We had a funeral for our goat. The goat was our favorite goat. For those of you who don’t know, in the goat cheese industry, which is very prominent in our area, the goat farmers kill the baby boy goats when they are born. The US imports goat meat, so there is no market for the farmers to raise boy goats for a profit. The boys are left to freeze in January.
So I rescued two. And we raised them. People told us to remove their horns, but it’s a disgusting, bloody process that we decided against. Samuel became a family pet. He was smart and lovable. But when he got older, even though we castrated him, he was very aggressive. And with his horns, he became dangerous around the kids. He thought he was playing, but he knocked the kids down plenty.
My son did not want to sell Samuel at the market because there is no telling how he’d be treated. Goats are very, very low earners on a farm. So they are expensive to treat well. My son decided we’d put the goat to sleep.
We called the vet. She came and injected the goat. Then we did a funeral.
The decision was very very difficult. And also, it’s no small job to bury a full-grown goat.
It occurred to me, after we had spent pretty much the whole day doing this, that we would not be able to do this if the kids were in school. If the kids were in school then one day the goat would be violent. The next three days we’d try to have the discussion of what to do. Then we’d schedule the vet to come during after school hours. Then we’d have to wait another day to have enough daylight for the burial.
The argument against homework is gaining traction. It’s been on the cover of Time magazine, and there are a slew of schools that have stopped giving homework. There are many arguments against homework—it doesn’t help young kids , it doesn’t help older kids get into college, and it’s just a general waste of time.
But the argument that is most persuasive to me is that it takes away from family time. The central issue is, “When do kids enjoy time at home with their family if they have five hours of homework a night after eight hours of school?” Of course there is no family time in that scenario.
Another common education argument is about how children need to be outside, in nature. It’s part of being human.
When we have daylight savings time, the three arguments converge. If you go to school until 3pm and then take the bus home and have a snack you have exactly one hour of sunlight.
People ask me how I will teach the kids math. How will I socialize them? How will I continue working? But what people should really be asking is how parents manage to teach their kids how to make important, value-laden, emotional decisions when there is so little time together as a family.