There has been a lot of media attention due to a lot of stories about kids suffering in schools from bullying. It seems like the kids who are suffering and even taking their own lives get younger and younger, and there are more and more creative and cruel ways for kids to make other kids miserable. The reasons the kids are bullied can vary, as do their ages, backgrounds and stories. Every one breaks my heart and leaves me in a puddle of tears. In response, there have been some fantastic awareness campaigns such as the It Gets Better project and The Bully project. But it seems like the stories keep coming. Something is missing.
I believe in inclusion, wholly and without exception. I believe all kids should be included and should feel a part of a greater community that they can give to and receive from. They should be embraced and supported and appreciated. I doesn’t just “take” a village, they ARE the village.
My kids, for the most part, have been able to avoid being bullied by other kids. I am grateful for this, and for the self-confidence that they have because they have been spared this kind of pain. I experienced some bullying in elementary school, and my husband was bullied for most of his adolescent life. We have made it a goal for our family to create a safe space for kids with unique interests who might otherwise not have a place to feel free to be themselves and celebrate all the amazing things that make them different and wonderful in every way (including our kids).
I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to homeschool so that our kids don’t have to be subjected to some of the scrutiny a lot of other kids are subjected to – especially in the middle and high school years. I think they are a lot more self-confident because of this. I am also grateful to the educators in the public sector who “get it” and are doing it right. They are creating safe spaces for kids in atmospheres more difficult to control than our own homes. They are heroes.
This video is called “They called him Porkchop.” It is an animated spoken word by Shane Koyczan, the ‘To This Day’ project. So many people can relate to this story. Watch it. Cry. Hug your kids a little closer and remember what an amazing privilege it is to create child-centered learning experiences and social experiences for them in the safe space of our home and community. I know we homeschoolers can feel under the microscope for the choices we’ve made, but really, we are the lucky ones.
WARNING: heavy material follows:
So, what ways can we as homeschoolers be part of the solution? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
FYI: Canada’s Anti-bullying Day called “Pink Shirt Day” is this Thursday, February 27, 2013