11 November 2003

Dreams of homeschool

I want so badly to homeschool my daughters. I will be homeschooling Anja, but Dylan and Kiah have been in public school since day one and I just don't know how to make the transition, especially as they are getting into the higher grades and all that comes along with that. My strongest reasons for wanting to homeschool them are along the lines of what they will get at home rather than what they won't get in school. There are so many positives to homeschool and it seems less and less to be thrilled with public school.

I have discussed it with them, and they are really basically in favor of the idea except that they are afraid they would really miss their friends from school. Sure, they can visit after school and on weekends, but what they are really concerned about is more along the lines of missing the social system of the school. One of the very things I want to keep them out of. The social climbing hell that is middle school/junior high is nightmarish. I have seen on more than one occasion my smart, beautiful, friendly, outgoing daughters be reduced to piles of sobbing blobs because of some crap that went down at school. It breaks my heart. However much it hurts them though, they are wrapped up in it and convinced that removing themselves from it will somehow ruin their social lives forever. You cannot tell a child their age that they won't even know if most of these people are even alive by the time they are adults. The wonderful adolescent mind tricks them into believing that the happiness of the rest of their lives is determined by who sat next to you at lunch.

They do so well in school, but honestly the real learning that they do comes not so much from the lessons of school, but from their own curiosity and exploration of the world. All the good grades they get, honor rolls, and other "indicators of progress" to me are basically empty symbols. For the most part it only indicates that they can take a standarized test well since their entire curriculum is based on teaching so that they will pass the test. They are not being taught so that they can actually LEARN something. Yes, I praise them and honor the work they have done to achieve these symbols. As long as they are in the system they need to be able to "prove themselves" this way. It makes me sad.

School was closed today so Dylan and Kiah accompanied me and Anja to Shining Star School. They had a great time! And they even learned some things as they made their own knitting needles out of wooden dowels and began learning how to knit. Some may scoff at this, but even beyond the practical use of such a skill comes so many more valuable life skills and lessons. They came home practised for hours! My internet junkie kids voluntarily chose to sit on the couch with me and work on their knitting skills! Unbelievable! They were also great helpers with the other little kids there and enjoyed being able to put their "grown-up-ness" into use.

After we were done at Shining Star we went to the natural foods co-op where the days learning was continued in a discussion of what GMO meant and why it is a bad thing. Science, social responsibility, nutrition - all packed into an simple trip to the store. How cool is that?!!!

I cannot begin to tell you how much it warmed my heart to experience all of this today! Yet broke it at the same time because I know that in a couple days they will be back to the habitrail halls of their institutional school.

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