and am so thankful we just LET THEM BE LITTLE!

Jump in leaf piles. Get muddy. Collect bugs. Play make-believe baseball games by yourself in the backyard. Snuggle with mom.

Let Them Be Little

Homeschooling Preserve A Child's Innocence

But they will have to function in the "real" world one day, so why are you sheltering them now?

Isn't this the most tired argument you have heard? I grow weary of hearing people say this.

I am, however, long past caring what others think about the way we educate our children. 

Am I going to protect and shelter my children? YOU BET! 

Elementary age children have no business:

  • worrying during active shooter drills
  • taking part in sex education
  • participating in political agendas
  • and a myriad of other things!

Childhood is virtually passed over when a child takes on so many things they aren't emotionally or physically capable of handling.

I vividly recall a day when my child was in third grade (our last year in the public schools) - there was an escaped convict on the loose in our area. They were searching cars on the main road near our home. The elementary school was locked down. I remember being so concerned about my daughter that day - I knew she would worry. 

Wouldn't it have been so much easier to have had her at home - safely in my care with our doors locked and her being none the wiser - than subjecting her to worry?

I will fight tooth and nail to preserve my children's childhood and to LET THEM BE LITTLE.


The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
— Patrick Rothfuss

If you are interested in more homeschool encouragement, please visit the page I have dedicated to that subject.

It is important to let our children be LITTLE. We owe it to them, and ultimately our society will benefit if we give our children everything they need and deserve in their younger years. 

My greatest desire is to equip and encourage you in the homeschool journey. Please leave me a comment if I can help you in any way! 

Buy the Swimsuit

My mom passed away on a Tuesday morning.

My older brother's voice quivered as I spoke to him on the phone.  "Mary, honey. Are you sitting down? Mom passed away this morning."

We're never adequately prepared to hear those words, are we? Even though my mom had just (the day before) been admitted into hospice care, we thought we had  a little more time with her. 

The very next week I had a plane ticket to visit her. I thought I would have time to say so many things to her I had been planning in my mind for the past month.  

Now she was gone. 

So many things left unsaid. So many hugs I had been saving for her. So many gifts I wanted to thank her for. 

While I knew it was a blessing she had died peacefully in her sleep, I didn't feel so peaceful - I simply felt hollow, deflated, and defeated. 

How do you cope with losing your mother and your best friend? 


Just Buy the Swimsuit

Just Buy the Swimsuit

As we tried to go about our day (I had so many errands to run before we left for Florida, where we would go to be with my dad and plan my mom's memorial), I found myself distracted, hazy, and walking around almost in a dream.

I know it sounds silly, but I wanted to look pretty. My mom was always an incredibly stylish person - way more stylish than I ever was! I knew she would appreciate my need to look spiffy at this moment. 

As I was trying on dresses in Target, I overheard a woman in the dressing room next to me. I heard her telling her husband she hated the way she looked in a suit, but that she really wanted to swim with the grand babies when they came to visit.

I quietly went to her and said "Buy the suit. Swim with your grandkids. They won't remember the suit or how you looked, but they will remember you swimming and having fun with them. My kids lost their grandmother today and she always got in the pool with them when they came to visit."

When I arrived home I began pouring through boxes of photos for her memorial. This gem jumped out at me.

Why You Should Buy the Swimsuit

My mom never ONCE mentioned how she looked in a swimsuit. 

When her grandkids asked her to swim she always had an exuberant "Of course!" and let them lead her by the hand to the pool in their back yard. There she would push them around in floats, lay with them on rafts, deliver snacks poolside, and engage in silliness with pool noodles and other splashing games.

I'm certain my kids won't think of how grandma looked in a swimsuit - they will just have the beautiful memories and such warm and happy feelings of a grandma who loved them to pieces and who loved spending time with them. 

Finding that picture gave me a huge feeling of PEACE, and a sense that I was going to survive this. 

Take Time for the Little Things

If there is one  lesson I'm taking away from the past few weeks it is this:

Do the seemingly "small things". Do them with joy and a smile - as if they are the BIG things, because they really are big and not little.

Bake with your kids, read to them, allow them time with their grandparents, laugh more, be silly, love BIGGER than you thought you could.

It is so cliche, but life is short, and at the end of your life you want your legacy to be one of love, kindness, patience, and a gentleness of spirit.

Just buy the swimsuit

Every time my mom came to visit she had some fun project to do with the children.

(In the picture above she had brought the kids the book "Me First" and she created a special chef's apron for Anna and they baked a sandcastle cake to go along with the hilarious story. I can still hear her reading the book to my kids. What a GIFT that memory is.)

When she would leave I was inspired to be a better mom - a more patient and present mom - a mom who cared less about the messes and more about the hearts.

Somehow I never learned that lesson fully, but I think that's where grace comes in. 

God knows our hearts and his grace is sufficient to cover our weakness.


The ache from losing my mom is still fresh. 

I am told it will always be there, but the days will get easier as time marches on. 

I keep the picture of mom in her bathing suit front and center to remind me that life is for LIVING, for making memories, and for loving those around us fully and well.