I received a perfectly harmless letter home from the principal of my daughters’ school. Or at least it seemed perfectly harmless. He began by sharing some expectations and news, and then began laying out the principals that guide the school.

First tenet proposed: The School is the Heart of the Community. The hackles on my back lift.

I thought that families were the heart of the community. Parents and children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews.

The school is not the heart — it should never try to be. It should be a servant to families. If families want to use its buildings to get together, to have community time — great. It should promote family closeness and bonding. It should be used to bring families together and share. But it should not be required or requested that they share.

The school is a service to the family — not its replacement. Perhaps because of the many reasons I chose to homeschool, I am sensitive to the school trying to insinuate itself into my home and insert its agendas into my family. Like putting flouride and sealants on their teeth — something that is done automatically unless you tell them not to. My kids have never had a cavity. Why isn’t their enamel enough? But I have to be vigilant to make sure the school doesn’t put sealants on their teeth.

What’s the next step? Will the school be forcing STD shots next on my 12 year old daughter?

Following that was a guilt trip to volunteer at the school. The school has all these ideas that it wants to do with our kids and we lazy parents need to get over there and help with school agendas because they’re trying to do fun stuff for our kids.

I feel like saying — keep your agendas. Just do the math, reading, and writing there. And don’t send home homework! We’ll do all that fun stuff at home, with our own kids, so we can see them and enjoy them and draw closer together. It goes by so fast. I don’t feel like following your agendas. I don’t want to go to community night or the Christmas program or anything beyond the six hours they’re supposed to be there.

I want to sing Christmas carols in our home — the pretty ones that aren’t about Santa Claus. And if you’d quit singing Christmas carols about toys and gifts and just do the homework, we wouldn’t have to!

I’m always inventing a better school. It starts at 9. Ends at 3. During the day, the students 1) read living books 2) write 3) do math. They have a longer lunch so they can chew their food properly. Then, they pursue things like art, or writing, or science, or wood carving, or music, or metal working, or … well, you get the picture.

Then, they go home where they do chores and help out with the family. Play pretend with their sisters or brothers. Play outside. Climb trees. Swing. Shout and yell. Eat a dinner with their families.

No extra programs. Just a service to families. Read, write, do math and a little extra. Simple, straightforward servitude.

Families are the heart of a community. The school is a service to families. When did the tail start wagging the dog?