We are huge Harry Potter fans in this house. In fact, I wrote an honest letter to J.K. Rowling about how much we love the series and appreciate her for it. That said, Harry Potter can be pretty divisive in certain homeschool settings. If you want to see a group of moms clam up really quick tell them that you let your kid read Harry Potter. It’s almost comical. Suddenly you are viewed through a different lens and seen as a different kind of mom. This drives me insane. Today I want to talk about these divisive reasons and why my kids read Harry Potter.
Why My Kids Read Harry Potter
Harry Potter shouldn’t be a divisive marker at all. In fact, I think it is a great series for kids. I decided I would break down the reasons why I have been not just judged but have had my parenting outright attacked. I want to break down why I disagree and why we chose to read the books anyway.
This one gets me every time. I have had parents tell me that I am giving my child to satan because I let her read Harry Potter. Um, what? When I was a teenager I was a practicing Wiccan. I can tell you that there is a complete difference between the things I was taught as a teen and the things in the books. In fact, most of the “spells” in the book are actually words in latin. This article from Business Insider actually breaks some of these down with words like lumos meaning light and Avis meaning bird. Some will argue that it is the heart behind it. The element of magic. I ask this question, “Why is chronicles of Narnia ok with a White Witch?” Same concept of magic. Just a different execution.
I think that what parents need to do is look at where their child is developmentally and spiritually. If you are concerned about the influence of this, talk that through it with them or read it out loud. We had some fantastic conversations about our beliefs versus those depicted in the book. Our job as parents is to set a firm foundation for our child’s faith not to live their faith for them.
I get it. As you go up in the series the presence of dating and relationships becomes more prevalent. There are many references to snogging and crushes between certain characters. That said, they are done tastefully. I think there are two options here. Either wait until the child is older and let them read those books when they are more mature or have an open dialogue about the relationships represented in the book versus what your child may be expected to have. This area is a little more difficult for me because I believe that we have to give our kids all of the information to make the best decision on certain things.
It could be easy for me as a mom to say that I don’t want R dating until she finishes college and I want her to wait until she is married to have sex. I can shelter her from every mention of a relationship that doesn’t line up with that and play guard to virginity. OR, I can teach her the why behind what I believe and understand that she will eventually live in the real world and encounter dating situations. I can talk to her about what she believes and let her form her own opinions based on truth and trust. Reading a book like Harry Potter is not going to cause your child to date and have sex. Those choices will come from their beliefs and ultimately are up to them.
There are some darker elements to the books. These are even more prevalent as you move on through the series. In fact, the infieri are one of the things I was most nervous about when letting R read these. With themes that focus on death, torture, and pain it can be a very heavy read. However, it also gives your child the ability to draw some great parallels. R immediately equated Voldemort to Hitler. She said that what he did was no different than the torture and murder of people because they were different.
I think that when you look at these books with the understanding that they are fiction and not a fact it removes a lot of the fear. As I have said before, it opens the door for great conversation. What do we do when someone we love dies? What happens when we fail? How should bullying be handled? I answered many of these questions while reading this series.
Now let’s talk about the knee jerk reaction
So you don’t like Harry Potter? You think it is inappropriate for your child to read? Ok. I respect that. That’s your choice. Do me a favor. Don’t look down on a mom because she lets her kid read it. You don’t have to agree with someone to show them respect. I have been in situations where I was laughing with people and having a great conversation. I mentioned Harry Potter and it was like I said I worshiped satan himself. This is not ok. Homeschool moms have enough on their plate without being afraid to speak openly in a group. Disagree and move on. I may love Harry Potter but I’m an ok person to hang out with and I have some awesome wisdom from some of the times I totally messed up. Don’t miss out on a great homeschool friend because of Harry Potter. It’s not that serious.
Harry Potter Fans..
Don’t force your homeschool mom friends to listen to 100 reasons why they should love the books. In the same way that I hope they will back off, I challenge you to respect their beliefs. You can think they are 100% wrong while treating them with respect.
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