My dear boy, this is why you are homeschooled
Why homeschool? The question every homeschooling family gets. There is no universal answer, every family is different and unique. So are their reasons. It is not just one reason and it’s not that simple. The sort of reaction I get when I say that we choose to homeschool is always different. Sometimes it’s a genuine surprise followed by a few questions. Sometimes it is just “Ooo…” and then “Why?” Other times, it is a silence. Kind of silence that sends shivers down your spine. What could they possibly be thinking? What does it matter.?
My exact initial thought was when I first came across the term ” HOMESCHOOLING ”. What were they talking about? And then: Why would you want to do that anyway, what sort of crazy person are you?
I have come from a very traditional background ( Eastern-European ). The biggest revelation to me was that a parent could actually educate their children at home! Hence, in my culture we were not allowed to think “ outside the box ” – that was the mindset created by the regime, leave alone taking your child out of the system – wow this is completely unheard of. There are still countries where keeping your kids at home without a doctors’ certificate is illegal and prosecuted. I don’t judge that. I don’t judge the system. The choice we made was relevant to MY family.
Growing up conventionally, as a little girl, I experienced a massive lack of closeness with my parents: they were either working or repairing/cleaning our apartment. Back in my days no one ever heard of things like “Attachment parenting “. Quite the opposite, babies were “detached” before they could even finish breastfeeding. This very much applies to the modern society rules: we are so used that growing up our kids being separated from families for at least 6 hours a day 5 times a week ( more if your baby or toddler in a childcare ), that this seems more normal than, say, any sort of attachment.
So, back to my childhood: occasionally, my whole family would go out for a long playful walk. I can not say my parents didn’t try. But as I said it was occasionally. Life happens every day though, not on occasions. When I and Steven made a decision to take Nick out of school, we had a very vague idea of what homeschooling really was.
It wasn’t just about educating at home or keeping up with the good marks. The homeschooling opened up so many different perspectives on what parenting could and should be. At the beginning, it felt like I have met my child again. For the first time, now a bit bigger and smarter, perhaps, but still the same child. I, all of a sudden, learned new things about him that were previously missed: his interests, his own ideas, his whole view on life. I discovered his learning styles and multiple approaches to them, I have watched how he interacted with people of different ages, and most of all, I enjoyed building a trusting relationship with him. Hopefully, he will carry those memories in his heart forever. God willing.
My dear boy, this is why you are homeschooled:
- You didn’t fit in
So what, you say? Not everyone has a natural ability to fit in, that’s why schools are great, they give an opportunity for kids to fight for equality. Kids “ fight for their rights at school to fit it ” but what happens when they come back home? That’s right. That’s where it all stops. They stop carrying there are other people living in the same space who want their attention too. But that’s not school, they don’t have to fight, fit in or interact. No reason to do anything or even being nice. Period. Around the teen time, all those missing gaps pop out like warts. Parents feel isolated, ignored or yelled at. Surprising? I think not.
You didn’t fit in because you often felt left behind or laughed at as your speech wasn’t as mature or your play manners weren’t quite up to your age standard. You didn’t fit in because the system had all levels standardized for everyone, nothing personal or adjustable to your abilities. Just look at you – how could ever fit in???
2. You lacked interest in learning
Traditionalized, standardized, prescribed, ruled out, set in stone learning that has not been changed for decades, no matter how many kids fell through that system. So, they told me you were not interested and struggled. Other kids were fine but you weren’t. Is that why there was a mum that with tears in her eyes telling me how badly she wanted help for her daughter that was very behind in reading but the standardized testing score she had to pass, came up as insufficient to get funding for her learning support? How is she fitting in after that?
3. Your teachers put you on a level comfortable for them
Yes, you are reading it right. They said you were behind your peers in maths. So they gave you tasks on a level equivalent and left you there. You weren’t allowed to aim any higher. How would they get funding if you could do more advanced work than what their paperwork said?
Then there was a meeting with your special education head teacher. Last drop in the ocean for me. I heard a lot of off-putting, disrespectful things about you as an individual. That was it. I could put up with the system boxing everyone in, but how could I leave YOU with people that belittle you for long hours? Every day. That’d be a betrayal.
4. You were deprived of Freedom. We all were
Freedom came upon me as a huge overwhelming feeling. I have not felt so free before. Before it was the routine: you go to school, I go to work. A rat race. On the weekends, we had a family time ( again, if I didn’t work ), as parents felt very obligated to spend time with you, taking you places, preferably. Because you see, my boy, it did feel like an obligation as often I and your dad were tired and just wanted to stay home. But weekends are family time, they say. We must follow the suit. Everyone must. You work, then you play. And if we didn’t feel like going anywhere or it was too damn hot/cold to even do anything, on the weekends we abandoned you to the technology. Oh, please don’t judge us, we are only humans. So what happened to us when we pull you out of school? Freedom came. It was overwhelming, it felt weird. It wasn’t like everyone else’s life. Everyone worked or went to school. Not us, we went to the beach, we walked the dog, we enjoyed breakfast across the border, we met up with other homeschoolers. It was exhausting!
5. You couldn’t travel as much
When WE wanted to take you. Not when your school gave us a permission. Not when kids are out on holidays. Instead, when beaches, parks, and museums are empty. Planning our trip to Disneyland for your 10th birthday, I made sure to pick the dates that didn’t fall into either American or Australian school breaks. Call me crazy!
We took you to the business trip to China. Not because we had no one to leave you with but because you needed to come – to see how business relationships are built. Just as important as socializing with peers but in an adult world.
6. You weren’t allowed to be a “FREE THINKER”
Without being shut down trying to prove your point. Without being ridiculed for standing your ground. In the modern world, adults are given too much freedom to their rights. Children have none.
At school, they taught you to submit to the authority without questioning its rightness. And if you tried, you were dismissed.
Educators taught you to think as they say. Apparently, they knew better if not everything. No one knows everything. That is why everything is questionable. Even the authority.
I wanted you to be you. Crazy, silly, fast, constantly moving, wiggling, making jokes. You came back from school guilty, confused, silent. Nothing upset me more than your silence. You never wanted to discuss how your day went or what you learned.
Four years on, we are still going strong. Mixing the traditional homeschooling with the unschooling. Engaging into local home educating groups to find support, ideas, and friends of course.
I am proud to have you with me every day. If you won’t learn life skills things from us, who will you learn from? One new skill each day – that sounds like a great achievement to me.