Life Care Center of Hixson therapists Priscilla Clemonsand Sarah XXXXX train Marianne Tulis how to slip from wheelchair to auto seat. (Photo David Tulis)

Life Care Center of Hixson therapists Priscilla Clemons and Sarah Burkhart train Marianne Tulis how to slip from wheelchair to auto seat. (Photos David Tulis)

Last of four home educated children at home, Jacob Tulis, 13, will learn grace in helping parents tend an infirm grandmother. (Photo David Tulis)

Last of four home educated children still getting lessons, Jacob Tulis, 13, will learn grace in helping parents tend an infirm grandmother.

An important benefit of homeschooling is that it abolishes the terrifying negative of age segregation common in institutional settings. Home education lets boys and girls interact and take part in the lives of people old and young.

In April my family brought into its house my homeschooled children’s grandmother. My mother, Marianne, is 92, a widow who lives in the next house on the top of our hill in Soddy-Daisy.

By David Tulis

The former gardener and daughter of a Swiss congressman is infirm, having broken a hip in a fall along her sidewalk. She was in the hospital four nights, and a month at a facility in North Chattanooga.

While my mother was at Life Care Center of Hixson, I questioned myself about fulfilling my loving duty as a son. I visited her faithfully to learn about steps in therapy, but have been anxious about leaving her too much to strangers.

A faithful son will do everything within his power to take care of his own people. What’s more, taking responsibility for my mother is part of the good lesson my wife, Jeannette, and I teach our children, one of whom is at home.

Marianne will stay in one of the children’s former rooms as she completes her recovery. The doctors say she needs to stay off of her leg up to two months.

The Tulis clan is in two neighboring houses. The smaller granny house is on the top of the hill. Mine’s a stone’s throw away, of lower elevation, with her now weedy garden between.

Even if she recovers, it may be better for the old woman to remain in the lower house. That would allow her to save having to pay for a full-time outside sitter. Perhaps our 13-year-old could earn a little money as a low-level caregiver.

Statist quo in elder care

It is a temptation for my generation to have the government take care of its old people. It is a benefit of the welfare and surveillance economy in which we live to have the government and corporations operating under contract to take care of old people, millions of whom are abandoned in nursing homes.

It is part of the deplorable state of the American people that they have neglected their elderly, subsidized by the federal government starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Social Security program. This program and many others subsidize the laxity of care that we see in many quarters today here in local economy in Chattanooga and surrounding areas.

I don’t want to be drawn into that temptation. If I were, I would desire to keep her in an institution as long as possible. I would, if I were to come into this temptation, want my mother to be in the care of paid people as long as possible and not in my hair. But in the time which my mother was in a institution, paid for by Medicare through an insurance policy, I had the question in my mind about my duty as a dad.

These contemplations resolve themselves in favor of obeying God, relieving my mother, living out the suggestions of local economy and free markets and being an example to my offspring.

For homeschool son or daughter to see parents stooping over a groaning senior citizen, her gray hair tousled, her body smelling unfresh, to see his parents listening patiently to a story the old soul has told 200 times, to watch one’s parents patiently wait on that old person at the table, to see his dad speak respectfully to the grandmother even though the dad is at wit’s end, to learn about self denial by the parents example, these are essential lessons for the homeschooled child.

I am glad to have my mother in my house because I’m a home educating dad. I’m glad that at least one of my children will be able to learn the lesson of sonship by watching me, the beleaguered dad with the sometimes irascible grandmother. We are homeschoolers because we want children to learn from us.


The arrival of an old woman in our house will be helpful in teaching children their duty to their families. I pray to God that he will give me grace, and I know Jeannette prays to God that He will give her patience and forbearance in dealing with a mother-in-law who has been critical, irritating and not supportive of local economy in education.

I want my children to see me die to myself, to mortify my flesh, to bring inconvenience to myself on behalf of a family member. If I live out my talk as a Christian, my children, when their day comes, will live out what they have learned from us. They won’t just talk the talk of the Christian life that we have taught in homeschool. They will live it out by God’s grace.

Because I love God and I love the free market, I don’t want to have confidence in the modern state. I would much rather have confidence in God’s provision for the senior citizen, and that is the family itself. Just as infants are nurtured in the bosom of the family, so old people should pass their last days surrounded by family.

That is much more holy, more glorifying to God and more edifying for family members then to have old people locked away in antiseptic nursing homes with paid staff, indifferent customs, institutional routines, and the soullessness of well-manicured grounds and tidy dining halls.

Do we want our old people to be cared for by corporations, or do we want our old people cared for by a home educated children and the parents of those children? I would say the latter.

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