My mother is a smart woman. She used to get really good grades in school. She thought it wouldn’t be a problem at all to homeschool us. This was far from true.
Generally, we were a very lively brood. Always running, usually outside, always playing loud games. My mom had a very hard time keeping up with us, especially the boys.
My dad kind of favoured the boys. He believes in the theory that the male seed is what makes a person what he or she is. This means that when a couple marries and has children, all the children will carry all the information of the father and none of the mother. The mother is nothing but an incubator for the man’s seed, so to speak.
Now according to this theory, the children of us girls would not be his heirs. They would get nothing from our family, as then again our husbands would be the ones contributing all information. He was slightly obsessed with having actual heirs who’d carry on our family name, and the only way to achieve that was the boys. Us girls, we were just future incubators, and investing just too much time into us would be a waste. Plus, you don’t want to mess up the incubator. Education is counterproductive. What would we need it for anyways? College was out of the picture for all the girls. We were to learn useful housewiving skills.
Don’t get me wrong. My reading and writing is good for the biggest part. My math is enough to live with. But instead of gaining skills that would be useful in my life at this point, we learned to decorate. To sew. What cleansers to use for which stain. To garden.
I can’t say that I was naturally curious to learn. I didn’t want to be dumb by any means, but I had a different image of education for girls. I wanted to learn these very domestic skills. I wanted to read classical literature instead of a math class. I have started learning two foreign languages but right now, I think the most I could use it for would be basic small talk, like when you go on a holiday and need directions to the train station. Nothing of use really.
My parents were surprised to see me so eager to prepare for my future as a keeper of the home. I think my dad was very relieved, thinking that the Evil One might have losened his hold of me. Maybe I was going to be a good girl after all. Turn out to be a good wife. Be humble, simple and meek.
This didn’t apply for all my sisters. Some are very smart, much smarter than me! They were eager to learn math and physics and all the other sciences. I hope that, in case they ever want to leave the family too, this will benefit them.
I quickly caught that the more I was looking to be a wife and mother, the more my parents would respect me. I was eager to read every book on purity, childrearing, marriage skills and so on. Many times I would skip school lessons to find the time to read those books. My mother protested against this a few times, but quickly gave up. I came up with a line that would quickly change her point of view: “Mom, do you think this is useful for a wife and mother? Don’t you think it would be better if I read To train up a child?” After I blocked her attempts to teach me something useful a few times, she gave up and let me be.
During my teen years, all I did was read books to prepare for marriage and motherhood. This went as far as not getting a high school diploma. My dad seemed embaressed at first, looking at all the other homeschoolers who would graduate at 16. I picked up this line somewhere, I don’t know anymore, but it went something like this: “Dad, think about it. The world has enough smart career women. We need some more domestic women, who dare to be simple.” He actually got off the hook really well with that, and suddenly, instead of the slightly weird, stupid girl, in the eyes of the others I was the gentle, meek, simple girl I always longed to be.