Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG
August 25th, 2008
Back to School Armor

We school year-round, which is a necessity because we skip so many days that I end up having to cash in our summer.  And really, this is fine by me because I like having something to do on dull days.


But soon as Sept starts creeping up I always get that ‘Back to School’ kick, so we have been in full swing this last week, especially with looking for new curriculum.  It’s exciting.  I always like it.


And still along the lines of ‘Back to School’ – around this time of year there is always a number of ‘keeping safe’ stories, and also, inevitably, stories about school violence.  The school shooting that killed a boy, which made national news, happened in the large town (Knoxville) near us.


And then all the homeschoolers come out of the woodwork to point out the multitude of horrors within the public school system and to say how thankful we are to keep our kids at home and how safe we are because of it.  Yes, there is truth that we have an additional layer of safety because of homeschooling, but there is also a danger that a lot of us disregard.


It is easy to become complacent and deceived by safe feelings.  


My ‘Back to School’ warning is this: There is every reason in the world for you to be borderline paranoid about the safety of your kids.


Evil runs amuck in the “Homeschool Community”.  Sadly, and tragically, evil runs amuck within the “Christian Community”.  Sinners saved by grace still have a sin nature.  Your friends have a sin nature, the people you love the most – people you trust implicitly – have a sin nature.  Their children who you also trust implicitly have a sin nature.  Our children – yours and mine — have a sin nature.


Our kindergarteners, and first and second graders, are especially the most vulnerable.  If they get ‘messed’ with by older boys or girls, it is a long road to haul.  Of course you “know” your friends; of course you love and trust the closest people in your life.  It would be insulting to doubt them or believe they or their children could do irreparable damage to your child, right?   Maybe it would be insulting, but your kid needs you to be paranoid and insulting.  


It is much easier to let people who you do not spend a lot of time with know the basic rules:


No playing in the bedrooms with the door shut

No two children allowed tromping off by themselves alone

Siblings are to always stick together (and keep a sharp eye) while playing with others kids

No sleepovers


And yet with the ones closest to us (and even with our own kids), we feel as though we can trust them fully.  Only other seriously messed up people with monstrous families would do ___________ .  


Yes, we are blessed to homeschool.  We have fewer snares and, to some degree, fewer dangers to stave off and fight against.  Do not let this blessing become your Achilles heel by causing you to forget that all humans, even very good humans, have a sin nature –  and that any social setting can turn into an event (or series of events) that will cause you and your child to suddenly be in a (long term) devastating circumstance.


So my advice is this… Be paranoid – yet still available and accessible. Trust no one – yet love everyone. Do not get peer pressured into putting your child into a situation that could be dangerous.  Do not get so caught up with ‘visiting’ with your friends that you don’t know what the kids are doing or how they are ‘playing’.  If need be, cut down on your own social time to implement this. Be wary of all teenage boys no matter how much you know them or how long you’ve known them or how godly they are.  Be wary of some teenage girls, but I think especially be wary of girls between the ages of nine and eleven.  Be wary of all children of all ages. Do not over estimate your own child’s virtue at *any* age.  I’ll say it again – Do not over estimate your own child’s virtue.


There is a reason why people are always always always stunned, shocked and amazed when their family is touched with the unspeakable.  Perhaps those who are already on their guard are never shocked because they’ve been able to prevent horrors before they happen. Having an attitude and mindset that assumes ‘the worst can happen’ can do a great deal in preventing disaster.


I’ll end this by saying that God is sovereign and ever present –even when/if something does happen.  Some things, I think, are unavoidable.  We do not have the omnipotent power to protect our children against all things and all people. Nor can we go back and protect them after they’ve been exposed.  But we owe it to our kids, right now, to make the best effort that we can.  


So, on that note, praise God for our freedoms to homeschool, but let’s not accidentally assume that makes us ‘safe’


August 25th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 39 Comments

39 Responses to ' Back to School Armor '

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  1. Melissa said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 8:57 am


  2. on August 25th, 2008 at 9:15 am


    My children attend a small public school in my conservative Kentucky town, and *so far* I have found it to be a nuturing placing for my children to be. I have found their school(so far)to be respecful of my personal beliefs, my goals for my children, and my rights as a parent…HOWEVER…on Friday this past week, the PTA at the school hosted a boy/girl dance for the entire 4th grade class! I was shocked and disguested!

    It made me so sad for my little girl to tell her that she could not go. I know that she felt very isolated and leftout all last week and it will probably continue into this week as well.

    Jen, it is situations like this that make me wish I had the courage to homeschool…I so admire you for doing it and have learned so much about homeschooling from reading your blog.

    Thinking hard about homeschooling…
    Gina D.

  3. caroline said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 9:34 am

    A very truthful and needful post. Everything you said is true and you said it in a loving and discreet manner. I’m sure you will have helped many avoid a tradgedy. God Bless You!

  4. Lou said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Mrs. Igarashi.
    I was originally drawn to your blog by my 14 yr old daughter. She always said…”Mom you have to go to Jenefer Igarashi’s blog, it is really neat”. So I did. Now I visit it regularly ‘on my own’. I am very glad about this post. I too, ‘love’..but trust ‘no one’. I have been called paranoid in the past by ‘well-meaning’ church women. I was proud of it. Thank you for your no-nonsense approach.
    Louellen Lawson

  5. Emily said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Spot on as usual. Are you ever ‘off’?

  6. jenig said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    ha ha, emily. just ask geoff…

  7. Jess said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Good post… very insightful. Charley and I have gone back and forth on this issue (constructive conversation.. no pinching involved.. ;), and I think we both agree that while there are minors in our home (WHEN there are minors in our home), the principles you’ve laid out here are a great guideline to follow in keeping our future children (and OTHER people’s children) safe. I don’t remember who said this to me once (maybe it was you), but children are like a little plant… when it’s young, you keep it safe inside, and you nurture it. Then when it’s grown with strong roots, you plant it outside. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that..

    love you! Hope you’re having a good day! I’ll call you later. Charley’s going fishing tonight and I’ll be all by my lonesome.

  8. Crystal said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Hey! Glad to hear you’re getting back into the swing of things. We also do it year round because of all those days skipped during the year. It all kind of just blends together, though. I love it like that.

    One thing about the rest of your post stuck out to me. Of course, the Lord wants us to be very active in the safety of our children. But I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to encourage paranoia, only because that’s not a Biblical trait. Jesus never gives us the okay to be paranoid. I think if you’re in the Word as often as you can be, and in constant prayer, you will feel nudgings by the Spirit in regards to the safety of your children. There are many times I feel the Lord say something like, “Crystal, don’t let your daughter go to the home of that little girl.” I get those little nudges with strangers, friends and even the closest family. The Lord is faithful to give us insight and wisdom when we fully depend on Him for it. No amount of paranoia can take the place of loving discernment from the Holy Spirit.

    Hugs to you, my friend.

  9. jenig said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Crystal, thanks for the comment… I suppose I could also have worded the warning to parents to “be wise as serpents”.
    : )

  10. Connie said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I thought about you guys when I heard about the shooting and wondered if it were in your vicinity.

    Thanks for the reminders of being watchful of our children. We tend to be too trusting… or else overlooking something just because we don’t want to appear paranoid, or hurting someone’s feelings. Our friends think that my husband is too paranoid. That is because there was abuse in his family when he was growing up. It is real! His siblings are suffering today as a result of it. Norman speaks in the pulpit sometimes and has taught on this very subject, incorporating it into the subject of false teachers (“Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”). It is easier for him to spot trouble when he sees it and tries to warn the parents of the kids being preyed upon.

    You mentioned about being watchful when our kids are playing together, but we must also watch adults with our children. Among things that are taboo in our family, we have included rough-housing and tickling. This is not allowed by other adults with our children. Sad, but true, abuse can happen right in front of us. It’s just that when we see things that we are uncomfortable with, our minds have a way of talking us out of it… like, “surely we didn’t see what we thought we saw” mindset. Predators take advantage of this trustfulness.

    Anyway, there is alot more that could be said on this subject, but the main thing is to be watchful and don’t be afraid to say “no” to someone when their actions might put our children in jeopardy and would scar them for the rest of their lives.

    Good post, Jen!

  11. smallworld said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I know this must have bee a hard post to write because it’s a topic no one wants to talk about, but it is so critical. When I was in a Christian college, 7 of my good friends had been sexually abused repeatedly by family members (not fathers) IN STRONG CHRISTIAN HOMES. I get very tired of the homeschooling community always pointing the finger at the PS community, as if it never happens in “good homes.” Parents who make assumptions like this are ridiculous. Your rules are right on target. Never assume you know your own children or your friend’s teenage son who is such a great Christian kid or your favorite uncle. Your “sharp as serpent” verse is right. We don’t have to be paranoid and full of fear–but we should pray for a protective hedge around our children and take basic precautions to protect them.

  12. lovetohomeschool said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I have run into a situation recently where my daughter and her friends have gone off to play and later found out they were talking about private things that I consider should only be talked with a parent about. My friend is very open to her children about the birds and bees. While I am open with me kids about that subject, they know better than to talk about it with other kids. Have you ever had to deal with something like this and what would you recommend. Sometimes I feel as if I am being too strict by not letting my kids go to their friends all time but as a kids I was left alone alot and got into way too much trouble that way. Do you have any set rules for your kids that deal with their friends?

  13. Latte said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 4:12 pm


    This was so great to read, I seldom see anyone actually write about this. This kind of stuff ran amuk in my home by boys, grandparents, and visiting children, female and male. It touched us in every way! I have seldom seen a home untouched by it, and yet the circle continues in those same homes. I will be adding a link to my blog to this post, though I am not sure what this paragraph meant:

    “Evil runs amuck in the “Homeschool Community”. Sadly, and tragically, evil runs amuck within the “Christian Community”. Sinners saved by grace still have a sin nature. Your friends have a sin nature, the people you love the most – people you trust implicitly – have a sin nature. Their children who you also trust implicitly have a sin nature. Our children – yours and mine — have a sin nature.”

    Sin is sin, and for me the bible says ‘And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.’

    This means that even though a person says they are saved…they have not ‘endureth’ to the end and therfore you do not know if they are saved. Salvation is given to those that truly ask for it, but how can we know until ‘the end’ who truly asked for it and who did not.

    Thanks for your blog, it’s is of huge interest to me because I seldom write like what you write even though I would love to, I am tring to come out of my shell though=)


  14. Nancy B. said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Excellent post Jen.

    We truly can’t put our guard down, even with our “bestest” friends. We must be on guard even with Sunday School teachers and anyone who we allow to be an “authority” over our children. (We don’t put our kids in that position anymore.) And we have to teach our kids that not everyone has good intentions towards them. That is a tough thing, but necessary. Teach them how to protect themselves and each other because even though you want to, you CAN’T be there every second.

    Many of us have learned the hard way–but praise God, He is here to teach us and guide us and ultimately, our children are in His hands, no matter what.

    Love you!

  15. Rebeca said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for this reminder. Sometimes I feel like I’m the most “paranoid” person I know when it comes to this issue. I’m going to post a link to this on my homeschool forum.

  16. Heather said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I like this post a lot, Jen. It cuts straight to the heart of all us parents…homeschoolers or not. Yes, I think we do have a ‘little’ bit more protection as homeschoolers…but only from strangers. Like you said, even the people we ‘think’ we know can be dangerous. I know this from my own growing up. I knew a Christian homeschooling family that was devastated by their teenage son doing something unthinkable. I have also experienced, as a child, the unwelcome ‘tickling’ of family members that went a little too far. As a child you feel you don’t have the right to speak up, so it is our duty as parents to speak for our children. Because of these things, I keep a very careful watch on my children and others. Some have called me paranoid, but that’s okay. I’d rather my kids grow up knowing I cared than not. They play and have friends…but under my husband and I’s careful watch.

  17. chickadee said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    excellent reminders!

  18. jenig said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    LovetoHomeschool: you asked about what to do when other kids talk about inappropriate things. First of all, apparently you have a strong enough relationship that your kids come and tell you. That is a great foundation.

    We have taught our kids to speak plainly and politely and to simply say, “We’re not allowed to talk about that” if stuff comes up that’s off limits (boyfriend/girlfried talk, movies, gossip, etc).

    And that’s another reason why I have my kids stick to their siblings. It is easier for them to speak up *together* when a subject needs to be ‘changed’.

  19. Karen said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Amen! We’ve been paranoid for 23 years and it’s served us well. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  20. Stacy said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I enjoyed reading this.. definitely something we all need to be reminded of. Although I’m not a homeschool mom, I am a paranoid mom, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only “crazy” one.

    Love to you all!!

  21. Kathy P said,

    on August 25th, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Jen:

    I had not even heard about the shooting yet – better go to – but I did want to also tell you, you are “spot on” – I agree wholeheartedly. It is not “paranoid” it is watchful. Thank you for writing so candidly on this and reminding us. . .

  22. Kelley said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    It was so nice of you to publish this today. It’s like you were listening in on my phone call with my mother. She still isn’t convinced about all this homeschooling stuff and the fact that I am so protective of my daughter makes her crazy too. It’s nice to read that I’m not the only one. It’s hard because you have to be able to make quick judgements about things. We were guests at a church where we moved too and I told my daughter who I left in the Sunday School class that if she needed to go to the bathroom to come and find me in church and I would take her. I know the people all thought I was crazy but I don’t care…that’s just the way it is.

    Thanks Jen…you really validated what I do and from an experienced Mommy of SOOOO many…that is nice.

    Since you have so many…could you send me some baby mojo?

  23. Megan said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 12:40 am

    In agreement with you Jen! I find there is such a difficult balance as Christians, that’s why it’s so hard to explain things like loving others while trusting no one. Even more proof of how vast, wonderful and complex our Lord is. We will certainly need our entire lives to study Him and learn about Him (and even then we will still be short of full knowledge–until He restores us in heaven that is). 🙂

    Hope we can get together in the next few weeks to fellowship, share food & give away a kitten! Talk to ya about it later!

  24. Trixi said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I am so glad I have found your new blog. I, too, have started a new one but it hasn’t had the flow I want yet. Anyway, we too have started school and are so busy with it. I love the beginning of a new school year, your charged and energized. Then January hits and it all goes down hill for me. I would be a great 6 month homeschooler.LOL
    I saw that you commented on Teaching Textbooks. We love it!!! I am using the Algebra 1 and Pre-Algebra this year. Let me know if you find it cheaper somewhere.
    Have a great week.

  25. Lynan said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Yep, all that too.

  26. A.D. said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    EXCELLENT post Jen, as always :o) I know the horrors and you can NOT be off guard at any time! No matter how much you THINK that someone will not do something…you just never know. Never, never, never turn your back or be off guard for an instant!

  27. on August 26th, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Amen, sister! Amen!
    Thank you for writing from the heart and from the gut–and not worrying about whether or not people will “approve!” You totally rock!
    Jennifer in New Orleans
    P.S. I told your sister, Jess, and now I’m telling you…anytime you’re in the New Orleans area, come stay with us! Two so completely and totally cool families together in one place would be amazing…not to mention blog-worthy! 🙂

  28. jenig said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks Jennifer! if we’re ever in New Orleans we will totally take you up on that… and likewise, if you’re ever in east TN, make sure you swing by here. We’ll fry yeh up some possum and collard greens.

  29. Amanda Read said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t think I’ve commented here in quite awhile. Your blog looks great!
    We keep up our homeschool year-round pretty much the same way…though I graduated this year, so I’m done except for a little review study for CLEP tests. I enjoy helping teach my younger siblings now.

    Hope all is well with you!
    Take care and MAY GOD BLESS,

  30. lissilulu said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Like a few other women who have posted, I am a survivor of inappropriate things when I was a young girl. My mother was a little too trusting of family and babysitters. We children paid the price and I won’t have my children pay for any ignorance I may have. I tend to be the *paranoid* parent in my neighborhood but then again my teen daughters aren’t sneaking out and my 12 year old son doesn’t go sneaking smokes or talking inappropriate to girls either.

  31. Michelle said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Amen, Jen!
    Wow…this one really tugged at my heart.
    Too often I get accused at being paranoid and overprotective, but I have seen, heard, and lived through too much to NOT be.

    I found your comment about preteen girls interesting though…(as a mother of a girl this age.) Would you care to email me sometime and enlighten me as to your thoughts about why this particular age is so dangerous? (My DD is very shy, quiet and studious – so I’m not sure how other girls that age act.) :-S

    And…just to prove that we need to be on our guard no matter what age our children are…our 6 year old neighbor girl came to our door the other day (with a pair of handcuffs!) and wanted my son to come out to play. Not my daughters…just my son! :-O Ummmmm….I think not.

  32. Spunky said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    “My ‘Back to School’ warning is this: There is every reason in the world for you to be borderline paranoid about the safety of your kids.”

    Jen, I hear your mother’s heart and I understand in the world that we live in why this warning may seem appropriate, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and a sound mind. Encourging mothers to be paranoid of others isn’t part of God’s heart or His wisdom. The scripture also tells us the fear of man brings a snare.

    As parents we are to wise companions to our children and encourage them to be wise companions to one another. We are to be watchful of our own children, guarding them diligently, and trusting of God’s protection. However, our children need to see our faith in God’s protection nor our paranoia.

    There are definitely things we are supposed to do as parents to protect our children and your cuautions are well stated, but our faith is not in our own abilities to protect but in the Lord and His ability to protect. We will fail as parents to protect our children as we should. Our children will fail in their abilities to withstand various temptations. But the power of the ressurrection means that in Christ we are all “new creations” and we are daily being renewed by the washing of the Word.

    As a mother, I am going to do all I possibly can to protect my children, but when my children do wrong things I pray they have the courage to repent and are met with forgiving hearts. And when they are wronged I pray they have the courage to forgive and restore the relationship. There is no sin that my children cannot commit or encounter that Christ’s blood can not make clean.

    That is the blessed hope of the gospel, otherwise the “snare” of bitterness will be my children’s lifelong companion. And that to me would be the greater tragedy for my own children.

  33. on August 26th, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I am one of those Mom’s who is always on the alert. We already follow the guidelines you have put in place, but I don’t think it comes from a spirit of fear as much as it’s just being wise.

    Just like I don’t allow my kids to play close to the road. Is there a chance that they could walk away unharmed? Yes. Am I willing to risk it? No way.

    This was a great post and very, very true. Homeschoolers are not exempt from, or above, sin. For people to even begin to think that way sets them up for disaster, I think. “Pride goeth before a fall.”

    There was a family (and I won’t go into a bunch of detail) who suffered to the extreme in this kind of sin. I knew them from afar, but they were prominent in our community and in our church and especially in the homeschooling realm. It was shocking, to say the least. I have to say, I am shocked by very little nowadays. Grievous, but not shocked.

    Anyway, it’s late and my $.02 worth was kind of thrown out there, so I hope it makes sense. Obviously, I am in total agreement with you.

    Love you, girlie. Hope you are doing alright.

  34. Susan said,

    on August 26th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I’d like to add a different angle. It is good to teach your children to look out for one another for at least one more reason, as well. They can be a witness for each other when blamed for something that they did NOT do.

  35. Ruth said,

    on August 27th, 2008 at 9:52 am

    This is such a great reminder. I do think that sometimes we get so comfortable we forget that we are all sinners and able to do many things we hate because our flesh is weak. What a great reminder. We have these same rules and my christian family often looks down on them and thinks we go too far but I know that this is best. Could I link to this post? I think as many people as possible need to read it.

  36. on August 27th, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    My daughter and her half-sister are sent to their father’s for visitation at the same time for this very reason: strength and safety in numbers. Of course it is also to preserve their sibling relationship since they do not live near each other any more, so her 1/2 sis can’t just come to my house – but we’ve had enough run-ins with a step-sibling there that we moms feel it is in their best interest to keep them together at all times. This also helps since her older sister has a cell phone for emergencies and for calling home. I feel ya, my friend – I feel ya. Just because someone is a friend or family member doesn’t make them safe – and I don’t consider it “paranoid” one bit.
    But then, I’m sure my ex would disagree. 😉

  37. Becca said,

    on August 30th, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Totally right there with you on your post.

    I agree with Michelle….will you tell us more about girls between 9 – 11? I have a 10yo, and have begun to see some eye rolling and bad attitude creeping in. I’m trying to nip it in the bud, but any words of wisdom you have to share on this topic would be totally groovy.

  38. LivingforGod said,

    on September 4th, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Great post! We are very protective of our children no matter what others, including some relatives, think. My husband likes to say, “Our children’s safety first, others’ feelings second.”

  39. eleanor said,

    on September 17th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Interesting and heartfelt post, and interesting comments. I guess I’ve had enough experience to know that homeschooled kids are rotten sinners like the rest of Adam’s fallen offspring. My rotten sinner kids are taught by a rotten sinner mom. I don’t believe that any of us, or any one of our kids are above committing any sin, as unthinkable and unlikely as it might seem, saved or not. I am SO sick of the Homeschool Pharisee attitude that abounds . . . “my child would never do (whatever). because I yadayadayada” Why is that mindset so pervasive? I fear at times that we as the homeschool community are raising a generation of self focused self righteous Pharisees. Anyway – I totally agree with you, and while Spunky’s point is well taken, and probably paranoid is not the right word, I think every parent needs to be vigilant to the point of being considered paranoid. No one ever hangs out in bedrooms, or basements or wherever with the door closed when visiting here, there are many times when I “just say no” to visits or opportunities that I’m not comfortable with. Yes,lots of people (relatives and church friends included) think we over shelter our kids, and are “weird”, but that’s kind of a compliment in my book!

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