This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2.

When my mother had me, she became the first generation in our family to stop passing abuse on to her kid.  And I am the second generation that’s stopped, and by the time my kids have kids, the effects of abuse will not exist.

This is what I want to tell you about being the first generation doing anything new: it is really hard.  Everything that seems to come naturally to other moms does not come naturally to you. While other moms learned what to do and what works and what is never OK from their mothers, First Generationers have to figure it out.

I am a First Generationer too: the first in my family to homeschool. And like my mom trying to stop the abuse, I really don’t know what’s right. I am trying to figure it out, how to homeschool.

I was introduced to homeschooling through my aunt. She homeschooled her 2 kids and I pitied them.  They had no social life, watched TV all day, and never advanced beyond an 8th grade education. My aunt never noticed where my cousins weren’t going.

So today, my cousin believes we ascended from stars and works in the pet department of a box store. His sister worked as a bartender until she was busted for selling to a minor. Now, she takes care of her brother’s kids. Maybe their problems are related to my aunt’s poor homeschooling, but there’s also a learned lesson from her about not getting proper (in this case, psychiatric) help.

A good friend proudly tells me that she would never homeschool.  She explains how bad it would have been if her parents had homeschooled her, for her school was the only normal thing in her life.  At the time I just agreed. But rethinking it now, it’s clear to me that if her parents hadn’t been beating her, she probably wouldn’t have felt that way. School shouldn’t be the only source of stability in any child’s life.

So somehow, despite contrarians in my family and friends, I have found myself the first generation to homeschool, going against the norm and trying to figure out things that will come more naturally to my children. I have no clue what I am doing. But learning from First Generationers who stop the abuse, and from homeschoolers who never quite succeeded, I know what I am not going to do. I’m counting on the idea that doing the opposite of what you saw fail will probably lead me to doing the right thing.

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6 replies
  1. Aquinas Heard
    Aquinas Heard says:

    Yay for Ms. Faulkner for choosing a different path for her family! She should be proud of her decision.

  2. malaika
    malaika says:

    I want to say, I don’t believe you, homeschooling is so income-dependent.

    but then I think of the movie ‘slum dog millionaire’ and the whole point of that movie: that education does not happen in the classroom.

  3. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    My mother in law made the same choice to be non-violent and non-abusive with her kids after being tortured by a step-mom. Good for you! We choose to be unconditional, peaceful parents. It is hard work but so worth it.

  4. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    I always appreciate the familiar voice of Sarah’s posts. Her pictures make me smile too, like they could have been taken in my neighborhood.

    What I am wondering, there is nothing wrong with working at the pet department, or bartending, and serving a minor could have been an accident. Are you saying they turned out bad? This is where I get confused in my own life, when should you just accept people for who and what they are, and when do you turn away? If brother and sister are living a life where they are helping each other and live nearby each other to do so, that seems like a success. I feel dumb not knowing these things, like my internal moral center should just know how to behave, but I don’t, and I struggle with it.

    • sarah faulkner
      sarah faulkner says:

      Jennifa, I struggled with what to write about my cousins, because success is different with everyone. If my kid was happy working in the pet department I would be fine with that. For me, the failures are the combination of everything. Look up Adam Starseed. The one with the beard. He is a bit off his rocker. They dont speak to me, because I called the police when he had a plan to asend to the Mother Ship, which really sounded like suiside. That was on 11-11-11. His sister is not as bad, but selling to minors is dumb. You should always ID. Your job and jail time is on the line. :) I define a lack of success as not getting help, and how many CPS/police calls are in your life.

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