My Philosophy Concerning Books & Materials

This is just a general explanation of my personal philosophy and opinions behind choosing particular books for Otter's studies. Some of the books or materials I've chosen may be considered controversial in some homes. Some materials may contain references to dark or mature themes. I will try to mark some of the books with the notice: PREVIEW or post a specific warning of content I noticed that was objectionable to me. ANY book may have items of a particular concern though. Usually I will note more specifically what those concerns are to help you make the decision of whether a book is appropriate for your children or not. That does not guarantee that I will "catch" everything or comment on everything. As a parent, of course, you will have to be the judge and preview all

Why would I schedule anything for a child that contains mature themes like s*x, violence and other issues that some may not feel comfortable with?

I believe we do our children a disservice by shielding them completely from the world. That doesn't mean that I don't think we should protect and shelter our children. I think that as parents, that is our job and too few are doing it "nowadays". I do think, however that understanding the world is not all about fuzzy bunnies and lollipops is important so that children can be prepared with the tools they need for assaults upon their character, their spiritual lives and just so that they have a true understanding of life and reality.

Every child matures at a different rate and has a different personality. Some children may be deeply disturbed to hear certain things and others may not be fazed at all. Still others may be prompted to want to change things or be more aware and compassionate to what others may be going through or have experienced. Some others may wish to emulate wrong-doing.

As parents we have taken the above into account as we've made decisions as to what our children can and can't do, what they can or cannot watch, etc. Our philosophy is to give them a measured amount of freedom in direct relation to what they can handle and what helps them to grow. We help direct and guide along their maturity so that the line where they cross over into being an adult is not distinct but has happened so gradually and appropriately that they don't even realize it's occurred. Let me give you an example:

When my husband turned 18, for a moment he was all excited to get to do whatever it is that 18 year olds do. He was, by golly, an adult now! It suddenly dawned on him that he was already doing whatever it was. He was already functioning as an adult because his dad had done a good job of "gradually" letting go. There was no "sudden line to cross".

I think of it like potty training or weaning. Taking the most common scenario: one day your two year old is in diapers and you decide it's time to learn how to potty. It doesn't for MOST of us, happen that he suddenly stays dry and has no accidents on the first day. It's a gradual process. It's not often a parent can point to the exact day when junior has stayed dry and continues to stay dry "forever". It just sort of "happens".

Many "over sheltered" children, as soon as they are out from "under" their parents are suddenly thrust out into the world and they've not had the chance to flex their wings yet. They try to fly....and fall. They were not prepared for the smorgasbord of life and what the world offers. They were told and taught to choose "healthy foods" from the table of life but never shown what to avoid. They also weren't given practice in turning down some of the bad things. That's one of the reasons why, in my opinion, you hear of children, including Christian children, going a little or a lot "nuts" once they leave home and go to college (or whatever it is they are doing).

Note: This doesn't mean I believe in letting kids run wild and getting into situations they aren't ready to handle. I do believe though in allowing them the opportunity to be tempted, within reason and in accordance with their own personalities and spiritual growth. One child may be fine going off to the movies by himself. For another it might spell disaster. You as a parent will know your child the best and know what level of freedom and "testing" that is or is not appropriate.

So how does this relate to the books I've chosen? I want my children to be exposed, on MY terms, to the great big world out there. I want them to know of some things that are going on (or have happened) so that:

1. They can protect themselves when I am not around to protect them. If you are not aware of the dangers that exist, how can you prepare for them? I don't just mean physical things. I'm also talking about mental and spiritual aspects of our lives.
2. They can learn compassion and understanding for some things others have had to suffer.
3. They are living in reality. That doesn't mean they need every filthy detail (or even ANY info on some subjects). That just means they need to understand what we're all up against.
4. We can discuss things in detail together, as a family. I want to be able to allow books to spark some very interesting conversations where they can pick apart adult issues with a mature adult's perspective, supervision and wisdom right at hand. This is teaching time and time for flexing their wings, so to speak.
5. So they can be grateful and appreciative for the many blessings they have in their lives.
6. So they will know some of the results of what happens in people's lives when they reject specific teachings of character, God's word, morality, etc.
7. So they can know what needs to be changed or improved in this world and they can decide to get involved in helping that change along.

Now that I’ve said all the above though, please understand that I do edit many items on the fly, especially for Otter’s age. I may not always mark what I edit. Now, if I was paying for a curriculum (especially a Christian program) and there was a book with questionable material and I didn’t get a warning, I’d be pretty irritated and maybe even upset (been there, done that). But since this is free and I’m only making it for me…be warned: you may not be warned. wink



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