This afternoon, a homeschooling mom and friend had an incident occur on her secluded property. Her husband was at home inside, feeling a little under the weather. Her teen daughter was outside working in the yard, she and other siblings off-site.
Here’s what her post read, “Attention Homeschool friends- Police told us to tell our HS friends. This morning a man came in our yard and said something like he was doing a homeschool assessment, he confronted our teen daughter who was in our yard. Asked if her mom was home, when she said no her Dad was. Didn’t want to see or talk to Dad. She was a little shook up. We let police know and called HSLDA. Just wanted to let you all know to beware, don’t know who/what it could be? Casing the house, fishing for info…who knows… He had a clickboard with a list so he could somehow have a list of homeschoolers… He drove silver small car and had a name tag that said Gabe.”
What principles are at work in this situation that our young people at home need to know? Here is my attempt to identify a few, and welcome your input for discussion.
Principle 1 Your young people under your care, on your property are learning at all times. Yes, actually- they really are. Playing, working out solutions on the computer, reading, lazing on a hammock, listening to music, fixing a simple meal, managing their personal space, – whatever they are doing, unless an appointment has been made that you know and she/he knows about, no one is entitled to demand their undivided attention or introduce an unpredictable conversation with their uninvited feet on our soil.
Principle 2 Especially when alone, particularly if she is a female being approached by a male, our children are instructed to physically remove herself from the situation immediately. I have trained our children to use the tool, “I will go and get Mom/Dad for you.” and say it over their shoulder while sprinting into the house. She is not to say anything else, nor answer any questions.
Principle 3 is location, location, location. Our house and grounds are Sovereign. From my perspective, my spouse and I are the ones paying the mortgage, therefore~ After our child comes in and alerts me of the person presenting himself on our soil, my job is to remember the sovereignty of our property. If the teakettle isn’t on for him or her, I engage the individual in conversation at the end of our driveway, by the public road. I choose to move the interchange away from my front door and my windows and keep it brief.
Principle 4 I, the Mom, on my property, am working at all times. I am at my place of employment. Playing with a toddler, reading to a young one, watching Blues Clues, even resting while the new baby sleeps, I am working and take my time here seriously. He or she will need to set up an appointment with us which is convenient to us and desired by us before any conversation can take place. I will use the tool, “I am sorry, but I can’t satisfy your request until we set up an appointment. You may write down who you are and the company or agency you work for, what you want with us and then I will check with our team to see if an appointment can be arranged to help you.”
Principle 5 Use unpredictability as your strong suit, not theirs. Keep an uninvited, unknown person wondering about who is present onsite. Answer no questions “off message”. Our kids know that their parents are always home. (kwim?) Always. They may be unable to come to speak with an individual because they are fixing plumbing, taking care of a child or working on a project with another family member. “Gee, sorry I’ll go get Dad, he’s around back with my uncle fixing his Harley.” or “Mom is brushing the Rottweiler’s teeth right now” might be options.
Our children know that they are not ever on the hook to answer any question to a person who was not invited to be there, out of respect, they can use the tool and immediately sprint to the house calling, “I will get my parent to help you.” I try to keep in mind that this uninvited person is impinging on my child’s time and on mine. They owe me an apology. I do not owe them information nor a tour of any part of your house or land. I will try to be courteous but sussinct. Stay on message, my goal is to invite this person to leave in the most respectful, effective way possible, so I can return to the good work happening at my and my husband’s homeschool.
My friend’s daughter did a wonderful job handling a scary situation. In these uncertain times, I hope that my children will know quick steps they can take to remove themselves from danger should they ever need to.